Clean-room equipment maker Applied Materials
Support and maintenance services for manufacturing equipment already sold and deployed by customers is a growing contributor to the top and bottom lines, with sales in that sector growing from 12% of revenues in 2000 to twice that in the just-finished year. It's also a high-margin business with little or no R&D budget or manufacturing costs attached, so that growth vector is a welcome one, and an important factor in the company's overall profit growth.
That service revenue stream is akin to the strategy made famous by Procter & Gamble's
The company's closest North American competitor, KLA-Tencor
As always, you should do your own due diligence, but this company looks mighty tasty right about now -- especially since the stock looks downright cheap next to the competition. Oh, that inscrutable Mr. Market...
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund is a shareholder in Intuitive Surgical and Taiwan Semiconductor, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always in the money.