Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014

It’s a disheartening, if not surprising, setback as the newspaper business struggles to reinvent itself for the digital age.

Digital First Media is mothballing Project Thunderdome, an ambitious attempt to provide content from a centralized hub for its 75 newspapers across the nation.

It comes as part of a companywide cost-cutting campaign amid the industrywide decline of print advertising.

More important, according to top media analyst Ken Doctor, among others, it reflects a decision by the the hedge fund that owns the company to abandon the ambitious renovation project and try to sell the newspapers. (The company won’t confirm that.)

I’m told the owner, Alden Global Capital, decided it was time to unload its newspaper empire, and the next step was to make the books look as attractive as possible. End of story.

Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own Fo r 2014: Basf SE (BASFY)

BASF SE is a chemical company. The Company operates in six segments: Chemicals, Plastics, Performance Products, Functional Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. Chemicals segment offers products in the chemical, electronic, construction, textile, automotive, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. Plastics segment offers a range of products, system solutions and services. Performance Products help its customers to improve their products and processes. Functional Solutions segment bundles system solutions and products for customers and industries. The Company’s Agricultural Solutions segment includes crop protection products, which guard against fungal diseases, insects and weeds. Its Oil & gas segment is a producer of oil and gas. On April 9, 2009, the Company acquired Ciba Holding AG. In April 2010, Intertek Group plc acquired the Regulatory and Safety Testing businesses of Ciba Expert Services (Ciba ES) from the Company. In December 2010, the Company com pleted its acquisition of Cognis Holding GmbH from Cognis Holding Luxembourg S.a r.l.

Chemicals

The Company’s Chemicals segment portfolio ranges from basic chemicals, glues and electronic chemicals for the semiconductor and flat panel display industry, to solvents and plasticizers, as well as starting materials for detergents, plastics, textile fibers, paints, coatings and pharmaceuticals. This segment is organized into three divisions: Inorganics, Petrochemicals and Intermediates. The important basic products of the Inorganics division are ammonia, methanol, sodium hydroxide, chlorine, as well as sulfuric and nitric acid. The Petrochemicals division produces products, such as ethylene, propylene, butadiene and benzene, which are produced in steam crackers from naphtha or natural gas. In further processing stages, it produces alcohols, solvents and plasticizers for the chemicals and plastics industries. BASF SE’s Intermediates division develops, produces and markets a range of intermediates of all produc! ers worldwide. The product lines include amines, diols, polyalcohols, acids and specialties. They serve as starting materials for products, such as coatings, plastics, pharmaceuticals, textile fibers, crop protection products, as well as detergents and cleaners.

Plastics

BASF’s Plastics segment is organized into two divisions: Performance Polymers and Polyurethanes. The Performance Polymers division is a supplier of engineering plastics, polyamides and polyamide intermediates, foams and specialty plastics. The Company offers its customers a portfolio of engineering plastics based on polyamide 6 and polyamide 6,6. This is complemented by products Ultradur, Ultraform and Ultrason. For the packaging, textile and food industries, it offers Ultramid, a base product for the manufacturing of fibers and foils. BASF SE’s product range also includes Ecoflex and Ecovio, biodegradable specialty plastics for the packaging industry. Styropor and its refinemen t Neopor are styrene-based precursors for foams used in insulating material for construction and packaging. The Polyurethanes division is a supplier of basic products, systems and specialties. The Company offers polyurethane products for numerous customer applications. Under brand names, such as Elastoflex and Elastopor, polyurethanes are used, as rigid or flexible foams in construction for furniture and household appliances.

Performance Products

The Performance Products segment consists of the Acrylics & Dispersions, Care Chemicals and Performance Chemicals divisions. Acrylics & Dispersions produces acrylic acid, as well as its derivatives superabsorbents and polymer dispersions. Superabsorbents are used particularly in diapers. Polymer dispersions are used in the production of glues, coatings, nonwoven materials and construction chemicals. The Company’s product portfolio for the paper industry consists of binders, process chemicals and kaolin p igments. Its Care Chemicals portfolio consists of products f! or cleani! ng, care, cosmetics and hygiene. Performance Chemicals pools specialties for various customer industries. The product portfolio consists of antioxidants, pigments, light stabilizers and specialty additives. The division also makes chemicals for the production and finishing of leather and textiles.

Functional Solutions

The Functional Solutions segment consists of the Catalysts, Construction Chemicals and Coatings divisions. The Catalysts division develops catalysts and adsorbents It produces catalysts that transform pollutants in the exhaust flows of vehicles into harmless chemical and plastics. The Construction Chemicals division is engaged in development of concrete admixtures, such as concrete plasticizers, deferrers and curing agents. It also produces and markets construction systems. The Coatings division is a provider of coatings solutions for automotive and industrial applications. Its brands Glasurit and R-M are for the car refinish busines s.

