Growth stocks have dominated the investing landscape since the end of the Great Recession in 2009 — and with good reason. Historically low lending rates and an accommodative Federal Reserve have rolled out the red carpet for fast-growing companies to borrow at will.
But for some businesses, their growth is only now kicking into high gear. Based on their 2020 sales, the following three lightning-quick growth stocks are expected by Wall Street to deliver sales increases ranging from a low of 1,334% to a high of 22,562% by 2023.
Moderna: 1,334% implied sales growth by 2023
The most well-known hypergrowth company, at least on this list, is biotech stock Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA), which is benefiting immensely from selling its coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine. After reporting a little over $803 million in sales last year, Wall Street’s consensus calls for $11.52 billion in full-year sales by 2023.
Moderna is one of the two standout COVID-19 vaccine developers in the United States and Europe. The company’s vaccine, mRNA-1273, produced an impressive 94% vaccine efficacy (VE) in a November-released study. This initial VE has stood head-and-shoulders above a number of competitors, including Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which have both been contending with concerns over rare incidences of blood clotting associated with their respective COVID-19 vaccines. Only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with its 95% initial VE, has been able to go toe-to-toe with Moderna’s vaccine.
However, what’s interesting about Moderna’s sales projections in 2023 is that they’re markedly lower than the $20 billion-plus in net product sales forecast by the company this year. The expectation is that we could see new players enter the vaccine space in the months and years that lie ahead. What’s more, it’s unclear what sort of demand will be present with regard to booster shots. With research into COVID-19 variants ongoing and constantly evolving, Wall Street’s sales estimates can probably be taken with a grain of salt.
The bigger question mark for Moderna is how it’ll justify its mammoth valuation of $132 billion. Considering that virtually all of Moderna’s market cap is based on a single therapy (mRNA-1273), there seems to be a lot of built-in risk.
Marathon Digital Holdings: 19,120% implied sales growth by 2023
If 1,334% sales growth in three years simply isn’t good enough, perhaps the more than 19,000% sales growth expected from cryptocurrency mining company Marathon Digital Holdings (NASDAQ:MARA) will wet your whistle. The expectation is for Marathon Digital to grow its sales from a reported $4.36 million in 2020 to a consensus of $838 million by 2023.
For those unfamiliar, cryptocurrency mining describes the process whereby people or a company use high-powered computers to solve complex mathematical equations that validate transactions on a blockchain. Groups of these transactions are known as blocks. The reward for validating a block is almost always paid in the tokens of the underlying blockchain being validated. In Marathon Digital’s case, it’s specifically mining for Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), the largest digital currency by market cap. A Bitcoin block reward totals 6.25 tokens, worth about $300,000.
As of the beginning of October, the company had 25,272 active mining devices in its fleet. But it’s nowhere near done growing. There are more than 100,000 miners purchased and waiting for delivery. The expectation is Marathon Digital will have over 133,000 active miners in its fleet by the midpoint of next year. In a game where numbers do matter, having one of the largest crypto mining fleets in the U.S. should help secure Bitcoin block rewards.
However, I’d also caution investors that red flags exist. For instance, Bitcoin’s block rewards halve every four years, and the barrier to entry for cryptocurrency mining is nonexistent. This an operating model with increasing competition and potentially smaller rewards over time.
Furthermore, Bitcoin has a history of significant pullbacks (three declines of 80% over the past decade). Since Marathon Digital is completely dependent on external factors, rather than innovation, shareholders could be whipsawed by crypto investors’ ever-changing sentiment.
Workhorse Group: 22,562% implied sales growth by 2023
But the crème de la crème of sales growth, at least among this trio of hypergrowth companies, is electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Workhorse Group (NASDAQ:WKHS). Last year, Workhorse generated $1.39 million in sales. But by the time 2023 comes to a close, Wall Street is looking for $315 million in sales. That’s an increase of a little over 22,500% in three years.
Opportunity is sitting on Workhorse Group’s doorstep as businesses begin their transition to electric fleets. The company is focused on developing a line of medium-duty all-electric trucks, with the flagship C-1000 boasting 1,000 cubic feet of cargo space. With green initiatives expected to become the norm out of Washington, D.C., Workhorse has the opportunity to be one of a number of EV makers that (pardon the pun) leads the charge on redesigning enterprise fleets.
Unfortunately, building a concept from the ground up is rarely an easy task — especially in the auto industry. Workhorse Group’s stock has been decimated since late February after announcing that it had lost a multi-billion-dollar, 10-year contract to modernize the United States Postal Services’ fleet of vehicles to Oshkosh.
To make matters worse, Workhorse is facing a probe from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and a little over two weeks ago announced that it would suspend deliveries of C-1000 vehicles and recall 41 vehicles that were already delivered. According to a press release from the company, Workhorse will be working to beef up payload capacity on future production, and be making modifications to existing vehicles so they can certified under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
In short, opportunity is knocking, but Workhorse hasn’t yet demonstrated that it’s up to the task. Projecting $315 million in sales by 2023 might be asking a bit much.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. 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.