Ahoy! MarineMax on the Horizon?

Off we go again with our treasure map, on the hunt for a stock to submit to the Motley Fool Hidden Gems newsletter. Some of you might want to refer to my first article in this series, where I set out my criteria for what I'm hoping will qualify as a Hidden Gem.

My first candidate is MarineMax, Inc. (NYSE: HZO  ) -- a company that sells new and used sport boats, sport cruisers, sport yachts, yachts, and megayachts, as well as ski boats and fishing boats. They also deal in engines, trailers, parts, and accessories. What put them on my deep-sea radar? They also operate potentially profitable, high-margin segments like boat financing, insurance, and extended service contracts.

The company also provides repair and maintenance services, boat and yacht brokerage services, and slip and storage accommodations, competing with West Marine Products (Nasdaq: WMAR  ) among others.

Based on '05 estimated analyst earnings of $1.82 at current prices, they had a P/E of roughly 17, on estimated earnings growth of 15%. I also liked that they're relatively small. With just 68 locations, they're a specialty retailer for people with lots of discretionary income (a favorable demographic trend, given the onslaught of retirees and accompanying discretionary income). Additionally, Baron Small Cap Fund (whose managers I greatly respect) owns 4% of them.

Let's check out how the stock fares when put to my test.

  • Market cap of under $2.5 Billion? Yes, $538 million.
  • 15% historical and projected earnings growth? Yes.
  • Free cash flow positive? No.
  • MC/FCF less than P/E? N/A
  • MC/FCF/5 year growth rate under 0.66? N/A
  • Debt 20% of equity and reasonable? No, 70%.
  • Net profit margins greater than 7%? No, 3.5%.
  • Insider ownership of 20-50%? No, 8.4%.

Now let's take a step back for a moment. MarineMax, while it may make a good investment, does not qualify as a prospective Hidden Gem -- at least, not by my criteria. Still, investors may want to dive further into their 10-K and learn more about this business. At the end of the day, when it comes to MarineMax, there's a lot to like on the surface, but you may need to do a little more digging (no pun intended, really).

Dig up more buried treasure by clicking:

Interested in getting your hands on your very own treasure map? Try a no-risk, free30-day trial of Motley Fool Hidden Gems.

Fool contributor Lawrence Meyers owns no stocks in the companies mentioned in this article. However, he is actively on the hunt.


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