Fastest-growing rank: 33
Get quote: CBG
3-year average annual return: 79%
These days, CB Richard Ellis must feel a bit like Yahoo during the dot-com crash: Sure, Pets.com's stock was due for a collapse, they must have thought, but why do we have to suffer too? So it goes for CBRE.
Never mind that it isn't involved in subprime mortgages. The company provides a wide array of commercial real estate services, such as selling, leasing, and managing properties. Still, CBRE has seen its stock sink 33% from its 52-week high, giving investors the chance to buy shares at a discount: They're trading at just 11 times projected 2008 earnings, about 35% cheaper than the 17 P/E that the company has maintained since going public in 2004 - this for an outfit that expects a 50% earnings-per-share rise in 2007.
CBRE might seem like an unusual candidate for FORTUNE's list of quick-sprouting companies. It's more than a century old, and it's not in some trendy line of business. But it has posted a dazzling 370% total return since its IPO, even after its recent drop. Two successful acquisitions in four years, plus double-digit organic growth for 19 consecutive quarters, have turned it into the industry's largest player, with $4 billion in revenues and a global footprint.
With the debt markets tightening, CBRE's growth won't be as feverish as in the recent past - but it should be strong. Property sales, which make up about 30% of revenues, are slated to increase 6% next year. Deals are still getting done, and bullish analysts point to institutional investors' persistent appetite for commercial real estate as a key driver. Will Marks, an analyst with JMP Securities, projects the stock will reach $48 in the next 12 months. Moreover, the company's leasing division, which makes up another third of its revenues, may pick up some of the slack.
Over time, CBRE's stock price should shed the subprime-mortgage stigma and regain its luster. Says J.P. Morgan analyst Michael Fox, who thinks shares will reach $46 within a year: "There has definitely been indiscriminate selling because it's being lumped in with everything 'real estate.' "
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