Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Alloy Steel: Plenty of Reason for Being Cheap, but not This Cheap

A stock I bought recently is Alloy Steel (AYSI). I can understand why it would turn off a lot of investors, but that may be why it's so ridiculously cheap.

Alloy management is not very communicative, and the stock trades on the OTC market. It's headquartered in Australia and counts the mining industry (is anyone not scared of a China bubble bursting that takes down this industry?) as one of the major customers of its service, which is the application of a proprietary substance to protect steel equipment from abrasion. The company's founder just died, making the future highly uncertain.

Still here? Okay now for the good news.

The company has grown its book value by 46% per year since 2008, and yet you can buy the company at 80% of book! There is no debt, and ex-cash, the company trades of a P/E of about 4!

The odds of this micro situation are in the investor's favour, and as far as I'm concerned that trumps any macro concerns I may have, and I do. While I can't predict what will happen to the mining industry, I suspect this company can weather any storm. The service Alloy provides allows miners the ability to lower downtime, which is so costly that I suspect these mining customers would be willing to pay a pricing premium to get the abrasion protection they feel they need, which positions Alloy well in the value chain.

Good luck!


Anonymous said...

Hi Saj,

This has become a frustrating investment and management does not seem to be very shareholder friendly.

Now that mining and metal stocks appear to be coming out of their multi year slump it seems that business should start to improve.

Is the family ownership holding this back?

Are you still holding on to this one?



Saj Karsan said...

Hi FV,

Yes I still own it. The owners don't seem to care about the stock price, but they seem diligent to me in running their business, so I continue to hold.