Some companies may not be household names, but there's a good chance that their products can be found somewhere in your household.
PPG Industries(PPG) - Get Report is a good example. PPG is the world's leading coatings and specialty products company. It has solid business relationships with the makers of all sorts of kitchen appliances and other household fixtures.
Demand for its products, and the global reach of its business, make it a good investment. The company is also likely to benefit from its work on initiatives that can reduce energy consumption.
The stock rose as high as about $116 during the summer but is now down 2.3% year to date. Early Monday, the stock was changing hands at $96.45, up $1.87, or 2.0%. About 16 of the 22 analysts who cover PPG have buy or overweight ratings, and the average 12-month price target is $110.
The Pittsburgh-based company, which has its roots in the 19th century, operates in nearly 70 countries. It is a leading supplier of paints, sealants, automotive surface coverings, and fiberglass.
For a company that started in the 19th century, PPG has shown an admirable ability to adapt to the latest business trends. For example, the company's glass division is strong in many different markets. It was PPG researchers who developed the Transitions lenses you've probably seen advertised on TV, which turn into sunglasses as needed while protecting the user from the harmful effects of UV radiation and glare.
The federal government and many states have begun giving preference to buildings that meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. PPG researchers are working to develop materials for use in new lighting systems that have the potential to reduce electricity usage. The firm received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for new kinds of glass for these buildings.
Coatings by PPG also protect all kinds of other everyday items, including golf balls, electronic circuit boards and various types of packaging. The company just recently unveiled a new and improved formula for its "Tough as Tile" refinishing product, which helps restore the surface of old, stained or discolored porcelain, glazed ceramic tile or fiberglass surfaces -- without the expense of hiring a contractor.
PPG is also a major supplier to aircraft manufacturers. It recently made a deal with Airbus to supply low-density fuel tank and fuselage sealant that provides about 30% weight saving by volume over conventional sealants, allowing the airlines to save money on fuel. It also supplies various kinds of paint to both Airbus and Boeing.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.