2 ASX shares I’d buy and hold for the next decade

Photo credit: AS 1979

If you look at Australia’s richest people, you’ll note that the majority of them have been involved with the same business for literally decades.

For example, Frank Lowy who co-founded shopping mall developer Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD) is worth a reputed $7 billion.

Mr Lowy first listed his business on the ASX back in 1960. Since then he has remained solely focussed on growing this business, expanding from one centre in Sydney to today boasting a global reach.

Other well known “rich listers” such as Rupert Murdoch who founded and still runs the News Corp (ASX: NWS) empire didn’t chop and change their business interests every month, year or even half century!

…so why should you?

The sharemarket provides a low transaction cost system for buying and selling shares – that’s a wonderful thing but it doesn’t mean that you should constantly be utilising the service!

Rather, if you can successfully identify high quality businesses with above average long-term growth profiles and acquire those businesses at a reasonable price, then (like Mr Lowy and Mr Murdoch) the time to sell is almost never.

Here are two shares I consider prime candidates right now for buy-and-hold investors.

CSL Limited (ASX: CSL)

In the past five years, CSL’s profits have increased from $941 million to US$1.2 billion as the group has expanded its product range including via the recently acquired Novartis influenza vaccines business.

The past few years have also seen CSL spend a substantial portion of cash flows on buying back stock which has boosted earnings per share by even more than reported profits.

Looking forward and management has provided guidance for profit growth in the current financial year of approximately 11% (on a constant currency basis).

For a company with sales of US$6 billion the ability to grow profits at double digit rates suggests that the company enjoys some form of moat around its business.

Although cycling double digit returns will get increasingly difficult as CSL grows larger, given the group’s competitive advantage that it maintains, investors can have confidence in the long-term ability of CSL to grow.

Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES)

While CSL is an exceptional case of a business where year-to-year consistent growth appears likely thanks to its defensive health sector customer base, Wesfarmers is more exposed to the ebbs and flows of the general economy.

The difficult economic environment certainly caused its headaches for Wesfarmers’ management in FY 2016 with the group reporting a 3.6% decrease in underlying profit to $2.3 billion. In turn the board was forced to declare lower dividends.

Considering the headwinds however, Wesfarmers’ results were hardly terrible and the long term outlook for its business units remains positive in my opinion.

Given the success achieved in turning around the Kmart business, I think it’s likely that management can achieve a similar success with the underperforming Target business. Likewise, the worst has probably past for the coal division.

Meanwhile, Bunnings’ entrance into the UK market won’t have been made lightly and will have involved plenty of strategy sessions dissecting what went wrong with Woolworths Limited’s (ASX: WOW) attempt to enter the hardware sector in Australia.

Add in Wesfarmers’ ownership of Coles and Officeworks and the long term growth profile for this diversified conglomerate of leading businesses looks attractive.

3 Rotten Shares to Sell, and 1 to Buy Today

Investing isn't just about identifying long term winners like CSL and Wesfarmers; equally its about avoiding the losers...After a double-digit rally for the ASX since 2016 lows, investors should be on high alert. You'll find a full rundown below of 3 shares we think you should avoid today plus one top pick worth buying, even if the market turns south and the RBA keeps rates at an "emergency low." Simply click here to uncover these stocks.

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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