Earnings Preview: Brookfield Asset Management (BAM, BRK-A)

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Friday morning will be the earnings report for Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE:BAM) (and TSX:BAM). The problem with this ‘earnings’ for U.S. investors is that the company is based in Canada and First Call only has a few analysts covering it.  It looks like consensus estimates are $0.26 on EPS, but again we are reluctant to lean too much on a formal estimate based on thin coverage here of a company that will report in Canada and in the U.S.

This one got quite a recent following after Jim Cramer labeled it as potentially the ‘next Berkshire Hathaway’ recently at the end of June.  Since then shares have slid with the weak markets.  Shares are actually now in the lower-half of the $27.08 to $43.82 trading range of the last 52-weeks.  Maybe Warren Buffett is jealous.

The company on July 31 already said it would spin-off 60% of its infrastructure unit called Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. It will spin the stake off to holders of its Class A stock.  Brookfield will retain an approximate 40% equity interest in Brookfield Infrastructure and will manage its operations under a long-term management agreement.  Brookfield Infrastructure intends to seek a listing for its units on the New York Stock Exchange.

Brookfield will implement the spin-off by way of a special dividend currently estimated to be approximately US$1.00 per Brookfield Class A Share, or approximately $600 million in aggregate for 60% of the issued and outstanding interests in Brookfield Infrastructure.  Merrill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup are acting as financial advisors in connection with the spin-off.

According to the company: Brookfield Infrastructure will serve as the primary vehicle through which Brookfield will own and operate certain infrastructure assets on a global basis. Brookfield Infrastructure will focus on high quality, long-life assets that generate stable cash flows, require relatively minimal maintenance capital expenditures and, by virtue of barriers to entry and other characteristics, tend to appreciate in value over time. Its initial operations will consist of electricity transmission systems and timberlands, but Brookfield Infrastructure will seek acquisition opportunities in other sectors with similar attributes and where Brookfield’s operations oriented approach can be deployed to add value.

Jon C. Ogg
August 2, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.