With smaller names down by double-digit percentages so far this year, as illustrated by the Russell 2000 (down 12.8%) and Russell Microcap Index (down 10.8%), a scan of companies trading at relatively low multiples of net current asset value has revealed some interesting results.
My search was for companies with market caps in excess of $100 million trading at between 2x and 3x net current asset value (aka "triple-nets") and at less than 15x next year's consensus earnings estimates. Given the topsy-turvy market action these days, I should not have been surprised that there are a substantial number, 19. There are some familiar names, and I plan to reveal those most intriguing in the coming days.
Vera Bradley (VRA) , which I used to own, currently trades at 2.75x NCAV and 9x 2023 consensus estimates. Vera Bradley's shares have had a rough run, as they are down 38% over the past year and 20% year to date. The maker of handbags and accessories has been full of promise, including its acquisition of 75% of bracelet company Pura Vida in 2019, but it has been a terrible name to buy and hold. Vera Bradley went public in 2010 at $16 a share and hit $50 in 2011; it has been downhill for the most part ever since; its shares closed at $6.79 on Tuesday
Even so, Vera Bradley's balance sheet remains fairly decent. It ended its latest quarter with $75 million, or $2.22 per share, in cash and no debt. While the company has dipped its toe into share buybacks, now might be a decent time for Vera Bradley to put some of its cash to work in that manner. Assuming shares are on the cheap side at this point -- and given the company's history, that is not a safe assumption -- a substantial buyback could send a signal to potential investors that management is confident.
Last September I flirted with taking a new position in VRA, resisted, and am glad I did. Vera Bradley shares have fallen 33% ever since. I guess I am flirting once again. Vera Bradley remains a well-known brand. It may not have the same power it did 10 years ago, but the fact that the company's enterprise value, or EV -- market cap plus debt minus cash -- is just $156 million is surprising.
The company's recent results have not helped matters. Last quarter, Vera Bradley missed estimates on both revenue ($134.7 million vs. $138 million estimate) and earnings per share (18 cents vs. 26 cents.
Its shares could suffer more pain here on Wednesday as the company this morning reported another miss for its fiscal fourth quarter. Earnings per share of 17 cents were well short of the consensus estimate of 26 cents, while revenue of $149.6 million missed by $5.9 million.