Surprisingly Productive

FRMO Corp. 2019 Shareholder Letter

Texas Pacific Land Trust is a unique enterprise that was formed as a result of the bankruptcy of the Texas Pacific Railroad in 1888. Much of the land holdings are located in the Delaware Basin, which forms a part of the Permian Basin in West Texas. In our view, it is an irreplaceable asset that simply could not be recreated in this form, even by a very large company with huge resources. Its developmental possibilities are beginning to be exploited.

However, the area lacks pipeline capacity, which will probably require years to adequately provide. As a consequence, natural gas is being flared and brings no revenue in cases of flaring. Adequate pipeline capacity will solve this problem. The area contains extremely valuable water rights that could become royalty income, as well as surface rights that can provide easement income. This is in addition to conventional oil and gas royalties. It is also important to observe that hydrocarbons have been in a bear market for the past five years. The price of West Texas Intermediate oil has declined by about 50% in the past five years.

Essentially, Texas Pacific Land Trust is a royalty income stream with free infinite call options on the price of energy as well as advances in drilling technology. In a royalty situation, price increases simply increase revenue and net profit with no concomitant increase in cost. Similarly, improvements in technology by other firms result in enhanced production, which increases revenue and net profit with no concomitant cost. Consequently, it is not difficult to understand our enthusiasm for this investment.

Of course, an issue with this investment is the 19th century governance structure of the enterprise, which we believe should be updated in accordance with the modern conception of corporate governance. Toward that end, Horizon Kinetics engaged in a proxy contest and ultimately in some litigation as well. At the end of July 2019, the various parties agreed to establish a Conversion Exploration Committee consisting of seven members.

Since we are committed to confidentiality under the terms of the agreement, we are not at liberty to comment on the work of the committee. However, civil discourse can be surprisingly productive. In any case, when one views the progress of Texas Pacific Land Trust in the context of the energy bear market of the past five years, one finds it difficult to restrain one’s optimism asto what might happen in a better environment.

An Update from Murray and Steven

FRMO Investor Call

Required listening if you are a TPL-head (or a BTC-head) like myself.   Unfortunately, the transcription isn’t great.   Ctrl+F is your friend here.

But you can’t forget that what you are sitting on, you are sitting on like the greatest hydrocarbon property in North America and you can even make a strong argument maybe even the world. The technology keeps getting better. This pipelines being constructed as gas being flared that in 11 month is not going to be flared and this is going to theirs is leases, there is water being sold is all kind of things happening except those variables don’t change in any appreciable way in a matter of week.

Call details if you can’t get it on SA.

Murray Stahl, Chairman and CEO, and Steven Bregman, President and CFO, will host a conference call on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at 4:15 p.m. ET. Only questions submitted to info@frmocorp.com before 1:00 p.m. on the day of the call will be considered. The call can be accessed by dialing 1-855-710-4181 (domestic toll free) or 334-323-0516 (international toll) and entering the following conference ID: 5792922. A replay will be available from 7:15 p.m. on the day of the teleconference until Thursday, November 15, 2018. To listen to the archived call, dial 1-888-203-1112 (domestic toll free) or 719-457-0820 (international toll) and enter conference ID number 5792922.