Royce & Associates Owns Over 10% of Molex

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Royce & Associates, a fund managed by Chuck Royce which tends to prefer investing in small-cap and mid-cap companies, has reported that it owns 8.3 million shares of Molex Incorporated (NASDAQ:MOLX), a $5 billion market cap manufacturer of electronics components. The 13G filed with the SEC has this figure as 10.3% of the total shares outstanding. See more of Royce’s stock picks. Our database of 13F filings shows that at the beginning of October Royce had owned 7.6 million shares of the stock, so we know that at least some of these shares have been bought in the last three months. The stock is up 17% in the last year.

Chuck Royce

The first quarter of Molex’s fiscal year ended in September, with the company reporting that revenue had dipped 2% from the same period in the fiscal quarter ending September 2011. With expenses showing little change, Molex Incorporated had most of that decline in revenue drop into operating income. As a result net income was down 11% from a year earlier. Much of the downturn in business is due to the Connector segment, which is responsible for over two-thirds of Molex’s revenue; the Custom & Electrical division saw a small rise in revenue and a small decline in operating income.

Molex Incorporated is valued at 19 times trailing earnings in the market, a multiple at which we’d expect to see moderate and sustainable growth in order to consider a stock a potential value play. Wall Street analyst expectations are for earnings growth in the next year, as shown by the fact that the P/E is only 16 when we consider consensus earnings for the fiscal year ending in June 2014, but of course the sell-side may be being a bit bullish and we’re certainly not as confident that Molex will reverse the recent performance of its business.

Edgar Wachenheim’s Greenhaven Associates owned 1.3 million shares of Molex at the end of September, roughly unchanged from what it had owned three months earlier (find more stocks that Wachenheim owned). Ascend Capital, managed by Malcolm Fairbairn, and David Harding’s Winton Capital Management were two other hedge funds reporting substantial positions in the stock.

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