Taking the heat and staying in the kitchen

Don't let the Q3 report fool you. Middleby is a well-run company positioned to take advantage of economic recovery.

By Jim J. Jubak Nov 23, 2009 4:12PM

Jim JubakMiddleby (MIDD) reported third-quarter earnings earlier this month of 83 cents a share, 4 cents better than Wall Street projections, but still 19% down from the year-ago period.


Revenue fell 7.5% from the third quarter of 2008, and at $154 million, was about $10 million below the Wall Street consensus.


If you used a magnifying glass, you could find signs of improvement in the revenue number. In the second quarter of 2009, revenue was down 8.6% from the second quarter of 2008. In the third quarter, the year-to-year decline was just 7.2%. 


The earnings looked slightly better, too: Gross margin climbed to 40.3% in the quarter from 38.9% in the third quarter of 2008.


Food-service and food-processing equipment maker Middleby continues to do what it has always done: acquire companies to increase market share; put acquisitions and continuing operations under the cost-cutting knife; fund acquisitions out of cash flow, and pay down debt. 


In the quarter, Middleby paid down $26 million in debt, which helped trim interest costs by $371,000.


The company projects that conditions in commercial kitchen equipment/cooking unit business will remain “challenging” (their word, not mine) into the first half of 2010.


I think this is a well-run company that is positioned to take advantage of any economic recovery and the resulting upturn in store openings among restaurant chains, as well as any increase in those companies' spending on new equipment from Middleby that can reduce their operating costs. (For more on why you would want to own a cost-cutting growth company like Middleby in a recovering economy in 2010, see my post here).


As of Nov. 23, I'm keeping my target price at $65 a share, but stretching out the time table to November 2010 from July 2010. The stock traded above $46 Monday.


At the time of this writing, Jim Jubak owned shares of Middleby in his personal portfolio.

0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

111
111 rated 1
272
272 rated 2
474
474 rated 3
656
656 rated 4
638
638 rated 5
699
699 rated 6
623
623 rated 7
486
486 rated 8
260
260 rated 9
128
128 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
DYNDYNEGY Inc10
TAT&T Inc9
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS9
EXCEXELON CORPORATION8
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.