Incredible Transformational Opportunities Ahead
In the pages of The Complete Investor, I have discussed at length the two mega-trends in the world today. One is the transition to renewable energies. The other is the closing of the gap between developed and developing countries.
To achieve both goals, the world will consume and will continue to consume massive amounts of energy and natural resources. Oil, copper, silver, iron ore, lithium, oil, on and on. It is thus very important to be able to use energy and materials more efficiently. The most promising way to do that is through technology.
The Rising Costs of Resources
In assessing resource scarcities, in addition to the actual volume of resources required, costs are very important as well. Indeed, natural resources are the building blocks of society and modern day life as we know.
If the costs of obtaining these critical resources rise, the higher costs will be passed down the supply chains throughout the economy. Ultimately, consumers and households, you and I, will foot at least part of the more expensive bill. And if resources grow scarcer, the costs could rise astronomically over the longer term.
And the cost isn’t only about the natural resources themselves. Other costs such as organization, labor, and planning are real costs, too. Together, such estimates can convey an idea of the magnitude of spending that lies ahead.
To achieve these transformational changes, the spending needed in coming decades will be unprecedented. Most estimates offered by various agencies focus on infrastructure spending, but that’s only around half of the story. These projections exclude, for example, spending to build universities and hospitals.
In all, it’s estimated that $200 trillion in spending will be needed over the next four decades, or around $5 trillion a year. And we think there’s a strong likelihood that resource scarcities could add substantially to that figure when calculating costs in today’s dollars.
For investors, the takeaway is that almost any company that can establish a niche, even a relatively small niche, in this global transformation could be very profitable. And particularly if you start with relatively small companies, you are talking about numbers that will be hard to believe.
The Complete Investor has much more information. Here I will briefly highlight one such company worth checking out.
Japanese Company With a Niche
Shinko Electric (TYO: 6967, OTC: SHEGF) is a technological leader in a highly specialized area of semiconductor equipment: packaging. Packaging is the last step in completing an integrated circuit (IC), before it is placed on a circuit board. Packaging protects the IC from heat damage and electromagnetic radiation, and provides the means for the IC to communicate with other ICs on the circuit board.
Packaging, because it involves materials and processes not used in making the guts of the IC, often becomes a bottleneck that slows the speed at which an IC performs. Indeed, some estimates are that packaging can reduce IC speeds by up to 50%.
Shinko provides both lead frames on which the IC will sit and also a type of packaging called flip-chip (FC). The name comes from the methodology in which instead of building a substrate around the circuit, the circuit is flipped to fit into a previously prepared circuit board. FC is much faster than most packaging and also provides faster contacts within the circuit board.
Until recently, the drawback was that it could be used only for small ICs such as those in smartphones. Recently, however, more advanced techniques have allowed FC to be used for both CPUs and GPUs, the ICs found on servers and PCs. This has sharply expanded the company’s market. Keep in mind that speed while important in itself also increases efficiency and reduces electrical needs.
Shinko’s success highlights the importance of emergent technologies in advanced chips and in raising the efficiency of server stations, which are known to be energy hogs. This will be very important in terms of more efficient use of energy and materials that I mentioned earlier. This debt-free company should grow at a better than 20% clip over the next four to five years.
If Shinko can maintain its leading technological edge as chip designs and materials change, it could take investors on an extremely exhilarating ride. Noteworthy is a price/earnings to growth ratio (PEG) of less than 1 and a projected free cash flow (FCF) yield (2025) of close to 10%.
If you’re looking for another play on the macroeconomic trends I’ve just described, consider commodities. Want to learn the identity of our top commodity stock pick? Click here for our free research report.