4 Stocks to Buy That Can Clean Up After Hurricane Harvey

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Even the worst situations can be positive for somebody, and while the devastation from Hurricane Harvey will prove to be a large burden for some of the big insurance companies, others may be poised to take advantage as the storm finally starts to die down and expire. One thing is for sure, and it’s a blessing: While the storm has been bad, the kind of wind and tornado damage often seen from a hurricane has been far less from Harvey, with the biggest issues being the huge rainfall amounts and flooding.

In a new research report, Stifel analysts make the case that four top companies will be ready to spring into action to help mitigate much of the damage left behind. Fortunately, many have resources located near the Houston area, so the logistics may prove somewhat easier. They noted this in the report:

When there is extensive flooding in areas with widespread industrial infrastructure, particularly when it is oil & gas related like refining, petrochemical and chemical manufacturing, there are likely to be spill-like clean-ups once the storm surge has passed and the water recedes. Flooding leaves behind enormous amount of debris, reconstruction and repair work. All of that leads to huge volumes of waste that end up in solid waste landfills.

Four companies the Stifel team covers could potentially benefit from what could prove to be a long and arduous clean-up. All four are Buy-rated at the firm.

Clean Harbors

This company has numerous facilities located on the Texas gulf coast. Clean Harbors Inc. (NYSE: CLH) is the largest operator of hazardous waste disposal assets in North America, with a 65% share of incinerator capacity and 16% share of the landfill market. It is also expanding its cleaning and maintenance service offerings on customer premises.

The company is seeking to position itself as providing the broadest array of services given the increasing preference of customers to consolidate vendor relationships. Stifel analysts noted this in the research report:

Clean Harbors has an extensive network of facilities in the gulf coast, with the most significant being its Deer Park Incinerator and LaPorte transfer station just east of Houston, TX, as well as Lake Charles, LA. It is a nationally renown emergency response company with key assets forward deployed in case of events like Hurricane Harvey.

The Stifel price target for the stock is $67, and the Wall Street consensus target is $60.20. The stock was trading early Tuesday at $53.15.

US Ecology

This is another company that has resources in and around the hurricane affected area. US Ecology Inc. (NASDAQ: ECOL) is a provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities. The company offers treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous, nonhazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a range of field and industrial services.

The company operates in two business segments. Its Environmental Services segment provides a range of hazardous material management services, including transportation, recycling, treatment and disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous waste at company-owned landfill, wastewater and other treatment facilities.

Its Field & Industrial Services segment provides packaging and collection of hazardous waste and total waste management solutions at customer sites and through its transfer facilities. Its services include on-site management, waste characterization, transportation and disposal of nonhazardous and hazardous waste.

The Stifel analysts cited this positive in their report:

US Ecology operates an industrial/hazardous waste landfill in Corpus Christi, TX as well as a 60,000 TYP thermal desportion unit. Hydrocarbon contaminated soils are ideal waste volumes for the company to handle.

The Stifel analysts have a $60 price objective, while the posted consensus target price is $54.50. The stock was trading early Tuesday at $48.55 per share.

This top company is based in Houston and poised to immediately help with the situation. Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) is the largest nonhazardous waste operator, servicing 21 million customers across 48 states, as well as in Canada. The company is vertically integrated, owning nearly 400 collection operations, 249 active solid waste landfills, 297 transfer stations and 104 recycling centers. Being vertically integrated, it has significant economies of scale, with 66% of waste it collects disposed at its own landfill.

The analysts noted this in the Stifel research report:

Waste Management operates the Emile Alabama hazardous waste landfill. It has a broad-based permit for both Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Toxic Substances Control Act wastes including refinery waste.

Shareholders of Waste Management are paid a 2.25% dividend. Note that the $75 Stifel price objective is less than the consensus price target of $79.60, and that the shares were trading early on Tuesday at $76.50 apiece.

Waste Connections

Though this company is actually based in Canada, it also could see a large amount of business as a result of Harvey. Waste Connections Inc. (NYSE: WCN) provides waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services in the United States and Canada.

The company offers collection services to residential, commercial, municipal, industrial and exploration and production customers, as well as landfill disposal services. Its recycling services cover various recyclable materials, including compost, cardboard, office paper, plastic containers, glass bottles and ferrous and aluminum metals.

Waste Connections also provides exploration and production waste treatment, recovery and disposal services for waste resulting from oil and natural gas exploration and production activity, such as drilling fluids, drill cuttings, completion fluids and flowback water; production wastes and produced water during a well’s operating life; contaminated soils that require treatment during site reclamation; and substances that require clean-up after a spill, reserve pit clean-up, or pipeline rupture.

The analysts noted this in the report:

The company’s R360 process and disposal capacity could benefit from oil contaminated soils as that material will be similar to drill cuttings.

Waste Connections shareholders are paid a small 0.75% dividend. Stifel has set its price target at $75. The consensus target is $73.67, and the shares were trading early Tuesday at $65.30.

Needless to say, nobody likes to see the kind of destruction and anguish storms like this cause, and fortunately, Hurricane Harvey is the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2005. However, the job of the clean-up is critical, and these companies may very well benefit.

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