After the coronavirus pandemic hit last Spring, the global supply of PPE very quickly began to run out. With coronavirus cases soaring, doctors, nurses and other front-line medical workers across the United States confronted a dire shortage of masks, surgical gowns, and eye gear to protect them from the virus. The situation was made worse because the majority of manufacturing of PPE was based in China. It was during this time that many companies became “good citizens”; stepping up efforts to help.
More specifically, webinar panelist, Chris Versace a Real Money contributor and Chief Investment Officer at Tematica Research, looks at how companies shifted gears to help out in this global crisis.
Major Companies That Stepped Up Efforts During Pandemic
“Very early on during the pandemic, we were caught flat-footed; the supply of respirators, surgical mask, protective gear, and the like, simply wasn't there. And we saw an unbelievable wave of corporate citizenship as automakers ranging from Ford (F) - Get Report, Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report, GM (GM) - Get Report, and even Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report stepped in to build respirators, 3M (MMM) - Get Report jump-started that business as well," Versace said.
He continued, "Other companies like The Gap and other clothing companies stepped in, creating and manufacturing all sorts of just regular masks that people could use. In addition, other companies like Burberry stepped in, instead of manufacturing raincoats, all of a sudden they were manufacturing protective gear. And it was simply fantastic.”
While these steps really showed that companies have the ability to pivot from what they typically are doing, from an investor standpoint, it didn’t really move the needle.
“As an investor, we really want to focus on those companies that are more pure plays on the PPE market. It could be O2, it could be other companies like Lakeland Industries (LAKE) - Get Report, or a number of others that are out there. And it really just depends on what area in PPE we're talking about, whether it's respirators, surgical masks or even cleaning products, for example.”
Important advice investors should keep in mind, especially as the number of new coronavirus cases continues to hit record highs. Even with the promising news of the vaccines, scientists and experts warn the upcoming winter months will be brutal, once again driving up the need for PPE equipment.
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