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3 Stocks Building the Future

06/16/2011 10:30 am EST


Hilary Kramer

Editor, GameChanger Stocks

From earthquakes to tornadoes to floods, all illustrate that some companies thrive when disaster strikes, observes Hilary Kramer of GameChangers.

This year, the world has seen some huge disasters. The most tragic, of course, was the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Then there has been the devastating wreckage of the tornadoes in the South, as well as floods in the Mississippi regions.

Unfortunately, this may be a warm-up. After all, we are now entering hurricane season.

Yet for investors, such things are certainly important to take note. The reason is that there will be a need for rebuilding, which should mean more business for infrastructure stocks.

However, this is only one catalyst for the industry. For example, it is a good bet that there will be continued construction of energy assets and facilities. With high oil prices, this seems inevitable.

Other big trends include the replacement of infrastructures in the US and Europe. Oh, and of course, there should be huge investments in places like China, India, and Brazil.

So which infrastructure stocks look promising? Here are some top picks:

Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI)
This company focuses on building facilities for the liquefied natural gas industry. No doubt, this requires scale.

As a result, the company has been aggressive with its acquisitions. All in all, it looks like the dealmaking has been a success.

In the latest quarter, revenues came to $954.3 million, up from $869.3 million in the same period a year ago. Net income was $50.5 million.

There has also been momentum in the backlog, which increased by $1 billion. The total outstanding contracts are at roughly $7 billion. In other words, CB&I has lots of growth pre-loaded.

Another key advantage is its Lummus Technologies segment, which is a provider of high-end technologies. It is a nice source of high-margin revenues.

Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC)
The company provides engineering and construction services for the energy and chemical industries. The platform is global, with operations in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Moreover, the backlog is a hefty $14 billion.

Recently, Jacob acquired various operations of Aker Solutions for $675 million. With the deal, the company will get into the high-growth areas of mining and metals—primarily in South America and China. This should be a nice driver.

And with $1 billion in cash, Jacobs is certainly in a position to continue its acquisitions.

A big part of the company’s revenues have come from logistics in Iraq, which has certainly been controversial. But in light of the expected troop drawdowns, the business is poised for a decline.

So why is the stock attractive? The company has a strong platform and can leverage this into commercial engineering and construction. Keep in mind that KBR is quite savvy when it comes to getting contracts.

Moreover, the company has a strong business in foreign markets (about 80% of revenues), especially in the Middle East. For example, it has lucrative contracts in the energy sector, which should continue to grow for the long term.

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