By and large, investors are often baffled when discovering that companies with stagnant or meager growth turn out to be profitable investments. But there are exceptions to every rule, and there's always more to investing than just jumping on board the latest hyper-growth story stock.
One such company, Income Investor pick Chunghwa Telecom (NYSE: CHT), reported its fourth-quarter and full-year results this week, and it showed there are still tiny nuggets of gold to be found if you look close enough. Chunghwa is Taiwan's largest telecommunications concern, offering all the basic consumer services -- fixed-line telephone, wireless communications, and Internet services.
Chunghwa reported that 2006 full-year revenue grew a meager 0.9% to $5.63 billion (in U.S. dollars). Internet and data revenue increased 9.9% year over year to offset a 5% decline in fixed-line revenues and essentially flat revenue from mobile services. From a revenue growth standpoint, Chunghwa is not nearly as exciting as U.S. counterparts like Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) or AT&T (NYSE: T), which have seen significant top-line growth from organic improvements and acquisitions.
But Chunghwa is literally a cash machine -- the company churned out just more than $3 billion in operating cash flow in 2006, an impressive 16.2% increase over 2005. One of Chunghwa's secrets to profit is efficient cost management -- the company reduced operating costs by 6.8% in 2006.
The other secret is in smart product and service strategy. Even though Taiwan's communications markets are essentially saturated, Chunghwa has proven successful at retaining customers and migrating them to higher-value services. For instance, users who are ditching traditional landline phone service are inclined to use Chunghwa's wireless or voice over Internet protocol services as a replacement.
On top of Chunghwa's ability to squeeze efficiency out of its operations, the company also pays investors a generous dividend that currently yields 6.8%. For those investors looking to match and beat the broader S&P performance, just holding the shares puts you most of the way there.
So while Chunghwa doesn't hit the high-growth radar like wireless firms China Mobile (NYSE: CHL) or American Movil (NYSE: AMX), there's still deep value in the company. Investors would be wise to consider an investment like Chunghwa when the shares present a compelling value for an efficient business.
For related Foolishness:
- Chunghwa Telecom: Dialing Up the Future
- China Mobile's Growing Empire: Fool by Numbers
- 3 Stocks to Run From
Fool contributor Dave Mock has never yelled "whaasssuuupp!!" into a cell phone, or any phone for that matter. He owns no shares of companies mentioned in this article. Dave is the author of The Qualcomm Equation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.