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Monday, 4 June 2007
The Eastern Company (EML)

Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting my blog, Stock Picks Bob's Advice!  As always, please remember that I am an amateur investor, so please remember to consult with your professional investment advisers prior to making any decisions based on information on this website.  I was looking through the list of top % gainers on the AMEX today and came across The Eastern Company which is trading at $31.90, up $2.44 or 8.28% on the day.  I do not own any shares of this stock nor do I havew any options.

I wanted to jot down a quick note and explain why 

THE EASTERN COMPANY (EML) IS RATED A BUY

What exactly does this company do?

According to the Yahoo "Profile" on EML, the company

"...manufactures and sells industrial hardware, security products, and metal products primarily in North America. It operates in three segments: Industrial Hardware, Security Products, and Metal Products."

How did they do in the latest quarter?

On April 25, 2007,  The Eastern Company (EML) reported 1st quarter 2007 results.  Sales for the quarter came in at $52.3 million, up 88% over last year's $27.9 million for the same quarter.  Net income was $6.8 million or $1.14/diluted share, up 491% from $1.1 million or $.20/diluted share in the same period in 2006.

What about longer-term results?

Reviewing the Morningstar.com "5-Yr Restated" on EML, we can see a perfect picture of revenue growth with EML reporting revenue of $81 million in 2002, $88 million in 2003, $100 million in 2004, $109 million in 2005, $138 million in 2006 and $163 million in the trailing twelve months.   

Earnings have also steadily increased from $.59/share in 2002 to $1.67/share in 2006 and $2.61/share in the TTM.  The company also even pays a dividend (!) and has increased it recently with $.29/share reported in 2002, $.31/share in 2006 and $.32/share in the TTM.  

During this time, the company has maintained its float with 5 million shares outstanding in 2002 increasing to 6 million in the TTM.  This 20% increase in shares has been accompanied by a 100% increase in sales and a 400% increase in earnings.  This is an acceptable dilution from my perspective.

Free cash flow has been small but positive with $3 million in 2004, $1 million in 2006, and $4 million in the TTM.

The balance sheet is solid with $5.6 million in cash reported on Morningstar.com and $58.1 million in other current assets.  This total of $63.7 million in total current assets, when compared to the $19.5 million in current liabilities yields a healthy current ratio of 3.27.  The company has an additional $26.2 million in long-term liabilities which can easily be covered by the current assets as well.

What about valuation?

Looking at Yahoo "Key Statistics" we can see that this is a TINY company (relatively speaking) with a market capitalization of only $177.94 million.  The trailing p/e is a very nice 12.16, and no forward p/e or PEG is reported (probably due to the lack of any analysts covering this stock with estimates.) 

According to the Fidelity.com eresearch website, the company sports a Price/Sales ratio of .99, well under the industry average of 1.48.   The company is also more profitable than similar companies with a Return on Equity (TTM) of 30.15%, compared to the industry average of 23.07%.

Finishing up with Yahoo, we can see that there are 5.58 million shares outstanding with 4.80 million that float.  Of these, 16,500 shares are out short as of 5/10/07, representing 0.4 trading days of volume--an insignificant level imho.

The company pays a forward dividend of $.32/share yielding 1.10%.  And the company last split its stock 3:2 on October 18, 2006.

What does the chart look like?

Taking a look at a "Point & Figure" chart on Eastern from StockCharts.com, all I can say is WOW!  The stock chart is quite strong and doesn't appear to be quitting any time soon.  Of course anything is possible, but the chart does appear quite good to me.

Summary:  What do I think?

O.K. if it isn't love, it is certainly infatuation :). Sometimes we find these incredible companies like Bolt (BTJ) or Flotek (FTK) on the AMEX where they seem to get overlooked by the vast majority of investors.  Or is it something I am missing? 

The company had a nice move today, had an incredible earnings report, is cheap with a p/e under 12, Price/Sales below similar companies, and a Return on Equity ahead of its competitors.  On top of this, they have steadily been increasing their revenue the last five years, increasing their earnings, paying a dividend and now increasing it, generating free cash flow, keeping the number of shares stable, and have a great balance sheet, and a great chart.  WOW.  

I still am not buying any shares.  I am at 20 and holding.  But I would if I could.

Thanks again for visiting!  If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them on the blog or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com.  

Bob 


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 1:54 PM CDT | Post Comment | View Comments (4) | Permalink

Monday, 4 June 2007 - 3:21 PM CDT

Name: "anonymous"

Hi Bob,

It sounds like you stumbled across a great stock here and it is one that pains you to get away. Why not dump one of your poorer performing stocks and pick this one up? I realize the 'signals' that you have established for your portfolio don't allow it, but in situations like this do you have any leeway to make exceptions?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Eric N. 

 

Monday, 4 June 2007 - 5:32 PM CDT

Name: "Robert Freedland"
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

Eric,

You are absolutely correct.  I really should just dump one of my stocks or just go to 21.  But I am going to sit tight and keep working my "system".  I know it is silly.  But I am like a scientist with a brew.  That concoction is my trading strategy.  And I want to stick to it and see if it works.  Without being too chauvinistic, stocks are often like pretty girls.  We cannot just drop our wives and girlfriends every time a prettier one walks by.  :).

Bob 

Saturday, 9 June 2007 - 4:57 AM CDT

Name: "Rich"

Hi Bob,

Saw your list on Jubak's Refugee Site--very impressive.  As a senior I became a long-term holder of big cap stocks.  Time was in my favor  rather than analytic knowledge. Enjoyed your approach

Rich

Monday, 11 June 2007 - 9:34 PM CDT

Name: bobsadviceforstocks
Home Page: http://bobsadviceforstocks.tripod.com/bobsadviceforstoc

Rich,

Thanks for the note.  I am glad you enjoyed reading about my actual trading portfolio and my own experience with these stocks.  Hopefully I shall be able to learn more about investing as I share my thinking with other investors.

Bob

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