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Fairfax Stock - New All Time High


Viking
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Well time to get the bubbly out this weekend for Fairfax shareholders. Why? Christmas has come early. Fairfax’s stock price has hit a new all time high today in Canadian dollar terms of $791.93 (markets haven’t closed). The previous all time high had been C788.88 on June 15, 2018. Congratulations to shareholders… it is always nice when a plan comes together! A few of us backed up the truck late in Oct/Nov of 2020 at under C$400 which has been a double in a little over 2 years. Not too shabby. 
 

But the story gets even better. Trading today around C$790, Fairfax is still wicked cheap. My guess is ‘normalized’ earnings for Fairfax is north of US$100/share, or C$135/share. So the stock is trading at PE multiple of less than 6. Moving forward i think Fairfax should be able to deliver 20% to 25% returns per year for at least the next couple of years driven primarily by earnings growth and also a little multiple expansion. (I also expect the stock to continue to have lots of volatility… as per usual.)
 

The quality of my estimated C$135/share in earnings is very high: primarily coming from Interest and dividend income and underwriting profit. I also expect Fairfax to be very aggressive on the stock buyback front over the next year, taking out at least 1 million shares (perhaps 2 million) and this is NOT built into my earnings estimate. Other catalysts would be a Digit IPO or more asset monetizations like we saw in 2022 with pet insurance and Resolute Forest Products.
 

We can be very hard on Fairfax and their management team. Today i tip my hat to them. They appear to have learned from past mistakes. Largely corrected past mistakes. And have been executing well for the past 5 years. As a result of all their hard work, today both the insurance and investment operations at Fairfax are positioned exceptionally well at the same time. That is a big deal for Fairfax investors. 
 

Bottom line, Fairfax’s future has never looked brighter. So my guess is the shares will power even higher in the coming years. Prem and company have got their mojo back! Well done!
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I am not a big technical guy. But i do think Fairfax stock hitting new all time highs is a big deal. We can officially call an end to the 8 year bear market in Fairfax’s stock. It is also impressive to see Fairfax starting to dramatically outperform the market averages (one year and two year). 

—————

In US$ terms it looks like the all time high was US$593.99 in Oct 3, 2016. Shares hit US$588.50 today so we are within striking distance of this mark as well.

 

 

Edited by Viking
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1 hour ago, Viking said:

We can be very hard on Fairfax and their management team. Today i tip my hat to them. They appear to have learned from past mistakes. Largely corrected past mistakes. And have been executing well for the past 5 years. As a result of all their hard work, today both the insurance and investment operations at Fairfax are positioned exceptionally well at the same time. That is a big deal for Fairfax investors. 
 

Bottom line, Fairfax’s future has never looked brighter. So my guess is the shares will power even higher in the coming years. Prem and company have got their mojo back! Well done!

 

In general I agree and like you I'm quite positive for the next couple of years but I think there are still a few things that need to be adressed. Brit is on top of that list, recent performance has simply been unacceptable. I'm no fan of Recipe and hope they'll flip it for a decent profit, at least they don't seem to have overpaid in this case.

My main concern is that they'll buy some crap or something outside of their circle of competence again instead of repurchasing shares or buying decent businesses.

 

Edited by maxthetrade
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23 hours ago, Viking said:

Well time to get the bubbly out this weekend for Fairfax shareholders. Why? Christmas has come early. Fairfax’s stock price has hit a new all time high today in Canadian dollar terms of $791.93 (markets haven’t closed). The previous all time high had been C788.88 on June 15, 2018. Congratulations to shareholders… it is always nice when a plan comes together! A few of us backed up the truck late in Oct/Nov of 2020 at under C$400 which has been a double in a little over 2 years. Not too shabby. 
 

But the story gets even better. Trading today around C$790, Fairfax is still wicked cheap. My guess is ‘normalized’ earnings for Fairfax is north of US$100/share, or C$135/share. So the stock is trading at PE multiple of less than 6. Moving forward i think Fairfax should be able to deliver 20% to 25% returns per year for at least the next couple of years driven primarily by earnings growth and also a little multiple expansion. (I also expect the stock to continue to have lots of volatility… as per usual.)
 

