Europe is facing a lot of doom and gloom in the press lately, especially with regards to Spain and Greece. This mentality is pushing stock prices of some fundamentally good companies down, making the current fiasco a buyer's market. Spain especially has a lot of value to offer investors at a steep discount. For all of the country's mounting economic problems, there are still companies within this country that are far from crisis status. They have a good solid foundation, global business models, and are far from nearing the end of their reign.
One such company is Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). Banco Bilbao, though headquartered in Spain, is a global financial institution. It maintains a leading franchise in South America and is the largest financial institution in Mexico. It is the 15th largest financial institution in the U.S. BBVA is also one of few global financial institutions with operations in China and Turkey. BBVA operates altogether in over 30 countries across the globe. BBVA has more than 47 million customers and nearly 1 million shareholders. An amazing 91% of BBVA's shareholders opt to reinvest their dividends in new shares in the company. For such a large, widespread financial institution, the stock is greatly undervalued in the current market.
Another Spanish financial institution with much success is Banco Santander (SAN). The Santander group has 100 million customers, more than 3 million shareholders, and is the largest branch network in international banking. Banco Santander is currently present in 10 major markets. The institution places great value on its shareholders, with one of the highest dividend yields in the industry. In 2011, Banco Santander strengthened its balance sheet, both in terms of capital and credit quality, in order to meet the new capital requirements imposed by national and international regulatory bodies months ahead of schedule. This financial institution is not headed anywhere near a crisis, but due to the mentality, it is currently trading at a steep discount, making it a great value for the long-term investor.
In addition to financial institutions, the telecommunications sector also has a strong player headquartered in Spain. Telefonica (TEF) is currently present in 25 countries, with more than 309 million customers as of March 2012. Its presence is felt mainly throughout Europe and in Central and South America. However, it is also working its way into the Chinese market. Telefonica has taken great strides in innovation and creation, and has taken steps to get ahead of its competitors by leveraging economies of scale and adapting global developments to regional needs. It understands that not every market or economy will have the same needs or resources, so it thinks differently to stay ahead of the pack. For such a large, innovative company with an expanding global reach, Telefonica is also trading at a steep discount in the current marketplace.
Spain's economy does certainly have some problems of its own. However, Spain is also home to many great companies who are thriving even in this economic downturn. Banco Bilbao, Banco Santander, and Telefonica are all global companies with a large customer base and a global reach. It is doubtful that the current economy will change that. They will continue to thrive. The fact that they are currently trading at deep discounts makes it a great time for the long-term investor to get in on these great companies.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.