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Batten Down the Hatches for a Generac Holdings Inc. (GNRC) SWOT Analysis

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an active to very active Atlantic hurricane season for the six months starting June 1 with a 70% chance of 3 to 6 major hurricanes (winds above 111 mph), more than double the usual three major hurricanes.

After Superstorm Sandy areas that never worried before about weather events are hyperaware. More people realize that areas far inland can be devastated by storm surge, microbursts, tornadoes, or flash flooding.

Your portfolio needs to be ready, too. Among several things FEMA is recommending to prepare for a weather emergency is install a generator. This has been an investable recommendation.

Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC)

That leads to the usual suspect: Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC). Like the National Geographic Channel show Doomsday Preppers in which they rate each prepper’s strengths and weaknesses let’s rate Generac.


  • Over 60% of their sales are residential and they’ve benefited from an aging grid that drives power interruptions. Their residential/commercial dealers are clustered from Canada to Florida from the East Coast westward through Tornado Alley which comprises Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas as well as some of the biggest blizzard regions.
  • The company just presented at the KeyBanc Capital Markets Industrial, Investor Presentation on May 30 that one of their main opportunities is an underserved “optional” standby power market, your grocers, restaurants, healthcare and telecoms. Average cost for a supermarket in a four hour outage is over $26,000 and over $20,000 for a restaurant. Just four hours. For healthcare the dollar cost is lower but the human cost can be immeasurable.
  • The company is planning their largest rollout of new products this year. The company just reeentered the power washer market in late 2012. Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) is seeking to leverage the cheaper cost of natural gas as a power source for its generators and advertising to potential commercial and industrial clients the 35% cost savings with natural gas generators.
  • In December 2012 they purchased Ottomores, a Latin American leader in standby power generation, for $45 million in cash on hand. With facilities in Brazil and Mexico City, expansion into the Latin American market is assured.
  • Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) has 70% market share of North American residential standby generators. Every major outage is an opportunity for another surge in sales as consumers become ever more dependent on stronger generators that can power more than just a fridge and some lights.
  • The company has a history of  generous special dividends with the last one of $6.00 paid out in Q2 2012 which was pretty hefty depending on what price you  bought in. The company announced another special dividend of $5.00 which goes ex-dividend on June 12.


  • Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) is not the undiscovered gem it was in early 2012. The maker of generators for residential, commercial, and light industrial buildings in North America has seen a storm surge of its own lifting it 69% in the last year. When New Yorkers and Jerseyites went without power for weeks it was a wake up call and the stock rose…dramatically. The stock rises and falls on weather news.
  • Gross margins will be flat in 2013. They have been running at 37% for the last three years. Operational expense spending will increase slightly this year. This year they started their first national advertising campaign so this is a weakness and an opportunity.
  • The company has several strong competitors with Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE:BGG) and Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) as the largest.  All  compete for share as every 1% increase in market penetration is a $2 billion opportunity in the residential market. Briggs & Stratton also competes in the Commercial & Industrial market.


  • To gain commercial and industrial market share the company admits it needs to expand its products from a 600kW single engine genset to much larger capacity. There is a market for these larger backup generators as Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC)is not now addressing that 40% of the total backup power market.
  • With the acquisition of Ottomores and a healthy Latin America jump-off platform the company is exploring expansion into Australia, Russia, the Ukraine, New Zealand, and Asia.
  • The company has made three accretive acquisitions since 2011, Magnum Products (light towers, mobile generators and pumps), Gen-Tran (manual transfer switches and accessories), and Ottomores (bigger kW gensets and container gensets). Opportunities to make more acquisitions in target international markets are viable.
  • Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) presented at the KeyBanc Capital Markets Investor Presentation on May 30 that a big opportunity is an underserved “optional” standby power market… your grocers, restaurants, healthcare and telecoms. Average cost for a supermarket in a four hour outage is over $26,000 and over $20,000 for a restaurant. Just four hours. Considering the paper-thin margins of supermarkets and restaurants this can be quite a hit. For healthcare the dollar cost is lower but the human cost can be immeasurable. They just can’t afford it.
  • New US construction and retrofitting with generators are huge markets the company is actively wooing.
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