Worldwide, the FTSE 250‘s TI Fluid Systems (LSE: TIFS) is one of the leading players in the automotive industry. And the company has been developing a strategy to ramp up its participation in the accelerating electric vehicle (EV) market.
And for me, one of the key components of the case for investing in the stock now is last autumn’s appointment of a new chief executive. Hans Dieltjens parked his cardboard box of possessions on his new desk in October 2021.
New blood, new growth?
I’m a big fan of new blood pumping into the management team of an established business. New leaders often bring with them energy and a determination to make their mark and succeed. And in this case, it seems clear Dieltjens’ main task is to drive the business forward into its new phase of growth.
The enterprise has been around in various forms for about 100 years. But it has grown — a lot. And now the company concentrates on manufacturing automotive fluid storage, carrying, and delivery systems for light vehicles. For example, things such as brake and fuel lines. And products for thermal applications, fuel tanks and other applications.
Since joining the stock market in 2017, the business has performed erratically with weakness in the profit figures and a volatile share price. However, I’m encouraged by the positive tone in today’s post-close trading update. It covers trading in 2021, but we’ll get even more detail with the full-year results report due on 15 march 2022.
The company said the financial performance of the business has been “robust”. And that’s despite market headwinds such as microchip shortages, supply chain disruptions, and volatile customer demand. The directors expect to report constant currency revenue for the year of around €2.95bn. And revenue growth will likely have exceeded global light vehicle production growth by about 3% — suggesting TIFS has been winning market share.
Despite cyclicality, I’d buy the stock for growth
Meanwhile, cash flow generation has been “strong” and in line with the directors’ previous expectations. And City analysts are upbeat about the company’s immediate prospects. They’ve pencilled in an uplift in earnings per share for 2022 of almost 70%. But I admit such an increase will only take earnings close to where they were in 2019. Indeed, the arrival of the pandemic proved the high element of cyclicality in the business model because revenue and earnings plummeted during 2020. And cyclicality is a risk worth me keeping an eye on going forward.
However, with the share price near 244p, the forward-looking earnings multiple is just over 11 when set against analysts’ expectations for 2022. And I see that valuation as undemanding. Meanwhile, the share price is close to its level from 2017 when the stock first arrived on the stock market.
The stock performance has been underwhelming and there are no guarantees that it won’t continue to be so. However, I’m encouraged by the appointment of the new chief executive and other high-level executives. And by the company’s prior statements about the firm’s determination to accelerate its EV strategy. I’d buy the stock now for growth.