"That's what you get when you let your heart win.
I drowned out all my sense with the sound of its beating,
And that's what you get when you let your heart win."
-- From "That's What You Get," by Paramore, 2008
As the economy veers out of the recession, people are buying premium-quality tech gear again. That's why Logitech International
In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010, Logitech reported sales of $525 million, 29% above the year-ago period. The company also posted $0.14 in earnings per share, compared to a $0.20 loss in 2009. Driven by 58% higher sales in the margin-rich remote controls division, as well as 54% sales improvement in the strategically important Americas market, gross margins exploded from 25% in 2009 to 35.8% this time. That's an eye-popping 1,080 basis points better -- and a fourth-quarter company record.
Now, Logitech's sales improved in every reportable region and product category, including the not-so-fat areas. But the mix got richer, and so did the bottom line. The company's traditional standing as a premium brand in a sea of white-box no-names makes Logitech a logical first choice for consumers willing to pay a little bit more for richer feature sets, nicer design, or better ergonomics. And nobody really challenges Logitech in every market: Philips
That gives Logitech plenty of strategic options for responding to challenges and opportunities in the market. Now that the tide is lifting every boat, management can pick and choose which segments to market and develop harder than the rest, rather than putting all its guns behind a big-but-poorly-performing product, like some companies I could mention. Right now, that means investing in digital home products like remotes and home audio systems. I expect Logitech to do very well in those segments.
Logitech's stock sagged on the news, despite beating analyst estimates, raising its forward revenue guidance past the Street's consensus, and projecting positive operating income. All told, the stock has climbed only 26% over the last 12 months, while the Nasdaq index took a 46% leap. Whether it's profit-taking en masse or some misguided sense of Logitech's stock getting ahead of itself, I think that's just wrong.
I smell a buy-in opportunity here. How about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. National Poetry Month itself is Anders' paramour. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Nintendo is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Logitech International SA is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Motley Fool Options has recommended a write covered calls position on Logitech International SA. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Logitech International SA. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.