It’s the way it shatters that matters. And that shatter will again carry a more ocker accent, with news that Australian company Robern Menz has bought the iconic Violet Crumble from the Swiss confectionery giant, Nestle.
Hot on the heels of Bega buying Vegemite back from US food conglomerate Kraft Heinz, another of Australia’s favourite sons and daughters (not to be confused with Sons and Daughters, which bought Pat the Rat, among others, to our screens) is now back in Australian hands.
Now all we have to do is buy Tooheys and XXXX back from the Japanese, return VB from Brazilian and Belgian hands and then bring bread and margarine maker Goodman Fielder home from Singapore and we can really celebrate Australia Day in style.
While it might be a shot in the arm for national pride, we shouldn’t expect it to happen ??? or even consider it a good thing.
Yes, it’ll disappoint the ‘Don’t sell off the farm’ brigade, who see every deal with a foreign company as a betrayal of the national interest, but the reality is that foreign investment – and trade – is good for the country.
We’re all familiar with the arguments for international trade. If I’m able to export low-cost, high-quality iron ore, and someone else exports high-quality, low-cost iPhones, then it makes sense for us to trade one for another.
It would cost us a lot more to make our own smartphones (and they likely wouldn’t be as good), and it’d cost China more to find and mine its own iron ore ??? so trade means we both enjoy higher standards of living than would otherwise be the case. (There’s an argument to be had about the role of government in industry policy, but that’s an article for another day.)
Foreign investment – capital from overseas which boosts local output – is in a similar boat. Much of our prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries was thanks to the money being invested by foreigners (and a little luck in finding gold). Investment ??? local and foreign – is the fuel on which economies run, and if we don’t have enough here, we either need cash from overseas, or to accept that we can’t grow as fast – and as far – as we want.
Not only that, but let me be a little mercenary for a second: if an overseas company wants to pay more for a company than a local would, it means there’s more value created: If I want to pay you $100 for your company, but a Kiwi wants to pay you $150, Australia is richer for being able to trade the same national asset for more money.
Now let’s make it personal. Cricket fans would have seen the ads for fund manager Magellan during the Ashes, encouraging you to buy shares listed overseas. When you do, that’s foreign investment into, say, the US or South Korea. The Future Fund does precisely the same thing.
If you buy shares of Facebook, Netflix, PayPal or Visa, you’re benefiting from the success of those – American – companies. Ditto European drug companies, British oil giants and Japanese electronics makers.
You won’t get the same headlines, but it’s exactly the same thing. Foolish takeaway
There’s a decent case made by many to “Buy Australian”. I can empathise. But what if Americans didn’t buy Australian wheat, or Chinese tourists didn’t visit Australia? In global trade, a rising tide lifts all boats.
Yes, by all means enjoy eating your newly (again) Australian Vegemite or Violet Crumble. But buy shares in overseas companies and enjoy their products, too. A rising global tide really does lift all boats.
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Scott Phillips is the Motley Fool’s director of research. You can follow Scott on Twitter @TMFScottP or email [email protected]苏州美甲学校. The Motley Fool’s purpose is to educate, amuse and enrich investors.
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