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Amidst all the IPO hype, don't ignore the tried and true. Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (LECO - Analyst Report), founded all the way back in 1895, is expected to post double digit earnings growth for the third year in a row in 2012. This Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) doesn't just have growth, though, it also has value, with a forward P/E of just 13.7.
Lincoln Electric manufactures arc welding products, robotic arc-welding systems, and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment.
Headquartered in Cleveland, it has 45 manufacturing locations, including manufacturing facilities and alliances in 20 countries. The company also has distributors and sales offices in more than 160 countries.
Arc welding is used in many industries including metal working for transportation, construction and petrochemicals. Arc welding applications are used to manufacture heavy machinery and structural steel.
Arc welding is also the dominant joining method for building oil and natural gas pipelines and refineries.
On May 17, Lincoln Electric announced it was acquiring Wayne Trail Technologies, Inc., a maker of automated systems and tooling.
The Ohio manufacturer was privately-held, employed 162 people and had annual sales of about $50 million.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.
Lincoln Electric was particularly excited about Wayne Trail's success in the area of laser welding systems.
Record Sales in Q1
On Apr 24, Lincoln Electric reported its first quarter results and blew by the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.4%. Earnings were 76 cents, up 52% from 50 cents a year ago. The consensus was looking for just 67 cents.
Sales surged 21.4% to a record $727.1 million due to improved product mix, better pricing dynamics in all of its segments and a positive impact from recent acquisitions.
It saw strong year over year sales growth, particularly in equipment and automation.
Analysts Still Bullish on 2012
Lincoln Electric was optimistic back in April. The company said it remained focused on its global growth strategy.
The 2012 Zacks Consensus Estimate has risen 7% to $3.26 in the last 60 days.
That is earnings growth of 30% as the company made just $2.51 in 2011. That's not too shabby for a 117-year old company.
Value Can Still Be Found
Shares have been on a huge tear. They recently hit 5-year highs but started to pull back along with the rest of the market in May.
But there is still value in Lincoln Electric.
In addition to a P/E under 15, which is my cut-off for value, Lincoln has a price-to-book ratio of 2.9. This is just under the 3.0 cut-off I use for the P/B ratio for value. But it is value, nevertheless.
Lincoln Electric also has other solid fundamentals such as a 1-year return on equity (ROE) of 18.9%.
Shareholders also get a dividend, currently yielding 1.5%.
Lincoln Electric proves there are value stocks with good growth stories. You just have to know where to look.
Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec.