Editor's note: This column was submitted by Stockpickr member Martin Guerrero.With the U.S. suffering a credit crunch, people are suggesting that investors get out of financials and into consumer staples and companies with international exposure, such as Kraft or Procter & Gamble ( PG - Get Report). While that is a good idea, another good play would be to play sectors that have a very low correlation to the financials. Why not invest in international food and beverage companies that are more levered to the economies they serve? Here are three interesting international food and beverage stocks: 1. Central European Distribution is the largest vodka producer in Poland by value, and produces the Absolwent, Zubrowka, Bols and Soplica brands, among others. CEDC currently exports Zubrowka to European and Asian markets. CEDC imports many of the world's leading brands to Poland, including Remy Martin, Jim Beam, Sauza Tequila and Evian. CEDC is also benefiting from a strong Polish economy, which is growing at a good 6.4% rate in the second quarter of 2007. It is even getting Russian exposure, as it recently announced its intent to acquire a significant majority interest in a Russian company that owns the No. 1 premium vodka brand in Russia, Parliament Vodka. This $1.65 billion company has a forward
2. Wimm Bill Dann is a $4.14 billion Russian food company with a range of branded dairy, juice, water and baby food products. It has a forward P/E of 20.35, a five-year estimated growth rate of 35% for an inexpensive PEG of 0.58 (less than 1 is very cheap). According to the company, Wimm Bill Dann produces its dairy products in the regions where they are consumed. From 1999 to 2003, Wimm Bill Dann became modernized. Prior to 1999, Russia sustained a deficit in raw milk, particularly a deficit in high-quality raw milk. The number of cattle had diminished, while productivity had not grown quickly enough. So Wimm Bill Dann invested in modern Swedish milking and refrigeration equipment, and later invested in harvesting equipment. This modernization program greatly increased the percentage of high-quality milk. Wimm Bill Dann also has a 20% share in the Russian juice market (as of 2005). TheStreet.com's Ratings consistently rates Wimm-Bill-Dann as one of its top five fast-growth stocks. 3. Ambev ( ABV) is a $43 billion Brazilian company that produces, distributes and sells beer, carbonated soft drinks and other nonalcoholic and non-carbonated products, principally in Latin America. It also bottles, sells and distributes PepsiCo International products outside of the U.S.
The company has a forward P/E of 20.76, a five-year estimated growth rate of 13%, for a reasonable PEG of 1.59. The company even has a forward yield of 1%, and only three analysts cover the stock. Institutional ownership of this stock is only 19.80%. Ambev has an operating margin of 29.25%, greater than competitors such as Formento Economico Mexicano ( FMX) with 13.2%. The company Quilmes Industrial is a subsidiary of Ambev. After reading and studying the three companies, I hope that you feel like you are in another world, far away from any U.S. credit problem. These companies are great ways to get away from it all.