Thursday, December 22, 2005

Companies for the next 100 years

I saw a blurb today in Market Research News about a French professor (Georges Lewi) who named seven global companies that he predicted will still be thriving in 100 years. One of his selections was Airbus. Considering some of the state-supported advantages that Airbus enjoys over Boeing, that could be a good pick.

The whole notion of envisioning the business world in the year 2105 was intriguing to me, so I thought I'd lay out seven global firms that I happen to think will be thriving a century from now.

1. Toyota
What this company is doing in terms of hybrid energy drives is certainly intriguing. But, in my opinion, Toyota has always been the auto manufacturer that best covered the waterfront with top-of-the-line models for sports coupe, sports muscle, family sedan, luxury sedan, pick-up, minivan, and SUV. They just consistently do it right, across the board.

2. Coca-Cola
This brand is American globalization exemplified. If the United States still exists in 2105, then so will Coke.

3. eBay
I thought about Amazon, as well, but if I had to have a pure-Internet player, I think eBay has the future of distributed merchandizing better in hand than does Amazon. There will always be a marketplace for new goods. There will always be a marketplace for second-hand goods. eBay has the latter locked up tighter than Amazon ever will have the former.

4. Microsoft
The Windows/Office construction is now the lexicon of business communication. When you add the fact that Microsoft is becoming a dominant player in media and games, you can't help but see that they're prepared for a long, long legacy after Bill Gates has passed on.

5. Samsung
This company is scary in its diversification across anything that uses electrons to be useful. They seem to have the right combination of innovative design and cost-effective practicality that will carry them for another century.

6. Citigroup
The monolith of money. Credit cards, retail banking, corporate and investment banking, and (through Smith Barney) they've even got wealth management.

7. Synagro
It's football season, so you have to have an "upset special" of the week, right? We all hear about how water will be the commodity of the next century. This company is carving out a dominant position in the area of wastewater conversion. That is, they turn sewage into fertilizer. I can't see how that's not going to be a growth market for years to come.

I hope you enjoyed my little look into a crystal ball. I'd welcome your comments, either debating my selections, or offering one of your own companies "built to last".

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