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Many of us are familiar with leading investors and hedge fund managers such as Warren Buffett, George Soros, Carl Icahn and Julian Robertson, but the hedge fund community alone includes over 9,000 funds; add in mutual funds, ETFs, and other investment entities and the number is likely to be at least two to three times that number. While there is no official list of gurus, less than one percent (or between 100 to 200 fund managers) are commonly believed by the larger investment community to have earned the distinction of being called gurus.

The study of the investing habits of gurus can be informative, as these are very savvy, well-respected investors with high personal net worth deploying large sums of capital from their funds on a regular basis. They have a long-term track record of success; while one can easily just ride their coattails, the more savvy investor may want to use these lists as a starting point to conduct their own due diligence.

This article will be the second in a series of articles (the first one I wrote on Carl Icahn last week) that will explore the investments of the gurus in the hedge fund as well as the larger investment management community. This article identifies, through a meticulous research of Institutional 13-F filings, which of the leading hedge funds have large investments, as of their latest filings for the quarter ending December 2010, in the volatile solar portion of the alternative energy sector.

The total capitalization of the US Equity markets is somewhere in the $15 trillion range, and the total market capitalization of leading solar stocks is somewhere between $35 and $40 billion or 0.25% of the overall market. The following is a list of four Hedge Fund gurus whose funds have invested over five times that or at least 1.25% in the solar sector. The solar stocks they are invested in include the following:

  • LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE:LDK) is a Chinese manufacturer of multi-crystalline solar wafers used to manufacture solar cells and modules.
  • JA Solar Holdings ADS (NASDAQ:JASO) is a Chinese manufacturer of mono-crystalline and multi-crystalline solar cells for solar modules and systems.
  • Suntech Power Holdings ADS (NYSE:STP) is a Chinese manufacturer of photo-voltaic cells and modules.
  • Trina Solar Ltd ADS (NYSE:TSL) is a Chinese manufacturer of solar modules.
  • Sunpower Corp Cl A (SPWRA) is a San Jose, California-based manufacturer of high-performance solar electric power technologies using proprietary processes.
  • Emcore Corp (NASDAQ:EMKR) is an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based manufacturer of optical IC components/ systems and solar cell panels for broadband, satellite and defense markets.
  • Energy Conversion Device (NASDAQ:ENER) is a Michigan-based manufacturer of photo-voltaic products for alternative energy markets.
  • Jinkosolar Holdings Co ADS (NYSE:JKS) is a Chinese manufacturer of silicon wafers, solar cells, and solar modules.
  • GT Solar International (SOLR) is a New Hampshire-based manufacturer of specialized equipment for production of photo-voltaic wafers, cells and modules and poly-silicon.
  • Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR) is a manufacturer of multi-crystalline silicon wafers utilizing String Ribbon proprietary wafer technology.
  • China Sunergy Co Ltd ADS (NASDAQ:CSUN) is a Chinese manufacturer of solar cells from silicon wafers using crystalline silicon solar cell technology.
  • Daqo New Energy Corp ADS (NYSE:DQ) is a Chinese manufacturer of poly-silicon for use in photo-voltaic products such as ingots, wafers, cells and modules.
  • Solutia Inc (NYSE:SOA) is a high-performance manufacturer of chemicals, polyvinyl and butyral products. Its PVB and EVA sheets are used as a plastic layer and encapsulant in the manufacture of solar cells and modules.

Table

Institution and Guru

Type of Fund

And Strategy

Assets Under Management1

Percent Portfolio in Solar

Solar Companies in Portfolio

Oaktree Capital Management LP (Howard Marks

Hedge Fund – Deep Value

$60 billion

6.2%

Invested in debt of LDK, JASO, STP, SPWRA, ENER, ESLR, CSUN

Perella Weinberg Partners Capital Management LP (Dan Arbess)

Hedge Fund – Multi-Strategy

$4 billion

4.6%

Invested in Equity of SOA and SPWRB

Kingdon Capital Management LLC (Mark Kingdon)

Hedge Fund – GARP

$2.9 billion

2.0%

Invested in Equity of TSL, SPWRA, EMKR, JKS, SOA, CSUN, DQ

Gotham Asset Management, LLC (Joel Greenblatt)

Asset Management – including Hedge Fund

$0.5 billion

1.3%

Invested in Equity of SOLR and SOA

Source: 1. Assets under Management Sourced from Hedgetracker.

With total assets under management (AUM) of over $60 billion, including $2.7 billion in equities, hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management (headed by Howard Marks) was founded in 1995 and offers strategies in high-yield debt, convertibles, distressed debt, private equity and real estate.

Perella Weinberg Partners, a hedge fund founded by Joseph R. Perella and Peter Weinberg in 2006, has $4 billion AUM including over $700 million in equities, and employs a multi-strategy approach.

Hedge fund Kingdon Capital Management, with $2.9 billion AUM, all in equities, was founded in 1983 by President Mark Kingdon, and is growth-focused employed a growth at a reasonable price (GARP) approach to investing.

Finally, Gotham Asset founded by guru Joel Greenblatt is mostly a traditional asset management firm that offers a suite of domestic, global and international value investing strategies with a focus on the institutional segment of the market. However, in addition to long-only fee-based products, they also offer long/short funds including a basic fee plus a performance allocation incentive fee.

Credit: Historical fundamentals including operating metrics and stock ownership information were derived using I-Metrix® by Edgar Online®, Zacks Investment Research, Thomson Reuters and Briefing.com. The information and data is believed to be accurate, but no guarantees or representations are made.

Source: Top Hedge Fund Gurus Concentrating on Solar