Trading stocks sometimes feels like a very modern phenomenon, so it’s easy to forget that some of the companies we’re investing in go back a century or more. While 21st century tech startups dominate the headlines, old established companies can often be high quality investments. Eli Lilly & Company (LLY), which was founded in 1876, is up 76% since I recommended it in 2011.
Figure 1 shows 10 other companies that have been around since the 19th century and compares them based on return on invested capital (ROIC) and revenue growth in the past year.
Figure 1: 19th Century Companies Today
The second oldest company on the list, Colgate-Palmolive (CL), is also the top value creator for investors. Its 22.9% ROIC is more than double any other company on the list and puts it in the top-quintile of all the companies we cover. CL is also the only stock in Figure 1 to earn our Attractive rating.
Not all the companies here have adapted to the modern world as well as CL. The bottom five companies on the list have ROICs in the bottom 40% of all companies we cover and earn our Dangerous-or-worse rating.
Sam McBride contributed to this report.
Disclosure: David Trainer and Sam McBride receive no compensation to write about any specific stock, sector, or theme.
Feature Photo Credit: Frederic Bisson (Flickr)