Can This Stock Be the Titan of Your Portfolio?


The agriculture space has shown some of the strongest resilience to economic gloom. And Titan Machinery's (NAS: TITN) solid third-quarter numbers suggest it's not just the tractor makers or fertilizer and seed producers that are enjoying the good times.

Titan owns and runs stores that sell agriculture and construction equipment. No wonder then, it had to do well. But can Titan live up to its name and be a stock worth betting on? A quick look at its latest numbers and what the company has been up to should give us an idea.

Solid numbers
Titan's revenue surged 35.9% from the year-ago quarter to $423 million as it sold more equipment and parts. A buoyant agriculture market has been boosting demand for agricultural equipment, evident from the great performances most industry players have come up with recently.

Not surprisingly, solid top-line growth nicely pushed up Titan's net income to $12.8 million from $7.7 million a year ago.

Titanic moves
Titan scores high when it comes to growth initiatives. The company completed the acquisition of two agriculture equipment-based dealerships in the U.S. during the third quarter. This month, Titan also completed the acquisition of Jewell Implement, another dealership located in Iowa.

It's important to note how Titan is adding more Case IH and New Holland dealerships to its account through these acquisitions. Both of these are renowned brands of agriculture equipment company CNH Global (NYS: CNH) , and CNH's products are an important part of Titan's business.

Steering toward bigger ports
What's noteworthy is Titan's new interest in markets outside the United States. Last month, it announced the acquisition of an agriculture equipment dealership business AgroExpert based in Romania, which marks Titan's first such international dealership expansion.

Undoubtedly, this is a significant move as it sets the stage for Titan to tap newer markets beyond the United States. This is crucial now, given how companies that cater to markets outside the U.S. are generating significant revenue from them. For instance, Deere's (NYS: DE) sales outside the U.S. and Canada shot up 31% in its fourth quarter, making the equipment maker's big expansion plans outside the U.S. even more significant.

Same goes for Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) , which seems to be more in love with markets outside the U.S. than anyone else. This isn't surprising, though, given how Cat's revenue from the U.S. region has softened over the years.

Agriculture equipment maker AGCO's (NYS: AGCO) case strengthens the argument further. While sales in North America rose 14.2% in the nine months ending Sept. 30, the Europe/Africa/Middle East regions clocked a whopping 53% jump in sales.

In fact, all this makes Titan even more tempting, since it has been doing extremely well despite being a pure U.S.-based player. Titan indeed has a great foothold in the U.S. markets, stocking known brands such as CNH. And now that Titan is exploring newer markets, its product reach should grow wider, adding significant value to its business. Also, with CNH showing great interest in some of the fast-growing regions of the world, namely Latin America, it could open up doors to huge potential markets for Titan as well.

The power in Titan's hands
The biggest advantage that Titan holds today is the sector it operates in. Agriculture-related businesses tend to be doing much better now than businesses in other sectors, thanks to robust farming activity.

From farm equipment makers to fertilizer giants, the going has been great for most players across the agriculture sector. Deere's fourth-quarter bottom line climbed an impressive 46% from the year-ago period to $670 million backed by higher equipment sales across all regions. AGCO's third-quarter sales jumped 27% to $2.1 billion as demand for agriculture equipment gathered steam.

Apart from equipment makers, fertilizer and chemical companies are having good times, too. With crop prices rising, farmers are growing more, which in turn is fueling demand for equipment as well as nutrients. This is precisely the reason why higher nutrient prices is making bags of fertilizer giants like Terra Nitrogen (NYS: TNH) heavier. The company's third-quarter sales surged to $203.3 million from $136.0 million a year ago, more than tripling its bottom line.

No wonder the strong agriculture market has prompted companies to increase capacities and broaden their product reach and customer base. Like CVR Partners (NYS: UAN) , the young fertilizer player that is taking a cue from the agriculture boom and expanding its ammonia capacity. Titan seems to be on the same track, tapping new markets.

The Foolish bottom line
Titan's strong performance is impressive and so are its growth moves. Titan has also raised its full-year earnings guidance. The company might have to buck up a little when it comes to returning value to shareholders (Titan isn't a dividend-paying company), but it looks promising otherwise.

I can't think of a reason why Titan shouldn't be on your watchlist. Make sure you add it to your stock watchlist to stay updated on all its news and analysis.

At the time thisarticle was published Neha Chamaria does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. 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.

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