NV5 Global (NVEE 1.49%) is a small-cap stock worth around $1.7 billion as of this writing. Despite its small size, however, it's already a global company that operates in five verticals to address important needs like utilities and infrastructure.
In this video from Motley Fool Backstage Pass, recorded on Nov. 1, Fool contributor Jason Hall gives fellow contributor Jon Quast a rundown of NV5 Global and why he likes it for the long term. Moreover, Jason points out that the stock trades around 23 times forward earnings, which might make it a compelling value stock today.
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Jason Hall: What is NV5 Global, ticker N-V-E-E? This is an engineering and geospatial business. The NV5 comes from the different vertical markets with its engineering services that it does, and it's largely tied to infrastructure. All these different things that are tied to infrastructure, which we know is an enormous need globally.
You think about in the U.S. whether it's just modernization or expansion, water, transportation, there's a lot of money that needs to be spent in North America. You get outside of the U.S., and this is an international company, the growth need is huge. You've got a billion people around the world that are going to join the middle class over the next decade, those people want clean water, they want telecommunications, they want transportation, they want power, they want safe buildings, and all the infrastructure to get people to and from those buildings. It's a great opportunity for this business.
What makes it compelling? It's very small. This is a very small business and the engineering space, there's a lot of opportunity for consolidation. Dick Wright, the CEO of the company is the founder. He owns about a quarter of the business, has a very long track record of running these businesses and growing them with acquisitions in a really disciplined way. You leverage the things about the companies that you buy, they fit within a geographical need or a specialization, and then you use all of your back end to ring out excess costs, and that's where you get operating leverage that adds per share value.
The tailwinds are there in terms of infrastructure as a category, you have leadership with deep skin in the game that knows how to execute in the way that they're growing. By the way, their organic growth is around 8% to 9% a year. This isn't just buying and acquiring growth, it's very well run.
Last thing, the geospatial services business, this is something that it's only gotten into in the past few years. You think about drones, you think about things like fire risk in the west, you think about expanding into more backcountry areas. More and more businesses need geospatial information, and these are the services that they're providing. It's really a sixth vertical market and it's a really high growth industry that they've recently entered.
Lot of tailwinds, lot of things that I like, great execution, and it's a tiny player. Global infrastructure is trillions and trillions of dollars, this business is worth less than $2 billion dollars. There's a huge opportunity to continue to grow here.
Jon Quast: Jason, I'm curious. Is this a big position in your portfolio, because you allocated a lot of capital to it or has it appreciated a lot along the way?
Hall: It's absolutely gone on a tear over the past year-ish, which has moved it up in my portfolio. Now, on a cost basis level, it's on the higher end, because I have put a lot of capital into this business. Its one of the stock took a pretty big hit last year, like so many others, but let's see. It's in my top 15 or so I own over 130 stocks. It's in my top 15 in terms of cost basis, so I have a lot of conviction.
Quast: I'd say that's really interesting and I think that you bring up a great point about all the different verticals that's in the infrastructure. Very large markets and such a small company, such a small player. But growing and doing it profitably, these are good things.
Hall: Absolutely. I also think it's not terribly expensive either, forward price to earnings around 24.5 times. Not price to sales, forward price to earnings less than 25 times. That's not bad for a very small business in a massive ocean of an industry.