Share in Latin America's billionaire boom

As the middle class in this emerging market gets more expensive tastes, this stock is cashing in

By Louis Navellier Mar 11, 2010 10:59AM

If you need proof of how hot Latin America is right now, just take a look at the recent list of Forbes billionaires -- Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates was bumped from his perch at #1 by Mexican telecom mogul and America Movil (AMX) owner Carlos Slim.

 

What’s more, Brazilian mining and oil tycoon Elke Batista (#8 on the list of richest men) has openly declared that his goal is to be the world’s richest man. Seems like he’s on his way, since he was this year's biggest gainer on the "Forbes" list with a $19.5 billion increase in his personal piggy bank.

 

These Latin American billionaires show the strength of the region. There are sure to be many more billionaires being made in this emerging market -- and plenty of profits for investors to share in. To help you get your share, here’s my top Latin American stock.

 

Companhia de Bebidas das Americas (ABV) is translated to “the American Beverage Company,” and commonly known simply as AmBev. This company dominates the Brazilian beer market with brands such as Antarctica, Brahma and Skol.


Additionally, the company sells Pepsi brands, Lipton iced tea and other beverages that include mineral water and sports drinks. Along with Brazil, AmBev sells its products in some 13 other countries, including the South and Central American countries of Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela.

As consumers in Latin America become more affluent, they aren't just buying more cars and televisions. An emerging middle class is buying upscale consumer staples from AmBev and really pushing this stock to new heights. I expect the global recovery to continue to boost this stock.


AmBev reported quarterly results in November that saw net sales grow almost 20%. The company also saw 4.7% organic growth, driving the stock to its fourth consecutive earnings surprise. Though numbers slipped a bit in the company’s latest quarter, momentum is once again building behind this top Latin American stock and I expect it to perform very well when it reports first-quarter numbers on May 5.


If Wall Street price targets are any indication, most other investors are bullish on this stock, too. Of eight estimates for ABV shares, only one is below the current price level of $97, just a few dollars down at $95. The average target is $107 a share -- a 12% increase -- with the outlier on the top end an impressive forecast of $118 a share.

 

At the time of this writing, Louis Navellier owned shares of ABV in personal or client portfolios.

 

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