It's not entirely fair to call Rofin-Sinar (NASDAQ:RSTI) unknown. Money managers like Fidelity, Wachovia (NYSE:WB), and Royce all own shares. But it's not an especially well-covered stock, and cable news hosts don't wait for its earnings reports with breathless anticipation. Still, toiling in semi-obscurity hardly seems to hurt this laser-maker.

Sales rose another 22% this quarter, and margins continue to improve. Adding more than a percentage point to operating margins translated into about 35% operating income growth for Rofin-Sinar. The company has produced a year-to-date return on employed capital close to 20%, a very good result by almost any standard.

Supplying the larger industrial world has been something of a mixed blessing of late. Companies like Eaton (NYSE:ETN) and Danaher (NYSE:DHR) are doing well, but smaller supply-oriented companies like Grainger (NYSE:GWW) and Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) have had more disappointing performances.

It seems that part of Rofin-Sinar's secret is to bypass the stagnant Western European economies and the possibly slowing American economy. Asia continues to be a major growth region for the company, and I'd expect that to continue. Manufacturing is increasingly moving offshore, and Chinese, Indian, and Korean companies realize just as well as Americans that there is more money to be made from automation when wages start to rise.

Valuation is often my biggest hang-up on many of the companies I analyze for The Motley Fool, and Rofin-Sinar has been no exception in the past. That said, it looks like improvements in the business may be outpacing share appreciation, and the stock has begun to look pretty attractive to me. Fellow Fools might want to sharpen their pencils, dig in, and see whether this laser-maker makes the cut for their own portfolios.

Further focused Foolishness:

Pinpoint a profitable portfolio with help from Tom Gardner, Bill Mann, and the Motley Fool Hidden Gems team. Discover why Rofin-Sinar made their list of superior small caps when you try Hidden Gems free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).