Profiting From the Dubai Construction Boom

Companies that offer the sexiest kind of investments are usually the ones that get investors drooling. Tech stocks remain the most attractive family of investment despite their tendency to fluctuate, but it's not necessarily due to their superior quality. It's easy to overlook stocks that don't sound as cutting edge as those in the technology sector.

(OTC:WWAG) is one stock not to be overlooked. World Wide Auctioneers Group, Inc. sells construction equipment in underserved regions outside of North America. Although they have franchise partners in countries like Australia, The Netherlands, Indonesia, and China, their primary auctions are based out of Dubai. You've probably never heard of them. What's more, construction equipment auctions in the Middle East sounds boring, doesn't it? Think again.

This investment has already enjoyed remarkable success and is perfectly positioned for more of the same. The secret to scouring the earth for a great investment is not ONLY about looking at the company's numbers. There is another, much more fundamental question: Will someone buy the company's product? This was a lesson that investment guru Peter Lynch practiced in his investing. Without buyers, products linger on shelves, operational expenses eat into capital, income drops, and companies close their doors. (During the tech boom of 2000, companies found mobs of investors even though they had no plans to produce sellable products.

one of the factors that caused the tech bubble to burst). So you're looking for a company that sells products to motivated buyers? For sellers of construction equipment, there are few places ON EARTH that are as good as Dubai. In 2005, Dubai's Department of Economic Development reported a 29% growth in construction. In December 2005, BBC reported that Dubai's economy - which has prospered for 30 years - grew four times faster than the US and has never experienced an economic crash in its 3 decades of growth.

And in spite of our ideas about the Middle East, Dubai is politically stable and very entrepreneurial. The world's tallest building and the Middle East's first indoor ski resort make up 2 of the thousands of buildings springing up. After all, this small region - with a population of about 960,000 people, sits on 10% of the world's oil.

The result? Massive oil exporting that brings in plenty of money. That money fuels massive construction. How much construction? In a June 2006 article, The Economist reported that the emirate expects to spend 100 billion on itself in the next 5 years. about a third of that in construction. Massive construction needs equipment.

Enter WWAG. This profitable company, one of the largest auctioneers of heavy equipment in the world, has a P/E of about 8. Since 2001 they have auctioned over $300 million dollars worth of construction equipment from its facility in Dubai. As Dubai prospers, WWAG is likely to prosper, too, since it holds a 65% share of industrial auction sales in Dubai. You want to invest in a company that is poised for growth in a country that is flush with wealthy customers.

Thomas J. McCarthy is an investor, entrepreneur and Dean of Education at is the World's #1 School of High-Risk Investing.

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