Sunday, May 14, 2017

Halma Playing Defense With Some Aggression

Human beings are pretty much driven to categorize, so I don't really blame analysts for trying to categorize companies and their business mixes as "late-cycle" or "defensive", but those designations can sometimes hinder as much as they help. Halma (OTCPK:HLMAF) (HLMA.L) is indeed "defensive" by some metrics, but this is a company that is more than happy to go on the offensive - witness the company's roughly 10% trailing compound revenue growth rate, its double-digit FCF growth rate, its double-digit returns on invested capital, and its preference for redirecting cash flow toward continuous M&A as opposed to sending it back to shareholders.

What's also not so defensive about Halma is the valuation. Trading at around 18x my fiscal 2018 EBITDA estimate, Halma's virtues are not ignored by the Street, though I won't tell you that the low-teens FCF growth baked into the valuation is unreasonable or unattainable.

Investors will note that Halma's ADRs have that dreaded "F" at the end. Although the shares are reasonably liquid in terms of average daily trading volume, the liquidity can be very lumpy, and I would suggest that investors interested in Halma consider buying the London-listed shares.

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Halma Playing Defense With Some Aggression

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