Coming in at No. 9 on our list of top materials companies in 2012 is a giant in the commodities space. When investing in a company, one aspect to look at is whether anyone is replicating the company's business model. Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW) is certainly a company that stands out in this regard. Being the global leader in silver streaming, and really the pioneer of this business model on this large of a scale, has helped Silver Wheaton establish relationships with some of the world's top miners.
Over the past year, the company has treated its shareholders to tremendous gains when compared with the S&P 500. To find out what it was that helped the company achieve its 24% appreciation, check out the following video, in which Fool analyst Taylor Muckerman provides some perspective on 2012 and where he thinks the company is likely to head in 2013.
If you're looking for a company whose success is determined by the metals market, but without involving itself in the risks of physically mining the metals, then Silver Wheaton provides a unique play on the future of silver. The company chooses to finance the mining of silver; it has grown sales and net income every year since 2008 and also has increased its competitive advantages over its limited peer group. More details about our outlook for Silver Wheaton can be found here in our Motley Fool analyst report.