Take a look at this investor presentation from Gardner Denver (NYSE:GDI), one of my core industrial holdings. What I admire about this company is how its operating cash flow is up almost 10x since 1994 while the company has diversified its product line and its geographic source of revenue. In fact, operating cash flow has better than tripled in the four years ending 12/31/06.
Here's a company supplying really dull stuff (compressors, pumps, vacuums, blowers, fluid transfer equipment, lift arms) to a wide swath of industries (health care, aviation, printing, F&B, energy). Ten years ago roughly 75% of GDI's revenue came from the U.S. Revenue is up 8x in that time and the U.S. supplies about 42%. The international growth has come largely from Europe, as Asia is still about 10% of revenue.
As a manufacturer of industrial goods for industrial companies, GDI is tethered to capital spending trends. If you believe that as half the world's population migrates to Western living standards, all sorts of businesses will have to bulk up their capacity, then companies like GDI will benefit. If you believe that protectionism and investment taxation are growing, it's all but certain that capital spending will slow and GDI will slow right with it.
Since I added to my GDI position during August, you can probably guess what I think.
Disclosure: Author is long GDI