If you've ever tried to juggle kids and a career or watched a co-worker try to do it, you can appreciate a company like Bright Horizons Family Solutions
Yesterday, Bright Horizons reported first-quarter 2005 earnings of $0.30 per diluted share on total revenue of $150.8 million, a 36% and 15% increase from the same period last year, respectively. The six analysts covering the stock expected the company to post earnings of $0.27 to $0.28 on revenues ranging from $150.1 million to $153.3 million.
Aside from its beating estimates yet again, Bright Horizons has a lot of other things that make it likable. It operates more than 577 centers in the United States, Canada, Ireland, and the UK. It is the dominant player in the emerging child-care business and boasts 84 Fortune 500 companies on its client list -- among them Bank of America
A quick financial check reveals virtually no debt, $42 million in cash, a rising 5.5% profit margin, and annual revenue growth of 17% to 19%. While insider ownership sits at 2%, considerably less than what I like to see, dilution has been kept to around 2% per year over the past seven years.
But all this good news and stability comes at a premium. You'll have to pay roughly 27 times 2005 forecast earnings, giving the company a PEG (price-to-earnings growth ratio) of 1.42. This is pricey compared with the rest of the market -- currently, the median stock forecast to grow earnings around 20% per year sports a PEG of 1.05 -- but not too far out of line with the personal services industry PEG of 1.35.
I won't go so far as to say that company is overvalued, because it isn't. Bright Horizons is a solid business with a seemingly -- I can't believe I've waited this long to use the line -- bright future. But the best time to buy a company like this is when it temporarily goes on sale during a heavy market downturn. Hence, I would hold off on opening a position until the PEG at least drops a little below the industry average.
For more on the company, see "Bright Horizons for Bright Horizons."
Fool contributor Marko Djuranovic does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.