Sure, the U.S. stock market — especially technology stocks — has performed exceptionally well this year; however, not only U.S. stocks have performed. In fact, leading stocks in winning categories from gaming to e-commerce to cloud computing have done exceptionally well all over the world. Add in the additional tailwind of higher growth and a rising middle class, and international tech stocks could be in for even bigger gains than their U.S. counterparts.
In the wake of the recent U.S. election, here are three international tech names in great position to ride big tech trends over the next year and beyond.
South African media company and venture capitalist Naspers (OTC:NPSNY) has basically all of its assets in its 72.5% stake in European holding company Prosus (OTC:PROSY), which contains all of Naspers’ international tech investments. Prosus’ largest asset by far is its 31% stake in Chinese internet giant Tencent (OTC:TCEHY).
As recently as a week ago, Prosus and Naspers traded at big discounts to the value of that Tencent stake alone, despite Prosus also owning billions worth of other international tech holdings, including several food delivery platforms in developing nations, India’s PayU digital payments platform, international classifieds businesses such as the OLX Group, and Russian social media platform Mail.ru (OTC: MLRYY).
As of about a week ago, Prosus was trading at roughly a 28% discount to the value of its Tencent stake (39% upside) and Naspers was, amazingly, trading at a 30% discount to the value of its stake in Prosus (42% upside), meaning that Naspers was actually trading at about half the value of the Tencent shares it actually owned.
Fortunately, Prosus announced on October 30 it would be doing the prudent thing and using $5 billion in excess cash to repurchase shares of both Prosus and Naspers, with the aim of buying back $1.37 billion of Prosus shares and $3.63 billion of Naspers shares, or the same 27.5% to 72.5% proportion of Naspers’ ownership of Prosus. That would equal about 4.2% of Naspers shares and 0.8% of Prosus. So, Naspers is trading at the bigger discount, and will get more of the repurchase.
While both Prosus and Naspers jumped on the news, the head-scratching gap between their market valuation and the value of their assets remains. That may be because the repurchase won’t take place until after the companies report their second fiscal half-year results on November 23.
With a huge discount to asset value and management making smart capital allocation moves, it’s a great time for investors to bet on either Naspers or Prosus today.
Some may have soured on Chinese tech names after China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) recently issued antitrust draft rules last week, sending just about all major China tech names into the red, and wiping off a collective $280 billion in market value.
However, e-commerce giant JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) may be a name that escapes relatively unscathed, especially when compared with its two main rivals Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and Pinduoduo (NASDAQ:PDD). Two of the proposed rules are a limit on generous subsidies offered by e-commerce platforms, as well as an end to exclusivity demands by those same large platforms.
In the past, Alibaba has used its clout to demand exclusivity for certain brands, limiting their availability on rival platforms such as JD. At the same time, Pinduoduo has very quickly built itself into a $133 billion behemoth, helped in no small part by generous discounts and subsidies to drive high revenue growth.
Basically, if such rules are implemented, JD may be less affected than competitors, which would allow its fully built-out logistics and delivery platform shine as a differentiator, as Alibaba and Pinduoduo both depend on third party carriers for delivery. Additionally, JD just announced an ambitious plan to build out a network of five million brick-and-mortar stores to supplement its countrywide e-commerce platform. The reason is to better integrate brick and mortar with e-commerce, and to better serve lower-tier cities that are hard to reach otherwise.
Meanwhile, the ongoing pandemic has only accelerated demand for JD’s platform and logistics capabilities, and JD.com is up 127% on the year on the back of strong revenue and cash flow growth.
Finally, European semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML Holdings (NASDAQ:ASML) looks like a promising buy today, especially if the incoming Biden administration leads to lowered tensions with China.
ASML is the sole provider of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), a crucial technology in shrinking the distance between transistors in leading-edge semiconductors. As the sole provider of EUV, ASML’s sales runway appears long, provided that chipmakers continue to compete to produce more and more advanced chips faster than rivals.
That appears a safe bet, with all of the major semiconductor foundries investing heavily to attempt to catch up to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM). TSM actually just approved the first $3.5 billion of a $12 billion fabrication plant in Arizona, which the U.S. has agreed to subsidize over national security concerns. And while the U.S. is now subsidizing chip manufacturing on its own soil, it’s possible a Biden administration may relax recent rules that limit equipment sales to Chinese foundries.
While the relationship with China under a Biden administration remains an open question, it’s a pretty good bet that all major semiconductor companies and countries will be racing to make more advanced chips, and that ASML’s machines will be a key part of it.