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Should you buy Halfords Group plc, Cobham plc and Lamprell plc after today’s news?

Shares in automotive products and cycle firm Halfords Group (LSE: HFD) fell by 5% this morning, despite the group reporting a fairly decent set of results. Like-for-like sales and pre-tax profit both rose by 1.5%. The dividend will be increased by 3% to 17p, giving a yield of 4.1%.

However, Halfords was hit by a 7.6% fall in cycle sales during the second quarter of last year. This left like-for-like cycle sales down by 0.9% for the full year. This fall was offset by 2.5% LFL sales growth in the firm’s motoring and autocentres divisions, but investors may be concerned that Halfords’ share of the cycle market is reaching a natural limit.

That’s certainly my interpretation of the company’s recent acquisition of upmarket cycle retailer Tredz, which will continue to trade independently, allowing Halfords to diversify and gain entry into the top end of the cycle market.

After today’s falls, Halfords trades on a 2016/17 forecast P/E of 12.7 and offers a yield of 4.1%. The firm’s net debt fell last year and cash generation remains good. I believe Halfords looks good value at this level.

It’s still too soon

Defence firm Cobham (LSE: COB) announced the terms of its rights issue today. Cobham will raise £507m at 89p per new share. Shareholders will be entitled to buy one new share for every two they own.

Cobham, which has already issued two profit warnings this year, says that cash from the rights issue will be used to reduce the group’s debt level. A combination of rising debt and falling earnings mean that it’s currently in danger of breaching lending covenants.

Despite this, Cobham plans to leave the total dividend payout unchanged at £126m this year. The group will effectively return a quarter of the rights issue money to its shareholders.

The increased share count after the rights issue means that this year’s payout is expected to fall to about 7.4p per share. This equates to a 5.3% yield at the theoretical ex-rights price of 138p, and gives the rights issue shares an attractive forecast yield of 8.3%.

I think this dividend plan is too generous. I’d rather see the firm cut the dividend to accelerate debt reduction.

In my view, it’s still too soon to buy back into Cobham.

Growth catalyst in tough sector

Abu Dhabi-based rig builder Lamprell (LSE: LAM) rose by 4% this morning, after announcing further details of a joint venture with oil giant Saudi Aramco, Saudi shipping firm Bahri, and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

The four companies plan to open a new shipyard in Saudi Arabia to build, maintain and repair offshore vessels. Lamprell is something of a regional specialist in this sector and the Saudis appear keen to access the firm’s local knowledge and engineering expertise.

In my view this deal is good news. Saudi Aramco is one of very few major oil producers in the world with the money and inclination to invest in new production. While Lamprell faces a potential shortfall of orders in 2017, it still looks fairly cheap, on 7.3 times 2016 forecast earnings.

With net cash of $210m at the end of 2015, the group’s finances should be strong enough to ride out the downturn. The growth potential from this new opportunity could help position the firm for a decent recovery.

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Roland Head owns shares of Lamprell. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.