American Capital: A top buy in financials

This private-equity firm, which finances turnarounds, is a turnaround play itself.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 30, 2013 11:03AM
Arrow Up Photodisc SuperStockBy Mark Skousen, Hedge Fund Trader Alert

I firmly believe that financial stocks will lead the pack in 2013, spurred by the Federal Reserve's aggressive easy-money policies.

Based on this outlook, here is a new recommendation: American Capital Ltd. (ACAS), a Bethesda, Md. private equity firm that finances growth companies and makes money from turnarounds, distressed businesses, energy infrastructure investments and its own mortgage trusts.

ACAS is a turnaround story itself, having run into a liquidity crisis in September 2008 and threatened by bankruptcy, even as it suspended its dividend.

But it has been all positive news since then as the finance company has sharply shed its debt ratios and returned to profitability.

Just in the past year, revenue is up nearly 19% to $625 million. Return on equity is an enviable 34%. Its net asset value (NAV) has jumped from $10 in 2010 to more than $17 today.

What I really like about American Capital is its buyback and dividend policy. If the stock price sells below its NAV of $17.39, it buys back its own shares.

Since it began this policy in late 2011, it has bought back 15% of the company's shares. It will start paying a dividend when it sells above its NAV, but the NAV has been rising so fast that the price has had a hard time keeping up.

It could happen this year, judging from its price rise since Jan. 1. Yet the stock is relatively cheap, selling for 12 times estimated earnings in 2013. Zacks just rated it a #1 buy. Let's make it a top buy as well.

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