Acme United: Fairly Valued, No Buy Signal Yet

Trending 1 year ago

Large assortment of agency supplies connected achromatic backdrop


Investment Thesis

With coagulated and predictable maturation numbers complete nan years and life returning to normal aft nan pandemic, I decided to look into Acme United Corporation (NYSE:ACU) to spot if nan institution mightiness acquisition amended income now that group are returning to nan agency and backmost to schools. With Acme's net coming up successful nan adjacent mates of weeks, I decided to look done nan company's financials, get a consciousness of really nan institution has performed and really it will execute successful nan future, and travel up pinch reasonable and somewhat blimpish maturation assumptions for nan adjacent 10 years for my discounted rate travel ("DCF") model. With nan things that I discovered, nan institution correct now appears reasonably priced, and I would for illustration it to trim its indebtedness rather considerably earlier investing., I will springiness Acme United Corporation a Hold standing for now.

Many whitethorn not moreover beryllium alert of this company. I was looking done immoderate agency supplies and stumble upon immoderate products pinch Westcott's sanction each complete them. I thought of Peter Lynch and his words successful nan book "One Up On Wall Street" that he recovered immoderate of his champion investments conscionable by looking astir mundane life and seeing if a merchandise was from a publically traded institution (I americium paraphrasing, of course, arsenic I haven't publication that book successful a while).

So, I decided to do conscionable that. I went location and started researching Westcott and recovered retired that nan proprietor of nan institution is Acme United Corporation and recovered that this institution is everywhere. Some of nan products they make see scissors, shears, inferior knives, first assistance kits, and sharpeners, among others. They waste their products to a assortment of markets, including agency supply, schoolhouse supply, hardware, and business markets, among others.

Armed pinch this little knowledge of what Acme United Corporation does, I decided to look into nan maturation and its financials. Let's get to it.

Revenue Potential

We are still surviving successful nan pandemic era. It is still lingering, however, we person learned to unrecorded pinch it and not beryllium shackled by nan fearfulness and worry of getting it. This is wherever I judge Acme United Corporation tin use successful nan adjacent mates of years a batch more, arsenic astir of nan companies, schools, and accommodation spell backmost to normal. Maybe not afloat normal, arsenic a batch of these places person adopted nan hybrid activity environment, which is surely overmuch amended for Acme than nan WFH situation that we saw complete a twelvemonth ago.

When reasoning astir nan adjacent 10 years of Acme United Corporation maturation prospects, I looked astatine nan past 10 years of gross maturation and came to astir 9.5% mean maturation per year. This was a bully anchor constituent for my estimates, but to return connected a much blimpish attack and to person a greater separator of information to my calculations, I went for a small little income maturation than nan historical. As nan saying goes, it is amended to beryllium safe than sorry, which tin beryllium applied to galore aspects of life, not conscionable investing.

Lower Growth Estimates Justification

The macroeconomic business astir nan world played a immense domiciled successful taking overmuch little maturation estimates for nan future. Inflation, though coming down from nan highest of 9%, is still very high. Rising liking rates and rate fluctuations coupled pinch proviso concatenation issues person lowered my optimism, and truthful I americium taking a much cautionary attack to nan early until each nan macro issues resoluteness eventually. The European market, though not nan biggest, still generates rather a spot of revenue. It has been impacted by and whitethorn proceed to beryllium impacted by nan Ukrainian crisis, coupled pinch historically debased speech rates for nan euro against nan dollar, meaning nan revenues against nan dollar will beryllium affected rather a bit.


I for illustration to support my valuation study rather simple, and portion of nan simplicity is to cheque really patient nan institution is connected its books. Sometimes, nan equilibrium expanse is truthful good, it whitethorn warrant an finance correct location and then. However, you tin ever overpay and person mediocre returns wide moreover if nan institution is very good.

Usually, if I spot patient margins location astir 50% connected gross and complete 10% EBITDA, I would beryllium happy pinch them. However, if I spot that they are little than my minimum, I'd for illustration to look astatine really nan competitors clasp up.

Gross Margin of ACU vs comps

Gross Margins vs comps (Seeking Alpha)

I quickly googled immoderate competitors to Acme United Corporation, and I tin spot that Acme could do a spot amended connected nan gross margin.

EBITDA separator of ACU vs Comps

EBITDA separator vs Comps (Seeking Alpha)

Same communicative connected nan EBITDA % front. While a higher EBITDA separator is mostly preferred, what is considered "good" tin alteration based connected factors specified arsenic industry, size, and maturation prospects. For a small-cap business institution for illustration Acme United, an EBITDA separator of 8-9% is not unusual, and it's not needfully an parameter of mediocre performance. The supra competitors are overmuch bigger successful position of capitalization, truthful are not cleanable competitors, truthful nan differences do not sway my valuation excessively much.

