How Stanley Black & Decker’s CEO has powered up the toolmaker


With stocks finally taking a break from rallying, CNBC’s Jim Cramer circled back to one out-performing stock that could be a buying opportunity on the market-wide weakness.

Stanley Black & Decker, which makes a variety of tools and some security solutions, just issued a strong quarterly earnings report that sent its shares soaring. So far in 2017, the stock has gained 42 percent.

“Look, you rarely get a chance to buy this stock into weakness,” the “Mad Money” host said. “What’s behind the strength at Stanley Black & Decker? When you dig down, the explanation’s pretty clear: the company’s been making some very shrewd moves with its product portfolio, the shrewdest of all being the acquisition of the Craftsman tool business from the moribund Sears Holdings.”

Cramer said that, while Stanley Black & Decker was always a steady performer, everything changed when James Loree became CEO in July 2016.

Shortly after Loree took on the role, Stanley Black & Decker bought Newell Brands’ tool business for $1.95 billion, bringing reputable industrial brands Irwin and Lenox on board.

“It’s a great business that Newell didn’t want because, remember, they’re trying to pare back their portfolio and embrace the consumer, but Loree and his team realized that these brands could really broaden the company’s reach,” Cramer said.

Then, in December 2016, the toolmaker sold its mechanical security arm to a Swiss company called Dormakaba for $725 million in cash. In early January, Stanley Black & Decker turned around and announced it would buy the Craftsman brand from the struggling Sears Holdings.

Stanley Black & Decker paid Sears $525 million up front for Craftsman, with another $250 million slated for the end of year three of the acquisition. The toolmaker also agreed to pay Sears between 2.5 and 3.5 percent in royalties for the next 15 years.

“This is one fabulous deal for this guys. It makes sense,” Cramer said. “Basically, Stanley Black & Decker sold their low-growth mechanical security division, which I really didn’t like at all, in order to pay for Craftsman. That’s an iconic American brand that could have tremendous growth now that it’s owned by someone competent.”

Since the Craftsman deal closed, Stanley Black & Decker’s management has been hard at work outlining its long-term strategy for analysts.

Loree detailed his 22/22 vision on the company’s investor day in May: Stanley Black & Decker aims to almost double its revenue to $22 billion by 2022.

The toolmaker’s latest earnings report improved Wall Street’s outlook on its business even more. Not only did Stanley Black & Decker beat the estimates, but management raised its full-year earnings guidance substantially, predicting 6 percent organic growth.

Better yet, the company announced on Tuesday that it would sell Craftsman tools at Lowe’s stores, which Cramer saw as just the beginning of the brand’s expansion under its new owner.

“Whenever I talk about how companies can transform themselves with a little self-help, this kind of transaction is exactly what I’m referring to. Around this time last year, Stanley Black & Decker was the kind of stock that puts investors to sleep,” the “Mad Money” host said.

But after Loree’s moves, Stanley Black & Decker has quickly become one of 2017’s top performers while still flaunting a fairly low valuation of 19 times next year’s earnings estimates.

“[Thanks to] James Loree’s terrific deal-making, Stanley Black & Decker has accelerated revenue growth and investors can’t get enough of it,” Cramer said. “I like this stock now that it’s pulling back after [Tuesday’s] huge run, but I’d like it even more if the current sell-off continues. Either way, though, the stock of Stanley Black & Decker? It’s a buy.”

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