With fairly anemic growth rates in Canada, the United States, and Western Europe, many investors are looking abroad for higher rates of return. Sure, Canada has a fantastic banking and financial system to take advantage of, and arguably the world's best climate for some energy and materials investors, but where does one go for the other staples of an investment portfolio, or for some extra growth over the next 10-20 years?
Take Coca-Cola for instance. The company currently generates 80% of it's revenue internationally... and there is really no company like this to invest in at home. Sure, we have a company called Cott beverages, but they make the low-margin house brands like True-Value and No-Name Cola. Now, Coca-Cola, which trades under the symbol KO in New York, is not cheap ($62 per share), but give it some time and this stock should fall back down to an entry level around $55. Continually, year-after-year, consumers pay an ever-increasing price for this company's sugar water. And for investors, the great story is that Asians are developing a strong habit of consuming it in large quantities.
Another company with a huge international presence is Colgate-Palmolive (CL). The company, which manufactures the familiar toothpaste as well as a vast number of other consumer staples, has done a great job of expanding its business in key growth markets like India and South America. Currently, at $77 per share, almost 18 times earnings, this company is also a bit high in price, but the world needs its products, and the markets for its products are increasing rapidly as consumers from developing countries can cheaply buy things like toothpaste and detergents as they begin to adopt a more middle-class lifestyle. A great entry point for this stock would be closer to $70 per share.
Closer to home, there are a few names worth mentioning. Bombardier, SNC-Lavalin, and Scotiabank have all recently been finding a great deal of success beyond our shores. Bombardier has been gaining a large number of contracts in Europe and Asia, and even Africa on sales of its rail and aircraft products. It takes time for Bombardier to reap these benefits as the projects may take years and they are worth billions, but when they do come, it will mean good money for shareholders.
SNC-Lavalin is essentially a large-scale contractor with its hands in a number of infrastructure deals in developing countries throughout the world. This will bode very well for investors as money pours into projects overseas. Especially as wealthy resource rich nations attempt to build the infrastructure necessary for other forms of industrial or commercial development.
Lastly, Scotiabank has been beefing up its presence in Latin America for years, and is quickly becoming one of the major players in the Spanish speaking market. They can utilize their deep pockets from home, and use profits from domestic Canadian operations to help them grow their business abroad. So far, it has been working and shareholders of Scotiabank have been served very well.