So, call me a scandal magnet and a contrarian, but I'm starting to believe in Tyco again.
Last night, the conglomerate warned it would miss profit targets for this fiscal year. It's looking to earn between $1.40 and $1.50 a share, while the company was comfortable with projections as rich as $1.75 a share just a few months ago.
Tyco will take another accounting hit in the March quarter, due to its European fire and security business. However, it's sticking to cash-flow estimates of between $2.6 billion to $3 billion this year. Free cash flow (FCF) may clock in as high as $1.85 billion, in line with the $482 million in FCF it produced in Q1.
That prices the company at 15 times this year's projected FCF (or a heftier 25 times, once you tack on its net debt to arrive at its more telling enterprise value), but you have to consider that these returns are taking place during its reorganization. The company offers an impressive collection of industry leaders and niche specialists that should show dramatic improvement once Tyco finishes its asset sales, and morale and direction return to the conglomerate's various subsidiaries.
But, do you believe Tyco? Some argue that you can only lose credibility once. Bill Buckner could've gone on to field thousands of routine grounders, and he would still be remembered for the one that got away. History may not be any kinder to Tyco. It will take time before some money managers buy back in, if only to save face when they have to mail out quarterly fund reports and type in Tyco, and all that the name implies, to their base of unsophisticated yet headline-savvy investors.
That doesn't mean that you have to wait that long. You are only accountable to you.
Disgraced ex-CEO Dennis Kozlowski is long gone. So is every single member of the board of directors that served during the company's accounting scandals. With every quarter of meaty cash flow, the company distances itself from its incredulous past. That's why I believe in Tyco. I believe what it says. I believe where it's going.
Tyco investors are pondering everything from the merits of jail time to the company's eclectic collection of properties on the Tyco discussion board. Do you think it's a worthy turnaround story now? Share your take.