Cramer's Mad Money - The Two Most Underpaid CEOs (4/12/10)

 |  Includes: AER, AKAM, BA, CASY, CIEN, F, GPS, SBUX, SUN, UA, V
by: Miriam Metzinger

Stocks discussed on the in-depth session of Jim Cramer's Mad Money TV Program, Monday April 12.

Valuing a CEO: Ford Motor (NYSE:F), Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX)

With all the talk lately about rewarding CEOs based on their performance and to reduce the number of "fat cats" who are doing minimal work for huge compensation packages, Cramer discussed two underpaid CEOs: Ford's (F) Alan Mulally and Starbucks' (SBUX) Howard Schultz. Both men turned their companies around from the Great Recession. “Now that’s worth big bucks for the shareholders,” Cramer said. “Frankly, you can't pay a turnaround artist enough.”

"A CEO's worth is determined by a whole lot more than his company's share price," said Cramer.

Mulally restructured Ford's $10 billion debt without help from the government, cut costs and saw a 337% rise in Ford's stock price. Mulally received a $17.9 million salary for his efforts. Howard Schultz, who was paid $15 million in 2009, closed underperforming stores, reinvented Starbucks' brand, inspired the company's focus on hospitality and saw a 144% rise in Starbucks' stock price and an increase in same store sales from 1% to 4%.

"These guys are worth every penny," said Cramer, "and more."

Better Late than Never?: Ciena (NYSE:CIEN), Under Armour (NYSE:UA), Gap (NYSE:GPS)

Cramer said what pushed the Dow past 11,000 were a group of analysts who came late to the party and upgraded stocks close to their 52 week highs. Even Ciena (CIEN), which has been a hated stock, is suddenly considered a "buy" by a certain analyst from Bank of America, even though the stock has already risen 88%. Under Armour (UA) and Gap (GPS) were also upgraded, but only after the analysts missed the move.

But better late than never. Cramer thinks the next wave of upgrades will be in aerospace, infrastructure, banks, timber companies and the broader technology group.

"We've had 18 months of gains," said Cramer, "but the markets aren't done yet."

Mad Mail: Visa (NYSE:V), Boeing (NYSE:BA), AerCap (NYSE:AER), Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM)

When a viewer asked why Visa (V) hasn't moved up, given the increase in consumer spending, Cramer said the stock has "moved unbelievably over the course of the last six months, not the last six days," and he urged investors to "not get too micro-focused." Cramer prefers Boeing (BA) over AerCap (AER) on the recovery in the aerospace sector. One viewer took issue with Akamai's (AKAM) accounting, but Cramer would still buy the stock as a strong play on the internet tsunami.

Sunoco (NYSE:SUN), Casey's Stores (NASDAQ:CASY)

Alimentation Couche-Tard’s $2 billion offer for Casey's Stores (CASY) gave Cramer an idea for his next pick in the energy sector. Since that deal involves paying $1.5 million for each Casey's store, a similar deal would make Sunoco (excluding Sunoco Logistics Partners, its pipeline master limited partnership) worth $6.1 billion compared to its $3 billion market cap. The Street has yet to realize the hidden value of these assets if broken up, and Cramer thinks Sunoco, 53% of which is refining, may be an attractive takeover for Valero (NYSE:VLO), Tesoro (NYSE:TSO) or a similar company.

There are other reasons, besides a prospective deal, to buy Sunoco. The gas station convenience stores generate 28% of Sunoco's revenues, and the scale of operation is "simply enormous." Sunoco is raising cash by divesting its least popular stores and is cutting costs. Sunoco owns 33% of Sunoco Logistics Partners, a publicly traded MLP which generates 13% of Sunoco's revenues. The MLP has 2,200 miles of refined pipelines and 3,800 crude pipelines with 21.2 million barrels of crude oil storage capacity.

While Sunoco spun off 4% of its chemicals business, it kept phenol, a chemical used in plastics. The company should benefit when plastics "take off" said Cramer. Sunoco's "hidden gem" is its metallurgical coal business, which generates 2% in revenues and has jumped 129% since the last quarter.

Cramer concludes that Sunoco is a "buy, buy, buy."


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