|Shares Out. (in M):||0||P/E|
|Market Cap (in M):||26||P/FCF|
|Net Debt (in M):||0||EBIT||0||0|
Concord Camera (LENS) has experienced some extremely difficult years as the digital camera market pricing has collapsed leaving the company with significant losses and restructuring charges. Over the last six months the numerous restructuring plans have finally begun to bear fruit, but nobody has noticed with the exception, that is, of the CEO, Ira Lampert, who has been an aggressive buyer of the shares. The shares have recently begun to rally despite a usually toxic 1:5 reverse stock split. Having been burned badly with these shares investors have stayed away, apparently missing the turnaround. But, there is much more here than just a simple turnaround story, namely some cold hard cash!
We could recount in intricate detail the company’s (and shareholders’) pain and suffering over the past three years, which would make great reading for students of business history, but what is most relevant for our analysis is what now remains of the company. The company is now essentially a manufacturer of single-use cameras in
Okay, I know what you are thinking. How viable is the single-use market? According to industry data, after years of robust growth, the single-use camera market reached its peak of 450 million units sold worldwide in calendar year 2004. Total worldwide sales of single-use cameras declined to 409 million units in calendar 2005 and are expected to have declined to 374 million last year. The company believes, however, that single-use cameras remain a large and viable category. The company claims that it is currently the third largest producer of single-use cameras in the world.
The turnaround began in the fourth quarter ending
The turnaround sounds mildly interesting, but what makes the story enticing is the company’s cash. The company has about $7.30 of cash per share and about $7.70 per share in net current assets! Thus, at $4.55 the shares sell for 62% of cash and 59% of net current assets, valuations that are consistent with a company in imminent collapse which is clearly not the case here. In the current dessert of value,
1) Ira Lampert: Mr. Lampert is the dogmatic and focused CEO of Concord. He is clearly over paid and difficult to work with but he has a relentless focus on returning the company to profitability. His management style may make it difficult to attract talent and investors. He may be resistant to returning the cash to shareholders. His recent purchase of the stock provides strong confirmation of his belief in the future of the company.
2) MT Trading: This group holds almost 24% of the company’s outstanding shares. They purchased shares aggressively at much higher levels a few years ago. They were very loud in demanding change in the beginning, but have been very quiet over the past year or so. They may have arrived at some type of understanding with Lampert. They are clearly not happy with the valuation and will be a force in getting the cash out of the company.
3) The Cash: Clearly, with the company now close to profitability and the market prospects limited, the company does not need the full $42 million in cash. What will happen to this cash? A cash distribution to shareholders or buyback is possible, but I would not expect it. It’s difficult to predict, but even a poor acquisition would be a benefit to shares that trade materially below their cash balance. At a minimum, the cash provides us a significant margin of safety.
4) Concentration of Customers: There is no question that this is the most significant issue with this company. With 75% of first quarter sales to Wal-Mart and Walgreens any hiccup here would hurt. The mitigating factor here is that, based on my research, the company’s
This situation is not without risk, but the margin of safety is huge here. The indications from the performance and the CEO purchases are that the turnaround has arrived. The valuation of the stock at less than 60% of working capital indicates the company is close to folding its tent which is not anywhere close to the truth. There may be some more puffs left in this cigar butt!
|Entry||01/19/2007 12:48 PM|
Have some questions for you:
1. Cash Flow - You said that it was break-even last quarter, but it looks like it was largely a factor of reduced inventories and A/R. They still had an operating loss. When will the business be break-even on an operating basis?
2. Restricted Cash - Why did you include the $9.2 million of restricted cash tied to their revolver in the $42 million cash figure?
|Subject||Reply to David|
|Entry||01/19/2007 01:28 PM|
1) I stated the company was cash flow break even in their fourth fiscal quarter ending June 30, 2006 and had a cash flow deficit of $700,000 in the last quarter which is the company’s first quarter ended September 30, 2006. Cash flow is defined as net earnings plus depreciation, amortization and non-cash charges less capital expenditures. (I should have called it net cash flow.)
You also asked when I expect the company to have an operating profit. My expectation is that they should be operating profitably by the end of this fiscal year, but I don’t have a high degree of confidence in my expectation. Management is not very open to making predictions.
2) Restricted Cash: I simply quoted the gross cash number in the write-up. The net current assets number I quoted provided a better perspective on the overall net position of the company.
|Entry||01/22/2007 02:30 PM|
I think you are bringing up exactly the same issue as Lil. Please, take a look at my reply to Lil which follows.
|Entry||02/09/2007 08:31 AM|
Definitely a very bad quarter. The key, obviously, is the magnitude of customer excess inventory. I am trying to get some more information on this front. This puts the company recovery into question.