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Wednesday, January 10, 2001

The Lights Are On

Reported by Tamiko Toland

Kinetics Asset Management, known for its progressive sector funds, launched the Kinetics Energy Fund today.

"In 2001 we continue our commitment to offering investors what's next -- first," said Steven Samson, president and chief executive officer at Kinetics Asset Management. "Over the next twenty years conservative estimates state that global energy growth will increase seventy-five percent."

As Americans watch the lights dim on the West Coast, an energy fund might sound like a questionable idea.

"We really don't plan to focus much on US utilities, the reason being that demand growth in the US is going to grow slowly, and we don't see that as the place for big bang investments," said Paul Abel, co-manager of the new fund. "The California debacle highlights why it's a good idea to stay away from them right now."

The fund is largely but not exclusively investing abroad, seeking to best capitalize off the projected growth in the market. Abel explained that, while seventy-five percent over twenty years may not sound high, localized growth will far exceed that figure.

"There will be greater opportunities in certain areas and certain geographies, so the profit potential is very high in some geographies," he said. "For instance, developing Asia. The non-industrialized natioans in Asia are going to become tremendous consumers of energy. Geographies such as sub-Saharan Africa that haven't even got the energy infrastructure in place will probably leapfrog immediately into alternative energy sources."

Abel, recently a researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratories, said the idea for the fund arose after examining alternative energy companies.

"We were looking at fuel cell and microturbine industries and with a little research into what was going into the market and population trends, the Energy Fund looked like it was a pretty good idea," he said.

Peter Doyle, an Internet Fund co-founder, will head the investment team for the new fund. Abel, who already co-manages the Medical Fund, will do the same for the new portfolio. Kinetics offers ten no-load funds, with assets under management over $1 billion. 

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