This article is part of our Rising Stars Portfolio series.
Last month, I purchased shares of Clean Harbors
Clean Harbors shares hit a new 52-week high Wednesday as the company continued the acquisitive strategy it kicked off with its January purchase of Badger Daylighting. This time, Clean Harbors announced its $167 million buyout of Canada's Peak Energy Services. According to the company, the acquisition should be a done deal in the second quarter, and will immediately add to its profits.
Although the purchase suggests that Clean Harbors is moving to the production end of the industry, an Investor's Business Daily article pointed out that the company can better target shale producers, who could use its services if regulators push through more stringent rules about the industry's generation of contaminants and waste. The Peak acquisition reinforces one of the strengths that led me to buy Clean Harbors in the first place: its ability to build relationships with companies to which it can later upsell other services.
However, Clean Harbors isn't the only cleanup company catching my eye. Rival Waste Management
Entering this budding, intensely green market niche is just one of Waste Management's intriguing recent moves. Among other ventures, it's bought into Enerkem, a company aiming to turn garbage into fuel. Enerkem recently ranked No. 42 on Fast Company's list of 50 Most Innovative Companies, alongside household names such as No. 41, Cisco
With the Department of Energy estimating that biomass could provide 40% of our energy needs, start-ups like Enerkem and Agilyx offer fascinating possibilities. How cool would it be to divert our plentiful waste from dead-end landfills into productive energy? I admire Waste Management's shrewd investments in exciting and potentially lucrative companies like these.
As of this writing, Clean Harbors has already gained about 6.8% since its purchase for my Rising Star portfolio, so I'm hardly suffering from buyer's remorse. However, I'm also starting to wonder whether Waste Management is greener and more forward-thinking than I previously realized. With its investments in innovative and eco-friendly ventures, it's earned a definite spot on my watchlist.
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Waste Management is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Total and Waste Management are Motley Fool Income Investor selections. The Fool has created a bull call spread position on Cisco Systems. The Fool owns shares of Clean Harbors and Waste Management. Motley Fool Alpha LLC owns shares of Cisco Systems. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned; for more on this and other topics, check back at Fool.com, or follow her on Twitter: @AlyceLomax. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.