Top picks 2012: Flextronics

Cash-rich electronics company shows strong growth in core businesses.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 5, 2012 3:48PM
Image: Construction Workers Carrying Window (© Steve Hix/Somos Images/Corbis)This post is one in a series in which over 50 newsletter advisors share their Top Picks for 2012.

By Benj Gallander & Ben Stadelmann, Contra the Heard Investment Letter

We focus on buying deep value plays that are out-of-favor and that strategy has contributed to our 10-year annualized return of 19.6%. One of our favorites that is overdue for a recovery is Flextronics (FLEX).

This is a huge design and electronics manufacturing company with revenues north of $30 billion, a healthy bottom line for the past couple of years, and management that has worked smartly to turn it around.

The company serves many sectors, including infrastructure, computing, aerospace, automotive, defense and marine -- and therefore, in some respects, acts as an economic bellwether.

Second-quarter results, though not as good as 2010, were not bad at all. Revenue increased 8% from the previous year to $8 billion, but the bottom line shrank somewhat as net income was $158 million. The company renewed its credit line, stretching it to 2016. This adds some certainty for investors going forward.

We would like to see management decide to take some of the cash hoard of almost $1.6 billion and pay down the debt further, but that does not appear to be in the cards right now. In our view, that is a smarter use of cash than the ongoing share buyback.

Less positive is that revenues are forecast to decrease to the $7.3 to $7.7 billion level in the upcoming quarter. This is due to the exit of the ODM PC business, which will knock sales down by about $550 million.

After first-quarter results were announced, CEO Mike McNamara was delighted and had reason to be. As he said, "Every one of our four core business groups grew double digits year over year, and our revenue marked the second-highest June quarter in our history."

Our initial sell target for FLEX is $28.24, below where it traded for years. Once again, our hope is that patience will be a virtue. Or, as Stanislaw Lec wrote, "You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience."

Given the lofty sell target, the time frame to potentially reach this goal means that patience is a necessity.

 Steven Halpern's offers a free daily review of the favorite stock ideas of the nation's top financial newsletter advisors.

Tags: FLEX


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