I think there are two groups of winners in the evolution to levers: the small companies like Design House, Weslock and Continental Hardware who are likely prime M&A targets and the people who sell levers like Home Depot and Lowe’s (LOW).
As the industry evolves, the retailers will be able to change with the times continuing to offer their customers exactly what they’re looking for. As door knobs start to disappear from the housing landscape, any firm hitched to the past is going to go the way of the horse and buggy. All five of these firms appear to be ahead of this trend and are ready to meet the needs of consumers in the years ahead.
People who like door knobs.
I’ve never really given it much thought, but once upon a time in the 1800s door knobs weren’t just pieces of utilitarian hardware, they were decorative art. That’s all been lost in recent times and not because the city of Vancouver has sped up their demise. Let’s face it, door knobs and levers for that matter are pretty mundane objects. They allow us to enter and exit rooms. Beyond that, nobody cares.
Opponents of levers suggest they’ll make it easier for young children to access rooms they shouldn’t putting them in potential harm. While levers are easier to use than door knobs, I don’t think the average two-year-old is going to know the difference. And if it becomes a big problem you can be sure the manufacturers of door hardware will create a solution.
I like both Spectrum Brands and Allegion. On the one hand, you have the diversity of products offered by Spectrum. But on the other you have pure-play spinoff Allegion, which is likely to experience significant appreciation over the next 18 months as it’s able to focus on its business and not get lost in the shuffle of a much larger conglomerate.
It’s a close call, but if I could only own one, I’d have to go with Allegion.
As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.