The quality of my estimated C$135/share in earnings is very high: primarily coming from Interest and dividend income and underwriting profit. I also expect Fairfax to be very aggressive on the stock buyback front over the next year, taking out at least 1 million shares (perhaps 2 million) and this is NOT built into my earnings estimate. Other catalysts would be a Digit IPO or more asset monetizations like we saw in 2022 with pet insurance and Resolute Forest Products.

 

Congrats Viking and thank you for the excellent analysis on this company over the past few years.  I seriously can thank you and others enough (glider, petec, etc.) for all the work you guys have done and shared on this board.  I had been a quiet reader of this board for several years, and made a huge purchase of FFH during covid, shortly after Prem's large personal purchase of the stock, and made an additional large investment earlier this year.  At this stage, Fairfax has had a meaningful impact on my personal financial situation and has probably shaved several years off my expected retirement plans...   (I do not have an ultra-high income -- a 36 year old chemical engineer working in operations at a nuclear power plant.)  Fairfax has "accidentally" grown to about 66% of my overall portfolio.  Normally, I would rebalance to reduce the risk of being so far overweight in one security, and I may still do that only as a matter of principle, but given the future prospects and intrinsic value of the company relative to the (still low) stock price, I could just as easily stick with the full position for now...  I think we are just getting warmed up, and I'm very much looking forward to what the next few years will bring.  

 

 

 

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On 12/3/2022 at 2:41 PM, KFS said:

 

Congrats Viking and thank you for the excellent analysis on this company over the past few years.  I seriously can thank you and others enough (glider, petec, etc.) for all the work you guys have done and shared on this board.  I had been a quiet reader of this board for several years, and made a huge purchase of FFH during covid, shortly after Prem's large personal purchase of the stock, and made an additional large investment earlier this year.  At this stage, Fairfax has had a meaningful impact on my personal financial situation and has probably shaved several years off my expected retirement plans...   (I do not have an ultra-high income -- a 36 year old chemical engineer working in operations at a nuclear power plant.)  Fairfax has "accidentally" grown to about 66% of my overall portfolio.  Normally, I would rebalance to reduce the risk of being so far overweight in one security, and I may still do that only as a matter of principle, but given the future prospects and intrinsic value of the company relative to the (still low) stock price, I could just as easily stick with the full position for now...  I think we are just getting warmed up, and I'm very much looking forward to what the next few years will bring.  

 

 

 

 

Assuming your savings rate is pretty high presumably your concentration will go down naturally. That would also defer tax if it's in a taxable account. I live off my portfolio so I probably wouldn't let that happen in the first place but in your situation it's a really interesting decision. 

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On 12/3/2022 at 11:41 AM, KFS said:

Congrats Viking and thank you for the excellent analysis on this company over the past few years.  I seriously can thank you and others enough (glider, petec, etc.) for all the work you guys have done and shared on this board.  I had been a quiet reader of this board for several years, and made a huge purchase of FFH during covid, shortly after Prem's large personal purchase of the stock, and made an additional large investment earlier this year.  At this stage, Fairfax has had a meaningful impact on my personal financial situation and has probably shaved several years off my expected retirement plans...   (I do not have an ultra-high income -- a 36 year old chemical engineer working in operations at a nuclear power plant.)  Fairfax has "accidentally" grown to about 66% of my overall portfolio.  Normally, I would rebalance to reduce the risk of being so far overweight in one security, and I may still do that only as a matter of principle, but given the future prospects and intrinsic value of the company relative to the (still low) stock price, I could just as easily stick with the full position for now...  I think we are just getting warmed up, and I'm very much looking forward to what the next few years will bring.  


@KFS nice to hear FFH has worked out well for you. Individual stock weighting is an interesting topic. I like to flex positions of stocks i have high conviction in. Add (sometimes aggressively) when they sell off for no apparent reason. And also lighten up when they pop aggressively and lock in some nice short term gains. I am lucky because most of my holdings are in tax free accounts (so i am not taxed on gains when i sell).
 

Regarding Fairfax specifically, aggressively flexing my position has been a very good strategy the past 2 years. The stock just keeps selling off +20% - even as the story continues to get better each quarter. Eventually Mr Market figures it out and the stock hits higher highs. That will continue to be my strategy moving forward. I do expect Fairfax to be very aggressive on the share buyback front moving forward and this could mean the stock just keeps powering higher over the next year (with less downside volatility). Given how good to story currently is my plan today is to keep a large core position.
 

Another factor for me is what the overall market is doing. My guess is investors will get another wonderful opportunity to buy great companies at wicked low prices at some point in the next 3 months. So i have been slowly building my cash position. It has been a great year and i am happy to lock in some of my gains. And sit in the weeds and patiently wait for Mr Market to serve up some more fat pitches.

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On 12/3/2022 at 2:41 PM, KFS said:

 

Congrats Viking and thank you for the excellent analysis on this company over the past few years.  I seriously can thank you and others enough (glider, petec, etc.) for all the work you guys have done and shared on this board.  I had been a quiet reader of this board for several years, and made a huge purchase of FFH during covid, shortly after Prem's large personal purchase of the stock, and made an additional large investment earlier this year.  At this stage, Fairfax has had a meaningful impact on my personal financial situation and has probably shaved several years off my expected retirement plans...   (I do not have an ultra-high income -- a 36 year old chemical engineer working in operations at a nuclear power plant.)  Fairfax has "accidentally" grown to about 66% of my overall portfolio.  Normally, I would rebalance to reduce the risk of being so far overweight in one security, and I may still do that only as a matter of principle, but given the future prospects and intrinsic value of the company relative to the (still low) stock price, I could just as easily stick with the full position for now...  I think we are just getting warmed up, and I'm very much looking forward to what the next few years will bring.  

 

 

 

 

Well done KFS

 

Not sure how you manage that becoming a 66% size. But that is great !

I keep trying to increase the % allocation but it keep at around 10% of overall portfolio (not counting FIH).

 

Thanks for keep those nuclear reactors humming away.

You probably have an interesting and thoughtfull view on the nuclear reactor(s) in Ukraine that turned into a hostage like situation. Perhaps this needs to go to a different thread 

 

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13 minutes ago, Xerxes said:

 

Well done KFS

 

Not sure how you manage that becoming a 66% size. But that is great !

I keep trying to increase the % allocation but it keep at around 10% of overall portfolio (not counting FIH).

 

Thanks for keep those nuclear reactors humming away.

You probably have an interesting and thoughtfull view on the nuclear reactor(s) in Ukraine that turned into a hostage like situation. Perhaps this needs to go to a different thread 

 

 

 

Hi KFS,

 

I would suggest keeping the position a size that let's you sleep comfortably at night.  As well as FFH has done, it only takes one major catastrophe in Los Angeles or Tokyo to rock all reinsurers.  While that is a remote possibility, it is still a possibility.  

 

FFH for me at times has gotten to be as big as your position, if not bigger on a couple of occasions.  As it begins to approach intrinsic value, I always reduce enough of the position where I understand the upside, but am comfortable enough sleeping knowing the downside. 

 

It had grown to about 65% of my portfolio in the last few months, and now it is about 25-35% depending on the account.  I'm very comfortable with that personally based on where it is now.  

 

Cheers!

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On 12/5/2022 at 6:25 PM, Parsad said:

 

 

Hi KFS,

 

I would suggest keeping the position a size that let's you sleep comfortably at night.  As well as FFH has done, it only takes one major catastrophe in Los Angeles or Tokyo to rock all reinsurers.  While that is a remote possibility, it is still a possibility.  

