Bill Gates throws some more on the fire

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, January 23, 2009

Microsoft is tanking these days, so what is Bill Gates buying?  More shares of Otter Tail (OTTR).

Cascade, which is his investment fund, is now close to a 10% owner of OTTR — doesn’t mean that the shares are going to shoot to the sky anytime soon, but it does put a fair piece of the firm into what most people would consider “strong hands.”  Bill Gates may well be a better software engineer and businessman than he is an investor, but his investments tend to be long-term and he’s made plenty of successful ones in the past (not that he personally does all the investment research for Cascade, of course).

I still like Otter Tail at these prices, and continue to hold shares, though the near-term prospects of their fastest-growing division are dependent on a resumption of a healthy financing environment for new wind farms (that division is DMI, the makers of towers for wind turbines — they’re the folks who have been having some trouble lately with expanding capacity too quickly and then having to lay off some workers).

Here’s a quick article from Barron’s on the updated Cascade holdings.

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