Skip to main content

Canadian chief executive Prem Watsa told shareholders of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. on Thursday that the company will focus on internal growth at its key insurance business and step up efforts to boost its stock price by focusing on investment returns.

Mr. Watsa, who oversees insurance and other businesses in more than 100 countries, expressed disappointment at the company’s weak stock performance and book value over the past five years, largely the result of unimpressive returns from its investment holdings.

He said Fairfax was de-emphasizing acquisition-driven growth, but assured shareholders that would not limit the company’s overall performance.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Watsa nonetheless defended some of Fairfax’s core holdings, which include BlackBerry Ltd. and Greek lender Eurobank Ergasias SA, and told shareholders to be patient and ignore the short-term stock market fluctuations and focus on the long-term performance.

“We are building the company for the next hundred years, long after I am gone,” he told shareholders at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Mr. Watsa, who is sometimes referred to as Canada’s Warren Buffett, established Fairfax as a trucking insurance company more than three decades ago. Fairfax has a market value of $17.1-billion and its insurance companies last year underwrote $15.5-billion in premiums around the world.

Mr. Watsa, who has a big exposure to India, said he was bullish the country’s growth prospects. He said that with a little of bit luck, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party could win a majority in the general elections that kicked off on Thursday.

Related topics

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter