Lincoln Electric’s (LECO) first quarter adjusted earnings were ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The company is pursuing a multi-year strategy to become more cost competitive by building manufacturing facilities in Eastern Europe and Asia.
Recently, Lincoln Electric strengthened its Russian presence through the acquisition of Mezhgosmetiz-Mtsensk OAO and OOO Severstal-metiz. The company also partnered with IPG Photonics Corporation to explore global opportunities in the high-power laser welding and cutting market.
Furthermore, demand for its products is on the rise, leading us to believe that the company will post strong growth on the heels of an economic recovery and investments in the emerging markets. Our six-month target price of $94.00 equates to about 22.5x our earnings estimate for 2011. We view the $1.24 per common share annual dividend as secure, implying an expected return of about 21% over the period.