Friday, November 30, 2012

U.S. Drought Worsens, Lindsay Corporation Stands to Benefit (LNN, VMI)

Lindsay is the largest manufacturer of irrigation systems in the country. I've often wondered why Berkshire Hathaway hasn't bought them. It could be a negative tell that Mr. B hasn't made a run at LNN, just as he went for Burlington Northern rather than take the two mile drive from Kiewit Plaza to Union Pacific headquarters,
more below.

First up, the U.S. Drought Monitor map (this is the first Nebraska connection):

Current U.S. Drought Monitor

The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

NOTE: To view regional drought conditions, click on map below. State maps can be accessed from regional maps.
US Drought Monitor, November 27, 2012
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
From Farmland Forecast:
This picture shows the amount of acres harvested in 2007 that were irrigated for corn in the U.S. Each blue dot represents 2,000 acres of irrigated farmland. On average, about 15% of farmland in the U.S. is irrigated each year. Nebraska leads all states with irrigated acres at roughly 8.6 million acres in 2007....

There's your second Nebraska connection.

 From Lindsay Corporation:
 OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Lindsay Corporation (NYS: LNN) , a leading provider of irrigation systems and infrastructure products, today announced it plans to release financial results for its fiscal 2013 first quarter ended November 30, 2012, before the market opens on Tuesday, January 8, 2013....
Yup, Nebraska again.

From Forbes, the only mention of the company by a generalist business publication, and this goes back to 2009:
Going in Circles Is Not All Bad
In a recession people cut back on sports cars and jewelry, but they don't stop eating. That fact should protect some of the sales of companies that supply equipment to farmers, like Lindsay Corp. (LNN, 28). The Omaha firm sells irrigation systems everywhere from Australia and China to Africa and Brazil. Its Zimmatic center pivot system works just about anywhere, including on steep grades. Last year Lindsay's sales of $475 million were up 69% from 2007 and net earnings of $39 million were up 152%. The recent falloff in commodity prices has dampened sales forecasts, and Lindsay's stock is down 74% in the past 52 weeks. Scott Weber, comanager of the Natixis Vaughan Nelson Small Cap Value Fund, says the shares are a buy....
Here's the five year chart:
Chart forLindsay Corporation (LNN)

Splits: May 16, 1990 [3:2], Sep 17, 1991 [3:2], Feb 23, 1996 [3:2], Mar 11, 1997 [3:2], Jun 16, 1998 [3:2]

While the stock cleared the Spring 2011 highs earlier this month it is still considerably below the  2008 highs.

Lindsay's largest competitor is Valmont Industries of, you probably guessed it, Omaha Nebraska.
Valmont common has outperformed YTD while LNN has the lead over the last six months. Both have crushed the S&P 500.

It may be instructive to take a look at the experience the Buffett Limited Partnerships had with Dempster Mill Manufacuring of, wait for it, Beatrice Nebraska. 
(short version, Buffett takes a control position, boots old management, triples money) 

Back to Lindsay, in 2002 some guy named Howard Graham Buffett filled in as Chairman for a year. 

Finally, the old man seems to take an interest in all things Nebraska:


If I figure it out I'll tell you.

In the meantime we have a few dozen posts on LNN, here are a couple from the halcyon year of 2008:

Update: Lindsay Corporation (LNN)

Sometimes girls just wanna have fun and stocks just wanna go up.
Since our (admittedly late) post on Wednesday "In Other News, the Market Declined Today (LNN)":

Lindsay Corporation closed up $3.06 on 150% of average daily volume.
No news.

the stock closed at $102.15 Wednesday, $ 106.67 yesterday and it's looking like $ 108.50 at 15 minutes to the close.
No news.

Lindsay Sell-Off Hits Valmont Unusually Hard (LNN, VMI)

After we said "The stock is down $33.91 (27.25%) at $90.52 pre-market. This is one hell of an opportunity...", 

LNN clawed its way back to $116. The quick money has been made on Mr. Market's manic depression but this is a class-act company (even though they did guide "in line" and then come in seven cents short). It's at $108 now.