Terex Returns to Terra Firma

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After a generation of faithful service, NASA's space shuttle program has made its final landing. Equipment manufacturer Terex (NYSE: TEX  ) has also come back down to Earth, but that's precisely where the comparison ends.

Back in February, I declared that Terex was poised for a pullback after perceiving an overdone rally in the shares. I had turned bullish on the stock four months before that, treating readers to the chance for a rapid 60% gain. Given an array of remaining challenges, however, the stock then looked to me like a bird without wings. With a double-digit decline Thursday in the wake of a major earnings miss, Terex shares have now retreated 35% since I issued that near-term bearish call, and at this juncture I am compelled to reverse my outlook on the stock once more.

Terex missed earnings estimates by $0.08 per share for the second quarter, netting only $11 million in profit in the face of a strong 38% surge in revenue to nearly $1.5 billion. The company cited kinks in the external supply chain among the causes of its poor profit margin, and acknowledged "there is still significant work in front of us" on what has proven to be a long, hard road to recovery for Terex. Despite raising guidance for full-year revenue to more than $5.4 billion, management dialed back earnings expectations considerably, from prior guidance of $0.60 to $0.75 per share, to revised guidance of $0.40 to $0.60.

But I believe the long-term outlook for Terex is rapidly strengthening, so I took advantage of yesterday's decline to initiate Terex as an outperform pick within my Motley Fool CAPS portfolio. The company's sweetened bid for German crane maker Demag is progressing well, with 82% of Demag shares tendered to the offer. The acquisition will be hugely transformative for Terex, representing an expected $1.7 billion in additional annual revenue. Demag's operations bring added exposure to emerging markets and also make a highly attractive fit with the assets acquired through the Fantuzzi transaction from a couple of years back. With those two sets of assets combined, Terex will have become a dominant supplier of equipment to the world's container ports. Reflected in U.S. railroad operator CSX's (NYSE: CSX  ) resilient growth in intermodal volume -- and savvy dry bulker Diana Shipping's (NYSE: DSX  ) foray into the container space -- I consider the long-term demand outlook for container shipments quite bullish.

By refusing to take a remarkably challenging business cycle lying down, and adapting by acquiring exposure to promising new markets, I consider Terex one hardy manufacturer in the midst of rebuilding a long-term success story. While Terex is currently no match for wildly profitable equipment makers Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT  ) and Joy Global (Nasdaq: JOYG  ) , I believe the stock is priced accordingly, and therefore likely to offer solid investment returns over its remaining road to recovery.

Fool contributor Christopher Barker can be found blogging actively and acting Foolishly within the CAPS community under the username TMFSinchiruna. He tweets. He owns shares of Diana Shipping. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On July 22, 2011, at 2:31 PM, Teacherman1 wrote:

    Good article Chris.

    One thing I think you need to look at is that the DSX "foray" into the container ship business, has now become a completely new company in the form of DCIX.

    While they have the same people running both, the only formal connection is that DSX owns shares of DCIX.

    They are not a subsidiary, or an affiliate.

    They do not own a majority of the shares, but still a substantial number.

    In "reality", it is obvious there is a connection, but the benefit will be in the form of dividends from DCIX to DSX for the shares they own.

    I'm sure you already knew this, but it would be nice to have someone look more closely at DCIX when they "reveal" their Q2 financials.

    Thanks for the "heads up" on TEREX.

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