Category 5 super typhoon from outer space view. The eye of the hurricane.
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Companies That Benefit From Natural Disasters

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Category 5 super typhoon from outer space view. The eye of the hurricane.
Zenobillis/istockphoto

Praying for Rain … or Worse

Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, pandemics, and other disasters that are out of our control usually cost a lot to recover from, triggering serious headaches with the damage they cause — yet are welcome news for some companies. Here are some corporations that actually benefit when things go terribly wrong, and may be in a good position to profit as climate change makes life harder for many of us. Notice how new many of these companies are, with several dating back no more than a handful of years. What other companies and industries benefit from disaster? Tell us in the comments.


Related: The Deadliest Hurricanes and Other Natural Disasters in the U.S.

Plywood
Juanmonino/istockphoto

Home Depot

A significant chunk of earnings at Home Depot (which trades under the stock ticker HD) stem from DIY projects after a natural disaster. Studies have shown that investors actually bank on the psychological response of the public leading up to hurricane or flood seasons. When hearing of an impending disaster, it is a “natural reaction to stock up on whatever supplies they need to protect and, if necessary, repair their home,” MyWallSt says.


Related: Where to Buy Garden Supplies — Lowe's vs. Home Depot vs. Walmart

Crowded Walmart Aerial
Art Wager/istockphoto

Walmart

Owned by the wealthiest family in America, the Waltons, Walmart is another shopping giant that benefits in the lead-up, and aftermath, of natural disasters. The massive retailer often sees a spike in sales — even when a weather event does not have a significant impact locally — as people scramble to preemptively buy essentials ranging from batteries, flashlights, and generators to canned goods, water, and other non-perishable foods.


Related: Giant Companies You Didn't Know Are Family-Owned

Covid-19 vaccines are here sign advertises coronavirus vaccination location at CVS Pharmacy store - Palo Alto, California, USA - February, 2021
Michael Vi/istockphoto

CVS Health

Pharmacies are considered essential businesses that thrive during times of crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CVS (which trades under the same initials) logged more than $2 billion in quarterly profits thanks to new health plan members “across all product lines” and customers continuing to rely on its stores for tests and vaccinations.


Generac Mobile Diesel Generator
hapabapa/istockphoto

Generac

This generator manufacturer based in Wisconsin typically sees a massive uptick in sales after hurricanes and storms. People in afflicted states such as Florida and Louisiana have grown increasingly wary of local power suppliers since being battered with catastrophic hurricane seasons in 2017 and 2018. That’s when Generac (trading as GNRC) saw one of its most successful quarters since its founding in 1959: Sales jumped more than 22% to reach $457.3 million in a single year. 

CarMax
gsheldon/istockphoto

CarMax

Why is CarMax, a seller of used cars (that trades as KMX), a winner in disasters? Because the industry will “sell a lot of cars to people who must replace vehicles destroyed by … storm and historic flooding,” according to a report by Barron’s. Indeed, after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, investors rewarded the used-car seller’s stock, while the company itself reported a 9.3% increase in revenue in the last quarter of 2017.


Two Workers Installing Solar Panels On Modern House.
ArtistGNDphotography/istockphoto

First Solar

This maker of solar panels and solar power plants and seller of support services has seen soaring sales in the past few years — selling out all of its inventory in 2021 and nearly a third of its output for this year. The Arizona company (trading as FSLR) serves a growing wave of demand for alternative energy sources that are environmentally friendly, decrease long-term costs, and do not use materials that worsen climate change.


Lowe's Home Improvement store
JillianCain/istockphoto

Lowe’s

This home improvement retailer (trading as LOW and employing more than 300,000 people in 2,200 stores nationwide) reported earnings of $71.3 billion during the devastating hurricane season of 2018. Those kinds of earnings makes it less impressive that after hurricanes Harvey and Maria, it pledged more than $2.5 million in disaster relief for stricken areas in Louisiana, Texas, and Puerto Rico.