 

FFH for me at times has gotten to be as big as your position, if not bigger on a couple of occasions.  As it begins to approach intrinsic value, I always reduce enough of the position where I understand the upside, but am comfortable enough sleeping knowing the downside. 

 

It had grown to about 65% of my portfolio in the last few months, and now it is about 25-35% depending on the account.  I'm very comfortable with that personally based on where it is now.  

 

Cheers!

@Parsad what’s the rough dollar amount of the largest exposure FFH might have? Like, if California fell into the ocean or NYC got leveled by a sharknado? Are we talking $2 billion?

 

I think Buffett has said BRK could presumably see a $5 bil loss event. Curious what FFH’s extreme mega cat exposure is.

Edited by Thrifty3000
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5 minutes ago, Thrifty3000 said:

@Parsad what’s the rough dollar amount of the largest exposure FFH might have? Like, if California fell into the ocean or NYC got leveled by a sharknado? Are we talking $2 billion?

 

I think Buffett has said BRK could presumably see a $5 bil loss event. Curious what FFH’s extreme mega cat exposure is.

 

FFH usually gets hit with about 0.8-1% of the total loss in any insured catastrophe.  BRK usually gets hit with 5-8%.  So if you imagine a 8.5 earthquake hitting Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo or even Vancouver 🙄, that could easily be a $800B-$1T insured loss...a once in 250-500 year event.  

 

1% would be $8B for FFH...or $40B+ for BRK.  BRK could easily survive that and would benefit from massive increases in premium pricing.  An $8B loss for FFH is definitely survivable, but their ability to write business in a hard market would decrease massively.  

 

Even something much smaller and more likely, like we saw in 2001-2002...Hurricane Andrew and Hugo hitting the Gulf Coast & Florida back to back.  Today that would be a $200-300B loss...or a $2B-3B hit to FFH today.  So that could rock the stock price for reinsurers for a bit.  

 

Cheers!

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18 hours ago, Parsad said:

 

FFH usually gets hit with about 0.8-1% of the total loss in any insured catastrophe.  BRK usually gets hit with 5-8%.  So if you imagine a 8.5 earthquake hitting Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Tokyo or even Vancouver 🙄, that could easily be a $800B-$1T insured loss...a once in 250-500 year event.  

 

1% would be $8B for FFH...or $40B+ for BRK.  BRK could easily survive that and would benefit from massive increases in premium pricing.  An $8B loss for FFH is definitely survivable, but their ability to write business in a hard market would decrease massively.  

 

Even something much smaller and more likely, like we saw in 2001-2002...Hurricane Andrew and Hugo hitting the Gulf Coast & Florida back to back.  Today that would be a $200-300B loss...or a $2B-3B hit to FFH today.  So that could rock the stock price for reinsurers for a bit.  

 

Cheers!

 

Hold the phone a second. We're talking about an amount that's over 50% of tangible book value. (And, that's assuming stock markets don't tank after said 1 in 250 year event, which would further tank book value.)

 

I understand claims would be paid out over time, but the loss would be booked immediately. Wouldn't that trip debt covenants and force an equity raise - at a huge discount to the pre-event stock price?

 

If the $8 bil estimate is legit, it's sounds like FFH is accepting a very low-probability existential risk to me. That's a different game from Berkshire's bulletproof balance sheet stance.

 

(I'm not sure it makes sense to accept a 1 in 250 year existential risk if Fairfax is supposed to be the Watsa family's investment vehicle for the next 250 years. Sounds like some future set of Watsa heirs would pretty much be guaranteed to suffer a wealth reset.)

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1 minute ago, gfp said:

The policies are all capped, so you can't just extrapolate a typical percentage of cat exposure and apply it to an $800B to $1 Trillion claims event.

 

Correct.  But as Thrifty stated, there would be portfolio losses from markets correcting...other types of losses as well, like Worker's Comp, etc that normally wouldn't be as large in a normal catastrophe where people are back at work a week later.  

