Instead of Diogenes using his lamp to hunt for honest people, I stroll around with a spreadsheet looking for cheap companies. Actually, make that cheap and good companies -- cheap is easy enough to find, but cheap and good is the real trick. Today, that brings me back to RPMInternational
There are a couple notable things about RPM to keep in mind. First, the company is pretty entrepreneurial and generally gives meaningful autonomy to its operating units. While not every manager can handle that sort of freedom, it's an environment where quality people can really take an opportunity and run with it. Second, the company has numerous leading (that is, No. 1 or No. 2) consumer brands as well as several very competitive and attractive industrial brands.
That all spelled a pretty decent quarter this time out. Sales were up more than 20%, as reported, with organic growth up above 12%. Though gross margins did drop (because of a combination of higher materials costs and the impact of some acquisitions), adjusted operating income and net income both rose by more than 20%.
Unfortunately, that "adjusted" part requires some discussion. Like so many other companies ranging from ABB
I wish I could come away from this story a little more positively. I do like the company's corporate culture, and there is definitely a long-term history of above-average performance here. Unfortunately, even with strong demand in areas like energy (drillers/producers use RPM's corrosion control products, among others), I just don't see a lot of undervaluation in the shares. It's not overvalued to an extent where I'd advise people to lock in profits, but I'd need a bigger discount to today's price to want to buy for my own account.
For more Foolish thoughts on the chemical sector:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).