Rebuilding Japan

By Investopedia Staff | April 29, 2012 AAA

While the ultimate effects of Japan's record setting earthquake still remain an uncertainty, what is certain is that Japan is going to have a huge need for rebuilding efforts. While most Japanese infrastructure and engineering stocks trade solely on Japanese exchanges, multinational infrastructure plays may be worth a closer look.

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Degree of Exposure
Without looking closely at the company, it's hard to ascertain the degree of exposure or opportunity that these businesses will have in Japan's rebuilding needs. Also, thanks to a two year bull market here in the U.S., most shares prices aren't of the bargain variety. Still, Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR) provides engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and project management services worldwide. It serves various industries including energy, transportation, mining and telecommunications. Fluor also does work for various U.S. Government offices. That depth and experience could be useful in Japan.

SEE: The Heavy-Lifting Side Of Infrastructure

Another name is KBR (NYSE:KBR), a spin-off from Halliburton (NYSE:HAL). KBR provides its engineering and consulting services to governments all over the world for some of their most strategic and critical projects. Despite a solid appreciation in shares over the past two years, KBR shares trade for 11 times forward earnings. The balance sheet has no net debt.

Back to Basics
As one of the largest cement companies in the world, Mexico's Cemex (NYSE:CX) provides the basic building block of any rebuilding efforts. The company has extensive operations all over the world, including Asia. Any reconstruction or rebuilding efforts will require lots of rock and aggregates. Steel will also be in high demand. Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT) is the largest steel company in world with extensive operations in Asia. Shares trade near $17.33, close to a 52-week low $14.77 and well off from the high of $37.21 a share. Steel is a basic building block for any growth in a city or country.

SEE: Arcelor Mittal And The Steel Catch-Up Trade

Bottom Line
There are numerous ways to play the eventual recovery in Japan. Betting on infrastructure is a very fundamental way to do so. Of course, it's an uncertain which companies, if any, of those named above will benefit. However, now is a good time to be looking at these names as Japan contemplates its recovery efforts. (For more, see Betting On Infrastructure.)

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