Warren Buffett is known for his famous holding period, which is (ideally) forever. There aren't many businesses on the ASX that I would legitimately want to hold forever at this point in time.
Tailwinds around the ageing population could eventually turn into headwinds when overcapacity starts to happen. The Asian middle class will probably stop growing in size at some point. The number of tourists visiting Australia will stop growing at a point in the future.
All of the companies affected by the above scenarios are good potential investments today, but it shows that you can't necessarily hold a lot of companies 'forever'.
However, I think there are at least three businesses on the ASX that you can buy and hold forever:
Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF)
This is a real estate investment trust that focuses purely on agricultural property, the only one of its type on the ASX.
It owns a number of different farm types across various states, creating good diversification. It owns cattle, poultry, cotton, almond and macadamia farms, and vineyards. It has Select Harvests Limited (ASX: SHV) and Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) as two of its major tenants.
Rural Funds Group grew its quarterly dividend by 8% in FY17 and has pencilled in a 4% increase for FY18. Farmland has been an increasingly valuable asset for hundreds of years and it's easy to see it being useful for hundreds of years to come.
Rural Funds Group is trading with a trailing dividend yield of 5.33%.
Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)
It's been running for over a century with the same family at the helm for many decades. It has paid a dividend every single year without fail and has increased its ordinary dividend every year since 2000.
When there is long-term management who can make the best long-term decisions then this suits all stakeholders involved.
Soul Patts is trading at 22x FY17's estimated earnings with a grossed-up dividend yield of 4.26%.
InvoCare Limited (ASX: IVC)
InvoCare is Australia's market-leading funeral operator. With its multiple national brands and acquisitions, it has been able to steadily grow its profit and earnings for over a decade.
The death rate is expected to steadily increase over the next 15 years which is a strong tailwind for InvoCare. As the Australian population increases InvoCare will inevitably have more potential customers as long as it maintains its market share.
InvoCare is trading at 27x FY17's estimated earnings with a grossed-up dividend yield of 4.28%.
I think all three of these businesses really suit a long-term buy and hold strategy. None of them are cheap but that just reflects their defensive nature. It's hard to pick a favourite, but in my opinion InvoCare is most likely to outperform in the ultra long-term.
It is also a fact that the above three businesses are going to be slow growers, although these three great blue chips may provide much faster growth in the medium term.