Let me say this again. Are you looking for a winner in outsourcing? Look no further than circuit-board manufacturer JabilCircuit
Look at the top customers: Cisco
Look at the latest quarter, which also marks the end of the company's fiscal year. Net revenue increased 25% from the same quarter a year ago. Net income really soared -- up 59%.
Now look forward. The company expects 8% to 18% sequential revenue growth next quarter. Earnings, pegged at $0.40 and $0.44 a share for that first quarter, will be up strongly from $0.32 in the same quarter a year ago.
In an industry known for thin operating margins, Jabil's were downright meaty at 4.5% across the trailing-12-month period. Compare that with the 3% margins at the biggest competitor, Flextronics
Though things look pretty, investors should remember that this is a cyclical game. Companies are subject to a squeeze on either side, as raw materials and input prices fluctuate, and end users (companies like Cisco, HP, and IBM) generally wield significant pricing power. In fiscal years 2001 through 2003, Jabil restructured its operations and took restructuring and impairment charges to get its cost structure to where it is today. Those cost structure improvements have allowed it to squeeze a little bit more, but that doesn't mean it's immune going forward. The point is, today's story is not necessarily tomorrow's.
Analysts see a bright future: They expect earnings to grow at 25% a year for the next five years. Jabil's stock is selling for 15.6 times projected earnings for the fiscal year ending August 2006. That is a significant discount to the company's expected growth rate, but it does reflect the economic cycles that can turn manufacturing constraints into an abundance of production capacity. Still, cash-rich Jabil is the premier company in this industry, and I'd wager it looks pretty attractively priced, too.