Booze sellers can be pretty good defensive investments during economic downturns whatever people need to cut back on when the belts are tightening, they do seem to carry on wanting a snifter or two.
We only have to look at the big two on the FTSE 100 to see what I mean. Shares in Diageo (LSE: DGE) (NYSE: DEO.US) are up 85% over the past five years to 1,775p against a FTSE 100 that has struggled to put on 40%.
But which is better to buy now? Heres a quick look at the two companies financial statistics:
|EPS growth 2014||-7%||+2%|
|EPS growth 2015*
|EPS growth 2016*||+7%||+10%|
The stronger price run for SABMiller has clearly taken its toll on fundamental valuations, pushing the P/E to 20 and more the long-term FTSE average stands at around 14.
But if we look at the companys markets and brands, its not hard to see why its shares command such a premium. Miller, Carling, and Pilsner Urquell are well known in the UK. But the UK only accounts for 2% of SABMillers annual turnover and the USA just 1%!
SABMillers home base of South Africa was responsible for a full 20% of 2013 turnover, with Colombia coming a close second with 17% and Australia in third place with 12%. And the company sells hundreds or brands around the world.
And yet more
But then, Diageo is in a similar position, owning a good number of the worlds most popular wines and spirits brands, including Gordons Gin, Smirnoff Vodka, Hennessy, Mot & Chandon, Captain Morgan and, of course, that breakfast of champions, Johnnie Walker.
In terms of quality and desirability of products, its a very close run thing, and I really would not try to choose between the two.
So it comes down to fundamentals, and Im still torn Im very strongly swayed by SABMillers share price having beaten the FTSE 100 for 12 years in a row from the year 2000.
The dividend tips it
But on balance, I just about prefer Diageos lower P/E valuations and superior dividend yields, albeit with slightly lower cover.
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