My Reasons for Coming Back to Arcelor Mittal

| About: ArcelorMittal (MT)
This article is now exclusive for PRO subscribers.
Sometimes, you're just sitting behind your desk and you suddenly remember something..

Well, when you're working in the securities industry that may very well be a certain company, a particular investment, one for which you still have kind of soft spot, but one you haven't really looked at for quite a while now.

In this case it concerns one of the first AEX-listed companies I ever invested in, one that just so happens to offer a full range of steel products and services; from commodity steel to value-added products, from long products to flat, from standard to specialty products, from carbon steel to stainless steel and alloys, so basically cool guy stuff.

Of course I'm talking about Arcelor Mittal (NYSE:MT), only the world's largest steel company, with industrial presence in over 20 countries and operations in more than 60. ArcelorMittal had revenues of $78 billion last year and crude steel production of 91 million tonnes, representing approximately 8% of world steel output, hardly peanuts.

I first started investing in MT during the end of '08 and was lucky enough to buy a huge chunk in 2009 at around €11.50, at what I now know to have been the bottom. I subsequently made a windfall on the retracement back to the €25 price range, its natural resting place when all is well (enough) in the world. However, in the end I was still left with somewhat of a bittersweet taste from this particular episode.

Why? Because I had sold too soon and I knew it. I had sold within 10 months, even though I knew the metrics. I knew the company had much more potential, I had simply gotten greedy. What happened next? Well, the shares did go up to €30 Euro in 2010 and then, to make matters worse, MT also decided to spin off Aperam (OTC:APEMY).

Fast forward to today. I'm staring at my screen, looking for a new place to put some capital to work and I suddenly remember Arcelor. I start wondering how the old girl is doing. Lo and behold, I forget to look for 10 months and the next thing I know, I'm suddenly back to buying shares in Lakshmi Mittal's company at €16 a pop like it's 2009. Oh dear, emotional investing, the horror!

Let me give you some boring valuation numbers, maybe you'll understand why I'm again having that loving feeling for Mr. Mittal and his beloved Arcelor. These are in Euro by the way, so just multiply by 1.45. Not-so-wise Mr. Market is currently valuing MT at a little over 25 billion Euro, 36.5 billion USD. Yes, at just 0.6 times book, and this book contains a lot of very nice assets.

One thing I particularly like about Mr. Mittal is that his Indian heritage evidently enables him to better understand the benefit of cutting unnecessary costs and managing risk. And how do you cut out the middleman and nasty commodity price fluctuations as a steel company? You buy as many mines as you can to secure supply and grow your processing and distribution businesses at the same time. When you make billions in profit each year you can fortunately do that.

Earnings per share for 2011 will be around the €2 range. 2012 EPS is expected to be around €2.70, and 2013 around €3,30. For my purchase price at €16 I see a 2012 FPE of 5.8. Dividend, always a nice bonus given the current unpredictable market climate, is set at €0.54 this year, €0.66 for 2012 and €0.74 for '13. Purchase price shows a 2012 dividend of 4.2%. Nice, but about to get a whole lot sweeter when you compare this with their EPS. The math is simple, this dividend is provided on a pay-out ratio of less than 25%. Only 24.2% to be exact.

I can give you a bunch of other metrics, but sometimes words are almost redundant. Arcelor is a global juggernaut, it has a PEG ratio of 0.38 (it grows like weed) and I will argue to no end that this is one of the best and safest investments to be found at this time.

Welcome back to the portfolio MT, I've missed you.
Disclosure: I am long MT.