Geoff Gannon March 27, 2006

Widest Moat Contest: Best Comment

I selected this comment from Dave as the contest’s best:

Initially I was going for GE, but the more I think about it, it seems that Coke has the greatest franchise. GE makes, markets and services great products, but I’m not sure many people buy their products because they are made by GE. (By “people” I mean the average consumer. Aerospace and medical customers may be different.) Their products are extremely capital intensive, which in itself creates a moat, but one which must be shored up with capital constantly.

Coke, on the other hand, has a product which no one needs, but many want, and which many display a strong preference for. It is more like cigarettes in this way. In my younger days I was addicted (habituated is more precise) to Coke. I drank a quart every day. This is a wide and deep moat for sugar water. It is unbelievable! The main competition is from Pepsi, which with it’s Frit-Lay division, is the only real threat to Coke. And Pepsi has no international distribution to match Coke.

I believe that Coke has the moat and it is theirs to lose. I’ll admit that they have been trying over the last 10 years, but I think they may be waking up some. I didn’t mention MSFT because I don’t think it’s worth mentioning. A great company with a moat more fragile than most would like to believe.

Dave will receive a copy of Benjamin Graham’s Security Analysis. Congratulations!