Summerhill Stud, Giant’s Castle, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
(Photos : Summerhill Stud)
“UP THERE WITH COCA COLA”
Not long ago, we were locked in talks with an aspirant investor in the Summerhill enterprise. There’ve been numerous suitors for a share of the action at Summerhill over the years, at least four of them from across the waves. But this time, it came from one of the thoroughbred world’s most intrepid investors.
While there was never an argument about the values placed on the land or the assets, there was some discussion about the relationship of cost to reward. In stock exchange parlance, this is called the “P/E” or the price/earnings ratio, expressed as an index measuring the earnings as a multiple against the value of the asset. The great companies of the world command a PE in the vicinity of 20x earnings.
There came a time in the course of our discussions with the prospective investor that he exclaimed “God, Mickey, your PE is higher than Coca-Cola”. A month later, we became the first stud farm east of the Drakensberg to take the Breeders Championship.
At last year’s awards, shortly after we came off the podium with our fifth consecutive Equus Award, our good friend was the first and most magnanimous well-wisher to congratulate us. We’ve never forgotten his earlier retort, and our quietly understated answer was “now you know why we’re more expensive than Coca-Cola!”. In the end, it’s what one very rich man will pay to beat another.
No doubt, farmers in the Mooi River environs will take heart at the value people place on our local farmland. This is, after all, the country the British, the Zulus and the Boers fought so fiercely for in the 1800’s. Whenever we travel abroad, we kiss the floor at Oliver Tambo International on our return, never forgetting how lucky we are to till the soils of the finest agricultural and stock country on earth.