 

Prem once stated that FFH can withstand a market crash of 50%, a 9.0 earthquake in Los Angeles (or equivalent) and a F5 Hurricane hitting Florida (or equivalent) in the same year.  I would imagine that would do massive damage to FFH's book value, but it would survive nonetheless.

 

Cheers!

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8 minutes ago, Thrifty3000 said:

 

If the $8 bil estimate is legit, it's sounds like FFH is accepting a very low-probability existential risk to me. That's a different game from Berkshire's bulletproof balance sheet stance.

 

(I'm not sure it makes sense to accept a 1 in 250 year existential risk if Fairfax is supposed to be the Watsa family's investment vehicle for the next 250 years. Sounds like some future set of Watsa heirs would pretty much be guaranteed to suffer a wealth reset.)

 

Yes, that is probably correct.  You are talking about 6-12 generations (250-500 years)...not sure anyone can predict the existence of ANY business past 6 generations.  I would imagine less than 1/10th of 1% of all businesses ever in existence have made it 6 generations or better.  Cheers!

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31 minutes ago, Parsad said:

 

Yes, that is probably correct.  You are talking about 6-12 generations (250-500 years)...not sure anyone can predict the existence of ANY business past 6 generations.  I would imagine less than 1/10th of 1% of all businesses ever in existence have made it 6 generations or better.  Cheers!

 

 

You are being extremely charitable to even assert that predictability can be extended as far as six generations.  Assuming a generation is 25 years, if you go back six generations in the United States (the year 1872), the civil war had just finished and the country had just begun to work its way through the consequences.  If you go back six generations in Europe, the gunshot in Sarajevo that triggered the first world war hadn't even been fired, and the third reich and the second world war were still more than fifty years in the future.  Almost no companies endure more than 150 years...

 

 

SJ

 

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2 hours ago, gfp said:

The policies are all capped, so you can't just extrapolate a typical percentage of cat exposure and apply it to an $800B to $1 Trillion claims event.

 

I think this section from AR 2021 report is relevant to this discussion - Fairfax have limits on amount of cat exposure risk by entity & for the group with the aim of limiting company wide cat loss exposure to not exceed one-year's pre tax normalised earnings

 

image.png.3060d3fbdf86f3b61f614d99f7080d78.png

One risk management tool Fairfax use to limit exposure is retrocessional cover - after Ida in 2021, Brit was very close to triggering group protection under its multi-year retrocessional cover ( reinsurance for reinsurers).

 

Despite the significant impacts of catastrophes, Clarke said that, “At Brit, they didn’t get any benefit from their cat reinsurance program,” during the third-quarter.

But Brit’s aggregate reinsurance protection is now close to coming into play, after impacts from events throughout 2021.

Clarke explained, “Basically, as of now, their aggregate cat losses for the year are just coming up to the retention of their cover.

“So the good news is any further, any further development or losses in the fourth quarter will be minimal for Brit.”

https://www.artemis.bm/news/no-reinsurance-recoveries-for-brit-but-aggregate-deductible-almost-eroded/

 

 

Another point, with Fairfax's underlying CR around 89, assuming no favourable development, they could sustain around $2.2B In cat losses in one year & still break even on underwriting.

 

Just a final thought, as we move into 2023 reinsurance and retro markets https://www.artemis.bm/news/retrocession-quoting-scarce-with-60-100-rate-increases-demanded/ are already undergoing a significant spiking in rates & tightening in terms, all bets could be off if we got some sort of Ian size cat event or larger!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by glider3834
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13 minutes ago, glider3834 said:

 

I think this section from AR 2021 report is relevant to this discussion - Fairfax have limits on amount of cat exposure risk by entity & for the group with the aim of limiting company wide cat loss exposure to not exceed one-year's pre tax normalised earnings

 

image.png.3060d3fbdf86f3b61f614d99f7080d78.png

One risk management tool Fairfax use to limit exposure is retrocessional cover - after Ida in 2021, Brit was very close to triggering group protection under its multi-year retrocessional cover ( reinsurance for reinsurers).

