I was reading an interview of warren buffett a few days back. He was asked on what kind of businesses he prefers. His replied the ones where he can increase the price of the product ahead of inflation (he gave the example of see’s candies ). He also noted that one should avoid businesses where one has to pray before increasing the price by one cent (he gave the example of berskhire hathway – the textile company where they found it diffcult to increase prices )

The above comment got me thinking. Pricing strength of a business is a very powerful indicator of competitive advantage enjoyed by the business. Think of FMCG companies like HLL, P&G, marico . These companies have been able to increase their prices (although that ability has come down in recent past due to higher competition ). On the other end companies like steel , cement typically can increase prices only when there is supply shortage (which is only for a limited period of time)

I have found the above way of looking at a business a very powerful tool of checking if a business has enduring competitive advantage.

How about telecom companies or IT services companies …their pricing ability does throws up interesting insights ..although i have not been able to come to a conclusion

One Comment

  1. George says:

    I think that a company’s ability to raise their prices without substantial impacts on sales is a strong indicator that they have a competitive advantage through branding or market power.

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