Hidden Gems For 2010

By Joseph Nguyen | June 29, 2009 AAA

Let's take a look at some stocks to keep an eye out for the second half of 2009 and going into 2010. These companies have a strong balance sheet with good liquidity and the ability to weather the current recession. They also have a good history of revenue and earnings growth, and current valuations that are below those of their peers.

IN PICTURES: Eight Ways To Survive A Market Downturn

Company Name Ticker 5-Year Sales Growth Ann 5-Year EPS Growth LT Debt/Equity Price/Earnings
Boots & Coots AMEX:WEL 67.28 251.72 0.36 5.8
Chase Corp AMEX:CCF 11.65 20.17 0.01 10.7
Furmanite Corp NYSE:FRM 23.73 144.16 0.01 8.7
Bio-Imaging Tech Nasdaq:BITI 23.59 22.92 - 9.5
data source: Zacks screener at June 30, 2009

Boots & Coots
Boots & Coots provides services to oil and gas companies, including pressure control, well intervention and equipment services. In spite of the challenging economic scenario going into 2009, WEL managed to record revenue growth of 87% in its pressure control segment and 113% in the equipment services segment for the first quarter of 2009. However, WEL also recorded a 24.8% revenue drop in its well intervention segment. Overall though, revenue increased by 21.4% year over year, to $54.66 million from $45.03 million.

WEL's balance sheet also looks good to weather the current storm. At the end of the first quarter, the company had total working capital of $41.7 million and a current ratio of about 1.78 and a debt to equity ratio of 0.36. (Learn about the components of the statement of financial position and how they relate to each other in our article, Reading The Balance Sheet.)

Some risks you should be aware of with the company is that it does a lot of its business internationally. Recently, WEL had to suspend its operations in Venezuela because of plans by the Venezuelan government to nationalize foreign oil companies and because Petroleos de Venezuela's, the state company, failed to honor its contract with WEL. This was one of the events that caused a drop in revenue in well intervention services, but this could end up being a one-time impact on its earnings. WEL's main competitors include Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), Superior Energy Services (NYSE:SPN), and RPC Inc (NYSE:RES).

Chase Corp
Chase is a manufacturer of a variety of laminates, tapes, coatings, sealants and provides other manufacturing services. Chase is another company under pressure from current macroeconomic conditions, but it has a strong balance sheet that should help it get through this downturn. Their most recent quarterly report showed current working capital of $23.3 million with cash on hand of $2.6 million. CCF only had $655,000 outstanding on their line of credit at the end of their second quarter. Revenue, on the other hand, decreased 18% to $23 million, from $28.2 million, from the previous year.

It is somewhat reassuring that Peter R Chase, CEO of Chase Corp, owns a 10% stake in the company. He also increased his stake by 2,000 shares in April at a price of $8.56 a share. Chase also still pays an annual dividend of 35 cents, currently yielding about 3%. Some of Chase's competitors include 3M (NYSE:MMM) and PPG(NYSE:PPG).

The Bottom Line
These companies are less well known than their peers, but they have strong balance sheets and business that should rebound once the recession abates. (Read Buy When There's Blood In The Streets, to learn how contrarian investors find value in the worst market conditions.)

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