Let's face it, folks, the global economy isn't what we hoped it would be, not by a long shot. Years removed from the official end of the Great Recession, many of the problems from that period still remain (falling housing prices, chronically high unemployment, weak job growth, diminishing confidence). Times like these can make it pretty difficult to have confidence in your investments, and understandably so. However, a recent government proposal, as well as a broad trend to back it up, have made one area -- and one specific stock I'll highlight for you below -- into a rare, highly probable situation most investors crave.
Christmas comes early
This July, the Obama administration announced the next phase of its initiative to increase fuel efficiency standards for cars and small trucks. Widely discussed, the proposal seeks for all cars and light trucks in model years 2017-2025 to maintain performance standards of 54.5 miles per gallon. Auto manufacturers have a myriad of ways to eke out a few extra miles per gallon (lighter materials, better water pumps, etc.). However, many of the sweeping changes industry observers and the general public would like to eventually see remain several years away at best before they become truly viable industry-wide options.
This means that companies who can provide similar fuel efficiency increases now stand to really benefit from the new standards, and soon. In this vein, turbochargers have gotten a lot of ink as an attractive option to really help carmakers meet the new standards sooner rather than later.
While several players exist in the market, one seems especially well suited to see a performance spike as the new standards come into effect: turbocharger maker BorgWarner (NYS: BWA) . Referred to in Forbes as "the world's preeminent maker of turbochargers, dual-clutch transmissions and other products central to improving fuel economy," it seems like the most attractive candidate to see the demand for its products explode as carmakers search desperately for a quick fix for their fuel efficiency needs. Other possible candidates to ride this growth niche include Honeywell (NYS: HON) and several privately held companies. However, BorgWarner's small size ($7 billion) and exposure to the market (35% market share) make it particularly well positioned to grow quickly as this trend becomes reality.
Primed to pop
The Great Recession inflicted plenty of pain across the entire automotive industry. However, since the worst of the storm passed, BorgWarner has done nothing but grow. Over its last seven quarters, the company has grown revenue by no less than 27% compared to the same quarter a year ago. And the trend shows no sign of stopping. Analysts predict the company should grow by nearly 20% annually over the next five years. Even better, the company doesn't trade at the lofty pricing multiples typically found with an enticing growth story. Sitting around 15 times the consensus 2011 annual EPS, BorgWarner looks more like a value stock than a growth story. Also conservatively financed, the company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 58% and interest coverage of nearly 10 times.
Foolish bottom line
With many game-changing auto technologies still years away from being efficient enough to be widely implemented across the industry, superchargers look like an especially enticing candidate for industry-wide adoption. They're an existing technology, meaning auto manufacturers will get to avoid the expensive and time-consuming product development efforts typically required to develop viable products in the automotive world. This is the kind of "here and now" situation that timely investors can really use, especially when so much uncertainty abounds.
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At the time thisarticle was published
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