Jim Cramer sees long-term potential in Portillo’s and Origin Materials
Here’s what the “Mad Money” host thinks about each of the businesses and their respective investment caveats.
Cramer said he views Portillo’s — a Chicago-based restaurant chain known for its Chicago-style hot dogs — as an attractive story over time as it grows its store footprint nationally.
However, the stock isn’t working in this environment right now as investors grapple with a more aggressive Federal Reserve, he cautioned. For that reason, Cramer recommends starting “a small position here.”
One negative about Portillo’s is that a private equity sponsor, Berkshire Partners, still owns a majority of the company even after its IPO in October, Cramer said. “The overhang when they could finally ring the register could do a lot of damage,” he said.
But ultimately, Cramer said he was impressed by Portillo’s fundamentals, particularly the average unit volumes and restaurant-level margins. The fast-casual chain is also profitable, he said.
Portillo’s is still “pretty darn expensive” on a price-to-earnings basis, Cramer said, after the stock closed Friday at $31.73 per share. Its all-time high of $57.73 was notched on Nov. 17.
Even so, he advised that “if the stock keeps getting hit, here’s what you do: You buy some, and you gradually buy more into weakness because I think it could be a great long-term restaurant story.”
Origin Materials, which completed a SPAC merger in late June, is worthy of a speculative investment, Cramer said. He defines that as only buying shares with money investors can get away with losing.
“I think Origin’s got a great long-term story, even if the short term might be difficult because this kind of stock is currently being shunned by Wall Street,” Cramer said. “Still, at $6 per share, I think you take a flier on Origin. That’s half the cost of a good deli sandwich in New York.”
Cramer said Origin stands out because even though it is in the chemicals business, “they’re a sustainable chemical outfit.” Instead of using petroleum-based feedstocks like much of the industry, Cramer said Origin uses wood chips, pulp waste and even cardboard as its feedstock.
“In other words, they can make plastic out of wood chips rather than petroleum,” Cramer said, stressing that the company’s environmental focus is important and represents a major opportunity.
“If they can really pull it all off, the value of this business could be enormous. Of course, we don’t know if they can pull it off,” he cautioned. Even though it has big-name investors and reservations from companies including PepsiCo, Origin is still in its early stages, he said.
“Just remember that I’m only blessing this one for speculation, meaning don’t even think of buying it with money that you can’t afford to lose,” he said.
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