Industrialization is defined as the large-scale introduction of manufacturing into a society. That said, it's really the gradual shift an economy undertakes as it becomes more productivity-driven. It's a shift that can't take place without key commodities like iron ore, copper, and natural gas, which are critical components for creating industrial goods. As such, the companies that produce these commodities are the best positioned to prosper as global industrialization continues. Here are the two best stocks for global industrialization.
One-stop shop for commodities
A nation that's industrializing consumes vast quantities of natural resources to build the needed infrastructure to become a more productive nation. These natural resources include coal for both steelmaking and power generation, iron ore, copper, oil, and natural gas. Only one company produces all of these commodities and that's BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP), which makes it one of the best stocks to invest in global industrialization.
That said, BHP Billiton isn't among the best global industrialization stocks just because of its diversification into all the key commodities, it's also an exceptionally well run company. It has sector leading margins as its average Underlying EBIT margin, for example, has average between 55% and 40% over the past decade, which is well above its peer group average of 20%-40% over that same timeframe. BHP Billiton is also a leader in operational performance as it's the industry leader in offshore drilling speed and is the lowest cost driller in the Gulf of Mexico. Further, the company is focused on boosting its productivity in coal, copper, and iron ore, with coal and copper productivity up 17% over the past three years while iron ore productivity is up 11%. Finally, if that wasn't enough, the company has the best balance sheet in the mining sector due to the strongest credit rating in the group.
Fueling the globalization of industry
Energy resources are key for global industrialization as these fuel industrial machines, provide power to the electrical grid, and are key feedstocks needed to create finished goods. For years oil has been the global energy commodity of choice as it's highly mobile. However, due to concerns about climate change and the high cost of oil, natural gas is becoming an increasingly important energy commodity for developing nations. That said, it's much harder to ship as it needs to be liquefied before it can be exported. However, that liquification market is one that Cheniere Energy (NYSEMKT:LNG) is planning to dominate in the years ahead.
Cheniere Energy is in the process of investing more than $30 billion to build 40.5 mtpa of LNG capacity by the end of this decade. Once that capacity is complete the company will control about 10% of the global LNG market. However, there is a lot of potential growth beyond Cheniere Energy's initial build out. The LNG market is expected to grow by 5.7% per year through 2025 suggesting the industry will need 21 mtpa of new LNG capacity each year. This is as industrializing nations in Asia are expected to see LNG demand grow from 186 mtpa this year to 314 mtpa by 2025 as natural gas grows as a critical fuel for developing Asian economies. We can bank on Cheniere being involved in bringing new projects online to meet this demand, making it the best stock to invest in the fuel that's driving global industrialization.
BHP Billiton offers investors a real one-stop shop for commodities as it produces all the key commodities needed for global industrialization. Further, it's an exceptionally well run company. The other really great global industrialization play is Cheniere Energy, which is building a natural gas export powerhouse. It's a fuel growing Asian nations can't get enough of, which will fuel strong growth for Cheniere for years to come.
Matt DiLallo owns shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ADR). The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.