Roads aren't the only networks that have suffered neglect. The nation's power grid is in dire need of an overhaul, and with electricity consumption increasing rapidly around the world, demand for new construction is surging as well.
One company that does a lot of business both here and abroad is General Cable (BGC, $55), which develops, designs, manufactures, and distributes copper, aluminum, and fiber-optic wire and cable products. It is among the top global wire and cable companies and the market leader in the three segments it competes in - energy, industrial, and communications.
Like Granite, General Cable has a law on its side. The 2005 Energy Policy Act gives billions of dollars in tax breaks to energy companies that upgrade their power grids, and it requires them to replace their transmission cables more often. The act also gives tax credits to companies that set up green energy systems, and General Cable is a major supplier to wind farms and hydroelectric plants.
General Cable is aggressively expanding in the developing world, says Ray Haddad, a small-cap fund manager at Putnam Investments, which held 1.3 million shares in June. International sales account for more than half of the company's revenue, and that share is growing. The company plans to invest $30 million in India and China over the next few years. It trades at 12 times estimated 2008 earnings, and analysts believe it could boost profits by 24% and revenues by about 11% annually over the next three years, according to Capital IQ.