Dear Fellow Wintergreen Fund Shareholder,
EXCERPT FROM THE 2015 ANNUAL REPORT SHAREHOLDER LETTER
As we look back on Wintergreen Fund, Inc.'s (the "Fund" or "Wintergreen") first ten years, we are extremely pleased with what we have accomplished. The Fund has sought to act with integrity and to stand up for our shareholders when faced with management teams who we believe have misbehaved. The Fund has remained focused on its long-term, global value investing approach, and has not wavered in an attempt to chase short- term performance. It has clearly been a difficult period to be a true value investor, but we believe that remaining disciplined, while so many others have strayed, offers our shareholders a great opportunity for future success.
The Fund had strong 2015 returns from long-term portfolio holdings Reynolds American Inc., Alphabet, Inc., and Altria Group Inc. Securities that underperformed included Franklin Resources, Inc., which was sold during the year, Birchcliff Energy Ltd., and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The Fund also utilized forward currency contracts, which had an overall positive impact on performance during the period.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every now and then, controlling shareholders of an excellent business foolishly attempt to enrich themselves at the expense of minority shareholders. At the close of 2014, the Burkard family announced its intention to sell its controlling stake of Sika AG of Switzerland to a French competitor, Cie de Saint-Gobain, which has long coveted this prize of a company. The problem in this proposed deal is that the Burkard family, which conducted negotiations away from Sika's Board of Directors, would receive a premium in the sale and all other shareholders would not. Now held up in the judicial process due to strong and swift legal action taken by Sika's Board of Directors, and backed by key minority shareholders, we think this brazen attempt to deprive shareholders of Sika's full and fair value will fail. Shares of this little-known gem of a company-a maker of high value-added construction materials to satisfy growing demand for stronger, lighter, and more energy- efficient building and automobile structures - have been knocked down to a discount, which we intend to exploit. Out of the range of possible outcomes in the battle for control, we believe the current plan of the Burkard family is the least likely, and when this corporate governance distraction is resolved in the favor of the Board of Directors and minority shareholders, the focus will return to the company's attractive fundamentals of organic sales growth in both developed and emerging markets, earnings-accretive bolt-on acquisitions, and steady cash flow generation.
Continue reading the 2015 Annual Report Shareholder Letter
View a recent listing of the Fund's Top 10 Holdings
David J. Winters, CFA
The views contained in this report are those of the Fund's portfolio manager as of December 31, 2015, and may not reflect his views on the date this report is first published or anytime thereafter. The preceding examples of specific investments are included to illustrate the Fund's investment process and strategy. There can be no assurance that such investments will remain represented in the Fund's portfolios. Holdings and allocations are subject to risks and to change. The views described herein do not constitute investment advice, are not a guarantee of future performance, and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.
The Fund is subject to several risks, any of which could cause an investor to lose money. The Fund may purchase risk arbitrage securities (securities of companies involved in a restructuring) or distressed companies. These companies may not be successful in their restructuring and securities of distressed companies are generally more likely to become worthless than securities of more financially stable companies. Smaller companies involve substantial risk as these securities are traditionally more volatile in price than larger company securities. Securities rated below investment grade, sometimes called junk bonds, involve a greater degree of risk than investment grade bonds in return for higher yield potential. The Fund may be subject to interest rate risk which is the risk that debt securities in the Fund's portfolio will decline in value because of increases in market interest rates. By participating in derivative securities, the Fund may attempt to hedge (protect) against currency risk which is the risk that the value of foreign securities may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates. Derivatives can be volatile and involve various types and degrees of risks, depending upon the characteristics of a particular derivative. International investing involves certain risks and increased volatility not associated with investing solely in the U.S. These risks include currency fluctuations, economic or financial instability, lack of timely or reliable financial information or unfavorable political or legal developments. These risks are magnified in emerging markets. Short sale risk is the risk that the Fund will incur an unlimited loss if the price of a security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security.
In light of these risks, the Fund may not be suitable for all investors.
Before investing you should carefully consider the Fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. The prospectus and summary prospectus contain this and additional information regarding the Fund. To obtain a prospectus or summary prospectus, please download from this site or call toll-free 1-888-468-6473. The prospectus and summary prospectus should be read carefully before investing. This website is not a solicitation for the Fund outside of the United States.
Foreside Fund Services, LLC, distributor (www.foreside.com)