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Sound Business Management Makes Powell Industries Inc. (POWL) Stand Apart

This small-capital member of the Electronic Instrumentation & Controls Industry from Houston, TX is simply remarkable. The early-September 2008 stock price is a good 30% above the 52-week low of $31.68. The market capitalization is now over $460 million, and the Price to Earnings Ratio is 23.10. What is special about this?

The industry has been a poor performer. It has lost 20% of its collective market capitalization. You cannot get away by blaming the troubled U.S. economy because this industry does not even match the S&P 500 index trend. U.S. corporations in the business of instrumentation and controls suffer the fate of their peers from the world of automobiles in Detroit; rapid decline in the face of international competition.

Business management skills have helped this executive team stand firm and tall in the midst of a crisis in its industry environment. Experience must have something to do with such extraordinary performance, because the company has been in operation since 1947. Successive management teams have been careful to preserve the founding principles and values of the corporation.

The business model is rock solid. The company focuses on distribution of electricity; something without which modern life as we know it is nearly impossible. There is much discussion about energy forms but none about making it available at the flick of a switch. The best public utilities depend on this company’s products and services. The company also protects essential equipment from changes in electric flows.

The financial health of the company is nursed with the same diligence that pervades strategy formulation. Most of this corporation’s 11.40 million shares are held by smart financial institutions. It is a stock to watch.

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