There are a handful of stocks in my portfolio that I just can’t imagine myself selling because I don’t think there are better alternatives out there to replace them with. At least not in the industries they operate in. Here are three companies that I’m not intending to part ways with.
A great British exporter
The first stock I don’t plan to sell is British spirits giant Diageo (LSE: DGE). The company has a portfolio of over 200 brands sold in 180 countries.
Diageo’s most popular brands
The world’s best-selling Scotch whisky
The house choice for gin in 25% of the world’s best bars
The world’s best-selling premium distilled vodka
The world’s best-selling cream liqueur
The world’s most popular tequila brand
Most of these brands have a timeless quality to them, though, of course, the risk of a recession is looming. While this could hurt sales of alcohol, consumers tend not to cut back on their favourite tipple even during recessions. And I think as disposable incomes rise in South-East Asia and Latin America, demand for Diageo’s products will remain strong for decades.
The DNA age
Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) makes gene sequencing machines that enable customers to read and understand an organism’s DNA. The firm’s products played a crucial role during the pandemic, enabling scientists to identify novel coronavirus mutations, track transmission, and ultimately to develop vaccines.
The company commands 70% of the global DNA sequencing market. A very healthy 70% of its revenues are recurring, and its operating margins are around 20%.
This dominance, however, hasn’t gone unnoticed by regulators, and Illumina has been thwarted recently in its attempts to acquire competitors. The risk here is that if organic growth slows, it won’t be able to grow through acquisition.
Even so, with only 0.02% of humans sequenced today, Illumina has a gigantic runway of growth ahead of it. I believe we’re entering the DNA age and I intend to hold my shares over the long haul.
An ageing population
By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double to 2.1bn. This trend towards an ageing global population is one of the reasons I own shares in Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG).
The company is the top dog in global surgical robotics, controlling around 80% of the market. Its flagship product is the da Vinci Surgical System, which surgeons use to perform an increasingly wide range of minimally invasive procedures.
Some of the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery for patients include less pain and blood loss, reduced risk of infection, and less scarring. Also, recovery times are quicker, saving health systems a fortune.
Today, over 10m procedures have been carried out on the company’s robotic-assisted devices, from an installed base of 7,364 systems. Once medical professionals are trained on these products, they’re unlikely to switch to a competitor.
The competitive advantage Intuitive Surgical now has over its rivals is enormous, but that doesn’t mean competitors couldn’t emerge one day with even better surgical systems.
Still, an ageing global population should drive demand for robotic surgery for decades. So I can’t see myself ever selling the shares. In fact, I’m thinking about buying more.
Ben McPoland has positions in Diageo, Illumina, and Intuitive Surgical. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Diageo and Intuitive Surgical. 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.
Motley Fool UK 2022