Three stocks that could benefit from a UK-Australia free trade agreement

Do you know what a Tim Tam is?

You should. And if you don’t, you’re about to find out.

Not just from me, but from your sitting prime minister, Boris “BoJo” Johnson.

Someone once tried to palm off the idea that a Tim Tam, or “Timmy” as we Aussies call them, weren’t that different to what you might know as a “Penguin”.

I’ve had both. They’re nothing alike.

It’s like saying Marmite and Vegemite are the same thing.

Or that a bottle of local “Red Wine” is the same as a d’Arenberg “The Laughing Magpie” Shiraz Viognier from McLaren Vale.

But if you’re unsure what a mega pack of “Timmys” looks like, here, take a look…

Source: Twitter

Now before you go trying to accuse us of photoshop creativity, that is a screenshot from the official Twitter feed of Boris Johnson on Wednesday.

Go and see the whole video for yourself here if you’re in any doubt.

Worth noting (and this was a funny surprise to me) the UK apparently exports boomerangs to Australia. Seriously.

This was all because on Wednesday the UK kicked off free trade talks with Australia.

Almost instantly I feel warm and fuzzy about this.

It pays to have a foot on each side

The place I choose to call home (UK) and the place that technically is always home (Australia) are playing happy families. I like it.

It shows that Europe isn’t the be-all-and-end-all for the UK economy. Add to recent announcements like,

  • Nissan shutting its Barcelona plant and keeping Sunderland open as HQ
  • Unilever choosing to have its HQ in the UK instead of the Netherlands
  • Tesla eyeing up a massive factory here in the UK

… and you start to realise the world has a lot more to offer than just Europe. Maybe that Brexit thing isn’t so bad after all folks…

But a free trade agreement with Australia is more than just Timmys and the bilateral Vegemite/Marmite Accord.

It’s about a greater sharing of trade in industry that you’re not going to see that much coverage about.

Industry like biotechnology, finance, scientific research, education, healthcare, pioneering technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing, aerospace and defence. And that in addition to agriculture, boomerangs, Timmys, Penguins and the rest the PM so eloquently covered.

That’s the bigger story to these trade talks.

For example, there are loads of Aussie companies that function in the UK market here. And loads of UK companies that operate in the Aussie market. Many of them listed companies on both the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Surely they should be able to trade goods and services with greater ease and without unnecessary cost?

For example, I’m going to assume you’ve never heard of a small Aussie company called Alcidion (ASX:ALC).

It’s a healthcare technology company that delivers important predictive analytics and communications tools to healthcare providers. It has already rolled out its technology to a number of NHS trusts including, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester University NHS Trust, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust, and others.

What if a free trade agreement helps a company like Alcidion do business in the UK with greater ease and cost effectiveness? What if its technology helps NHS trusts be more efficient and effective.

That’s win/win, surely?

Or a company like Blue Prism Group plc (LSE:PRSM). Blue Prism has been one of the best performing stocks on the UK market over the last four years with over 1,000% return to shareholders.

This is a company with its HQ here in the UK but now with global reach, including into Australia. In 2017 it decided to expand and open an office in Sydney to “meet the groundswell of demand in the region.”

That was a part of five British companies that invested more than AU$130 million to the Aussie market and creating 155 jobs while they were at it.

Blue Prism is a software company that helps to deliver “robotic process automation” to businesses. That’s everything from cloud services to AI and machine learning.

And maybe free trade between Australia and the UK means a company like Blue Prism can be even more profitable and expand its reach into that region with greater vigour. Maybe that helps it continue its growth, delivering even more to UK investors?

Don’t get sucked in – unless it’s a tea straw

These are of course just two. But there’s loads more companies on both sides of the coin that could benefit from this. Big Blue Broadband (LSE:BBB) is another. It provides connectivity in the form of wireless broadband to rural areas.

Now there are some “rural” areas here in the UK. But let me tell you, if you want to talk “rural”, I’ve got some experience with some of the places that exist in Australia.

I mean, it used to take me three hours to drive to my dad’s place in country Victoria from Melbourne. That’s a “quick” trip. We’d do it most weekends without really thinking twice.

We’d even do a four hour car trip (each way) to the snowfields of Mount Buller and back to Melbourne in a single day.

And it’s companies like Big Blu that help rural communities stay connected to the modern world. But it is a British company. And free trade between the UK and Australia could open up even more potential for it.

Think about the market potential for all kinds of new technologies in wireless communications like 5G hardware, cloud connectivity, cybersecurity and defence.

In fact, considering just how much economic potential 5G technology might have – possibly even more than the US$6.3 trillion “app economy” market spurred by 3G technology – it could be one of the biggest wealth-creation opportunities both the UK and Australia sees over the next decade.

All I’m saying is that don’t get sucked in to the story just about Timmys. Albeit if you ever get a chance to use a Tim Tam as a “tea straw” it will change your life.

The bigger story in play is a free trade relationship that could change the economic future of the UK and Australia. That’s a great thing for the domestic economy, a great thing for jobs and a great thing for investors in the companies that could really profit from it all.


Sam Volkering
Editor, Exponential Investor

Category: Commodities

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