A Test of Resiliency

2021 has been a very unusual year. It seems appropriate to reflect on a year that has been characterised by isolation, distance, and virtuality. While 2020 imposed this strange new world upon us, 2021 became the year of the ‘new normal’.

For most of us, this past year has seen our social circles dwindle dramatically, and our online, virtual lives come to fruition. For me, this year has been most challenging due to the restrictions on seeing loved ones. As for everyone, we have had to adjust, to be resilient, and find new and alternative ways to continue to grow.

I recently found an article titled “64 Things You Forgot Happened in 2020 and 2021”. It was quite an eye-opener when we look back at all we have been through, the highs, the lows, and the continued persistence of our community through such turbulent times.

The first event highlighted in the article was the Australian bushfires burning throughout the country for four months, continuing through the start of 2020 year with millions of people displaced and countless animals perishing.

It was on January 7, 2020 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Chinese authorities had identified a novel coronavirus of Wuhan when a person was hospitalised for pneumonia.

On 11 January, China reported the first death to the pandemic which has paralysed the world and from March 10, 2020 we began our journey toward the new normal with Italy becoming the first country to implement a nationwide lockdown and Government-approved funding packages for their communities in what was the largest bailout the world has ever seen.

Over the past year, the world has been teased with their freedoms, gradually emerging from lockdowns, with ongoing regional lockdowns being implemented. Many of the major sporting events that were scheduled for 2020 and postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic were hosted in 2021, albeit in most cases without the public in attendance.

Sadly, as the world gradually opened up, the number of reported deaths continued to climb, reaching five million in November 2021. On a positive note, the number of vaccines administered worldwide exceeded 1 billion in June 2021.

While world health officials were focused on how to combat different variants of the virus, businesses were struggling to survive and consumers were fearful of disrupted supply chains, low inventories and rising inflation. For the world community, being resilient in these testing times is the only attribute that has kept us all going.

Despite the frantic and dramatic backdrop, equity markets have delivered a remarkable run. While some have been less fortunate than others, those that have invested in businesses that demonstrate these same resilience characteristics have proven to outperform.

At GFL, we suffered from the same pandemic-related effects, however, we have used the opportunities that arose when others were hesitant to invest. Leaning in to the actively managed portfolio and growing the business through the issue of listed redeemable unsecured Convertible Notes, which trade under the code GFLGA.

Any successful business owner makes decisions for the betterment of their long-term business. Having sustainable practices and a long-term mindset is vital for any operator in this modern, rapidly changing world. We sincerely believe in the long term opportunity of our Global Investment strategy and are grateful for the support of our long term Shareholders.

On behalf of the Board, I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

Kind regards,