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Another Conglomerate Deconglomerates

W.D. Crotty (TMFWD40)
January 18, 2006

OK, I know -- "deconglomerate" is not in the dictionary. (Note to self: Call Mr. Webster today.)

The latest deconglomerator (hey, we need a noun to go with the verb) is Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation Tyco (NYSE: TYC  ) . The company sees splitting into three separate corporations as "the best way to position these three market-leading companies for sustained growth and value creation." Let's take a look at this value play in health care, electronics, and fire/security/engineered products.

If you think of value and earnings together, then today's news is not good. The company's previous guidance for its fiscal 2006 first quarter (which ended last December) was $0.40 to $0.42 a share. Analysts were optimistic and adopted the higher end as their consensus. Now that the quarter has ended (results will be reported Feb. 2), the company says $0.38 is their new number (which just happens to be below the $0.42 earning in the same quarter last fiscal year). Yikes!

"Organic growth" (which has the ring of a fertilizer-business buzzword) was certainly not rapid at 4%, but it would appear to fit the definition of "sustained growth." That's not the case, though; two major businesses, health care and fire & security, reported flat growth.

Confused on where the value is? It appears that investors are, too; at Friday's low, the stock was off 11.7% and about a buck above its 52-week low. Analysts expect the company to earn $2.25 for the year ending September 2007. That prices Tyco at 11.7 times forward earnings, below the 13% annual growth rate analysts expect for the next five years. But there's a bit of a flip side if we look into the relative valuations assigned to companies operating in similar realms.

Tyco's ADT security operations offer a dominant market share in a lucrative security-monitoring business. The allure here is that competitor Brinks (NYS