In this frothy market, it has become more difficult to find value. Not many securities are cheap and many are at least fairly valued or even overpriced. One strategy that I found useful is to buy quality companies at a reasonable price. This strategy seems simple, but is not always easy to find such companies.
I realize that readers will have their own definition of "quality," as well as of "reasonable price." With that in mind, let's have a look at the stocks and the companies they represent; the blurbs will provide a starting point for more due diligence.
Unilever N.V. (UN) or (UL) is a supplier of fast moving consumer goods. The Company's four product areas are Personal Care, Foods, Refreshment and Home Care. The Company's personal care, which includes sales of skincare and hair care products, deodorants and oral care products; foods, which includes sales of soups, bouillons, sauces, snacks, mayonnaise, salad dressings, margarines and spreads; refreshment, which includes sales of ice cream, tea-based beverages, weight-management products and nutritionally enhanced staples sold in developing markets and home care, which includes sales of home care products, such as laundry tablets, powders and liquids, soap bars and a range of cleaning products.
Have you used Axe deodorant or shampoo? Dove soap or Vaseline? Ever drank Lipton iced tea? Ate Ben & Jerry's ice cream? Used Hellman's mayonnaise? Then you did business with this company. Unilever's product portfolio is full of strong brands.
Per company management, Unilever aspires to grow in emerging markets, reduce costs and dispose of non-core brands while making bolt-on acquisitions. Currently trading at a P/E of 17.7 and yielding about 3.5-3.6% (depending on the share class you buy), these metrics compare favorably to that of, say, Procter & Gamble (PG) of P/E = 20.4 and dividend yield of about 3%. The dividend is now paid quarterly.
The stock is currently also owned by Thomas Russo, Steven Romick and Tweedy Browne Team.
Swedish Match AB (OTCPK:SWMAY) is a Sweden-based tobacco company. The Company's operations are divided into three reportable segments: snus and snuff, Other tobacco products (cigars and chewing tobacco), and Lights (matches and lighters). The snus and snuff segment comprises smokeless tobacco products that are produced and sold primarily in Sweden, Norway and the United States. The Other tobacco products segment comprises chewing tobacco and mass market cigars manufactured and sold on the United States market. The Lights segment includes the manufacture and distribution of matches and lighters.
Recently, we discussed Imperial Tobacco (OTCQX:ITYBY), which is largely a cigarette company. Swedish Match, however, offers no cigarettes at all. The company divested its cigarette operations in 1999 and aspires to be a global leader in smoke-free products. Nevertheless, it does offer some smoking products, such as cigars, pipe tobacco and fine cut tobacco, through its 49% interest in Scandinavian Tobacco Group (formed in 2010).
The company believes that its products offer reduced risk.
Swedish Match also has a partnership with Philip Morris International (PM), established in 2009, to commercialize snus outside of Scandinavia and the United States.
I started to analyze Swedish Match in detail, but it is taking me longer than I thought and since the price has been running up, I decided to at least put the name out there so the readers can do their own due diligence. Still, a quick glance reveals that the company is trading at a P/E of just under 14 and yields about 3.7%. It pays dividends once a year.
The stock is currently also owned by Thomas Russo, who has a small position in the security.