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Pall Falters, but Doesn't Fall

By Chris Jones - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:59PM

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A weaker global economy could stunt Pall Corp.'s sales growth.

Wise men say that you can deep-fry nearly anything. Well, the same goes for filtering, which is what Pall's (NYSE:PLL) products do to an array of runny substances ranging from oil and water to pharmaceuticals and bodily fluids. Between its two major segments -- industrial and life sciences -- New York-based Pall does pretty well for itself. And don't call Pall a filter company; "fluid management specialist" is the preferred nomenclature.

Such clever monikers may be one of many tactics Pall uses to differentiate itself from competitors. It has to scrap for market share with the filtration arms of giants like Siemens (NYSE:SI), General Electric (NYSE:GE), and 3M (NYSE:MMM). Additionally, there are small to mid-sized companies to fend off. On the industrial side, both Donaldson (NYSE:DCI) and ESCO Technologies (NYSE:ESE) wouldn't mind helping themselves to a piece of its revenues. Pall isn't alone in the life sciences segment either. There are other longtime players such as Millipore (NYSE:MIL), which has been around nearly as long as Pall, a seasoned sexagenarian.

With so many fish in the fluid processing sea, Pall's owners should take pleasure in its continued sales growth, though it is expected to slow: Management capped full-year growth expectations at 4% in local currency. Last quarter's results were reported as follows.

Pall

Sales
(in millions)

Net Income
(in millions)

Earnings Per Share

Q1 2009

$578

$43

$0.36

Q1 2008

$561

$36

$0.29

Growth

3.0%

19.3%

24.1%

The strengthening dollar lowered Pall's first-quarter sales by about $7 million, or 1.3%. Next quarter's top line should suffer more because of the precipitous weakening of the euro and British pound toward the end of its first quarter.

Foolish takeaway
Pall appears to be a solid company with management that is prepared to guide it through the oncoming economic onslaught. However, its market price seems to be in tune with its prospects. If it takes a walloping down the line, I might be persuaded to reconsider. Add it to the watch list, and keep looking.

Further reading:

Fool contributor Chris Jones does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. 3M is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is backed by the full faith and credit of the 1991 Atlanta Braves.

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Stocks Mentioned

General Electric Company Stock Quote
General Electric Company
GE
$77.39 (3.28%) $2.46
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
SIEGY
$56.34 (3.87%) $2.10
3M Company Stock Quote
3M Company
MMM
$149.69 (1.25%) $1.85
Donaldson Company, Inc. Stock Quote
Donaldson Company, Inc.
DCI
$55.66 (2.96%) $1.60
ESCO Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
ESCO Technologies Inc.
ESE
$81.70 (2.28%) $1.82

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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