Last month, I discussed big, bad value daddy Ben Graham's penchant for stocks trading below net current asset value. I asked readers if they wanted an ongoing series, and the response was overwhelming: Bring on the bruised and beaten-down!
In that Grahamian spirit, let's turn to our next company under consideration: Gushan Environmental Energy
When I introduced Gushan to my fellow Fools in March, no one was gushing over the biodiesel beast from the East. My take was decidedly mixed. Margins were far fatter than those achieved by stateside biofuel shops, not to mention those of oil refiners like Valero Energy
The stock promptly doubled in price after I ran that article, making me look like a complete idiot. Then things fell apart, with the stock out-plunging the broader Chinese market. Bad for Gushan, good for my bruised ego. The shares now trade hands at around $2.
While my devotion to Trader Joe's keeps me far away from Whole Foods Market, I think Gushan offers quite a bit more value than "Two-Buck Chuck."
Granted, I was wrong about biofuels in 2008. Tapping Archer Daniels Midland
The simplest reason to be bullish on Gushan is that the firm is debt-free and trades below cash on hand. Yes, biodiesel prices are falling -- but so is the price of just about every other commodity, and that should include Gushan's inputs: vegetable oils and animal fats. Growth will undoubtedly slow, but the business isn't going belly-up.
Longer term, I wonder about biodiesel's ability to scale up enough to meet the needs of motorists. I just can't see Gushan becoming the next China Petroleum & Chemical
I'm not terribly tempted by these shares, but your mileage may vary.
Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Fool's disclosure policy has read Graham and Dodd's Security Analysis at least five times. So, Mr. Buffett, who's the best disciple now? OK, OK, you are.