Investing State of Origin: Queensland versus NSW

I take a passing interest where companies are based, and in the lead up to tonight’s Game between the NSW Blues and Queensland Maroons, I couldn’t help making an investing matchup of my own. Here are the teams, along with a bit of trivia and my own attempt at sports writing.

Queensland Lineup

Suncorp Group Limited (ASX: SUN) sponsors Queensland Rugby League and was looking hot until it announced a $500 million write-down. The insurance company trades at a P/E of 15.5 and its performance is generally heavily impacted by the weather. When mother nature is kind, Suncorp is an invaluable addition to the team. However, detractors have questioned its commitment to the team since subsidiary GIO sponsors the NSW Blues.

1300 Smiles Limited (ASX: ONT) is a fast (growing) addition to the team, and sponsor of the North Queensland Cowboys. It is a reliable performer when under the pump and can run away with the game if given the right opportunities. With a couple of neat acquisitions under its belt the dental practice owner and manager is growing into the expectations of the fans. Definitely a player in development and one to watch for the long term.

Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX: BOQ) brings some much needed muscle to the pack. The company is fired up after it recently announced the $440 million acquisition of Investec professional finance and leasing division. The bank will need plenty of support from its team as it raises the capital required to fulfil its ambitious plans.

New South Wales Lineup

Upcoming health insurance company NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF) is proud to support NSW State of Origin and will add much needed flexibility to the team. It is growing a lot faster than Suncorp and its young clientele means that it pays out slightly less than other insurers. It has had a very strong six months (up 27%) and has plenty of room to run.

Westpac Banking Corp  (ASX: WBC) was formed by a merger of Bank of New South Wales and Commercial Bank of Australia in 1982 and so appears for the Blues. The company consistently wins best and fairest, and is an invaluable addition to the line up, although some say this consistent performer is currently overrated.

New South Wales’ most famous player is obviously Broken Hill Propriety, now known as BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP). Despite the lack of outperformance, BHP has a good enough reputation to convince the Blues they are in with a chance, despite the fact that Queensland has won the last eight State of Origin series. However with iron ore prices heading lower, BHP will have to do something unexpected to impress the crowd.

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Motley Fool contributor Claude Walker owns shares in 1300 Smiles but comes from NSW. You can find him on Twitter @claudedwalker.

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