Nestlé headquarters in Germany
gopixa/istockphoto

Nestle

After being criticized heavily for palm oil harvesting methods that have caused devastating habitat loss and deforestation to some of the world’s most diverse forests, the food and drink giant surprised investors by launching plant-based Beyond Meat products. The “imitation-meat” industry was valued at $7.8 billion last year and is projected to reach $16.7 billion by 2026, with an annual growth rate of nearly 8%. The Swiss company (trading at NSRGY) has already reported soaring profits since launching its synthetic meat options in late 2018.


Aerial view of a river flowing through a temperate rainforest
stockstudioX/istockphoto

Tenevia

Tenevia — founded just a decade ago — mitigates the threat of floods by placing cameras along rivers to watch for rising water levels, surface speed, and flow. The technology’s been used widely in Tenevia’s home country of France as well as two locations in Germany.


Merck Research Facility South San Francisco
JasonDoiy/istockphoto

Merck

Another company that benefits from climate-related issues such as extreme weather, water-quality issues, and air pollution is the pharmaceutical manufacturer Merck (trading as MRK). The company says it expects to see an “expanded market for products for tropical and weather-related diseases, including waterborne illness.”

Satellite
Makoto Takemiya/istockphoto

Orora Technologies

This startup founded by four space enthusiasts in 2018 is a leading developer of nano-satellites that are sent into space to help detect and monitor early forest fires. The German founders were featured in Forbes’ 2019 list of “30 Under 30.” 

Box of Winchester 40 S&W bullets.
JoeDphoto/istockphoto

Smith & Wesson

When things feel chaotic and scary after a natural disaster, or in this case, a COVID-induced panic, gunmakers typically report a jump in sales. This leading gun manufacturer (trading as SWBI) reported earnings of more than $181.3 million in the first quarter of 2022 and said its overall revenue and production capacity skyrocketed by more than 60% during a pandemic-related surge in mid-2020. 

Drone remote control in hand man.Man operating of flying drone
Cristian Martin/istockphoto

Drone Hopper

This Madrid, Spain, company designs, manufactures and operates “heavy-duty, multi-rotor unmanned drones” that help recovery efforts after natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes. The company also assists in firefighting and agricultural operations. 

Aerial landscape, istanbul
Tolga_TEZCAN/istockphoto

Tesselo

The tech of this Portuguese company founded in 2017 can help estimate the risk or impact of forest fires and other natural disasters by combining satellite imagery with AI. It’s not all about disaster: Tesselo says it has real-time, wide-scale mapping solutions that can also “classify tree species, measure and predict forest growth, monitor plantation harvests, and even detect pests.”

Delivering quality construction for a quality lifestyle
PeopleImages/istockphoto

AECOM

This infrastructure consulting firm founded in 2012 provides engineering solutions for designing, planning, and managing construction projects, and it applied those skills to recovery from the hurricane season of 2018 and brought in $20.2 billion in revenue, according to Nasdaq (where the company trades as ACM). The company also got more than $300 million in federal money between 2005 and 2019 for technical assistance to disaster response efforts on Hurricane Katrina recovery — and drew Department of Justice accusations in 2020 of submitting false claims on behalf of applicants for public assistance funds.

Hit and Run
400tmax/istockphoto

Tractable

This company specializes in high-tech solutions for accidents and disaster recovery. Its artificial intelligence looks at damages and predicts repair costs, allowing for faster settlement of claims and restoration of livelihood, the company says. This London-based startup — founded by a group of Oxford researchers in 2014 — has grown quickly, raising more than $60 million in VC funding.

Worksport
Worksport Ltd.

Worksport

Trucks are handy in disasters and when clearing and rebuilding when disaster has passed, and this company (trading as WKSP), founded in 2011 by a small group of truck owners, specializes in affordable solar power for them. Its Terravis system — namely the power-generating tonneau cover — has been cited as being handy and cost-efficient in aftermaths when electricity may be off or in short supply.