Already this year, we've seen the world come together at the Winter Olympics and the World Baseball Classic. Similarly, UTi Worldwide
For FY 2006, gross revenues grew by 23% to $2.8 billion, led by a 42% increase in UTi's contract logistics division. Diluted EPS rose 27% to $0.90, up from $0.71 in 2005. Margins were up on all levels, even though the lower-margin contract logistics business was a larger percentage of revenues. The balance sheet continued to build strength as cash and cash equivalents increased to $246.5 million, with $113.4 million in debt. The excess cash allows the company to seek out further acquisitions, an important part of its business strategy.
For the year, free cash flow more than doubled to $113.2 million, as management significantly decreased the company's trade receivables. Future growth continues to look good as China and India become even more important players in international trade. The 23% growth rate that analysts are predicting for UTi could extend well beyond five years, making today's valuation seem reasonable.
UTi's strong performance since its 2000 IPO indicates a high-quality management team. Most members have been around since the company's inception in 1995 and have a vast amount of experience in the industry. This is crucial for UTi, since it must maintain a multitude of relationships in order to function properly. Fierce competition from the likes of Expeditors International
Even though this seems like a solid operation, there are enough risks to push it above my comfort level at the current valuation. First, insiders have been dumping a considerable amount of shares, both directly and indirectly through holding companies. Second, one of the founders announced his retirement this morning. Although CEO Roger MacFarlane and another key executive reassured investors that neither had any intentions of retiring in the near future, it's always tough to replace a founder. Finally, as a foreign entity based in the British Virgin Islands, UTi is not subject to the same regulations as U.S. companies.
While I don't expect any ills to befall the company, I'd feel more comfortable with a larger margin of safety before taking a position. For now, this one stays on my watch list.
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