A recent report by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management (NYSE: RY) showed that in the past year, Australia has created the most ‘wealthy’ individuals of any country in the world – so how can everyday Aussies start making millions or even billions of dollars?
Over the generations, Australians have made billions in a number of different ways. Whether it was investing in the right companies, starting their own businesses or creating something brilliant, the super-rich all have one thing in common – demand for their services.
Of the top 10 individuals listed on BRW’s Rich 200 list, four made their money in mining related activities, four from property development and management, one from logistics and one from media. All 10 parties were able to make their fortune based on what they perceived was the ‘next biggest thing’.
For example, the mining boom allowed companies like Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, Andrew Forrest’ Fortescue (ASX: FMG) and Christopher Wallin’ QCoal, to make billions from resources that lay in Australian soil for so long. They, like any good investor, were able to ride the wave of demand to its highest point before anyone else realised what was happening.
Growing a fortune
So what is the next boom that will enable Australians to strike it rich without being computer savvy, a geologist or builder?
The ANZ (ASX: ANZ), ABC, Financial Review and The Australian have all published material on what they believe to be Australia’s next booming industry. They all seem to agree that Australia’s mining boom may be over, but Australia’s ‘dining boom’ may be about to begin.
Anthony Pratt, Australia’s fourth-richest person, has said that Australia will become a food “superpower” in coming years and could export an estimated $2 trillion. Zhou Wenzhong, Chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia has acknowledged that food security is “one of the key challenges facing the Asian region”. A recent US government-funded study found that by 2050, food production will have to rise by 60% just to keep pace with expected population increases and changing demands.
We’re already starting to see a need for higher global food production in parts of Asia. As Chinese growth rates have contracted, many in the financial sector believe the contractions are a result of the government’s shift from a manufacturing society to taking care of the rising number of middle class. Asia’s middle class is forecasted to grow from 500 million to 3 billion in coming decades and our country will have 20 times more arable land per capita than China, India and Indonesia.
ANZ CEO Mike Smith said that insufficient attention has been paid to the potential surge in Chinese demand for soft commodities such as grain and meat. Mr Smith believes that the growing middle class in Asia would support prices and ensure that more deals were done in the agribusiness sector, which is one of the target areas of ANZ.
Recently an increasing amount of Australian agricultural businesses have been bought out by foreign entities that have the ability and balance sheets to counter cyclical and weather-affected products like wool, grains and fertilizers. The most recent example is Graincorp (ASX: GNC), which will soon be taken over by Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) and proves that the Australian agricultural sector is possibly about to produce large amounts of money for both domestic and international investors.
Australian stocks for an Asian boom
One important consideration for Australia’s agricultural sector is water supply. We’ve seen plenty of farmers struggling to make ends ‘meat’ and remain profitable. Companies like PrimeAg (ASX: PAG) and Tandou (ASX: TAN) are small caps that own water rights and rural properties and could stand to benefit from the huge demand in land and water supply.
Nurfarm (ASX: NUF) is a global crop production company that manufactures and sells a range of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. It sells a large amount of products internationally but currently only 6.1% of revenue comes from Asian markets.
Ruralco (ASX: RHL) is a small-cap diversified agricultural stock that pays a handsome dividend of 6.2% fully franked and has over 500 outlets across Australia. It provides merchandise, fertilisers, seed, wool, livestock, real estate, stock feed, water, grain, risk management and finance and insurance to domestic farmers.
Goodman Fielder (ASX: GFF) is another company that stands to gain from a surge in demand of soft commodities and operates under the banner of many well-known products like Meadow Lea, Praise, White Wings, Pampas, Mighty Soft, Helga’s, Wonder White, Vogel’s, Meadow Fresh and Irvines.
If you would like some exposure to soft commodities but don’t like cyclical and small to medium cap stocks, then perhaps Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) or Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX: CCL) will stand to gain as well. Wesfarmers sells fertilizers and chemicals whilst Coca-Cola’s drinks, fruit juice, milk, coffee and fruit and vegetable products are ready to be taken to another level.
The world’s wealthiest have made vast fortunes from giving consumers what they need and want by perceiving a gap in society or business. Australia is well placed to reap the benefits from an Asian dining boom, just as we have done from the mining boom. Perhaps it’s time to take a risk and get on board with some quality stocks before everyone else has a chance.
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Motley Fool contributor Owen Raszkiewicz owns shares in Ruralco and ANZ.
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