by Tim Melvin | November 22, 2013 6:00 am
Tech stocks get a lot of attention from traders and the media alike. Hot tech stocks like Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB) and Salesforce.com (CRM) are sexy, exciting issues that have a great story and move in huge chunks. We also see all kinds of excitement when companies like Microsoft (MSFT) release new gaming systems to the public, or Apple (AAPL) rolls out its latest iPhone, with special midnight sales and other such foolishness.
However, flashy tech companies just aren’t stocks to buy if you really care about value. For the most part, these shares are either wildly overvalued or just plain impossible to value.
However, in their excitement, people tend to forget that as exciting as all these products might be, there are a lot of nuts and bolts that go into these devices and sites. Social media would not be anywhere near as popular as they are if not for the ability to use the sites on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
I might never own the flashy companies, but I can own the tech stocks that make the flashy companies possible.
Alpha and Omega Semiconductors (AOSL) makes power semiconductors and integrated circuits used for power management and delivery. These products are used in wide range of products including notebooks, laptops, PCs and smartphones. That’s not AOSL’s only market, though — its circuits also are used in things like flat-screen TVs, wind turbines, solar inverters and gaming consoles.
Business in almost all of these products is impacted by the slow economy, however, and is a fairly competitive business. Still, Alpha and Omega is chugging along and is free cash flow-positive right now. AOSL is incredibly cheap, trading at less than 70% of book value and a little less than two times cash on the books. And that’s assigning no value to what might well turn out to be an incredibly valuable portfolio of roughly 250 patents.
Multi-Fineline Electronix (MFLX) has seen its stock hit hard — MFLX did a lot of business with troubled smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry (BBRY), whose difficulties have hurt Multifine’s revenues and profits. MFLX also has heavy exposure to the iPhone, so Apple is a huge percentage the company’s revenue. MFLX is trading at just 78% of book value and is also cash flow-positive.
The majority shareholder of Multi-Fineline just merged with Singapore-based United Engineers and they are shopping for a new majority buyer for MFLX. Should they be successful, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll come at a higher price than the current market level.
As of this writing, Tim Melvin was long AOSL and MFLX.
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