It’s so improbable. A company that generates $350 million in annual revenue has paid $420 million in “liberty checks.”
National Presto Industries (NYSE: NPK) is the company. It has paid $420 million in “liberty checks” over the past 10 years. The latest installment occurred in February. National Presto paid $38 million in “liberty checks.” It paid $6 per share.
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Two primary businesses generate the cash to keep shareholders sitting high in “liberty checks.” National Presto operates a housewares and small-appliance business and defense-ammunition business. As incongruous as the two businesses seem, it works.
You recognize the National Presto name by its housewares and small appliances business. Wander down the appliance aisle of any large-chain department store and you’re sure to encounter National Presto’s pressure cookers, deep fryers, electric skillets, and popcorn poppers.
Housewares and small appliances offer name recognition. Defense ammunition offers profits.
The defense ammunition business is actually the larger and more profitable of the two. Ammunition sales account for roughly 70% of National Presto’s $350 million in annual revenue. Defense ammunition’s operating margin – at 20% – is nearly five times as wide as housewares and appliances’ operating margin.
None of it really grows. Annual revenue orbits close to $350 million year after year. But no matter.
Efficiency is the draw. Management continually squeezes more from the revenue it generates.
The operating margin has expanded to 18% over the trailing 12 months from 14% a few years earlier. Net margin has expanded to 16% from 8% over the same period.
As operating efficiency goes, so goes the cash account. National Presto’s businesses generate a lot of cash. The cash account grows annually. National Presto holds $156 million of cash and cash equivalents at last report. That’s more than $22 per share.
Efficiency is enhanced by a conservative capital structure. National Presto carries no long-term debt. Cash on hand exceeds current liabilities by a factor of three. National Presto’s cash account could settle all the company’s liabilities and be left two-thirds full.
Relentless efficiency has enabled National Presto to pay “liberty checks” annually. What’s more, the amount of each “liberty check” has grown over the years. I expect them to continue to grow. Uncle Sam has expedited growth.
The federal government lowered the corporate income tax rate to 21% from 35% in December. That’s a 40% reduction. The lower tax rate allows the National Prestos of the world to retain more of their profits. The more profits a company can retain, the more “liberty checks” it can pay to its shareholders.
These “liberty checks” have provided additional income to shareholders. They have also provided the opportunity to enhance returns with a “liberty check” trade. Most of National Presto’s “liberty checks” would have produced a profitable “liberty check” trade.
National Presto’s drive toward greater efficiency will drive future “liberty check” payments. Tax reform benefits the efficient, as it should.
I expect the dynamic to work for other companies to similar effect. More earnings will funnel into cash accounts. More cash on hand, and more cash flow, will drive more “liberty check” payments.
We need to discriminate, though. This is no whack-a-mole scenario. Not all “liberty checks” will be worth collecting. Most won’t be worth collecting. I say that because most “liberty checks” will be paid to yield only 3% to 5% on investment.
You can do better. You can do even better than National Presto – much better.
I can show you how to collect “liberty checks” that are 10X the average dividend check. What’s more, I can show you how to trade the shares of “liberty check” issuers for triple-digit annualized return.
I will co-host an online “liberty check” webinar today at 12 p.m. EDT (noon). And you’re invited. Click here to reserve your spot for this free, live event.
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