Here’s why Westfield Corp Ltd shares could be a great buy today

Credit: James May

One way to position yourself favourably for the potential collapse of the Australian dollar is to buy shares of global shopping centre giant, Westfield Corp Ltd (ASX: WFD).

You may recall that just three years ago, the Australian dollar was trading above parity with the US greenback. In April 2013 it was sitting at about US$1.05, while it did trade at around US$1.10 at one point in 2011.

Since then however, our local currency has fallen sharply. It’s now at just US69.07 cents, down from US72.85 cents at the beginning of the year. Some experts are predicting a fall below the US60 cent mark, which implies a fall of at least 13% from its current level.

The reason why Westfield Corp shares could be a great way for you to profit from this trend is because the company generates all of its earnings in foreign markets – the majority of which come from the United States itself. According to its latest report, 71% of its shopping centres are in the US compared to 29% in the United Kingdom, although it has since divested five assets in the United States for US$1.1 billion.

Source: Westfield Corp

Source: Westfield Corp

As the Australian dollar falls, those earnings generated in foreign markets become increasingly valuable for Australian investors. For instance, US$1 of earnings generated in the United States is now worth $1.43 when converted to Australian dollars, based on the current US69.07 cent exchange rate. The same goes for Westfield Corp’s dividends, which are also quoted in US dollar terms.

Aside from benefiting from the weaker Australian dollar, Westfield Corp also possesses strong growth prospects – arguably more so than its Australian counterpart, Scentre Group Ltd (ASX: SCG). Not only can it expand its presence in Europe and elsewhere around the globe, it can also divert its funds away from its “regional” and “non-core” assets into its “flagship” assets, which are able to generate greater returns for shareholders (for example, that US$1.1 billion mentioned above will likely be used for this purpose).

Of course, there are risks involved with the investment. To begin with, such a strategy will require huge amounts of capital in the near-term, although it could certainly pay off for investors in the long run. There’s also the risk that the Australian dollar won’t continue to depreciate for the company which could impact its earnings potential, but a weaker dollar does appear likely at this point.

As it stands, Westfield Corp’s shares are trading for $9.55, down from a high of $10.66. Morgan Stanley has an $11.20 price target, while UBS thinks it’s worth $11.25, with both forecasts suggesting plenty of upside for investors today.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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