Wednesday, December 23, 2009

3COM Corporation: Poised to Profitably Emerge From Downturn

Although some companies in the technology sector - especially those firms that benefit from semiconductor demand - appear to be pulling out of the recession, 3COM Corp's (COMS) fiscal second quarter results show that even tech is experiencing a rocky and uneven recovery. Although net income for the period rose 55% from a year ago to $20M , today's report indicates that extraordinary items played an over sized role in the bottom line growth. 3COM, a firm that recently agreed to be acquired by Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), might appear to be suffering from performance declines:

 What I'd point out though, is that from 2004 to the beginning of the recession in December 2007, 3COM fairly consistently operated in the red. Sales appear to have reached a plateau mid-2006. However, one could argue that 3COM is in the midst of a turnaround that has occurred during and despite the global recession. Evidence exists that 3COM has significantly reduced its cost structure and improved efficiency. For example, gross profit margins have consistently improved since 2004:

Furthermore, the company appears to have become substantially more liquid - as measured by a ratio of cash to current liabilities - since the onset of the recession:

It remains to be seen just how HP will choose to integrate 3COM's operations into the existing organization; however, it appears that 3COM is well positioned for strong earnings growth in the coming quarters. With the resources of HP behind it, I look for the Company to successfully secure new sources of revenue, and to continue to streamline operations.

*no positions in any securities mentioned in this article
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