Owens-Corning Gains From Post-Sandy Building Boom

TheStreet.com

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Talk about the "perfect storm" for growing a business and letting revenue numbers ride.

The combination of rebuilding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and the recovery in residential construction has put Owens-Corning in the sales-growth sweet spot for many quarters to come.

Owens-Corning makes insulation, roofing and noise control products used residential and commercial construction. It also makes glass fiber reinforcements and other materials for composite systems.

Its business is divided into two segments, Composites and Building Materials. These are the twin drivers of EPS growth going forward.


The Yahoo! Finance profile for the company says the Composites unit:

"manufactures, fabricates, and sells glass reinforcements in the form of fiber; and manufactures and sells glass fiber products in the form of fabrics, mat, veil, and other specialized products. Its products are used in pipe, roofing shingles, sporting goods, computers, telecommunications cables, boats, aircraft, defense, automotive, industrial containers, and wind-energy applications in the power and energy, housing, water distribution, industrial, transportation, consumer, and aerospace/military markets."

Read that paragraph again and imagine how many building, autos, infrastructure components and miscellaneous technology products that were destroyed in the path of Hurricane Sandy will be replaced using composites made by OC.

Here's the Yahoo! Finance description of what the Building Materials division does:

"The Building Materials segment manufactures and sells fiberglass insulation into residential, commercial, industrial, and other markets for thermal and acoustical applications; and manufactures and sells glass fiber pipe insulation, flexible duct media, and foam insulation used in above- and below-grade construction applications. It also manufactures and sells residential roofing shingles and oxidized asphalt materials used in residential and commercial construction, and specialty applications."

Now think about how much reconstruction in the wake of Sandy -- and new construction elsewhere -- will use insulation or shingles made by Owens-Corning.

No wonder analysts anticipate that Owens-Corning will experience sales growth of nearly 6% during 2013 to an annual revenue total of around $5.5 billion.


Let's take an illustrated look at OC over the past year to understand how the combination of the massive amounts of business generated by the disaster recovery projects and the surging demand for new housing units (houses, apartment buildings and condominiums) has affected the company's numbers.

OC Chart
OC data by YCharts

It shows us succinctly how the trailing 12-month revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization cratered right around the time that Sandy tore up the Eastern Seaboard. Since then, those numbers have been improving steadily, helping to push the share price of Owens-Corning recently to near its 52-week high of $43.88.

The residential building boom is likely to continue, and Owens-Corning is likely to benefit from new, stricter building codes that require more of the insulation the company specializes in. New building projects and upgrades should help the company's bottom line profits for the foreseeable future.


"I'm generally pretty bullish now," CEO Mike Thaman told MoneyBeat back on April 24 after reporting positive earnings in the first quarter. The CEO sees the housing market as a sustained part of the economic recovery. That's based partly on the monthly improvements in new-home sales and prices.

On average, analysts expect the company to report 30% year-over-year earning growth for the second quarter of this year, and 100% year-over-year earnings growth in the third quarter!

It's no wonder then that as of March 14, 2013, CEO Thaman owned 740,739 shares of OC stock. All insiders and beneficial owners control slightly more than 7% of the outstanding shares.

If you're interested in becoming an investor I encourage you to visit its entertaining and somewhat jovial Web site. The investor relations section is a must-see.

Owens-Corning is capitalizing on twin generational events that will expand its opportunities and reward its shareholders for many months ahead. As the earlier chart demonstrates, the stock has had quite a run so far in 2013, so patient investors might be glad they waited for an eventual correction before accumulating or adding to existing positions.

At the time of publication, Courtenay had no positions in stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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