3 Reasons to Bet Big on This Stock


Here's a company that has clocked an impressive 11.3% jump in its first-quarter bottom line in spite of its inputs getting more and more expensive by the day.

Not only is specialty chemicals company RPM International's (NYS: RPM) performance impressive, there are other reasons that suggest this is one stock that could be worth your penny. Read on and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Great performance
Higher volumes and prices drove RPM's revenues to $985.9 million, up 10.2 % from last year. Organic sales have grown by 9% in both its consumer and industrial segments. This is worth noting, Fools, since RPM has been on an aggressive acquisition spree lately -- and such organic figures exclude contributions made by acquisitions.

While volumes are growing, input costs continue to be a pain for RPM. But it's not the only company falling prey to escalating costs. Sherwin-Williams' (NYS: SHW) second-quarter bottom line was hurt as costs ate into its 9.9% surge in revenues. Valspar (NYS: VAL) also buckled under the pressure, reporting a disappointing 10% dip in its third-quarter net income.

RPM, however, seems to be in a better standing than peers, as its gross margins slipped only marginally from 42% to 41.5% year-on-year. More importantly, the company managed to have a good grip on its administration expenses, helping its net profits grow to $76.8 million from $69 million a year ago.

Growing, and how!
The pace at which RPM has been adding new companies to its portfolio is really impressive. The Ohio-based company has added four companies to its arsenal in the past four months.

What's interesting is how RPM is looking at growing its product lines. From an Italian flooring business to a water-fire restoration and cleaning company to a fire protection and insulation products company, RPM has been investing in expanding its business aggressively. And the company is open to and keen on making more such investments in the future.

A challenge that looks manageable
You might have a hint as to what could be the most prominent challenge for RPM now. Yes, shooting raw material costs. These have hit the coating and paints industry hard, forcing companies to pass the buck to consumers. So like its peers, RPM announced some price hikes in the last few months.

But with chemical companies (which make raw materials integral to coatings business) such as DuPont (NYS: DD) and Dow Chemical (NYS: DOW) continually raising product prices, it will be interesting to see how well companies like RPM can protect margins.

Apart from an intelligent price-volume mix, what could come to RPM's rescue here is the positive accretion to sales expected from its newly acquired companies. Moreover, RPM has also been introducing new products, some of which are selling at very high rates. The situation is not looking too bad for RPM right now, which can be gauged by growing volumes and demand despite higher product prices. Looks like RPM should be able to scrape through without major wounds!

The Foolish bottom line
So, are you impressed by RPM's strong numbers and solid growth moves? There's more! The company has just raised its dividend, marking its 38th consecutive year of such an increase. Now with a handsome dividend yield of 4.2%, do you need any more reasons to place a bet on this stock?

Stay up to speed on the top news and analysis on RPM by clicking here to add it to your stock Watchlist, our free, personalized stock-tracking service.

At the time thisarticle was published Neha Chamaria does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Sherwin-Williams. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Originally published