Agricultural Solutions

The Agricultural Solutions segment consists of the Crop Protection division. The Company develops and produces active ingredients and formulations for the improvement of crop health and yields, and markets them worldwide. Its portfolio includes fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and seed treatments. Its product Headline contains the active ingredient F500, which is not only used for corn and soybean, but also for numerous other crops.

Oil & Gas

BASF’s oil and gas activities are bundled in the Wintershall Group. Wintershall and its subsidiaries operate in the business sectors exploration and production, and natural gas trading. In the exploration and production of oil and natural gas, the Company focuses on oil and gas regions in Europe, North Africa and South America, as well as Russia and the Caspian Sea region. The Mittelplate oil field in the North Sea tidal flats is the cornerstone of the Company’s oil production in Germany. Wintershall and RWE-D! EA each h! old a 50% interest in this field. During the year ended December 31, 2009, it acquired 25% interest in Cuxhaven concession. It operates 26 offshore platforms in Mittelplate region, of which 19 are actually controlled. In Libya, Wintershall operates eight onshore oil fields in the concessions 96 and 97 and exploits the associated gas released during crude oil production in a gas utilization plant for the local demand. In Mauritania, it operates two onshore exploration blocks. In 2008, Wintershall acquired stakes of 50% each in two exploration areas in the Canadon Asfalto Basin. It supplies Germany and several other European countries. The gas pipeline network operated by WINGAS TRANSPORT connects the markets in Western Europe with a natural gas infrastructure that runs through Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation all the way to the gas fields in Siberia. Other components portfolio include natural gas storage facility in Western Europe, in Rehdn, Germany, and the natural gas storage facility in Haidach, Austria.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Maxx Chatsko]

    It was only a matter of time. Last month BASF (NASDAQOTH: BASFY  ) , the world’s largest chemical company, announced three separate developments that will thrust it from being a mediocre player in industrial enzymes to a dominant force. BASF acquired Henkel’s detergent enzyme technology, licensed the C1 biotechnology platform from Dyadic, and befriended Direvo Industrial Biotechnology from Germany for a next-generation animal feed enzyme.

  • [By Dan Carroll]

    Firms across Germany’s DAX have caught on. BASF (NASDAQOTH: BASFY  ) shares haven’t had a great year so far, but the world’s largest chemicals firm is looking around the world for growth. The company seeks to double its customer base in the Asia-Pacific region by 2020 in its chemicals and materials business, projecting sales in Asia to double from last year’s 12.5 million euros to 25 million euros by that year. That kind of global growth will benefit investors, and the less BASF and other German stocks rely on Europe for sales, the better shareholders will do.

Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: NK Lukoil OAO (LUKOY)

LUKOIL is a Russia-based integrated oil and gas company. The Company is engaged in the business of oil exploration, production, refining, marketing and distribution. The Company’s exploration and production activity is located in Russia, and its main resource base is in Western Siberia. It owns modern refineries, gas processing and petrochemical plants located in Russia, Eastern and Western Europe. The Company’s petroleum products are sold in Russia, Eastern and Western Europe and United States. The Company operates in four business segments: exploration and production, refining, marketing and distribution, and chemicals and other business.

In January 2009, the Company acquired a 100% interest in Energoaktiv ZAO. In March 2009, the Company established a subsidiary, LUKOIL Overseas Holding GmbH. In Addition, in March 2009, LUKoil OAO increased its stake in TGK-8 OAO up to 60.21% from 31.38% previously held. In December 2009, the Company sold its 99.99% stake in Agentstvo LUKOM-A OOO. In February 2010, the Company established a research center, LUKOIL-Engineering OOO, which would be responsible for the research and engineering complex of the exploration and production business segment. The main production region of the Company is Western Siberia. LUKOIL is carrying out international exploration and production projects in Kazakhstan, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Colombia, Venezuela, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Iraq.

LUKOIL owns oil refining capacity both in Russia and abroad. In Russia the Company owns four large refineries at Perm, Volgograd, Ukhta and Nizhny Novgorod. Total capacity of LUKOIL facilities in Russia is 44.7 million tons of oil per year. LUKOIL also has refineries in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, and a 49% stake in ISAB refining complex (island of Sicily, Italy), with total capacity of 21.8 million tons per year.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Charles Sizemore]

    Next on the list is French oil major Total SA (TOT). Total raised some eyebrows last month as discussions progressed to develop Russia’s massive shale fields in partnership with Lukoil (LUKOY). It appears that, despite the ongoing threat of sanctions from the United States, business is going on as usual in the real world.

  • [By Dividend Growth Investor]

    ConocoPhillips (COP) explores for, produces, transports, and markets crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, and natural gas liquids on a worldwide basis. I am attracted to the above average yield on ConocoPhillips, in comparison to Exxon and Chevron. Unfortunately Chevron is already one of my highest weighted positions, which is why ConocoPhillips was the second US oil choice. I am building my position in the stock with this purchase. The company is extremely well run, has a history of disposing out of non-core assets such as Lukoil stock (LUKOY) and Kashagan Project, and sending cash to shareholders in the process. The company has increased dividends for 13 years in a row, and has managed to boost them by 15.10%/year over the past decade. Currently, the stock trades at 10.70 times earnings and yields 4.20%. Check my analysis of ConocoPhillips.

Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: The Providence Service Corporation(PRSC)

The Providence Service Corporation provides and manages government sponsored social services and non-emergency transportation services. It offers home and community based counseling, foster care and therapeutic foster care, and provider management services. The company?s home and community based counseling services include home based and intensive home based counseling, substance abuse treatment, school support services, correctional services, and workforce development. Its not-for-profit managed services comprise administrative support, information technology, and accounting and payroll services; intake, assessment, and referral services; monitoring services; and case management. The company also provides non-emergency transportation management services to state Medicaid programs, local government agencies, hospital systems, and health maintenance organizations, as well as to individuals with limited mobility, people with limited means of transportation, people with disa bilities, and Medicaid members; and school transportation services to special needs students who are physically fragile, or mentally ill children. The Providence Service Corporation offers its services in the United States and the District of Columbia; and British Columbia, Canada. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Tucson, Arizona.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Providence Service (NASDAQ: PRSC) shares rose 6.58% to $40.50. The volume of Providence Service shares traded was 1483% higher than normal. On Tuesday, Providence Service agreed to acquire Ingeus for $58 million.

Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: 3M Company(MMM)

3M Company, together with subsidiaries, operates as a diversified technology company worldwide. The company?s Industrial and Transportation segment offers tapes, coated and non-woven abrasives, adhesives, specialty materials, filtration products, energy control products, closure systems for personal hygiene products, acoustic systems products, and components and products that are used in the manufacture, repair, and maintenance of automotive, marine, aircraft, and specialty vehicles. Its Health Care segment provides medical and surgical supplies, skin health and infection prevention products, inhalation and transdermal drug delivery systems, dental and orthodontic products, health information systems, and food safety products. The company?s Display and Graphics offers optical film solutions for LCD electronic displays; computer screen filters; reflective sheeting for transportation safety; commercial graphics sheeting and systems; and mobile interactive solutions, includin g mobile display technology, visual systems products, and computer privacy filters. The company?s Consumer and Office segment provides office supply products, stationery products, construction and home improvement products, home care products, protective material products, certain consumer retail personal safety products, and consumer health care products. Its Safety, Security and Protection Services segment offers personal protection products, safety and security products, cleaning and protection products for commercial establishments, track and trace solutions, and roofing granules for asphalt shingles. The company?s Electro and Communications segment provides packaging and interconnection devices; fluids that are used in the manufacture of computer chips, and for cooling electronics and lubricating computer hard disk drives; high-temperature and display tapes; insulating materials, including tapes and resins; and related items. The company was founded in 1902 and is base d in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Stocks bounced back from yesterday’s losses–and it was blue chips like International Business Machines (IBM), Johnson & Jonson (JNJ), Caterpillar (CAT), Merck (MRK) and 3M (MMM) that led the market higher.

  • [By Jeff Reeves]

    The stock is a rather boring chemicals player, focusing on dyes and polyurethanes among other things. It’s a fraction of the size of larger peers DuPont (DD), 3M (MMM) and Dow Chemical (DOW) but also happens to be a better value based on future earnings; the forward price-to-earnings ratio of Huntsman is about 9.1 right now vs. 14 or higher for these large-cap chemical companies.

Top 5 Consumer Service Companies To Own For 2014: General American Investors Inc. (GAM)

General American Investors Company, Inc. is a self management investment trust. The firm invests in the public equity markets across the globe. It employs a fundamental analysis with a bottom-up stock picking approach. General American Investors Company, Inc. was founded in 1927 and is based in New York, New York.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By GuruFocus]

    General American Investors Co. Inc. (GAM): President & CEO Jeffrey W Priest Bought 14,000 Shares

    President & CEO of General American Investors Co. Inc. (GAM) Jeffrey W Priest bought 14,000 shares on 01/29/2014 at an average price of $33.53. General American Investors Co. Inc. has a market cap of $932.500 million.