What: Shares of 5N Plus (FPLSF 9.59%) rose more than 17% Wednesday after the company released encouraging fourth quarter results.
So what: Though lower commodity prices caused quarterly revenue to fall 7% year over year to $119.4 million, 5N Plus managed to swing to a net profit of $2.1 million. By comparison, 5N Plus turned in a $6.9 million adjusted net loss in the same year-ago period.
As a result, 5N Plus' full-year 2013 sales totaled $459 million, with earnings of $0.51 per share. Analysts, on average, were looking for significantly lower 2013 earnings of $0.22 per share on sales of $486.92 million.
In addition, 5N Plus was able to decrease its debt by $78.2 million over the last year, leaving just $58.3 million in debt remaining by the end of 2013.
Now what: CEO Jacques L'Ecuyer weighed in: "We ended the year with a relatively strong quarter with EBITDA levels reaching close to $8 million and quarterly revenues at their highest level since the beginning of the year, reflecting a more favorable business environment despite the typical year-end demand softness patterns."
To be sure, even after 5N Plus successfully weathered a tough year, investors might be hesitant to step into the stock now. Even after today's pop, however, I think shares of 5N Plus still reflect much of that pessimism trading at only 0.68 times last year's sales and seven times this year's expected earnings. If 5N Plus can manage to maintain its current momentum, there's no reason the stock shouldn't continue to reward patient shareholders from here.