Halloween is right around the corner, which makes it the perfect time to look for monster stocks in the making. What are some characteristics these stocks might have? Leading market positions, formidable growth strategies, and up-and-coming blockbuster business segments are probably a good place to start.
It may be scary to take on the added risk some of these stocks have, but if they execute and deliver incredible gains over the long haul, then it could all be worth it. Individual investors on the lookout for stocks with above-average growth potential may want to pay attention to biopharma value adder Halozyme Therapeutics (NASDAQ:HALO), leading lithium miner FMC Corp. (NYSE:FMC), and one of Brazil's rising stars in Braskem (NYSE:BAK).
An under-the-radar biopharma stock
Halozyme Therapeutics is relatively small, valued at just $2.4 billion, but it has big potential. The biopharma's drug platform is aimed at developing products that make existing drugs more effective at delivering therapeutic benefits to the human body. More effective drugs reduce treatment time and burden for patients, which can provide the competitive advantage many major drug companies are looking for.
Indeed, the company has gained marketing approval for four products, including three with Roche and Baxalta, and boasts developmental partners such as Eli Lilly and Bristol-Myers Squibb, just to name a few. Halozyme Therapeutics has 10 more product combinations in its pipeline, although the seven existing licensing agreements could eventually cover close to 60 drug targets in all.
The stock has turned in a choppy but respectable performance in the past three years, driven by a near doubling of total revenue from $75 million in 2014 to $147 million in 2016.
While total revenue growth slowed in 2016 compared with 2015's performance, it came with a hidden benefit for shareholders: Revenue was almost evenly distributed from product sales, royalties, and collaboration agreements. That not only helps to spread risk, but it also serves as a testament to the fact that more blue chip pharma companies have confidence in Halozyme's platform now that it has four approvals under its belt.
Of course, investing in 10 separate clinical products has proved expensive, but an ongoing phase 3 trial investigating a combination therapy with Celgene's Abraxane in pancreatic cancer could make everything worth it. If everything goes right in the pancreatic cancer combo, then Halozyme's lead drug product could hit up to $1.5 billion in peak annual sales. Although an annual net loss of $103 million is not to be overlooked, there's tremendous potential for this to be a monster stock in the next several years.
Lithium stock with a spin(off)
FMC Corp. has already been a monster stock in the past several years, but there's an argument that the best is yet to come. Both of its business segments have respectable growth prospects.
Its agricultural-solutions unit is about to receive a massive boost when the crop-protection assets purchased from DuPont are integrated following expected approval on Nov. 1. That will immediately make the FMC Corp. the fifth largest crop-protection chemical company in the world ranked by annual revenue. Meanwhile, the company is also among the world's largest producers of lithium, which has driven the stock's valuation recently.
While the lithium segment accounted for just 11% of total revenue through the first half of 2017, Wall Street is eyeing amazing growth. And why not? FMC Corp. is in the process of tripling production capacity from 2016 to 2019. The increase, and those from industry peers, might not be enough to satisfy lithium demand by early next decade, which might send lithium and stock prices soaring.
That scenario is already playing out. The stock chart is one piece of evidence. That the lithium segment provided over 20% of operating income in the first half of 2017 is another. Analyst expectations for future earnings, which have the stock trading at just 17.8 times future earnings, is another still. Simply put, barring an unforeseen interruption to lithium production, multi-year growth is essentially a slam dunk for FMC Corp. stock. Plus, with management planning to spin off the lithium segment as FMC Lithium in the future, shareholders have even more value creation to look forward to.
A cleaner bill of health
Braskem stock has performed pretty well in recent years, a sign that investors are confident in the company's turnaround and growth strategies. There's a good deal to be optimistic about. Brazil's largest chemical manufacturer and the world's largest renewable chemical producer has survived political turmoil, economic turmoil, and a downright scary balance sheet by investing in growth projects that are paying off handsomely.
Sure, there's a long way to go to reduce a debt-to-assets ratio that stood at 65% at the end of the second quarter of 2017, and the company is still paying a large fine for its role in the Brazilian bribery scandal (with consequences for its gaudy dividend), but the future looks bright.
A massive new petrochemical complex in Mexico is just beginning to crank out enough polyethylene to singlehandedly alter the country's trade balance -- and the company's financial performance. That's great news when investors consider that selling prices for various petrochemicals sold by the company have been trending upward for almost two years now. The trends resulted in year-over-year growth of 5% for revenue, 7% for operating income, and 27% for adjusted EBITDA in the first half of 2017.
The Mexico complex is large enough to keep growth humming along for multiple years into the future, but Braskem has additional projects coming down the pipe. By 2020, it will begin operations at the first polypropylene facility built in North America since 2005, which will also be the largest in the Americas. It has agreements to import cheap ethane from the United States to its core production facilities in Brazil, which will help provide feedstock flexibility for up to 15% of its fleet and lower production costs. And various R&D projects in synthetic biology could yield big rewards down the road to cement its position as the leading renewable chemical manufacturer.
The stock may get knocked if Braskem announces it will forgo a dividend payment in 2017 to pay the fine from the bribery scandal, but the future potential for growth may be too good to ignore.