The recession wasn't all bad. Some companies learned fiscal discipline when times were hard, and now they look better than ever. Such is the case with Vishay Intertechnology (NYSE: VSH).

Three months ago, Vishay promised up to $690 million in fourth-quarter sales with margins at least as strong as in the terrific third quarter.

The results are in, and Vishay delivered on its promises. Sales improved by 13.4% year-over-year to $689 million, just shy of the very top of that guidance range. Take out the $46.9 million that Vishay Precision Group (NYSE: VPG) contributed last year, before its spinoff, and you're looking at a more impressive 23% improvement.

Gross and operating margins stayed within shouting distance of their third-quarter cousins, far above year-ago levels, and one-time tax gains took net margins to a whole new level. The tax effects aren't sustainable, but Vishay seems to have reached a comfortable level of operating efficiency.

That doesn't necessarily make the company best in class; head-to-head rivals ON Semiconductor (Nasdaq: ONNN) and AVX (NYSE: AVX) both have fatter operating margins than Vishay, though neither can match Vishay's growth. But in the end, it's tough to find an electronics-component supplier of Vishay's caliber at anywhere near the stock's deep-discount valuation.

This stock has more than doubled over the last year but still looks like a tremendous value. There's gold in them thar capacitors and analog chips, and the stock should catch up with Vishay's efficient operations in due time. It's a four-star CAPS stock (out of five) for a reason, and Vishay surely belongs on your watchlist.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.