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HEICO: Benefiting from the Profit Potential of Aftermarket Services in Aerospace

Opdateret: 14. jun.

HEICO is renowned for its specialized components in both civilian and defense aviation markets, where it has established a niche. This appears to be a highly profitable business model, as HEICO has a track record of achieving close to 20% compounded growth in its bottom line over the past 30 years. Chris Mayer, the author of "100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100-to-1 and How To Find Them," owns the stock. The question is, should you too?

This is not a financial advice. I am not a financial advisor and I only do these posts in order to do my own analysis and elaborate about my decisions, especially for my copiers and followers. If you consider investing in any of the ideas I present, you should do your own research or contact a professional financial advisor, as all investing comes with a risk of losing money. You are also more than welcome to copy me.

Since attending the workshop with Phil Town, I have decided to make some changes to the layout of my analyses. I will perform additional calculations and also provide a brief explanation of why the company is significant to me. If you want to learn more about my company evaluation process, please visit the "MY STRATEGY" section on my website.

For full disclosure, I should start by mentioning that at the time of writing this analysis, I do not own any shares of HEICO. If you would like to view the stocks in my portfolio or copy my portfolio, you can do so on eToro. Instructions on how to do so can be found here. I don't own any stocks in HEICO's competitors either. Thus, I have no personal stake in HEICO. If you want to purchase shares or fractional shares of HEICO, you can do so through eToro. eToro is a highly user-friendly platform that allows you to get started on investing with as little as $100.

HEICO Corporation was founded in 1957 in Florida, United States. HEICO is an American aerospace and electronics company that manufactures products used in aircraft, spacecraft, defense equipment, medical equipment, and telecommunication systems. HEICO is comprised of two operating segments: the Flight Support Group and the Electronic Technologies Group. The Flight Support Group utilizes proprietary technology to develop and produce replacement parts for jet engines and aircraft components. These parts are sold at prices lower than those offered by original equipment manufacturers. These parts are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and are functionally equivalent to parts sold by original equipment manufacturers. The Flight Support Group contributed 60% of the revenue in fiscal year 2023. The Electronic Technologies Group designs, manufactures, and sells various types of electronic, data, microwave, and electro-optical products, contributing 40% of the revenue in fiscal 2023. HEICO sells its products to both commercial companies and governments. HEICO is known for its growth strategy, which includes a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. This is evident from the fact that HEICO has completed 98 acquisitions since 1990. HEICO made its largest acquisition ever when it acquired Wencor for over $2 billion in fiscal 2023. HEICO has a reputation for producing high-quality products and providing top-notch services, making it a key player in the aerospace and defense industry. HEICO's strong reputation and ability to sell parts at a lower cost than those produced by original equipment manufacturers are what give the company its moat.

Their CEO is Laurans A. Mendelson. He has been serving as CEO since February 1990, when he and his sons acquired HEICO for $25 million. He has also served as the Chairman of the Board since December 1990. He is a Certified Public Accountant by education. With over 20 years of solid and successful leadership at the company, he possesses expertise and extensive experience in the aerospace and electronic technologies industries. His expertise in investment and acquisitions has directly contributed to the significant growth of the company since 1990. He is renowned for his unique ability to identify and take advantage of growth opportunities at the right time. He has done a tremendous job, as HEICO has generated a total return of approximately 47.500% since he acquired the company. It is also worth noting that Laurans Mendelson and his family are significant shareholders of the company. Laurens Mendelson has stated that HEICO lives by a straightforward rule: "We don't try to screw the customer." This means that HEICO keeps its prices between a third and a half lower than what an original manufacturer would charge, as they do not want to be seen as overcharging or making excessive profits from their airline customers. It is also worth noting that Chris Mayer has endorsed the management, stating that they consistently emphasize their focus on generating free cash flow. Due to his outstanding performance and significant stake in HEICO, I am confident in Laurans Mendelson and his sons leading HEICO in the future.

I believe that the HEICO has a strong moat, and I have great confidence in the management as well. Now, let's analyze the numbers to determine if HEICO meets our criteria for having a strong competitive advantage. If you need an explanation of what the numbers represent, you can refer to "MY STRATEGY" on the website.

