The ASX 200 share I wish I had bought a decade ago (and might still)

I wish I bought this stock in 2013, but it might not be too late in 2023.

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When a share, ASX 200 or otherwise, enjoys some extremely lucrative turns over a long period of time, it can be tempting to switch off from it, acknowledge the company as one of the ones that got away, and move on to other investment ideas.

Whilst this might be an appropriate reaction for some shares, for others, you could be short-changing yourself. After all, the best companies tend to keep on winning over decades and decades. Just think of Warren Buffett and Apple.

Apple stock unquestionably enjoyed some of its best returns during the early years of the 2000s, thanks to the launch of the now-defunct iPod and the expansion of the Mac computer range. Between December 2000 and December 2007, Apple shares rose by close to 3,000%.

Yet Warren Buffett only bought his first Apple stock in 2016. That's long after its prowess in making ecosystem-walled consumer goods that many of us can't live without was well known.

Yet since 2016, Apple has gone from strength to strength, and today its shares are a good 650% or so above where they were in the middle of 2016.

An ASX 200 share we should have bought 10 years ago?

Now, I'm not going to pretend that Transurban Group (ASX: TCL) is the next Apple. But it is certainly an ASX 200 share (alongside the iPhone maker) that I wish I'd bought ten years ago.

Back in August 2013, you could buy a Transurban share for around $6.50. That's less than half of the $13.90 the toll road operator closed at yesterday. Want proof? See for yourself below:

In addition to these share price capital gains, Transurban shares have also paid out some pretty hefty dividends over the past decade as well. So it's pretty clear that not buying this ASX 200 share back in 2013 was a big mistake. Huge.

But that doesn't mean that I've ruled out buying shares of this toll road operator.

What's to like about Transurban shares?

There's still a lot to like about Transurban, in my view. This is a company that has one of the business models that most closely resembles a monopoly in the country. It has a grip on almost all tolled roads in the country's largest city, Sydney. It also had multiple roads in Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as some assets in North America.

Sure, Transurban cannot charge whatever it wants for the use of its tolled roads. But it does have rather generous contracts with various governments that usually allow the company to raise its tolls every quarter by the rate of inflation. Some even allow Transurban to hike its tolls by the inflation rate, or by 4%, whichever is higher.

This makes Transurban a highly defensive ASX 200 share. Many of this company's roads are vital arterial routes — motorists often have no choice but to use them. That makes these assets resistant to both inflation and recessionary environments. This is a combination I'd happily embrace in my ASX 200 share portfolio.

I'm not rushing out to buy Transurban shares right now though. I currently view the shares as fairly priced, although not compelling. The current dividend yield of 4.17% is decent, but as it is unfranked, I'm hoping to get a better share price buying point in the future.

Still, I'm confident that this company will again be worth far more in ten years' time than it is today. So I hopefully won't be waiting too long.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has positions in Apple. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Apple and Transurban Group. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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