Polaris Industries (NYSE:PII) is a leading innovator in the power-sports market and came out of the recession ready to take market share -- and it did so very well.
Polaris produces off-road vehicles such as ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles, among other products, and it has posted a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20% over the past five years. The good news is that there seem to be even brighter days ahead. Here are three reasons to love Polaris as an investment.
Polaris is a highly respected and well-known brand in power sports, mainly because of its track record of producing innovative products. The company started with snowmobiles in the mid-1950s and has since gone on to dominate off-road vehicles, and it is continuing to innovate in its motorcycles segment with the Slingshot.
Polaris' Slingshot is exceeding expectations and is expected to generate more than 20% of the company's total motorcycle sales guidance when the books are closed on 2015. The company accelerated its production rate in April and is aiming for more than 420 dealerships in North America in the near future.
When looking for a market-beating investment, finding a proven innovator is critical. For proof that Polaris fits the bill for a proven innovator, just look at the percentage of sales that new products are generating for the company.
A company that can consistently generate more than 70% of its sales with products introduced in the past three years is very impressive. But beyond innovation, investors want to know that the company can turn valuable products into sound financial performance -- and Polaris has done this well.
One metric I always look at when evaluating investments is the return on invested capital, or ROIC. It's simply a calculation that assesses a company's efficiency at using its capital to generate further returns. Here's a quick look at how Polaris' ROIC compares to its peer average and to the S&P 500 for return on assets and ROIC:
Polaris' stock price has performed well over roughly that same time period. Polaris' five-year-plus total return from Dec. 31, 2009, through July 30, 2015, was an impressive 596% compared to its peer average of 186% and the S&P 500's 89%.
It's evident that Polaris has excelled at designing innovative off-road vehicles, but how long can it continue producing unique snowmobiles, ATVs, and motorcycles? That answer isn't clear, but what investors should realize is that there is still plenty of potential for Polaris to expand into adjacent markets.
The Multix is a great example of Polaris' potential to reach into new markets. Polaris entered into a joint-venture product launch for the Multix, which is a multi-role personal vehicle aimed at small/micro business owners in India. The 50/50 joint venture has cost Polaris a roughly $27 million investment thus far, but the target market for the Multix is estimated to be greater than 60 million people.
Production started at the end of July, and at launch, there will be roughly 30 dealers, but that is estimated to grow to more than 200 by the end of this decade. The joint venture is expected to be profitable by 2018, and even a small fraction of the market could prove to be a very valuable addition to Polaris' top-line revenue growth.
Ultimately, there are plenty of reasons to love Polaris as an investment. The company has proven it can innovate great products in its existing categories and plans to reach out into new markets across the globe. Best of all, it's proven it can turn these products into financial success that tops its competitors' in many ways. If the company can stay on this path, it's a stock that should continue beating the market.