A once-in-a-century pandemic makes the world stay at home for months. A devastating recession follows. Yet a carmaker — whose very financial model depends on people traveling, not sitting on their couches — quintuples its value in the same year? If Tesla’s dramatic stock market gains appear surprising, understand this: Those putting their money on the electric and autonomous car maker aren’t gambling on its present; they’re betting on its tech-fueled future. But while Tesla grabs headlines, a number of other firms around the world are plotting similarly stunning gains. Today’s Daily Dose gives you a sneak peek at the next companies poised for a rocketlike takeoff. Mission control, ready for launch.
Charu Sudan Kasturi, Senior Editor
eat, drink and be merry
For most of us, this is hardly a year to celebrate. Yet some companies are tasting triumph, sipping success and drawing in delight, offering a glimpse of our pandemic pastimes.
1. Meat of the Matter
Or should we say plant of the matter? Eating out is a dodgy proposition in 2020, but consumers have stocked up like never before on what appears to be their favorite new food: plant-based meat. Beyond Meat, which sits at the top of that industry’s food chain, saw sales explode by 195 percent amid lockdowns during the peak of the pandemic. And its stocks are expected to only rise further, with McDonald’s partnering with Beyond Meat to launch a McPlant meatless burger next year.
2. Happy High
You don’t need to get into the weeds to know that marijuana is a clear winner of the 2020 U.S. election. Five states legalized its recreational or medicinal use. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has promised to decriminalize its use nationally. And the stock of leading Canadian cannabis firm Aphria has surged more than 50 percent since Nov. 3. The buzz is just starting to kick in.
3. Golden Wine
For decades, China’s premier luxury liquor brand Kweichow Moutai has been a staple at state banquets and corporate deal-signing ceremonies, emblematic of elite privilege. Now it is donning a new symbolism: as a secure investment, almost like gold. With wealthy Chinese literally putting their money where their mouth often is, Kweichow’s share prices have surged, making it the most valuable company listed in China.
Each year, the Moguls in the Making business plan pitch competition offers Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students an opportunity to learn and practice vital skills. Five students from Alabama A&M University won the second annual competition, which took place virtually this month, with their proposed solution to the lack of access to quality food and nutrition education in Detroit. The event gives 50 students — grouped into teams of five from 10 HBCUs — an opportunity to develop and present business plans aimed at solving key issues in the context of today’s economic and social climate. The competition is presented by Ally Financial Inc., the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and entertainer and entrepreneur Big Sean’s foundation, the Sean Anderson Foundation. Winners receive scholarships and internship opportunities with Ally.
One of the biggest challenges involving some leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates is their need for refrigeration at hard-to-maintain, ultralow temperatures. But that’s good news for IlShin Biobase, a leading Korean manufacturer of freezers for drugs. It has seen its share price triple since July as demand grows for a cold chain to keep these vaccines safe.
2. Pulp Fact
Remember the early days of the pandemic, when there was a run on toilet paper? While things have settled a bit since then, it’s clear we’re likely to be staying indoors for several more months. The pulp industry, which struggled with its supply chains earlier this year, has now caught up with the demand. The net result? Suzano, the Brazilian firm that is the world’s largest wood pulp producer, might be smiling even more in 2021. Already, its stock value has risen 50 percent since mid-July.
3. Toilet Triumph
This is no potty humor. Toto, the iconic Japanese smart toilet maker that invented the electronic washlet bidet, is one of the top-performing companies on the Nikkei Stock Average, the price of its shares almost doubling since March. If we’re stuck at home, comfortable thrones are worthy investments.
4. Workout Plan
You can’t go to the gym — or at least you shouldn’t — so people are dropping serious cash on in-home fitness equipment like bikes from Peloton, whose stock price and revenue have more than doubled. Work from home has also boosted “athleisure” wear like yoga pants from Lululemon, which is beating revenue expectations as retail struggles in the pandemic.
Gillette is bringing the premium hot towel shave home. With a warming bar that heats up in less than one second and five blades for maximum comfort, the Heated Razor by GilletteLabs is turning your everyday shave into an unexpectedly luxurious experience. It’s the ultimate holiday gift for the discerning man in your life … or a way to treat yourself. For the first time ever, use the code HEAT30 to get 30 percent off. This is your last chance because this sale ends TONIGHT.
1. Stainless Steel Warming Bar. The warming bar, featuring four intelligent heat sensors, heats up in less than a second and distributes even and soothing warmth to the skin.
2. Waterproof. The razor is fully waterproof to ensure you can use it at the sink or in the shower.
3. FlexDisc™ Technology. FlexDisc contours to your facial features to ensure comfort and contact with the warming bar on every stroke.
Sometimes, it’s raw materials that are most ripe for success.
