As I've discussed recently on Seeking Alpha (see here and here), I believe nuclear energy is a great investment opportunity for buy and hold investors. While the main focus at the moment should be gold and gold stocks, I do believe nuclear is the next big opportunity; the opportunity in nuclear is what gold was in 2001.
While I believe that uranium mining firms constitute the best way to invest in nuclear at the moment- and thus my decision to invest in companies like Uranium Energy Corporation (NYSEMKT:UEC) and Cameco Corporation (NYSE:CCJ)- I do believe it is important to diversify into other aspects of nuclear; I believe doing so will ensure that investors can make the most of the nuclear opportunity.
All of which leads me to EnergySolutions (NYSE:ES).
In my hunt to find nuclear companies worth investing in, EnergySolutions came across my radar. Let's start with the good news:
The company is the largest nuclear waste company in the United States. This is not a huge industry, EnergySolutions' market cap is just under $300 million at the moment. But the issue of how to deal with nuclear waste is one that will only grow more important as nuclear power becomes more commonplace.
While the company is located in the U.S. and lists the U.S. Department of Energy amongst its clients, EnergySolutions also understands the importance of an international strategy in the nuclear market. To wit, the company has a strong operational presence in the U.K., and has previously won contracts in China. I find the latter to be particularly noteworthy, as I view China as the "smart money" driving the nuclear market. This means it is the primary participant that will drive the market higher and that trend-following investors are ultimately following.
Financially, EnergySolutions has positive earnings, reporting an EPS of $0.15 per share. What I find particularly appealing, though, is that the company's equity value, its assets minus liabilities, is approximately $490 million, which is over 60% greater than its market capitalization. This does include intangible assets. I do want to to note that when intangible assets are removed, liabilities are greater than assets and thus the picture is very different. Given that the company has a portfolio of more than 280 patents it owns or licenses, though, I think including intangible assets is warranted. And so, at its current market price, EnergySolutions affords investors the opportunity to buy these assets at below book value.
All of this looks very well, and therefore is why I am ultimately bullish on the firm. Personally, though, I prefer to be very selective of what opportunities I invest in, and with its P/E ratio currently at just above 23- currently above the S&P 500 average near 21- this is one I'll have to pass on. If the price can fall back to its 2011 lows of near $2.80 without any change in its earnings or operations, or if I suddenly become a much wealthier person and have fully satiated my desire for gold, silver, and uranium stocks, EnergySolutions will be one I acquire.