Consider the 76% returns of Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) in the last 12 months. They look fairly impressive -- until you realize that over the last five years, its stock has risen five-fold. Finding a stock that can achieve the former is no small undertaking, let alone the latter.
We asked three top Motley Fool contributors to identify a stock they think could potentially achieve similarly soaring returns. Their picks: Centennial Resource Development (NASDAQ:CDEV), Celldex Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CLDX), and Cott (NYSE:COT).
Jaw-dropping production growth
Matt DiLallo (Centennial Resource Development): Recently formed oil producer Centennial Resource Development believes it has the right formula to deliver stunning production growth over the next few years. Thanks to series of mergers, the company has taken control of an 88,000-acre position in the high-return Permian Basin of Texas. The company believes that this land holds enough drillable locations so it can increase oil production from last year's average of 5,757 barrels per day up to 60,000 barrels a day by 2020. If it achieves that ambitious goal, the company should produce market-smashing returns, in line with its stated objective to be the best performing mid-cap energy stock through 2020.
The reason Centennial Resource Development believes it can grow production at such a rapid rate is due to the returns it can earn from drilling wells in the Permian. With crude oil priced at $55 a barrel and natural gas at $3 per million British thermal units, its legacy drilling inventory could deliver a 54% internal rate of return, and its recently acquired acreage would have drilling returns as high as 65%. While oil is currently well below that level, Centennial still earns excellent returns at lower prices. Further, it is putting resources toward becoming a leading innovator in its space, with the goal of driving down well costs and improving production results, which should lead to even higher returns in the future.
While Centennial will need some help from oil prices to achieve its ambitious goals, it has the potential to grow production 10-fold over the next few years thanks to its vast inventory of high-return drilling locations. Its game plan could yield substantial returns for investors, even if oil doesn't do all that much.
Big risks, but big potential rewards
Keith Speights (Celldex Therapeutics): If you're looking for a stock that can more than quadruple in price in a three-year period like Universal Display did, you've got to be willing to take on some risk. One stock that carries big risks, but offers big potential rewards, is Celldex Therapeutics.
To get a feel for just what kind of risks clinical-stage biotechs can face, just look at where Celldex stood 18 months ago. At the end of 2015, Celldex's share price hovered around $17. The company -- and its investors -- had high hopes for its potential brain cancer vaccine Rintega. Then Rintega flopped in a late-stage clinical study, and those hopes were dashed. The share price tanked hard as Celldex lost around 80% of its market cap. It still hasn't recovered.
But what about the potential reward? Celldex has more candidates in its pipeline beyond Rintega.
Currently leading the way is glembatumumab vedotin (glemba). Glemba is a fully human monoclonal antibody-drug conjugate (ADC). That means that Celldex is using human antibodies to deliver a cancer-killing drug directly to tumors that express a protein known as glycoprotein NMB (gpNMB). The biotech is evaluating glemba in treating triple-negative breast cancer. If all goes well, the drug could hit the market in 2019.
Another pipeline candidate, varlilumab (varli) is a fully human monoclonal antibody that helps activate patients' immune systems to fight cancer cells. Varli is being tested in multiple studies, including in combination treatments with glemba, with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo, and with Merck's Keytruda.
If glemba and varli prove to be successful, I think that Celldex's share price could possibly mimic Universal Display and quadruple over the next three years. It's a promising pick for investors willing to take on significant risk.
Opportunity is bubbling up
Rich Duprey (Cott): Beverage maker Cott's business model is the antithesis of those of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. Where their sales are driven by selling their brand image, Cott goes about being unnoticed. It is the biggest producer of store-brand sodas and juices in North America, as well as a significant producer of all retailer brand carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy products sold in the U.K. For example, if you've purchased any of Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) store-brand beverages, Cott produced them. The superstore chain accounted for nearly 16% of all of Cott's revenues last year -- the only client that accounted for over 10% of its total.
Of course, if you've been paying attention to the numbers coming out of Coke and PepsiCo in recent years, you realize soda is not a growth market any more -- consumption has been on a decade-long decline.That's why Cott has invested heavily in bottled water and coffee operations. Last year, it made three acquisitions: Canadian direct-to-consumer bottled water producer Aquaterra; European coffee and water maker Eden Springs; and S&D Coffee, a premium coffee maker for the food service industry. Water and coffee now account for 45% of Cott's revenues, up from 35% in 2015 and just 1% the year before that.
The real potential growth drivers for Cott is the rising market for private label goods. Significantly, Wal-Mart adding its private label goods to its e-commerce platform, Jet.com, which it bought last year to help it counter the threat from Amazon.com. Now that the acquisition has been integrated, the brick-and-mortar retail king is adding its house brands such as Great Value, Equate, and Sam's Choice to the Jet.com lineup. Its beverage selections are among them, and their presence on the e-commerce site could boost Cott's revenues further.
Last quarter, revenues rose 28% and profits were up 45%, with water and coffee sales doubling from the new acquisitions. As it focuses more attention on these growing opportunities, and gets a boost from its biggest customer, Cott could very well see its stock take off.
Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, PepsiCo, and Universal Display. The Motley Fool recommends Celldex Therapeutics. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.