Generally speaking, most everything on the robotics investments landscape is a bargain.
A quick look around the globe sees financial institutions taking note of robotics and jumping in with sizable investments. Governments are doing likewise as are stock exchanges, funds and private investors.
Will robotics see a deal go down like WhatsApp, the mobile app that Facebook bought for $19 billion? Not likely. Robotics isn’t there quite yet; that’s a few years off.
What about what happened to Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) where at IPO time it was $9.00, and now trades for $444? Now that’s a distinct possibility in robotics, but it takes some looking.
Did you miss out on Adept Technology (ADEP) this year going from $3.11 to $21.90 (a 704 percent gain) in less than seven months? It’s now back down to $9.19. Missed it, huh?
Oh, well, better keep a sharp eye out for others like it.
For a little added incentive, robotics is beginning to near the crest of the Gartner Hype Cycle. It’s been inching up towards the crest now for two years. Look around at its cresting partners. An excellent graduation class of high-tech goodies!
Korea recently announced a new plan to invest in robotics in order to invigorate its economy. The country will spend $2.5 billion on the research and development of rescue, health care, and advanced manufacturing robots.
Joongang Daily reports: “The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said that Korea should follow the global trend of integrating robot technologies in existing manufacturing industries in the short term and invest in robots that solve social problems in the longer term, meaning rescue robots, healthcare robots, and advanced manufacturing robots.”
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy is calling for “a healthcare town where automated robots assist senior citizens” and a “robot business zone” where manufacturers will test new robot parts and a smart factory system.
Both districts are expected to be completed by 2019.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put forth a policy dubbed the “Robot Revolution,” aimed at reviving the Japanese economy and aggressively growing its manufacturing market by a target of 300 percent. Using current figures, that’s a projection of $24B.
The U.K.’s Independent: “Abe said he wanted to showcase his country’s status as a pioneer in robotics and plans to create a a special task force to treble the size of the industry to 2.4 trillion yen ($24 billion U.S.).
“We want to make robots a major pillar of our economic growth strategy,” said the Japanese prime minister, according to the Jiji Press agency. “We would like to set up a council on making a robotic revolution a reality in order to aid Japan’s growth.”
“In 2020, I would like to gather all of the world’s robots and aim to hold an Olympics where they compete in technical skills,” Abe said. “We would like to set up a council on making a robotic revolution a reality in order to aid Japan’s growth.”
“Many throughout Asia are referring to Shinzo Abe’s policy announcement as the ‘New Industrial Revolution’ speech,” reported Jason Stuttman at Wealth Daily. “To jump-start that revolution, the Japanese government plans to offer a tax waiver to small and midsize manufacturers purchasing new robotic facilities.”
“Denso Corp., Keyence, Aida Engineering, and SFA Engineering are all poised to benefit from these policies,” he said. “However, equity can only be purchased through American Depository Receipts (ADRs) and on foreign markets. It’s not the ideal investing scenario for those in the States.”
Robotics investments in the U.S. and Europe
The U.S. launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership plan in 2011, investing $2.2 billion to develop industrial robots and advanced materials. And the EU’s Horizon 2020 program is pumping $1 billion into developing “life companion” robots to assist its aging population.
Faro Technologies (NASDAQ: FARO) is also up 41 percent over 12 months. And Forum Energy (NYSE: FET) is up 19 percent, Lincoln Electric (NASDAQ: LECO) grew 16 percent, and Measurement Specialties (NASDAQ: MEAS) rose 72 percent.
To get a wider picture, we can take a look at the Robo-Stox Global Robotics and Automation ETF (NASDAQ: ROBO) as a benchmark. The ETF has been volatile, but it has remained well above the Dow Jones Industrial for the majority of the past 12 months.