Is it Time for Investors to Consider Cameco Corporation?

In the short term, Cameco Corporation (TSX:CCO)(NYSE:CCJ) is going to be a painful investment, but as demand for uranium increases, I expect the future to be bright for this company.

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One of the lesser-known parts of investing is being able to see past the noise to determine if a stock is worth buying. For Cameco Corporation (TSX:CCO)(NYSE:CCJ), the noise is loud and distracting, resulting in shares of the stock getting pummeled repeatedly.

However, once you start to move beyond the noise, you realize that Cameco is a stock that, if investors are operating in a five-year horizon, might be one of the best returns for your portfolio. It just has to get past some short-term annoyances.

The unfortunate reality for Cameco is that there is a lot of oversupply in the market because of a serious lack of demand for uranium. Ever since Japan turned off its reactors, the price of uranium has stayed low; spot prices are under US$40 per pound.

Fortunately, demand is starting to improve, albeit very slowly. Japan has two operational reactors, three more have been approved for restart, and an additional 20 are waiting for approval. This isn’t going to offer much demand because the country has already purchased sufficient uranium, but this is a psychological victory. It shows the market that nuclear power is still needed.

China and India are going to kick demand into fifth gear. India’s Department of Atomic Energy and Cameco signed a deal that would result in Cameco supplying 7.1 million pounds of uranium over five years. India intends to increase its nuclear power by four times over the next 17 years, so if this deal goes well, I expect India to continue buying from Cameco.

China is realizing that it needs cleaner energy. Right now it generates 2% of its electricity from nuclear energy. For a little perspective, that 2% of nuclear power generation makes it one of the six-largest countries to generate electricity from nuclear energy. Imagine what its rank will be when it completes its goal of 30% by 2030.

Because of this, Cameco is expecting that global demand will increase to 240 million pounds a year over the next 10 years from 170 million pounds. That’s a significant increase in demand, and it should send the price higher.

The other problem for Cameco is the fact that it is currently fighting with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over taxes. In essence, the CRA has said that it owes taxes on $2.8 billion of additional income that it never paid. If the CRA wins this battle, it would be an $820 million hit. Fortunately, it’s likely that this tax bill is already priced into the stock. Therefore, if the CRA wins, I don’t expect a big drop. And if Cameco wins, I expect a significant bump.

Should investors buy?

Cameco is a short-term drain. It will frustrate you and make you wish that you had bought a different company. However, I believe that over the next five to 10 years, we are going to see a significant change in the uranium business.

Cameco is a low-cost product of some of the highest quality uranium on the planet. Therefore, I expect that when demand does increase, Cameco will be able to reap significant profits. Buying this stock is a play on the future. If you want faster returns on investments, you may want to look elsewhere.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Jacob Donnelly has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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