I believe investing in ASX shares should be about long-term decisions. I think the best holding period is ‘forever’, if it makes sense to hold that long.
There aren’t many shares on the ASX that I think you could actually commit to holding for many decades.
But there are at least two in my portfolio that I plan to hold until I’m 100:
Share 1: Rural Funds Group (ASX: RFF)
Rural Funds is an agricultural real estate investment trust (REIT) with its portfolio spread across almond orchards, vineyards, macadamias, cattle and cotton.
I like the diversification, it lowers the risks if one particular sector has a tough time. The farms are also spread across different states and climactic conditions. I think the recent drought and fires have shown why it’s important to have farms dotted across the country.
Farmland has been a useful asset for many centuries. I believe it will continue to be a good asset at least until I’m 100.
The ASX share is steadily increasing its cash net rental profit per unit for shareholders, this measure is called adjusted funds from operations (AFFO). In FY18 Rural Funds made 12.7 cents of AFFO per unit, in FY19 AFFO grew to 13.3 cents and in FY20 AFFO is expected to be 13.50 cents.
It’s this AFFO growth that allows management to confidently predict that Rural Funds can grow the distribution by 4% each year. In FY20 Rural Funds is expecting to retain around 20% of its AFFO to re-invest back into its farms. I think a payout ratio of 80% is very healthy for a REIT.
Investing in productivity improvements is one of the main ways that Rural Funds is growing its AFFO. The tenant gets a better farm after the investment and Rural Funds gets higher rental income with a better valuation for the farm.
Rural Funds has high-quality tenants like Select Harvests Limited (ASX: SHV), Treasury Wine Estates Ltd (ASX: TWE) and Olam. Rural Funds has rental indexation built into all of its rental contracts that either have a fixed 2.5% annual increased or it’s linked to CPI inflation, plus market reviews. I think steady income growth is very attractive in the current COVID-19-affected economy.
Share 2: Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL)
I think Soul Patts is a great ASX share. It has been listed on the ASX since 1903, it’s one of the oldest Australian businesses around.
I don’t know what the long-term future holds for any particular industry like telecommunications businesses, banks or supermarkets. But an investment house has the flexibility to change its investments time goes on. In theory, Soul Patts should be able to stay relevant to the economy whatever happens in the future as its investments shift to new opportunities.
Soul Patts’ current investment portfolio has an attractive longer-term future in my opinion. Some of its current larger investments include Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM), Palla Pharma Ltd (ASX: PAL), Clover Corporation Limited (ASX: CLV) and Magellan Financial Group Ltd (ASX: MFG).
The management team at Soul Patts invest within the business for the long-term. I think that makes it much easier to think long-term about Soul Patts itself.
The ASX share is progressively becoming more diversified as it invests into new sectors. For example, it recently invested into luxury retirement living and agriculture. Soul Patts is now looking to invest into regional data centres. I like these new target areas.
I think Soul Patts is capable of producing solid long-term returns. It pays a growing dividend which is funded entirely from the investment income it receives, less the operating expenses. This means all the capital growth of the portfolio is retained inside Soul Patts. The net regular operating cashflow that isn’t paid out can also be re-invested for more long-term growth.
I plan to own both of these shares in my portfolio for an extremely long time to come. I think Soul Patts is the ultimate ultra-long-term ASX share because it’s diversified and it can change its positions over time.
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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison owns shares of RURALFUNDS STAPLED and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Brickworks, RURALFUNDS STAPLED, Treasury Wine Estates Limited, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited. 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 Scott Phillips.