Just like Hollywood producers, the Motley Fool community loves a good comeback story. And Maxim Integrated Products
The Great Recession certainly took its toll on microprocessor developer Maxim. In fact, it took a toll to the tune of a nearly 97% decline in fiscal 2009 earnings per share. Ouch! Yet the company still managed to eke out a profit for the year, despite a large dent in its sales as a result of the difficult economic conditions.
Although Maxim struggled last year, it wasn't alone. Analog and mixed-signal competitors Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI) and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) also had problems on the earnings front last year. However, none of them had a decline in earnings to the extent that Maxim did. While most investors were trying to determine which chip manufacturer would come out of the recession as the industry leader, it appeared that Maxim held the title of industry dunce.
Now a few quarters later, Maxim's stock price has rebounded from its ghastly lows in early 2009. Last quarter, before the company restated earnings to reflect a lawsuit settlement over options backdating, Maxim reported earnings of $0.21 per share, a far cry from the $0.09 loss per share in the same quarter a year earlier. After the restatement, Maxim once again showed a loss, but the company's underlying business was strong. And after a few positive quarters, Maxim shareholders can rest assured that the company will have sufficient cash on hand to continue its healthy 4.5% dividend yield and stock repurchases.
Looking forward, it seems that Maxim may have trouble regaining all of the business it lost during the recession, as both consumers and businesses are more cost-conscious than before. Maxim may not make you a millionaire, but its strong financial position (no debt) and its willingness to return profits to shareholders will at least ensure that its investors can count on getting some compensation, no matter the future direction of the broader stock market.
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Editor's note: This article was changed to drop a reference to competitors in the microprocessor space. Maxim competes with Texas Instruments and Analog devices for mixed signal and analog circuit sales.