May 6 marked an important day for France as it was the date of the 2007 presidential election there. But May 16 could prove even more important for France's economy, as it's the day that Nicolas Sarkozy takes office as the leader of the nation.Sarkozy, who beat out Socialist Party candidate Segolene Royal, is known for his support of American-style economic reform as well as his promotion of an anti-Socialist economy in France. Sarkozy's election presents an interesting investment opportunity, since many French stocks should benefit from his presidency. Fortunately, there are several French companies in various industries and sectors that trade in the U.S. via American Depositary Receipts. We are tracking these ADRs on Stockpickr in the Sarkozy-France Stocks portfolio. For example, there's Suez ( SZE). This manager of public utility services is involved in the production of electricity and gas, the distribution of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. With a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 17 and a price/earnings to growth ratio of 0.85, Suez has decent fundamentals. Quarterly earnings grew more than 50% year over year. In addition, it pays a reasonable yield of about 2%. Next is CGG Veritas ( CGV), or Compagnie Generale de Geophysique-Veritas. The company, which is one of Jim Cramer's French selections, provides geophysical services to the oil and gas industry, a fast-growing business. CGG Veritas has a forward P/E of 14. Quarterly earnings grew more than 69% year over year on revenue growth of 39%.
Newcastle Partners, a $585 million hedge fund based in Dallas, just added this company to its portfolio. Newcastle has returned about 27% annually over the past 12 years. You can review all of its holdings at the Newcastle Partners portfolio page on Stockpickr.com. CGG Veritas is also part of an interesting portfolio called the Monopoly/Duopoly Club -- companies that qualify as either monopolies or duopolies. Veolia Environnement ( VE), another Cramer pick, is in the environmental management-consulting business. It has a P/E of 33 and a PEG of 1.9. It even provides a yield of 1.4%. The Eaton Vance Utilities Fund (EVTMX), which has a five-star rating from Morningstar, owns Veolia stock. In the technology arena, France has Business Objects ( BOBJ), which provides business intelligence software. Business Objects has about $630 million in cash, and its shares trade at just 11 times cash flows despite nice anticipated growth. At these levels, it's a buyout candidate, and many hedge funds agree. For instance, SAC Capital is a holder of BOBJ shares, as is Kingdon Capital. At Stockpickr, we try to only keep track of the portfolios of the funds with the longest successful track records, and it doesn't get any better than the two investment names above. In the health care sector, there is Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY), which develops and markets vaccines and pharmaceuticals, including Plavix, which is used for preventing heart attack and stroke. Sanofi has a P/E of 23 and a PEG of 2.2. Although it has $1.6 billion in cash, Sanofi is heavily indebted to the tune of $9.4 billion. It offers a yield of 2.1%. Sanofi is listed in the portfolio of Parkinson's Treatment Stocks, a list of companies researching treatments and cures for the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Sanofi was also featured in a Barron's article offering the 5 Breakthrough Drugs for 2007. A list of all 14 stocks that stand to benefit from Sarkozy's rise to power in France can be found at the Sarkozy-France Stocks page on Stockpickr.