A +450% Gain is Only the Beginning

Investors hooked on green energy, government spending, and developing economies are looking in the right place.

They just aren’t looking at the right stock.

When the global economy slammed on the breaks, General Cable (NYSE: BGC) took it on the chin. It slid from $60 to the mid-$30s. But the global economy won’t be stuck in neutral forever. Investors who want to profit from the next runaway leader in a growing $150 billion industry have a chance to pick up two shares for the price of one.

General Cable provides one-stop shopping for companies that need copper, aluminum or fiber-optic wires and cables., materials with a dizzying array of industrial applications, including broadband internet, high-voltage power transmission and other maritime, mining, petrochemical and aerospace uses. Its 46 plants around the world rack up more than $6 billion in annual sales.

General Cable has made ambitious moves into new markets and developed ground-breaking products. It managed to generate more than $225 million in operating cash flow last year, much of which was plowed into joint ventures that could yield big payoffs down the line.

None of this seems to be reflected in its stock price, though.

This presents a strong opportunity. General Cable has successfully navigated downturns for the past 150 years it has been in business. Its positive long-term outlook outweighs any short-term negatives.

The International Energy Agency says the world’s governments will spend more than $14 trillion in the years ahead on power generation, transmission and distribution equipment to meet the world’s growing need for electricity. General Cable is poised to cash in on that building boom.

General Cable is uniquely positioned to benefit from the transition to renewable power sources. Last year, the firm sold more than $400 million worth of cables connected to land-based wind farms The offshore wind market could grow as much as six-fold during the next four years, with 20 gigawatts of new projects already in the pipeline. In anticipation of this, General Cable opened a new submarine power cable plant. Its order backlog already totals hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition to wind energy, solar power capacity is expected to balloon 150-fold in the next two decades. Solar farms require up to five times the amount of cable as wind farms on a watt-for-watt basis.

Energy infrastructure is only part of the equation. Consider the amount of wire needed to bring broadband internet service to Latin America or support oil and gas exploration in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Although General Cable has years of growth ahead, that doesn’t mean it has nothing cooking right now. Last quarter’s earnings of $1.00 a share obliterated Wall Street’s 56-cent forecast.

The shares have been trading for less than book value until recently. It comes as no surprise that top executives have been buying large blocks — not only through share buybacks with the company’s money, but also in their personal accounts.

BGC vaulted more than +20% after last month’s earnings shocked the market — capping an exhilarating +450% surge since November. I think this rally is still in the early stages.

It’s hard not to like General Cable if you understand the potential of renewable energy, the expansion of IT infrastructure and flurry of construction in emerging markets. These trends all collide right at the company’s front door.

Volatile commodity prices and a poor environment for big industrial projects are weighing on the stock. Management concedes the global economy may not have bottomed yet. But this gives patient investors the opportunity to pick up this industry leaders at less than six times cash flow.