Canada’s Versions of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A)

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Wait… who owns what now?
Power Corporation of Canada is a holding company with a somewhat complicated organizational structure. Power Corporation’s primary holding is its 65.8% stake in Power Financial Corporation (TSE:PWF), which itself is a holding company. Power Financial, in turn, has a 68.1% stake in Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSE:GWO) (another holding company), 58.7% stake in IGM Financial Inc. (TSE:IGM) and 50% stake in Parjointco (yet another holding company). To make it even more complicated, IGM Financial owns 4% of Great-West Lifeco, and one of Great-West Lifeco’s wholly-owned subsidiaries owns 3.7% of IGM Financial. I’m sure by now you understand my point about the complicated organizational structure, so I will leave out the remaining specifics.

Through its various subsidiaries, Power Corporation of Canada owns a magnitude of businesses in health and life insurance, reinsurance, investment and retirement services, asset management, mutual fund management, investment consultation and other services throughout North America, Europe and Asia. One of its subsidiaries also has very large stakes in some of France’s most prominent companies, including 56% of the minerals company Imerys SA (EPA:NK), 21% of Lafarge S.A. (EPA:LG) (world’s largest cement maker), 7.5% of liquor giant Pernod Ricard SA (EPA:RI), 7.2% of water utility Suez Environnement Company SA (EPA:SEV) and 2.4% of GDF Suez SA (EPA:ESZ) (the world’s largest electric utility).

Which to choose, which to choose
Power Financial Corporation, Great-West Lifeco and IMG Financial are each publicly-traded companies, as well as Pargesa Holding SA (SWX:PARG), a subsidiary of Parjointco. Aside from a few media-related properties and other investments only owned by Power Corporation of Canada, it and Power Financial Corporation are essentially the same company (although Power Corporation of Canada currently trades at a lower price to book ratio). But if you do not wish to own all of Power Corporation of Canada or Power Financial Corporation though, you can pick and choose your preferred subsidiaries. Do you want insurance and asset management? Choose Great-West Lifeco. Rather have mutual fund management? IMG Financial has you covered. Want a piece of those French companies mentioned previously? The Swiss company Pargesa Holdings is the investment for you. The choice is yours to make.

Canada has a lot to offer
We and our friends to the north share a great many things in common. We have our similar culture, history, economy and a love for driving on the right-hand side of the road like a civilized people (looking at you, UK and Australia). We also have an affinity for great Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A)-like companies. Canadian companies rarely receive the same amount of attention as American companies, but the investing strategy employed by Warren Buffett is not confined to the United States. Sometimes we can get so caught up with the goings-on of our own stock market that we forget that great opportunities can be just a northern border crossing away.

The article Canada’s Versions of Berkshire Hathaway originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Matthew Luke.

Matthew Luke owns shares of Fairfax Financial Holdings and Power Corporation of Canada. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Matthew is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network — entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

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