Perficient recently presented at Southwestern Showcase 2006, an annual event held in Dallas during November. I'll be providing a recap of the events I was able to attend; be sure to check Motley Fool's daily headlines for updates.
Austin, Texas-based Perficient
This small-cap technology management consulting firm is currently trading at a lofty P/E multiple, but the business is growing rapidly and is generating impressive levels of cash flow.
At its presentation at Southwestern Showcase, management offered a straightforward explanation of its business: to help clients use the Internet and Internet-related technology to operate and improve their businesses. A big part of its business consists of implementing IBM
With just less than $100 million in total revenue in the latest fiscal year, Perficient has found plenty of avenues to grow quickly. Its organic growth rate is currently in excess of 20% annually, and it actively looks to acquire three to four smaller consulting firms per year. Management detailed that it is targeting $500 million in sales by 2010.
Growth has been rapid indeed, as sales have grown 37.4% on average over the past five years. Bottom-line trends have been more uneven, but Perficient has posted positive earnings for the past three fiscal years and operating cash flow has been running ahead of reported net income. Lately, the company has been spending more on making acquisitions than it generates internally, but debt levels still appear to be pretty modest overall.
Only a small handful of analysts currently cover Perficient, but based on their 2006 estimates, the stock is trading at just more than 34 times earnings. The burgeoning Motley Fool CAPS community is collectively maintaining much wider coverage and is emphatically bullish -- 111 of 113 players expect Perficient to outperform the market going forward. Be sure to check out the 20 or so detailed opinions for further insight.
Overall, Perficient will be an interesting company to keep an eye on. Potential drawbacks include the economic sensitivity of consulting, and the fact that growing via acquisitions is always more risky than doing so by internal means. Growth investors are well aware of the potential pitfalls, and a high P/E leaves little room for downside, but if Perficient continues expanding at its speedy pace, shareholders should be duly rewarded.
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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.