Monday, June 1, 2009

Air T, Inc. (AIRT) - Microcap Value

Air T, Inc. (AIRT) is a microcap value stock which operates in two industry segments: providing overnight air cargo services to the air express delivery industry through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Mountain Air Cargo, Inc. (MAC) and CSA Air, Inc. (CSA), and aviation ground support and other specialized equipment products and services to passenger and cargo airlines, airports and the military, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Global Ground Support, LLC (GGS) and Global Aviation Services, LLC (GAS).

The company has the kind of fundamentals that Warren Buffett would love - if only he were able to trade a company this small. Air T, Inc. (AIRT) trades at a P/E of 4.4 and a price/book of 1.03 with a current ratio of 3.1 and very little debt. The company has been steadily growing earnings and sales over the past few years and pays a dividend of 3.7% which is pretty impressive for a company of its size. While there are a number of other microcap dividend payers, I have struggled to find one that I believe is quite as attractive as Air T, Inc. (AIRT). The company recently announced an annual dividend payment of $0.33 - an increase on last year's $0.30 figure despite the tough economic climate.

I find that significant insider ownership is often one of the most important factors to consider when looking to invest in small and microcap companies. Company Chairman, Walter Clark, owns around 6% of the company's stock giving me confidence that the company holds the interests of its shareholders as a high priority.

The company recently announced an order for 29 plane deicers, worth $11.5 million from the US Air Force as part of an ongoing multiyear contract with the US Air Force. The company also has strong ties with FedEx, operating a fleet of 95 planes as part of the FedEx distribution network.

While Air T, Inc. (AIRT) may not yet be a household name (it may never be), the most profitable investments are often the ones where you get in on the ground floor. I find it hard to believe that companies such as Wal-Mart (WMT) or Google (GOOG) will double or triple in size any time soon - they've had impressive runs already. However, a microcap value stock of the caliber of Air T, Inc. (AIRT) could quite easily double or triple over the next year or two.

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author held shares in Air T (AIRT).

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