Expeditors International, a non-asset-based freight forwarding concern, is also the coolest company ever. They have a dedication to their customers, employees, and shareholders. They also have a dedication to honesty and straightforwardness that would make Mencken proud.
Now call me a geek, but I really enjoy reading their SEC 8-K filings. SEC filings are normally quite dull, and while I read them to stay informed as an investor, I don’t usually like it. The exception to be found in Expeditors was brought to my attention by this Motley Fool article, detailing the public humiliation of a particularly pushy analyst.
We have been trying to set up a visit to come see senior management at Expeditors in Seattle for over two months now and no one from Expeditors will return our many phone calls or emails. Are you too busy to respond to the sell side? Are you afraid the sell side’s tarnish may somehow rub off on Expeditors? Or are we having this problem for the first time in the over five years we have covered Expeditors as a result of our current sell rating?
We were surprised to get a question like this and we spent some amount of time trying to decide whether or not you really wanted an answer. It was possible, after all, that this was really just another effort to get the appointment you have been seeking. But, then as you say it has been 5 years and so could we be safe in assuming that you know that a question like this one would be impossible to ignore?
So we were left wondering whether you knew us or not. We frankly still aren’t sure and fear that we may be making a mistake, but we are going to answer anyway.
Let’s start with the fact that for a couple of months we have been ignoring your calls and emails. This is true. Your calls and emails requesting a visit have been ignored. The message is one that any seventeen-year-old boy would understand; you are not going to get your date. We were hoping not to have to give reasons, but we certainly wanted you to get the message: no date.
We could stop here, and most seventeen-year-old girls likely would, but your question sets forth numerous incorrect assumptions as to why we aren’t giving you the time and attention you seek. Each is incorrect and for the sake of other sell-side analysts and interested readers, we want to deal with each one in turn.
Read the entire response here (question #3). It’s a riot.
In their latest 8-K filing, they get asked the perennial question about whether they are threatened by asset-based companies (freight forwarders who own their own ships/planes/etc.) The answer is great:
18. Are you seeing more intense competition from other supply chain solutions companies which own assets, particularly aircraft? Do they have a competitive advantage that Expeditors does not?
As to more intense competition, the answer is no. The sort of competition we are currently seeing has always been there. It’s just another flavor of the dancing circus bear. The outfits may change, the routine gets upgraded and the music may be different, but at the end of the day, a dancing asset bear is still a bear in a tutu. Brown bear or grizzly, it is really just the same act. Popular in Europe, but still the same act. They may try to present an image of refinement costumed in a supply chain outfit with a flashy IT wig, but you are still just watching a bear dance. Some say it is just not natural.
With respect to competitive advantages, sure, being a bear no doubt has some competitive advantages, although we question whether improvisation or flexibility could be listed among them.
Anyway, I own stock in EXPD through my investment club and will probably be buying more personally. They have excellent management and long-term growth figures, along with a great attitude.
…geek of all trades…