During times of uncertainty, it helps to get back to basics.
Many Americans who put off home purchases during the depths of the recession have been making up for lost time by buying new homes. Companies that serve this market will have guaranteed profits for the foreseeable future.
One of the most venerable names in this sector is U.S. paint manufacturer Sherwin-Williams (SHW - Get Report) . The company has long held a dominant position in its market, and its recent actions have made it even stronger.
In March, Sherwin-Williams agreed to buy rival paint maker Valspar in a deal worth about $11.3 billion. The acquisition will allow Sherwin-Williams to strengthen its position as a leading paint and coatings provider globally, leveraging highly complementary offerings, strong brands and technology.
The combined company will be the premier global paints and coatings supplier, with strong footholds in Asia, Europe and the United States.
Sherwin-Williams' adjusted first -quarter earnings and sales topped most analysts' estimates. Revenue rose year over year as higher paint sales volume in the United States more than offset declining sales abroad, some of which was due to currency fluctuations.
The company's strategy balances acquisitions with internal improvement and innovation. It continues to invest in its Paint Stores Group segment to boost market share.
Sherwin-Williams added 83 net new stores last year, ending the first quarter with more than 4,000 stores in operation.
In addition, Sherwin-Williams' Consumer Group (13.9% of sales) sells branded and private-label paints, stains, varnishes and other products through retailers across North America and around the world.
The company's products are well-represented on the shelves of Home Depot and Lowe's and the leading American hardware chains. That as close as a company can get to a guaranteed position in this rising sector.
Sherwin-Williams traces its roots back 147 years to 1866, when Henry Sherwin invested $2,000 that he had saved while working as a bookkeeper at Truman Dunham, an importer and seller of home decorating supplies, including paint.Today, Sherwin-Williams has exposure to a wide variety of geographic regions and industries. For example, the company's Global Finishes Group, which accounted for 21% of its 2015 sales, makes primers and coatings for airplane interiors and exteriors under a number of brands, including JetFlex, JetGlo and SkyScapes.
This business has strong prospects as global aircraft sales soar.
In addition to aviation products, the Global Finishes Group sells paints and finishes for many industrial clients in more than 120 countries, including makers of cars and boats, construction firms, auto-body shops, fleet operators and car dealerships.
The price-earnings ratio on Sherwin-Williams is about 26, down from 30 about a year ago. It has been in this ballpark for a few years and has continued to post gains in both profits and share price.
The company's performance has justified its price.
In addition, Sherwin-Williams frequently rewards investors through share buybacks and dividend hikes. The stock's dividend yield is 1.14%.
It all adds up to a dependable stock for investors' portfolios.
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