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Wednesday, 7 January 2004
January 7, 2004 UniFirst (UNF)
Hello Friends! Thanks as always for stopping by my website. I enjoy commenting on stocks...has anybody noticed....a few of you ask WHY I do this....and I don't have a real good answer except that I enjoy writing and commenting on the market. I do not own any shares of this company but it is a very steady grower. As always, please discuss this and any investment idea with your investment advisor to determine whether it is appropriate for you!

Unifirst (UNF) had a nice day in the market today closing at $27.11 up $1.75 or 6.90% on the day. According to money.cnn.com UNF "...is a provider of workplace uniforms and protective clothing. UNF rents, manufactures and sells a wide range of uniforms and protective clothing, including shirts, pants, jackets, coveralls, jumpsuits, lab coats, smocks and aprons."

Looking at the fiscal 2003 fourth quarter results as reported on Yahoo.com on November 4, 2003 from a BUSINESS WIRE story, we find that revenues for the quarter grew 5.1% to $147.6 million from $140.5 million the prior year. Net income for the quarter was $7.2 million or $.38/basic share vs last year's $6.5 million or $.34/basic share the prior year. (I am NOT sure what is meant in the story by "basic share").

Looking at the morningstar.com "5-yr restated" financials we can find that revenue has increased consistently but not dramatically each year from $448.1 million in 1998 to $589.8 million in the trailing twelve months. Earnings per share have been less consistent with $1.62 in 1998 droppping to $1.01 in 2000 and then improving consistently from there to $1.37/share in the trailing twelve months. Since 1998, the dividend has increased from $.12/share to $.15/share in the trailing twelve months as well.

Free cash flow has been positive if not consistent increasing from $11 million in 2000 to the current $27 million in the trailing twelve months per Morningstar.

Assets and liabilities are fairly well-balanced with $7.4 million in cash reported and $153.5 million in other current assets, more than enough to cover the current liabilities of $92.1 million, but not quite enough to pay off (an unnecessary plus imho), the long-term liabilities of $96.0 million.

Looking at "key statistics" on Yahoo.com for UNF we find that the market cap is $520.13 million with a nice trailing p/e of 17.80 with a forward p/e (fye 30-Aug-05) of 14.41. The PEG isn't too bad at 1.25 and the price/sales is also nice at 0.82. Certainly valuations aren't bad for this company...but it isn't growing THAT fast either!

There are 19.19 million shares reported on Yahoo with 16.10 million of them that float. Only 22,000 shares are out short as of 12/8/03...representing 0.14% of the float or 0.688 trading days of volume.

The stock pays $.15/share dividend which amounts to a yield of 0.59%. According to Yahoo, it has been about 10 years since the last stock split which was a 2:1 in January, 1994.

You know what? I kind of like this stock. It has a habit of cranking out revenue/earnings growth almost like a SYSCO...in fact in the uniform distribution business...it really is in almost a similar niche...I know you cannot EAT uniforms...but still...bear with me. The value is nice, it pays a dividend, it has a nice growing free cash flow...well it would be even nicer if it was growing faster...but still looks attractive to me.

Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, comments, or words of encouragement, please feel free to post them right here on the website or email me at bobsadviceforstocks@lycos.com

Bob


Posted by bobsadviceforstocks at 3:41 PM CST | Post Comment | Permalink

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