 

Despite the significant impacts of catastrophes, Clarke said that, “At Brit, they didn’t get any benefit from their cat reinsurance program,” during the third-quarter.

But Brit’s aggregate reinsurance protection is now close to coming into play, after impacts from events throughout 2021.

Clarke explained, “Basically, as of now, their aggregate cat losses for the year are just coming up to the retention of their cover.

“So the good news is any further, any further development or losses in the fourth quarter will be minimal for Brit.”

https://www.artemis.bm/news/no-reinsurance-recoveries-for-brit-but-aggregate-deductible-almost-eroded/

 

 

Another point, with Fairfax's underlying CR around 89, assuming no favourable development, they could sustain around $2.2B In cat losses in one year & still break even on underwriting.

 

Just a final thought, as we move into 2023 reinsurance and retro markets https://www.artemis.bm/news/retrocession-quoting-scarce-with-60-100-rate-increases-demanded/ are already undergoing a significant spiking in rates & tightening in terms, all bets could be off if we got some sort of Ian repeat or bigger cat event!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essentially, Fairfax is built to withstand a one in 250 year event.  Now a 9.0 earthquake in the Cascadian subduction region happens once every 500-600 years or so.  And it's been about 325 years since the last one.  So on that spectrum...a 9.0 earthquake hitting Seattle or Vancouver is getting more and more likely to happen.

 

I don't care who the actuary is, you cannot get a reasonable estimate of that risk for any policy that is being underwritten.  So either you better cap that loss, or you don't write that policy.

 

As remote as that possibility is, that's why I want to sleep soundly at night, and I subsequently reduced my FFH exposure from nearly 70% to 30%.  Now when FFH was at nearly half of the current price, you had a massive margin of safety...so taking a 35% position and watching it grow to nearly 70% was risk-reward adjusted.

 

At nearly $800 CDN per share, 30% is just right for me!  Cheers!

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2 hours ago, StubbleJumper said:

 

 

You are being extremely charitable to even assert that predictability can be extended as far as six generations.  Assuming a generation is 25 years, if you go back six generations in the United States (the year 1872), the civil war had just finished and the country had just begun to work its way through the consequences.  If you go back six generations in Europe, the gunshot in Sarajevo that triggered the first world war hadn't even been fired, and the third reich and the second world war were still more than fifty years in the future.  Almost no companies endure more than 150 years...

 

 

SJ

 

 

Odds of a business making it to 6th generation is 500-1...so within the parameter I stated of "less than 1/10th of 1% of all businesses ever in existence."  Pretty damn hard to get there...but some have.

 

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/families-run-companies-100-years/story?id=17285711

 

Cheers!

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5 hours ago, StubbleJumper said:

 

 

You are being extremely charitable to even assert that predictability can be extended as far as six generations.  Assuming a generation is 25 years, if you go back six generations in the United States (the year 1872), the civil war had just finished and the country had just begun to work its way through the consequences.  If you go back six generations in Europe, the gunshot in Sarajevo that triggered the first world war hadn't even been fired, and the third reich and the second world war were still more than fifty years in the future.  Almost no companies endure more than 150 years...

 

 

SJ

 

 

There is a Japanese family hotel business that has been business for many centuries.

Definitly an exception.

 

Houshi Ryokan: Longevity Becomes a Tradition - Tharawat Magazine (tharawat-magazine.com)

 

Hotel business ... how dull ! 

 

Their mistake was to stay in the hotel business, whereas they should have sent all their dividends and invested in the U.S. stock market (or whatever it was like back in the day) as the young nation took shape. They should have been shorting Venetian companies and commerce, when the Porguese discovered the Cape of Good Hope in the fifteenth centuery. It was a no-brainer. They should have been doing a long-short trade in 1812-14 as Napleon approched Moscow, short-Bonaparte, long-UK bonds, betting that the emperor would be "reverting back to the mean". 

 

The Japanese could have own the world !

 

 

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