BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Why would an investor buy international growth stocks in 2012 after an abysmal year in developed and emerging markets? Thornburg Investment's Alex Motola, who has made investors money where others have failed, has a few reasons.By all accounts, 2011 will go down as a miserable year for international equities. In developed markets such as France, Germany, Japan and Italy, stock-market indices are down between 17% and 28% this year. In emerging markets like China, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the losses are as high as 30%. The S&P 500 Index of the biggest U.S. stocks is down only 5% in a record year for volatility.
Zooplus Company Profile: Zooplus is a Germany-based Internet company that sells over 7,000 pet supply products that are shipped directly to customers. Current Share Price: 49.93 euros (Nov. 28) Motola's Take: Investors will probably raise an eyebrow when they hear Motola say that Zooplus "is essentially the Pets.com of Europe," a reference to the high-profile blowup of the dot-com area. Like Pets.com, Zooplus was also founded in the late 1990s. But while Pets.com collapsed without available capital, Zooplus has continued to thrive in Europe. "In the past decade, broadband penetration has improved significantly, as has willingness to buy online," Motola says. "Zooplus has been growing revenues about 30%, and is has a model built for scale. That revenue should turn into highly levered profit growth in the near term." Motola notes that the market for pet supply products is large at more than $40 billion per year. Depending on the geography, Zooplus has about 70% or more of the online market share. "Europeans are increasingly moving away from the daily shopping paradigm, and convenience and selection are compelling," Motola adds.
Yoox SpA Company Profile: Yoox SpA is an Italy-based Internet company that specializes in high-end fashion and design brands. Current Share Price: 9.20 euros (Nov. 28) Motola's Take: Motola is impressed with Yoox's customer list, which includes a who's who of European design houses: Prada, Armani, and Marni, among many others. "Yoox understands the fashion business, and is uniquely capable of answering the needs of their clients, making entry barriers quite high," Motola says. Around 20% of revenues come from Italy itself, with the rest of Europe representing almost half, Motola points out. Yoox also continues to grow by taking a larger percentage of online sales, adding new customers and adding new geographies. "When Yoox adds a new geographies, many of the their existing customers 'opt-in,' extending their value and their reach," Motola says.