The market has had a nearly uninterrupted move higher over the past four months, so I constantly need to remind myself not to forget about potential value plays. Value, of course, is in the eye of the beholder, but one of the factors I've been on the lookout for is a strong cash position. Cash can be used as a buffer during rough economic times, while it also provides the financial flexibility to make purchases or provide that "dangling carrot" for a potential acquiring company.
Below, I've outlined two micro-cap stocks that passed my initial value test in that they are cash-rich, profitable, and trade at very reasonable price-to-book levels. Does this guarantee them both success? Not at all, but it's a great starting point for further research.
Full of hot air
A-Power Energy Generation Systems
Why would it be trading so inexpensively, you might wonder? The company has had a hard time booking recurring revenue, and it recently ended its supply agreement with General Electric
So why bother with A-Power? Currently, its net cash position amounts to 40% of its market cap. It's trading well below book value and at less than eight times 2011 profit projections. These initial figures look enticing.
Can you hear me now?
Nam Tai Electronics
Why is Nam Tai trading so cheaply relative to its peers? Fickle consumer spending habits since 2007 have provided a drag on revenues and eaten sharply into its overall profit. Despite the revenue decline, Nam Tai has seen profits recover in 2010.
So why buy Nam Tai and not one of its competitors? First, Nam Tai has paid out a dividend for most of its 18-year history of trading in the U.S., something not often found in a micro cap, despite a two-year hiatus during the recession. Also, Nam Tai is completely debt-free! Its $4.87 in cash per share accounts for 75% of its current stock price. With 2011 revenue growth expected to be about 10% and the stock trading at 16 times 2011 projections, I think Nam Tai is still compellingly valued.
Not all cash is created equal
It's important to remember that not all cash-rich companies are compelling stocks. Vanda Pharmaceuticals
Do you have a cash-rich company on your watchlist? Let's hear about it in the comment section below!
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Fool contributor Sean Williams does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong. Novartis and Nam Tai Electronics are Motley Fool Global Gains selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.