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It Could Have Been Worse, Actuant

By Chris Jones - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:53PM

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Actuant survives its first quarter of 2009 with minor cuts and scrapes.

As 2008 comes to an end, it appears less and less likely that I'll be getting that new room slideout and retractable stepladder for my Winnebago this year. But my misery has company; one of Actuant's (NYSE:ATU) many segments caters to the RV market, and it would be an understatement to say it's seen better quarters.

The acquisitional industrial company stumbled out of the starting gate for its fiscal 2009. Its results were hampered both by non-cash impairment charges (mostly goodwill) in its RV business and unfavorable currency fluctuations. Though revenues generated by acquisitions helped its top line, it wasn't nearly enough to compensate for the havoc wreaked by economic disaster over the past 12 months.

After all was said and done, first-quarter results were $380 million in sales and $0.19 in earnings per share -- down 8% and 56%, respectively, from last year's first quarter, with several of its business lines posting double-digit revenue declines. What this means for those close to Actuant is more cost-cutting, cash hoarding, and consolidation. It's already taking place. Total headcount has been reduced by more than a quarter over the last year. And despite the difficult credit markets, the company was able to extend its credit facility by $110 million in November with JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC).

For investors, now seems like a good time to take a serious look at Actuant. Although it has around $700 million in long-term debt and the economic environment could get worse before it gets better, the company has a diverse list of well-established clients including Deere (NYSE:DE), Shell (NYSE:RDS-B), and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and it should be able to sustain sufficient belt-tightening.

Actuant has a PEG ratio of 0.66, which means that analysts expect its five-year earnings' growth rate to exceed its current P/E multiple of just under 10. Hopefully everyone now knows that Wall Street is far from infallible, but sentiment like this is encouraging nonetheless.

More Foolishness:

Fool contributor Chris Jones does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Actuant is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Wal-Mart is an Inside Value selection. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are Income Investor picks. Flatley, my dear, The Motley Fool's disclosure policy doesn't Riverdance.

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