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We often are reminded how well recognized brands are one of the most valuable assets a company has, especially in the consumer goods sector; they are a determining factor in creating in a customer or client the impression that a product or service has certain qualities that make it special or unique.

Tons of ink has been spilled to explain how companies such as Coca Cola (KO), Disney (DIS) and Procter & Gamble (PG) have effectively used their powerful brands to dig a wide business moat to keep their competitors at large. This time I am going to list a few international companies that own valuable brands and enjoy a respectable moat but since they are not based in the U.S. they are likely to be less known to the American investor.

Beiersdorf (OTC:BDRFF) is a multinational corporation founded in 1882 and based in Hamburg, Germany. It manufactures personal care products and its flagship brand is Nivea, under which it sells a complete line of skincare solutions worldwide. It has a market cap of $14B, a P/E ratio of 32 and the dividend yield is 1.6%

Heineken International (OTC:HINKY) was founded in 1864 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and, based on revenue, ranks as the third largest brewer in the world; it owns over 125 breweries in more than 70 countries and sells more than 170 international premium and specialty beers worldwide. The market cap is $27B, the P/E ratio is 16 and the dividend yield is 2.5%

Inditex Group (OTCPK:IDEXY) is a vertically integrated producer and distributor of clothing and accessories and one of the world's biggest fashion retailers. Its flagship chain store is Zara. It was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Arteixo, Spain. It manages over 5,000 retail stores worldwide and was described by a Louis Vuitton manager as being possibly the most innovative and devastating retailer in the world. The market cap is $50B, the P/E ratio is 21 and the dividend yield is 2.5%

Luxottica Group (LUX) was founded in 1961 not far from Venice, Italy, and is the world's largest eyewear company; its most distinguished brands are Persol, Ray-Ban and Oakley. It also manufactures sunglasses for designer brands such as Chanel, Donna Karan and Burberry. It has a market cap of $13B, the P/E ratio is 23 and the dividend yield is 2.2%

LVMH (OTCPK:LVMUY) Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy is a luxury goods conglomerate hailing from Paris, France, that was incorporated in 1987 by means of subsequent mergers. It now owns over 60 subsidiaries, each controlling highly esteemed brands. Among these: Moet & Chandon (champagnes), Fendi and Givenchy (haute couture), Parfums Dior and Tag Heuer (watches). The market cap is $69B, the P/E ratio is 16 and the dividend yield is 2.2%

Nestlé (OTCPK:NSRGY) is the world's largest food and nutrition company, founded in 1905 and headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. It is present in 86 countries selling products such as Nescafè (coffee), Perrier (bottled water), Häagen-Dazs (ice creams), soups, frozen food, infant food and, of course, chocolate. It also owns a 30% stake in L'Oreal OTCPK:LRLCY, the world's largest beauty company. The market cap is $187B, the P/E ratio is 20 and the dividend yield is 3.4%.

Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF). Based in Seoul, South Korea, is a global electronics and information technology company that is the world leader, ranked by sales, in the LCD and LED displays and memory chips areas. It is also among the top sellers of smartphones, overtaking Apple(AAPL) as the world's top smartphone maker in the July-September 2011 period. The market cap is $123B, the P/E is 12 and the dividend yield is 0.6%

Notice: While this list comprises very high-quality companies, most of them are exchanged on the Pink Sheets so you should expect light trading volumes.

Source: 7 Wide Moat, Non-U.S. Companies That Value Investors Should Watch