In some of my earlier blogs, I highlighted green tech stocks that may be small now, but that I think stand to be winners down the road. While green tech is a new, hot space full of fledgling companies, there are some big cap companies that are considered green that have been around for a while.
Praxair Inc. Praxair Inc (NYSE: PX) is one such stock. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in Connecticut, Praxair is the largest company deal in industrial gases in North and South America. In 2005, their sales were a whooping $7.7 billion, and all of this through the production and sale of many types of gas, from atmospheric gases like oxygen, argon and nitrogen, to process gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen and helium; as well as wear-resistant and corrosion resistant surface coatings, mainly for semiconductors. The company has made strong inroads into the medical-gas business as well.
Recently, Praxair announced its opening of a new Brazilian facility, boosting their already strong position there and in China and India. It is actively growing into these markets, and their company is growing accordingly. July’s sales figures were strong (sales in North America were up 9 percent, in Europe up 15 percent, South America up 16 percent, and Asia up 14 percent).
How can this huge gas company be considered green? Look at the applications for its productions. Its hydrogen can be used to remove sulfur from crude oil. With new EPA clean air standards, oil refineries need more hydrogen to reduce the polluting sulfur of their oil. PX is banking on a 20% increase in hydrogen demand to meet these standards. Oxygen is used to improve combustion efficiency, again, boosting PX in a time of rising energy prices and increased demand for greater efficiency.
Management of Praxair is also top notch. The COO of Dupont, Dennis Reilley, took over the Praxair position in 2000. He immediately looked to improving margins by concentrating on density advantages in specific regions (gas is costly to transport, so being regional strong is important to undercutting competition and to being reliable, key traits for anyone relying on their gas.)
Type of stock: An $18.2 Billion market cap stock in the cyclical chemicals industry, Praxair is the biggest and the best in industrial gas.
Price target: Trading in the mid $56 range, this stock is nearing its 52-week high of $57. If you could get this at a discount -- high $40s -- I’d consider picking it up. This is one that I feel can rise, like helium, to the mid to high $60s within the year.
PX 1-yr Chart