1. Driven By You
Elon Musk might be milking millions each day from electric cars, but the future of the industry may depend on a desolate corner of the world, and a company dominating that remote terrain. Chilean firm SQM is one of the world’s largest producers of lithium, the key ingredient that goes into making electric batteries. It has the local edge over American rival Albemarle in accessing the lithium-rich Salar de Atacama region of Chile. SQM’s stock price has more than doubled over the past year. As the demand for electric vehicles continues to soar, so will SQM.
2. Cementing Success
Sure, the future is digital, but as long as we need roofs over our heads and bridges and ports to transport goods, brick-and-mortar construction isn’t going anywhere. And with country after country turning to infrastructure spending as a way to yank their economies out of the global recession, cement companies are emerging as key gainers, especially if they enjoy regional market hegemony. Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement manufacturer — owned by the continent’s richest man, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote — is already revving up its engines. Its stock price has risen 50 percent in the past two months. And amid the ruins of 2020, Mexican building materials giant Cemex has had that country’s most profitable stock this year, growing 23 percent in value.
A global boost in construction would only fuel our climate crisis. So what’s to be done? Check out our special report on how cities from New York to China’s Xiong’an New Area are paving the way for our climate future.
She’s hilarious. She’s inappropriate. She’s comedy legend Kathy Griffin. Find out why the Guinness World Record holder for most stand-up comedy specials calls herself the “comedy zombie,” the inside story of her recent marriage and what it was really like being interviewed by the U.S. Secret Service over that infamous Trump photo.
... could rest with one of the world’s largest companies — that you’ve probably never heard of. Prosus, the Amsterdam-listed global arm of South African internet firm Naspers — Africa’s most valuable company — owns a third of Chinese giant Tencent, which in turn has a 40 percent stake in Epic Games, which created Fortnite. With gaming on a surge during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that Prosus has grown, with Fortnite picking up 100 million additional users over the past year. In fact, in October, Prosus — a firm with African origins — became the largest technology company in Europe, which once colonized the continent. Process (or Prosus) that.
2. Dynamite IPO
Chart-topping South Korean boy band BTS has been compared to the Beatles — the two groups are the only ones to record 1 million album sales in the U.S. this year. Their first English single, “Dynamite,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in America. But they’re also fundamentally redefining the economics of the music industry. Big Hit Entertainment, the record label that relies on BTS for 88 percent of its revenue, went public in October in one of the most stunning IPOs of 2020, its market cap skyrocketing to $7.6 billion on the first day. BTS members own a fraction of the shares — few top music groups in the West own shares in their recording labels — so the boy band earned $108 million in a single day.
It was a gamble — and it looks like it might pay off. At the start of the pandemic, Kenyan telecommunications major Safaricom decided — counterintuitively, it seemed — to temporarily make all person-to-person transactions of low values on the popular mobile money service M-Pesa absolutely free. Several months later, that move has helped the company’s joint M-Pesa platform with Vodafone see a bump in monthly transactions as its user base has expanded.
Get ready to dance to its tune. Chinese entertainment company Bilibili released a rap video with its Q3 earnings report earlier this month, its confidence stemming from a 74 percent boom in net revenue year over year. The video-sharing and gaming company was until recently seen as an also-ran to giants like Tencent and Baidu. Now it’s emerging as China’s YouTube and Nintendo rolled into one.
Argentina’s biggest company by market cap ($76 billion), MercadoLibre is also South America’s largest e-commerce firm. And it’s expected to only grow further, as online retail — already on the uptick — explodes in the wake of the pandemic and shutdowns. No wonder then that it’s a pick investors are recommending you put your money into.
The Iranian-born Afsaneh Beschloss* shattered glass ceilings at the World Bank and elsewhere, and now manages more than $14 billion as the CEO of RockCreek. Hear her speak on The Carlos Watson Show about the countries and sectors that are thriving — and flopping — during these turbulent times. You don’t want to miss it.
Kevin Smith predicted the coronavirus market crash — and got it right. He and his Denver-based firm, Crescat Capital, shorted the longest bull run in American history, spotting signs of a looming recession that others weren’t willing to accept before the COVID-19 crisis.
Named for the same inventor as Musk’s titan — Nikola Tesla, who created the first alternating current motor — the electric truck maker Nikola has stumbled hard after appearing to make fraudulent claims about its progress with electric and fuel cell technology. Founder and CEO Trevor Milton stepped down, leaving the mess with Mark Russell, a manufacturing industry veteran who joined the Arizona-based company last year. General Motors on Monday announced it was ditching plans to take an equity stake in Nikola and dumped plans to build its Badger pickup truck, sending Nikola’s stock reeling. But GM still agreed to provide fuel cell technology, and if Russell can build a legit and promising prototype, this company still could recharge.
*Disclosure: OZY is proud that Afsaneh Beschloss is a minor investor in OZY Media Inc., producer of The Carlos Watson Show.