Next on the list is one of my very favorite long-term holdings, Dutch megabrewer Heineken (HEINY). Heineken, like Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and SABMiller (SBMRY), is a global enterprise with a portfolio of beer brands that covers every inhabited continent.
You might be surprised to see me this bullish on Big Beer. After all, beer is a mature industry in the United States and Europe, and growth — where there is growth at all — tends to be centered on smaller microbrew brands, not the big names you see advertised at the Super Bowl.
This is where Heineken’s geographic reach comes into play. Heineken already gets about a quarter of its profits from Africa. Think about this for a moment. Africa is the least developed region of the world, and the last real “frontier” market of any size. It also happens to be a rare pocket of growth in an otherwise moribund global economy and a region where incomes are still rising.
Topping it off, a disproportionate amount of alcohol consumed in Africa is of the homemade moonshine variety; in some countries, the number is more than half. As incomes rise, these drinkers will trade up to branded beer and spirits.
As Africa moves up the income ladder, the 25% of profits that Heineken already earns there will explode. Consider Heineken a long-term investment in the rise of the African consumer.
Heineken is considerably cheaper than its Big Beer peers, trading for just 10 times trailing earnings and 1.7 times sales. As a point of comparison, AB InBev trades for 20 times trailing earnings and at 3.6 times sales … and also lacks Heineken’s exposure to Africa.