Tuesday, October 20, 2009

* International Diversification Begins At Home

With the recent decline in the U.S. dollar, investors are thinking more about international diversification. This can be accomplished by many different means such as buying a foreign stock, buying an ADR of a foreign company or investing in an international fund. However, one method that is often overlooked is buying a large U.S. multi-national company.

As a result globalization, many large U.S. companies now realize a significant percentage of their revenue from foreign markets. Companies that are diversified across several economies offer a real diversification benefit to their investors. They often can reallocate resources from slowing national economies to areas in the world that are enjoying more robust growth.

Below are five U.S. companies that have more than 50% of their sales revenue generated outside the U.S. base on their latest 10K:

Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL) - 77% Non-U.S. Revenues
CL is a consumer products company, whose products are marketed throughout the world. Colgate’s Oral Care products include toothpaste, toothbrushes, oral rinses, dental floss and pharmaceutical products.

Chevron Corporation (CVX) - 56% Non-U.S. Revenues
CVX is a global integrated oil company that has interests in exploration, production, refining and marketing, and petrochemicals.

McDonald's Corporation (MCD) - 66% Non-U.S. Revenues - Analysis
MCD is the largest fast-food restaurant company in the world. Its restaurants serve a varied, yet limited, value-priced menu in more than 100 countries around the world.

The Coca-Cola Company (KO) - 75% Non-U.S. Revenues - Analysis
KO is the world's largest soft drink company. It engages in the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates, fruit juices and syrups worldwide.

3M Co. (MMM) - 64% Non-U.S. Revenues - Analysis
MMM is a diversified technology company with a presence in various businesses, including industrial & transportation, healthcare, display & graphics, consumer & office, safety, security & protection services, and electro and communications.

As always, with rewards comes risks. Doing business in countries with different economic and social values can sometimes lead to undesirable results. In the past, U.S. companies have lost facilities to hostile foreign countries when the politics turned against the U.S. When the dollar is weakening currency exchange works for the company, but it works against the company when the dollar is strengthening. As always, you must weigh the risks vrs. rewards prior to investing.

Full Disclosure: Long CVX, MCD, KO, MMM. See a list of all my income holdings here.

(Photo: ilker)

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