Stephen Simpson, CFA
Long only, growth at reasonable price, value, research analyst

Lawson Products Toils Away In Obscurity

I would never say that the industrial maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) space is wildly popular with investors, but analyst coverage for Grainger (NYSE:GWW), Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST), Applied Industrial Technologies (NYSE:AIT), and MSC Industrial (NYSE:MSM) does at least stretch into the double-digits. By comparison, Lawson Products (NASDAQ:LAWS) is barely covered at all.

It takes more than obscurity to make a bargain, though. To that end, I'm concerned about the long history of uninspired financial performance from Lawson, as well as a business model that appears to overlap with many better-positioned rivals without a true, strong core of specialization. On the other hand, management is relatively new here and the MRO market...

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