Climate Change and Crumbling Infrastructure Make This A Must-Buy Stock
#-ad_banner-#”Big Picture” investors like to focus on major themes, and a pair of them are emerging that could serve as key catalysts for the stock market in the next decade. These themes will be underpinned by trillions in spending, enough to lift entire sectors.
And certain companies are very well-positioned to take advantage of the trends. In fact, one in particular should benefit from both mega trends.
Climate Change And The Economic Impact
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its State of the Climate report highlighting record heat across the globe. Last year was the hottest in 135 years of record-keeping, and four of the five hottest months on record have occurred in 2015. Because of the El Nino phenomenon, researchers now think above-average temperatures will continue through the spring of 2016.
One clear impact will be ongoing and profound droughts in places like California and Australia. As a result, sales of irrigation equipment should see strong support well into the future.
Infrastructure Is A Ticking Time Bomb
Sluggish global growth and lingering problems from the financial crisis have put off needed infrastructure projects around the world. The World Economic Forum estimates that $5 trillion in infrastructure investment is required per year to 2030.
The American Society of Civil Engineers grades the transportation, water, freight and energy infrastructure in the United States every four years. These engineers gave the country a D+ overall in their quadrennial review in 2013, with a significant backlog of overdue maintenance across all segments. The report estimated needed investment of $3.6 trillion by 2020 with the most pressing need in levees, energy and drinking water infrastructure.
Investors in infrastructure stocks have been disappointed over the last few years as spending has failed to keep up with demand. The key takeaway: all those old bridges, roads and resources are only getting older. There will come a point when governments cannot put off the maintenance and spending on infrastructure will surge.
One Company Positioned In Both Themes
Valmont Industries, Inc. (NYSE: VMI), appears uniquely poised to capitalize on the need for both irrigation equipment and general infrastructure equipment. The company generates 34% of its sales on engineered infrastructure products (followed by utility support structures (26%), irrigation equipment (24%) and infrastructure coatings (9%).)
Sharply lower crop commodity prices and sluggish investment in infrastructure projects hit sales over the last three quarters, but catalysts in infrastructure spending and irrigation demand could provide strong upside.
Valmont announced plans to spend $60 million as part of a corporate restructuring plan, which should have a beneficial impact on earnings by the end of the year. The company also has $267 million left in its authorized buyback program, enough to repurchase nearly 10% of shares outstanding.
Weak economic growth in Australia, where Valmont books 17% of sales, is a sticking point. But stronger demand for infrastructure and irrigation in the United States (62%) should support sales. Expectations for full year earnings have been reduced 15% to $6.22 a share over the last three months. Next year’s earnings are expected to rise around 16% higher, to $7.23 a share.
Sales growth is expected to be fairly modest next year, but could surprise on the upside as we hear more about the restructuring and the potential for sales in infrastructure and irrigation.
Shares are currently trading for 18 times earnings and more than 17% of the shares outstanding are sold short. Insiders hold nearly a fifth (18.6%) of the shares, which is a strong vote of confidence in the company. I like the shares as a buy up to $120 per share (they currently trade at $114) and have set a target of $135 over the next year on roughly 22 times this year’s earnings.
Risks To Consider: Valmont is still facing a tough environment even as longer-term catalysts should start to drive higher sales next year.
Action To Take –> Take advantage of the trough in earnings at Valmont Industries to position for a rebound on long-term catalysts in these two themes.
Oftentimes the little ideas are the big game changers — something like rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. My colleague Andy Obermueller devotes his time to identifying game-changing trends and the companies that should benefit from this. This has led readers to investments that went on to gain triple-digits.
More recently, Andy has been talking about the profit potential for Apple’s newest technology Apple Pay — and more importantly the company’s key suppliers. If you haven’t heard about this opportunity yet, then I urge you to check out his comprehensive report on how to profit from this technology, by clicking here.