Whenever a company I'm interested in misses estimates, I dig deeper to see whether there's cause for concern. And I often find that the numbers measure up despite the Street's preconceived expectations. Joy Global (NYSE: JOY ) is the latest case in point.
The mining-equipment giant missed first-quarter earnings estimates, but it is balancing its organic and inorganic growth -- a sign of a fundamentally strong company. The long-term outlook for mining remains bullish, too.
Adding to its joy
Joy is growing rapidly by having made some strategic acquisitions in the recent past. After acquiring mining and drilling equipment company LeTourneau Technologies last year, Joy took over Chinese equipment manufacturer International Mining Machinery, or IMM, during the quarter.
The LeTourneau acquisition seems to be paying off well. Out of total first-quarter bookings of $1.4 billion, LeTourneau contributed a significant $84.3 million and also added positively to Joy's operating margins. The IMM acquisition is expected to add $300 million to the top line over the next three quarters.
While LeTourneau has helped broaden Joy's mining product portfolio, IMM could prove to be its trump card in the emerging nations, particularly in the high-potential mining market in China. Following Joy's IMM acquisition, rival Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) , too, has raised the ante to grab a bigger share of the Chinese market. It recently struck a deal to acquire China-based mining equipment-maker ERA Mining Machinery.
While acquisitions constitute an important part of Joy's growth, its organic business has been great as well. Excluding LeTourneau, Joy's first-quarter net sales were up 21%. Sales at the company's two divisions-- underground mining machinery and surface mining equipment-- climbed 23% and 18%, respectively, from the comparable period last year. Out of total bookings of $1.4 billion, LeTourneau contributed $84.3 million while IMM added $15.5 million. So a good portion of sales was generated internally.
Solid organic growth and the addition of IMM have pushed Joy to upgrade its full-year earnings guidance to $7.80 per share from the earlier projection of $7.40 per share. Joy is expecting higher revenue of $5.8 million, too, instead of tje $5.6 million estimated earlier. This puts to rest concerns regarding weak coal demand hurting Joy's equipment sales.
Do not fret
Joy's business depends largely on coal, but things haven't been too upbeat on this front lately. A mild winter has hit coal demand from U.S. electric utilities. Moreover, big miners like Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI ) and Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX ) have resorted to production cuts recently. Lower mining activity would mean softer demand for Joy's equipment. But this looks more like a temporary slowdown to me.
Arch remains bullish on the overall sector, expecting higher coal exports from U.S. this year. Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX ) , for one, is increasing its exploration spending this year and will shell out almost $4 billion in 2012, compared with the $2.5 billion last year. Expecting higher global mining sales, Cat is also adding mining capacity this year. As for the winter, in fellow Fool Sean Williams' words, "no one can predict the weather in this country," so it might not be long before these companies are up and running again.
The Foolish bottom line
Joy is a solid company operating in a business line that appears to have a bright future. Its presence in the emerging markets adds to my optimism.
If you want to take advantage of the global mining boom, Joy has what it takes to grab a spot on your watchlist. Add Joy Global to your stock Watchlist, and stay updated on all the news and analysis for the company.