Sunday, June 8, 2014

Special Situation Ideas for week of 8-June-14

Those looking into some catalyst might want to ponder over these names for the week. I have done research on few of them, the other I have read online on Barron’s and other publications

Boise Cascade (BCC):
BCC, the country's second-largest manufacturer of plywood and engineered wood products, is another promising—and undervalued—housing play. While the U.S. housing recovery has been slower than many expected, the market is far from dormant. After a storm-battered winter, housing starts rose 13% month-over-month in April, meaning that there could be lots more improvement ahead. Madison Dearborn Partners bought the company in 2004, when Boise also owned timberland and a paper-packaging business. Madison sold off the timberland and paper-packaging operations before taking Boise public in February 2013 at $21 a share. BCC has more than 4,500 customers, including wholesalers, lumberyards, and big retailers such as Home Depot (HD). BCC could become a takeover target. Last year, Louisiana-Pacific (LPX), a big producer of oriented strand board, offered to buy its smaller rival, Ainsworth Lumber (ANS.Canada), but later dropped the bid after facing tough opposition from regulators. BCC's larger competitors include Georgia-Pacific and Weyerhaeuser (WY). Boise is in solid financial shape, with net debt of $216 million and expected free cash flow this year. At $26.50, BCC trades for an EV/EBITDA of 5.9x. Some in industry think that BCC’s share price can raise to $38. Management has said its priority for its cash is acquisitions, but according to analyst, management is open to the possibility of returning cash to shareholders. A buyback or a dividend would likely boost the stock.

Office Depot (ODP): ODP shares have fallen 89%, losing $10.1bn in valuation as strong competition from online retailers such as (AMZN). On 1-Nov-13 ODP merged with OfficeMax, for $1.2bn and few days later, hired a retail turnaround specialist, Roland Smith, as chairman and CEO. He's brought ODP back to profitability. The CEO seems like a perfect for the task ahead: basic blocking and tackling. ODP plans to close 400 stores, about 20% of total by FY16 and expects to realize $675m in annual savings. CEO wants to narrow focus, eliminating low-volume items. A detailed retailing plan should be ready by 3Q14. North America deliver 41% of revenue, but only 9% of profit. 
ODP can double its EBITDA to $800m by FY16. Additionally, 75% of ODP's store leases come up for renewal within five years, offering big savings. Some investors think stock could rise to $8 and some think it can double from where it is. And there's always the possibility of a sale to Staples. The FTC included online competition in its total market assessment when it blessed the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax. With online rivals like Newegg keeping the competitive pressure on, the door's open to a merger of the superstores.


MeadWestvaco (MWV): MWV is a global packaging company with 5 different lines of business, which presents a great opportunity for an activist to restructure and create value. On 2-July-14, Starboard filed a 13D, in which it declared a 5.6% in MWV. In the letter, Starboard Value is urging the board to improve operating margins, explore a separation of certain noncore assets, and improve capital allocation. Management announced a $125m cost-cutting plan however Starboard thinks it needs $300m in cost cutting. The fund thinks MWV can attain $69 per share. MWV has five businesses: food/beverage; home, health and beauty; industrial; specialty chemicals; and community development and land management. There two main paths to value creation here are margin improvement and selling or spinning off the specialty chemicals business, which is not synergistic with the company's core business. Other ways to create value would be to sell land assets and use $500m of debt and increased free cash flow generated from cost cuts to buy back shares. The entire company could also be sold to one of several strategic investors that would realize great operational synergies and be able to monetize the company's $1.5bn overfunded pension by merging it with their underfunded pension. The fund is also keep a close eye on the recently announced CEO succession plan, which will be key in shaping the future of the company.

EOG Resources (EOG): EOG was spun out of Enron in 1999. Today, it is a leading E&P participant in several prolific shale plays, including the Barnett Shale, near Fort Worth, and the Eagle Ford Shale in southern Texas. EOG is one of the biggest and best-run companies in the oil patch, is having a great FY14. Its crude-oil production surged 42% in the 1Q, beating estimates and can see a 32% jump in earnings this year. This may result from EOG recently increased output of oil and equivalents at the expense of natural gas. Helping to drive the gains are four new plays in Colorado, as well as increased output from existing shale plays. The Rocky Mountain sites could increase the predicted longevity of drilling inventory by 10 years. It also has substantial acreage in the Marcellus and Haynesville shale plays, and is well positioned to take advantage of any rise in natural-gas prices. EOG's EV/EBITDA is 6.9x roughly in line Chesapeake Energy (CHK) and Devon Energy (DVN), however EOG deserves a loftier multiple than the group, given its significant drilling inventory, superior production growth, lower debt ratio, and hefty 15.6% return on equity, compared with an average of 9.5% among peers. EOG shares could climb another 20% to $126 as production rises, winning the company a richer valuation.  

Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ): Canadian tar sands developers have generally encountered a difficult environment over the last two to three years because of the large headwinds, such as difficulty in transporting the fuel, logistical problems, quality of fuel and technology needed to extract oil from the sands. However, with the increased focused on technology and interest from Asia, amongst others catalysts, could this be a signal that fortunes in the tar sands sector are about to improve? A good way to play this turnaround ight be CNQ that has tripled on a split-adjusted basis since FY05. However it has languished for most of the past two years between the high 20s and high 30s. CNQ broke-out to a new three-year high in the low-$40s, though it is still 23% below its all-time high. Although the tar sands are not environmentally-friendly, CNQ possesses a number of attributes which offset this risk. CNQ is not exclusively a tar-sands investment, as it has a well balanced portfolio across natural gas (29% of 2013 total production), North American light crude/NGLs (10%), international light crude/NGLs (5%), North American heavy oil (27%) and oil (tar) sands (29%). The company’s proved oil and natural gas reserves exceed 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and its Horizon oil sands project has a 40-year-plus reserve life. The company’s operating cash flow target this year exceeds its planned capital spending by C$2.3bn and its long-term debt-to capital ratio was 28% at the end of the first quarter (including the current portion of long-term debt). Not surprisingly, given its cash generation and strong balance sheet, the company repurchased 10.2m common shares in FY13 and 2.1m shares this year, out of 1.1bn shares outstanding.

Personal Note: As I stated a while ago, CalAmp (CAMP), is worth a serious look. The market for M2M hardware, software for fleet logistics and insurance telematics is poised to be in a secular uptrend for years to come and CAMP is well positioned to take advantage of it. Those looking to invest longer term, will do well, to take a serious look into this company.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Ideas For The Week of 6-Jun-14

Those looking into some catalyst might want to ponder over these names for the week. I have done research on few of them, the other I have read online on Barron’s and other publications

Time Inc (TIME): Time Warner (ticker: TWX) decided to spin off Time Inc. which started trading trading on when issued basis. The shares will be distributed on June 6, with the ticker: TIME.  At USD 21, or about 10x FY14 EBIT before restructuring charges of $2.13 a share. That estimate is from Morgan Stanley analysts carry a fair-value range for the stock of $23 to $25 a share. Time's FCF yield is above 10%, reflecting modest capital expenditures of around $35 million annually. The company is targeting an annual dividend equal to 30% of FCF.  Considering the prominence of its publications and a venerable history dating back to its founding in 1922, Time has a modest market value of $2.4 billion, making it a possible takeover candidate down the road. Under its new CEO, Joseph Ripp, the company is moving to address these issues and cut costs, including workforce reductions and real-estate savings. Time incurred $63 million of restructuring charges in 2013 and it expects another $150 million in the first half of this year. The layoffs reflect increasing austerity at an organization once known for being a cushy place for journalists. Time is moving its headquarters from the Time-Life building in midtown Manhattan, in the hope to save $50m yearly from lower rental expense, although it expects to incur $120m to develop the new space.

Gannett (ticker: GCI) at recent $28, is trading under 11x earnings. GCI’s majority of profits come from local TV stations, thanks to a $2.2bn deal last year for Belo Corp. Meanwhile, all of Gannett's 80 local papers, from the Argus Leader, in Sioux Falls, S.D., to the Great Falls Tribune, in Montana, now have a pay wall in front of their Websites. The strategy has helped stabilize revenue at the publishing unit, just as an improving economy, political ads, and licensing fees are boosting broadcast operations. Total sales are likely to rise 15% this year to $6bn. Broadcast is an increasingly larger part of the company. GCI paid $215m for six Texas TV stations; the purchase comes five months after the company closed its much larger Belo deal, which brought 17 big-market stations into the fold. In all, the company will have 46 stations across the country. This year more than 50% of GCI’s $1.5bn in Ebitda will come from television.  Local station groups are increasingly insisting on big payments from pay-TV operators to carry their signals. The so-called retransmission fees were at the center of last year's dispute between Time Warner Cable (TWC) and CBS (CBS), which owns local stations in large markets. CBS ultimately forced the cable company to double its payments to $2 per subscriber. In 1Q, GCI's own retransmission fees jumped 66%. GCI still benefiting from its investment in On a sum-of-the-parts basis, Gannett's is probably worth $34 -- 20% and could reach $40.