The first metric we will investigate is the return on invested capital (ROIC). I would like a 10-year history showing a minimum annual growth of 10%. HEICO has consistently achieved a high Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) of over 10% for the past ten years, except for fiscal 2023, due to the acquisition of Wencor. It is encouraging that HEICO has consistently achieved a solid Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) over the past decade with minimal volatility, demonstrating the strength of the business. It is also impressive that ROIC didn't drop below 10% during the pandemic, considering the industry in which HEICO operates. I would like to see a higher ROIC moving forward, but it is unlikely that we will see large increases due to HEICO's business model. Overall, I am very satisfied with HEICO's ROIC.

The following numbers represent the book value + dividend. In my previous format, this was referred to as the equity growth rate. It was the most significant of the four growth rates I used in my analyses, which is why I will continue to use it in the future. As you are accustomed to seeing numbers in percentage form, I have decided to provide both the actual numbers and the year-over-year percentage growth. HEICO is a textbook example of how you would like to see the numbers. Numbers have been increasing every year over the past decade, and only a few companies have been able to achieve such strong results.

Finally, we will analyze the free cash flow. Free cash flow, in short, refers to the cash that a company generates after covering its operating expenses and capital expenditures. I use levered free cash flow margin because I believe that margins offer a better understanding of the numbers. Free cash flow yield refers to the amount of free cash flow per share that a company is expected to generate in relation to its market value per share. It is unsurprising to note that HEICO has consistently generated positive free cash flow every year for the past decade. It is also encouraging to see that HEICO has consistently increased its free cash flow in most years compared to the previous year. The acquisition of Wencor affected free cash flow in fiscal 2023, which is why there has been a decrease. The levered free cash flow margin has consistently been high, but it decreased in 2023 due to the acquisition. The free cash flow margin suggests that the company is currently overvalued, but we will revisit this later in the analysis.

Another important aspect to consider is the level of debt. It is crucial to determine if a business has manageable debt that can be repaid within a three-year period. We calculate this by dividing the total long-term debt by earnings. After analyzing the financials of HEICO, I found that the company has 6,16 years of earnings in debt. It is much higher than I would like to see, but the elevated debt is a result of the acquisition of Wencor. Typically, HEICO has less than 3 years of earnings in debt, and the management has been very vocal about prioritizing debt reduction. Given that there is an explanation for the debt and the prospect of management paying it off, I am not concerned about the high level of debt.

Based on my findings so far, I find HEICO to be an intriguing company. However, no investment is without risk, and HEICO also has its fair share of risks. One risk is competition. In its annual report, HEICO mentions that the aerospace product and service industry is characterized by intense competition. Some of HEICO's competitors have substantially greater name recognition, inventories, complementary product and service offerings, financial, marketing, and other resources than HEICO does. As a result, these competitors may be able to respond more quickly to customer requirements than HEICO can. Moreover, smaller competitors may be able to offer more attractive pricing due to lower labor costs and other factors. Macroeconomics. HEICO's success is closely tied to the performance of the aviation industry. The aviation industry has historically experienced periodic downward cycles, leading to a decrease in demand for jet engines, aircraft component replacement parts, and repair and overhaul services. These cycles result in lower sales and increased credit risk. Thus, if there is a prolonged economic downturn, it will affect the aviation industry, which may result in lower demand for HEICO's goods and services.. Regulatory risks. HEICO is subject to governmental regulations, and failure to comply with these regulations could lead to the government withdrawing, suspending, or revoking HEICO's authorizations and approvals to conduct business. Additionally, non-compliance could subject HEICO to penalties and sanctions that may adversely affect its business. In their annual report, HEICO mentions that new and more stringent government regulations, if adopted and enacted, could have an adverse effect on their business, financial condition, and results of operations.

There are also numerous reasons to invest in HEICO. One reason is acquisitions. HEICO has a proven track record of acquisitions and has stated that acquisitions are an important element of their growth strategy. HEICO has a disciplined acquisition strategy that involves limiting acquisition candidates to businesses that they believe will continue to grow, offer strong cash flow and earnings potential, and are available at fair prices. HEICO has just made its largest acquisition ever, which could lead to significant growth in the future. Gaining market share. HEICO believes that they currently only have a 2% market share. It means that there are plenty of opportunities to grow. An aircraft requires millions of parts to function, but HEICO only offers around 12.500 SKUs. With the acquisition of Wencor, HEICO will now offer an additional 6.000 SKUs. HEICO will continue with the same growth strategy of acquiring businesses, which will lead to an increase in the number of SKUs in the future. This expansion may result in a higher market share for HEICO. Furthermore, HEICO's business model, which involves not raising prices beyond cost increases, ensures that current customers are treated well and gives them little reason to look for new suppliers. Aging fleet of aircraft. Currently, there are over 30.000 commercial aircraft in operation worldwide. Of these, over 10.000 are over 20 years old. The average annual maintenance cost for a commercial aircraft is $1 million, and as the aircraft ages, the cost increases. HEICO's management has mentioned that the fleet of aircraft continues to age and that their price points are very positive for HEICO. Thus, management believes that the aging fleet of aircraft will be a tailwind for HEICO for many years.

