A great why to find advantageous companies is to look at those driving key technology market trends and generating good business results when the rest of the market is struggling. This story fits Synaptics, the touch-interface specialists, perfectly.
Synaptics makes human interfaces (mostly touchpads and touchscreens) for a variety of PC and smartphone devices. Big customers include Dell, LG, Ericsson, HTC, and Sony. The company has grown fast, roughly doubling revenue and earnings since 2007, at a time when the economy has been dark, at best. During this time, the stock price has been volatile, but largely flat, and the stock price relative to earnings has gotten cheaper and cheaper.
The company announced earnings yesterday, reporting net income of $19.3 million, or 54 cents a share, compared with $12.4 million, or 34 cents a share, a year ago. Synaptics earned 70 cents a share. Revenue hit $145.8 million, a ries of 27% over last year.
This was a beat, as analysts were expecting 63 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $141.1 million. The stock was sold this morning.
According to several anlalyst sources, concern arose in the quarter over operating expenses possibly being higher than anticipated.
Gleacher & Co. analyst Ian Ing thinks it’s overdone and that the company is misunderstood. In a reasearch note this morning, saying that the revenue guidance has been “prudent” and the company may yet overcome increased expenses.
“We believe 2011 revenue guidance is “prudent” enough to help deliver future beat and raise reports, and that focus exists to keep OpEx near the managed range (20-24%) whether or not the revenue plan progresses with upside,” wrote Ing, who maintains a buy on the stock with a $39 price target.
The updside for Synaptics is that it is entering a lot of interesting growth markets, including those for large-screen displays and TVs, tablet computers, and smarthphones. It’s a wide play on a lot of growth markets where human-screen interfaces are becoming more important than ever.
Even better, Synaptics is pretty cheap. The metrics are as such: Return on Equity (24%), forward P/E 12, Y/Y revenue growth 27%, PEG .8. The company has a market cap of about $1B but it’s also got $170M in the bank and operating cash flow of $83. If the company can just maintain a 25% growth rate over the next two years, it’s an easy double.