Could Warren Buffett be tempted by Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd shares?

Credit: Mike Mozart

Followers of legendary investor Warren Buffett would be well aware of Buffett’s love of a Cherry-flavoured Coke and his deep admiration for The Coca-Cola Company.

In fact, Buffett put his money where his mouth is many years ago by acquiring a significant shareholding in The Coca-Cola Company.

With the share price of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (ASX: CCL) trading around the $9 mark, some investors may be pondering whether they should be following in Buffett’s footsteps and acquiring shares in the ASX-listed equivalent?

Similar name. Different business.

To be clear, Buffett doesn’t own the ASX-listed Coca-Cola Amatil and arguably for good reason.

Rather, Buffett owns the US-based and listed Coca-Cola Company which is a business model that is arguably second to none.

At the heart of The Coca-Cola Company’s business model is the intellectual property behind the closely guarded, secret formula for its cola syrup.

This cola syrup is licensed and sold to bottling plants around the globe such as those operated by Coca-Cola Amatil.

In a nutshell, the business model of syrup owner and supplier The Coca-Cola Company is miles ahead of the business model of bottler Coca-Cola Amatil.

As Buffett followers will also know, he aims to buy high-quality businesses that possess wide moats. The Coca-Cola Company certainly ticks these boxes but arguably, the business model of Coca-Cola Amatil doesn’t.

Indeed, this scenario would appear to have ultimately been reflected in the respective share price performances of each company.

Over the past five and ten years, The Coca-Cola Company’s share price has gained 33% and 110% respectively.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Amatil’s share price has declined 23% over the past five years and is up just 33% over the past decade!

But could it still be a buy?

Of course, Buffett also likes to buy stocks when they’re cheap.

Even after Coca-Cola Amatil’s weak share price performance, the stock still doesn’t look overly enticing.

Based on analyst consensus forecasts the group is expected to earn 53 cents per share in calendar year 2016 (source: Reuters). This implies a price-to-earnings ratio of 17 times, which is hardly cheap compared with long-term market averages.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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