Tiny Motors, Big Ambition by Leslie P. Norton
Highlighted companies: Nidec Corp. (NYSE:NJ)
Summary: Nidec Corp.'s (NJ) motors power hard drives, particularly the tiny ones found in iPods, digital camera shutters and other hand-held gadgets. Under the leadership of founder and CEO Shigenobu Nagamori, the company has become Japan's fifth biggest electronics company, with a market cap of $10.4b. Nagamori predicts sales will double to ¥1 trillion by 2010, along with a market cap of ¥2.5-3 trillion (close to $30b). He plans to accomplish this by boosting sales of non-related product lines such as machinery, auto, and electrical components. He also foresees continued strong growth in the hard-drive sector, where demand is currently growing 15% a year, due to the ever-increasing size of files users download. Acquiring competitors and suppliers is another key to NJ's growth; Nagamori plans to add ¥150b in sales through acquisitions domestically and in the U.S. Since founding the company, it has taken over 23 companies. He complains of being outbid by private equity funds, which he feels are overpaying, and predicts high failure rates for them over the coming years: "There will be plenty of busted deals to buy." Nidec's shares are currently down 16% since January; the Nikkei 225 index is down only 3%. Some see this as a buying opportunity. Greg Jones of Jadeite Capital: "[NJ] should be a core stock. Visibility is high for 15% to 20% growth going forward... The combination of having a track record and being on the side of shareholders is a strong one." Others are less optimistic, citing the company's present P/E ratio of 30 as, "close to fair value."
Quick comment: Credit Suisse Lowers Target Price for Nidec • but Nidec Gains Despite Sector Concerns and Another Target Share Price Cut • Steven Towns sees more upside and limited downside investing in more specialized manufacturing firms in consumer electronics as opposed to going after the big boys • Japan on Seeking Alpha
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