Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't. Sometimes you want a pure play on a specific sector, and other times you want to spread things around a bit. And for those investors looking to play two separate and distinct, but growing, segments of construction, McDermott International
By and large, McDermott is in a collection of cyclical, difficult, high-value businesses that most regular folks just don't think about all that much. It is a major player, though, in marine construction and power generation. On top of that is a very solid business serving some of the government's nuclear needs.
First-quarter results might be hinting at what could lie ahead. Revenue was up 48% as reported, while operating income climbed 68%, and net income more than doubled. Those results are a bit misleading, though, because they are influenced by the reconsolidation of the power business -- a transaction very roughly approximate to an acquisition in what it means for year-on-year comparisons.
Treating the respective periods as though the unit had been fully consolidated, revenue rose by nearly 16%, operating income was up almost 9%, and net income still climbed by a healthy 59%. Better still, the backlog rose significantly (though again influenced by the inclusion of the Babcock & Wilcox power unit), with better than a year-over-year doubling of orders on the books.
These are tough, but attractive, markets in which McDermott operates. The marine business centers on building things like offshore platforms and undersea pipelines -- critical, obviously, in this recent move toward more offshore exploration and production. Margins can be tricky, though, and the company has been burned in the past from losses on riskier projects on which it didn't bid well. There aren't an abundance of publicly traded peers here, but Technip
And though I'm running short of space, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the prospects for the power business. While Babcock & Wilcox had some big problems, including a bankruptcy, it's a significant player in power plant construction and modification (as in scrubbers and such). It goes up against the likes of Fluor
These shares have already had a fine run, and the question remains whether the market has already fully baked in the growth that will come from more marine and power business. It's a tough call, but I wouldn't be in a huge rush to sell if I owned these shares.
For more constructive Foolishness:
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).