Gross and EBITDA margins of ACU

Gross and EBITDA margins (Own Calculations)

I for illustration companies that tin screen their short-term liabilities pinch rate connected hand. Not galore are capable to, it is rather uncommon to see, particularly from a small-cap institution for illustration Acme. The rate ratio gets an X successful my view, arsenic it is obscurity adjacent capable to screen existent liabilities.

Cash connected manus vs Current Liabilities connected ACU

Cash connected manus vs Current Liabilities (Own Calculations)

I don't deliberation it is simply a problem, because of its existent ratio. Here nan institution shines, arsenic existent assets easy screen existent liabilities and look to beryllium very unchangeable connected that beforehand also.

Current Ratio of ACU

Current Ratio (Own Calculations)

I do not for illustration indebtedness connected balance sheets. There is specified a point arsenic bully debt, and I judge Acme is utilizing nan indebtedness successful a responsible and very manageable mode here. It is being utilized to money maturation operations and superior expenditures. The institution is repaying its indebtedness steadily, and nan debased dividend payout ratio helps to put maine astatine easiness that they will not default connected their indebtedness because of a deficiency of free rate flow. Also, nan company's indebtedness ratio averaged 0.35 complete nan past 5 years, which is besides a bully number. 0.5 and beneath is what I see to beryllium good.

Return connected invested superior is, successful my opinion, ok. I would for illustration thing complete 10%. I will support an oculus connected this metric complete nan adjacent fewer quarters and would for illustration to spot it inclination up.

Return connected Invested Capital of ACU

Return connected Invested Capital (Own Calculations)

The aforesaid goes for ROA and ROE. I for illustration higher numbers than nan institution has, but they are astir nan bare minimum I'd for illustration to see.

ROA and ROE of ACU

ROA and ROE (Own Calculations)

I'd for illustration to spot nan upward inclination returning connected nan supra metrics successful nan future, and if they proceed to inclination downward, I will person to excavation successful to spot why this is happening.


With each of nan supra taken into account, my occupation was to travel up pinch immoderate reasonable maturation assumptions that will not beryllium excessively optimistic and not excessively pessimistic. I for illustration to spell for a scope successful my valuations, and truthful I group up 3 lawsuit scenarios, a blimpish case, a guidelines case, and an optimistic case. As I mentioned earlier successful nan article, humanities mean gross maturation sits astatine astir 9.5% complete nan past 10 years. With nan macroeconomic situation considered, I person lowered my guidelines lawsuit expectations rather a spot and for nan adjacent 10 years, I went pinch a 5.4% average. For much of an optimistic case, I went pinch a 7.4% mean complete nan adjacent 10 years. These are still little than nan historical ones, but I judge it's justifiable. To decorativeness my value range, nan blimpish lawsuit mean maturation complete 10 years sits astatine 3.4%.

I besides for illustration to put successful a bully separator of information to my DCF valuations to beryllium moreover much certain. In this case, I went pinch my accustomed 25% separator of safety.

Now that everything has been inputted into my DCF valuation model, nan adjacent value for nan institution is $24.24. This indicates that nan institution is reasonably weighted according to my calculations.

10-year DCF valuation of ACU

10-year DCF valuation (Own Calculations)

Closing Remarks

I americium near pinch 2 choices here, bargain Acme United Corporation aliases clasp disconnected for now until we spot improvements successful nan mentioned metrics and macro economy. I americium leaning towards nan much blimpish choice, which is to support Acme United Corporation connected my watchlist and hold until I spot immoderate caller developments. The Acme United Corporation FY2022 results will beryllium retired shortly, and we will spot really overmuch my estimates for nan twelvemonth are different from nan existent results. If they are rather different, I will revisit Acme United Corporation successful nan early and reassess nan situation.

Editor's Note: This article covers 1 aliases much microcap stocks. Please beryllium alert of nan risks associated pinch these stocks.

This article was written by

Gytis Zizys floor plan picture

MSc successful Finance. Interested successful investing since nan property of 17. Long-term sky investor mostly pinch 5-10 twelvemonth horizon. Eager to amended my equity investigation skills. I judge a portfolio should dwell of a operation of growth, value, and dividend-paying stocks and besides immoderate hedging done immoderate blase options plays from clip to time.

Disclosure: I/we person nary stock, action aliases akin derivative position successful immoderate of nan companies mentioned, and nary plans to initiate immoderate specified positions wrong nan adjacent 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my ain opinions. I americium not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I person nary business narration pinch immoderate institution whose banal is mentioned successful this article.

Editor: Naga

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