Brexit risks remain relatively high for UK investors. Between now and the end of March 2019, there is likely to be significant uncertainty regarding the deal which the UK government is able to strike with the EU. Following that date, the UK will step into the unknown, and this could lead to a decline in business and consumer confidence.
International stocks such as Unilever (LSE: ULVR) could therefore be a shrewd place to invest. While it operates in the UK, it has a diverse business model which could create favourable growth for its investors. It could even deliver a similar level of growth to another international stock which has been a five-bagger in the last five years.
As well as having a large number of products in its stable, Unilever operates in a wide range of geographies. This means that it is not reliant on one particular country or region, which provides it with a significant advantage over UK-focused stocks during the Brexit process.
Furthermore, the company operates mostly in the emerging world. This is likely to be an exceptionally good place for consumer goods companies to do business, since demand for a range of items is forecast to increase in the long run. Rising wealth levels and an increasingly consumer-focused economy are set to dramatically increase sales of Unilever’s products, which could lead to similar gains for its bottom line.
As well as its diverse operations, the company also has a sound strategy. It has been able to improve its margins in recent periods as it seeks to become more efficient. Further progress in this area may be ahead, while scope for price increases also remains high. Due to its strong customer loyalty, pricing power is significant, and this may help it to generate even higher sales growth in future.
With the company expected to increase its bottom line by 18% in the current year, it seems to offer strong growth potential at a time when many UK-focused stocks face uncertain outlooks. Its price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 1.2 suggests it is not too late to buy it, with significant capital growth a strong possibility over the long run.
Also offering international diversification is staffing company Empresaria (LSE: EMR). It operates in 20 countries across the globe, with a significant exposure to the Asia Pacific region. It delivered record first-half performance, with its revenue increasing by 50% in constant currency. This means it has grown net fee income in 16 consecutive quarters, while it has been able to successfully integrate recent acquisitions.
Looking ahead, the company’s share price could climb further following its 400% rise in the last five years. It is forecast to deliver an increase in earnings of 22% this year, which puts it on a PEG ratio of only 0.4. With five consecutive years of double-digit earnings growth behind it, it appears to be a stable and consistent performer. With Brexit risks likely to build, Empresaria could be a surprisingly strong stock to own in future.
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Peter Stephens owns shares of Unilever. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended Unilever. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.