We're getting into the cottage season here in the usually frigid north, so I thought we'd take a look at a perennial favorite in the boating business.
If you've ever owned a boat, there's a good chance Brunswick
The boating and engine divisions, according to the latest quarterly report, contribute more than 80% of sales and operating earnings for the company. The remaining 20% is divided between two divisions -- fitness, and billiards and bowling. The company's history is in the latter, but its future is clearly in boating. During the first quarter, the boating and engine divisions grew sales by 21% and operating earnings by 36%, while the other two divisions were essentially flat.
I know what you're probably thinking: "Why would I want to invest in a company that relies on gas-consuming products for a majority of its revenue, not to mention that any serious rise in interest rates would put a major dent in growth?"
The answer lies in demographics. Married men between 45 and 65 make up the group most likely to buy the company's products, and this large group is expected to grow by 2.1% annually over the next five years. These guys are in are their prime earning years, and many of them, having paid off the house, are looking to enjoy life a little. Gas prices may affect how far they drive their boats, but it's doubtful that it will stop them from buying, since we're really looking at luxury items in the first place. People purchasing these boats probably aren't pinching every last penny.
The past three years for the company have been good, and it doesn't look like that situation will change any time soon. Given some of the acquisitions Brunswick has made in the past year to round out the product lineup in the boat segment, margins are expected to increase. Add in organic sales growth of 11%-12% (consistent with organic growth across the past few years) across all four segments, and you're looking at a very strong 2005.
This is where the opportunity comes in. If the company can produce stellar returns with only part of its operating segments, imagine what would happen if the fitness and billiards/bowling divisions could actually grow. The stock currently prices at 13.6 times earnings, and given prior years' performance and expected growth figures, we might reasonably expect earnings growth in the vicinity of 11%-12%. For comparison's sake, let's look at the 19.9 P/E for the broader S&P 500, whose growth should logically follow GDP growth -- 2%-4% on the low end and 6%-7% on the high end. Doesn't look too expensive, does it? Might warrant a little look-see on your part.
Consider hopping on board. This boat's ready to sail.
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