Football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden Cars!
Feeling patriotic on Australia Day? Here’s five Aussie icons you can make investments in, and – to re-purpose Donald Trump – make Australia Great (Again).
And before you wonder why they aren’t on this list, Foster’s, Arnotts, King Gee, Four N Twenty pies, Bonds, Tim Tams, and Mambo are all owned by foreigners. And so is the Hills Hoist. And just finally, Cooper’s Brewery is privately held, so you can only drink their product, not invest in it.
Yes, the nation’s favourite spread is back in Aussie hands. Bega Cheese – something of a national business icon themselves – bought it back only this month for $460 from that foreign sounding company Mondelez International. Is it a good investment? Bega shares are at $5.34 or so, and have fallen from $7.24 last January. They’ve been climbing since the Vegemite purchase, so maybe your patriotism will be rewarded.
What could be more iconic than Aussie surfwear, and Billabong is right up there with the best of them. Sure, the company was in the news for the wrong reasons last year when former CEO Matthew Perrin was found guilty on fraud charges, but that was a long time ago and the company now has turnover of more than $1 billion a year. The shares have been punished a bit in the last year, but maybe that could mean they are cheap? They are traveling at $1.42 this week, against $1.80 a year ago.
Yes, this is the original Flying Kangaroo, which began life in Winton, Queensland, as the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Service? Privatised in 1996, the company is still listed on the Australian Sharemarket, and by law must be at least 51 percent Australian owned. It’s had its up and downs over the years, but now seems to be flying high, at least in terms of profits. The shares have been a bit subdued, however, and are at $3.43 this week against $3.86 a year ago.
It doesn’t have the same instant recognition as Vegemite or the Tim Tam, but this Melbourne based company has, from quite humble origins, become a global winner. Once again, it began life as a Federal Government owned entity founded in 1916, the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, manufacturing antivenoms for snake bite (how Australian is that?). CSL was privatized in 1994 and has gone from strength to strength, and has bucked the trend by acquiring foreign companies, rather than being acquired itself. Of all the companies here, its shareprice has been the best performer and is heading north, which is where you want it to go. Buy it this week at $114.60 against $112.62 last year, after a major slump below $100 in December.
Ok, a lot of people complain about Telstra, but they are Australian and have become a leading global company too. And they began life as the Government owned Postmaster-General Department formed in 1901 straight after Federation. Now that’s Aussie heritage. The company was privatized in stages, beginning in 1997. Today, it’s a $27 billion company, makes around $6 billion profit and pays dividends beloved by its investors. The downside is that the 12 month shareprice performance has been underwhelming. Buy this week at $5.12, compared with $5.58 a year ago.