Speak of the devil. It was just last week that I wrote my latest piece on the somewhat mysterious, and relatively unknown NL Industries (NL) . This sum-of-the-parts story has made for a poor long-term hold, but has been trending higher over the past 2+ years and is up 86% over the past year. Yesterday the company did something it had done since 2004 - it raised the dividend.
NL actually eliminated its quarterly 12.5 cent dividend in 2014. Last March, it somewhat surprisingly brought it back at 4 cents/quarter. On Wednesday, the company raised it 50% to 6 cents, which equates to a solid 3.9% yield. The company has plenty of cash, ending last quarter with $130 million, or $2.66 per share. NL was up as much as 6% on Thursday on the news, and closed up 2%, on a down day for the market.
Elsewhere in Smallville, which has been a pretty exciting place to be recently, South Dakota based Daktronics (DAKT) , which makes and sells electronic display systems, and is a member of my 2020 Triple Net Active Portfolio, is enjoying a solid run. While third quarter revenue, released on Wednesday, was down 26% year/year, the company was close to breakeven for the quarter. In addition, it has generated $48 million in cash over the past three quarters, and ended Q3 with $77 million, or about $1.58 per share. That's up from $40 million or 90 cents share at the end of last fiscal year. DAKT shares are up 27% year-to date, and 52% since early November.
Results for the ever-controversial, and media-shy Biglari Holdings (BH) , (BH.A) were released earlier this week, and were evidently perceived as good enough to push shares to near a two-year high. It looks like the company is sticking by its poorly performing Steak n Shake brand, and continues to transition it to a newer franchise program. The chains debt was paid off in late February, ending speculation that BH would let the chain go bankrupt.
If you want a window into this company, read the annual chairman's letter. Whether or not this name is finally turning the corner remains to be seen.
Have a nice weekend!