MTS Systems


mts_logo

Ticker: MTSC, Buy below $50.

Why I Would Buy

  1. Insider Buying – Strong insider buying from open markets by directors and officers during the past 3 months. Additionally, no open market sales were made by insiders during the last 12 months.
  2. Niche Market and Longevity – MTS Systems operates in a niche market (testing and sensing technologies), and has survived as a strong player for 50+ years.
  3. Small Cap – MTS System’s market capitalization is a shade over $800 million. Smaller cap companies such as MTS tend to grow faster than large cap ones, and are more likely to be acquired at a premium.
  4. Healthy R&D Spend – MTS has consistently spent about 4% of revenues on R&D. This increases the odds of them being able to maintain and grow market share:
    2012201320142015
    4.04%4.01%4.23%4.20%
  5. Strong Returns on Equity – In excess of 15% annually in recent years, this is an excellent performance:
    20112012201320142015
    27.03%23.56%23.92%16.32%17.61%

What Could Go Wrong

  1. Potential Accounting Concern – MTS’s most recent 10K filing contains the following opinion by their auditors :”MTS Systems Corporation has not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of October 3, 2015″. The CEO has acknowledged this weakness and has promised remedial measures. Regardless, this is something potential investors need to keep an eye on.
  2. Declining Profitability – Operating Income has been on a decline despite revenues staying relatively steady, this could be an indication of increased competitive pressures:
     201320142015
    Revenue569564564
    Operating Profit806061
    (in millions)
  3. Recent Large Acquisition – MTS recently announced a very large acquisition: $580 million purchase of PCB group. This deal is to be funded largely via debt, this new leverage adds risks to the capital structure. Additionally, as in any acquisition the synergies may not be realized.

Please read disclosure here before taking any action based on this post.

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