Now it is time to calculate the share price. I perform three different calculations that I learned at a Phil Town seminar. If you want to make the calculations yourself for this or other stocks, you can do so through the tools page on my website, where you have access to all three calculators.

The first is called the Margin of Safety price, which is calculated based on earnings per share (EPS), estimated future EPS growth, and estimated future price-to-earnings ratio (P/E). The minimum acceptable rate of return is 15%. I chose to use an EPS of 2,91, which is from the fiscal year 2023. I have selected a projected future EPS growth rate of 15%. Finbox expects EPS to grow by 15,6%. Additionally, I have selected a projected future P/E ratio of 30, which is twice the growth rate. This decision is based on HEICO's historically higher price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Our minimum acceptable rate of return has already been established at 15%. After performing the calculations, we determined the sticker price (also known as fair value or intrinsic value) to be $87,30. We want to have a margin of safety of 50%, so we will divide it by 2. This means that we want to buy HEICO at a price of $43,65 (or lower, obviously) if we use the Margin of Safety price.

The second calculation is known as the Ten Cap price. The rate of return that a company owner (or stockholder) receives on the purchase price of the company essentially represents its return on investment. The minimum annual return should be at least 10%, which I calculate as follows: The operating cash flow last year was 444, and capital expenditures were 42. I attempted to analyze their annual report in order to calculate the percentage of capital expenditures allocated to maintenance. I couldn't find it, but as a general guideline, you can expect that 70% of the capital expenditures will be allocated to maintenance purposes. This means that we will use 29 in our calculations. The tax provision was 111. We have 138,228 outstanding shares. Hence, the calculation will be as follows: (444 – 29 + 111) / 138,228 x 10 = $38,05 in Ten Cap price.

The final calculation is referred to as the Payback Time price. It is a calculation based on the free cash flow per share. With HEICO's free cash flow per share at $2,89 and a growth rate of 12%, if you want to recoup your investment in 8 years, the Payback Time price is $45,62.

I find HEICO to be an intriguing company. I am particularly impressed with the management, especially the CEO who has consistently delivered exceptional results and has a significant stake in the company. HEICO faces some short-term risks due to potential macroeconomic impacts on the aviation industry. It is uncertain how the aviation industry will be affected and for how long the impact will last, but at some point, macroeconomics will improve. Competition and regulations will always pose a long-term risk for HEICO, but the company has been in business for more than 60 years. I am confident that HEICO will effectively manage these risks in the future. Especially as long as the Mendelsons are in charge of the company. HEICO has a strong track record of successful acquisitions, and I believe that this trend will continue to deliver value to HEICO in the future. I believe that the numerous acquisitions will enable HEICO to gain market share by expanding its range of SKUs. Finally, the aging fleet of aircraft means that there is a continued need for HEICO's products moving forward. I am interested in buying shares of HEICO, and I plan to do so if the share price reaches $91,24, which is the intrinsic value based on the Payback Time price.

ADP has new management, but the new CEO, Maria Black, has been with the company for more than two decades. This makes me comfortable with her leading ADP moving forward. ADP is facing interconnected risks. Currently, ADP holds a strong market position due to its reputation, which is why I'm not concerned about competition. However, technology, cybersecurity, and regulatory and compliance risks will always be factors of risk for ADP. There is currently no indication that ADP will experience any security or privacy breaches or fail to comply with laws and regulations. However, if such an event were to occur in the future, it could potentially impact their business and diminish their competitive advantages. Therefore, it is something that needs to be monitored when investing in ADP. I appreciate that ADP is shareholder-friendly and has ample room for growth. Furthermore, ADP has achieved exceptional historical performance, demonstrating the strength of their business. I would love to add ADP to the portfolio if it drops to $200, as this would provide me with a nearly 20% discount to the intrinsic value of the Payback Time price.

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