Homegrown Stocks

Money Report

South Carolina companies have also felt impact of market turmoil.

South Carolina companies have also felt impact of market turmoil. In the midst of market turmoil it makes sense to be aware of investment opportunities close to home, and know a little about the stocks of the largest publicly traded South Carolina companies and employers.

Based upon market capitalization (the value of all outstanding stock shares), the five largest public companies headquartered in our state are Scana Corp. (SCG), Sonoco Products (SON), AVX Corp (AVX) Blackbaud (BLKB), and ScanSource (SCSC). Computer Science Corp., (CSC) with facilities in Blythewood, is headquartered in Falls Church, Va., but is our largest non-government employer.

Here are short summaries of the companies, their operations, financial results, stock performance, and Web sites.

SCANA Corp. (SCG) is a Fortune 500 holding company, with 116.7 million shares outstanding, and a market capitalization of $4.5 billion. Scana’s largest subsidiary is South Carolina Electric and Gas, a distributor of electricity to retail customers and provider of energy services to 24 counties in our state. Investors have been rewarded with a total return in 2006 of 7.6 percent, in 2007 a total return of 8.36 percent. Throughout 2008 SCG has fallen nearly 23 percent from its high of $44.06 and its current price of $34 per share. Business and investor information is available on the company Web site, scana.com.

SONOCO Products Company (SON) was founded in Hartsville, as the Southern Novelty Co. Sonoco manufactures industrial and consumer packaging at 317 locations in 35 countries, and employs 18,600 people worldwide. Trading on the NYSE with 85.2 million shares outstanding, Sonoco boasts a market cap of $2.53 billion. The stock pays $1.05 dividend per share; total return was 33.26 percent in 2006 but the stock lost 11.65 percent in 2007. Throughout 2008 SON has declined 33 percent from its 52-week high of $35.81 to its current price of $24.14. Sonoco can be contacted at (843) 383-7000 and on their Web site, sonoco.com.

AVX Corp (AVX) is the third largest public company, with a market cap of $1.38 billion. Headquartered in Myrtle Beach, AVX was a division of Kyocera Corp. until 1995 when it became publicly traded; Kyocera Corp still owns 71 percent of the outstanding shares. AVX manufactures and distributes passive electronic components including ceramic and tantalum capacitors, film capacitors, and varistors manufactured at 20 facilities in 12 countries. The stock currently pays a .16/share dividend, a yield of about 2 percent. While AVX gained a respectable 16 percent in 2005, it rose a slight 3 percent in 2006, lost 8 percent in 2007, and throughout 2008 has fallen over 48 percent from its high of 15.66/share to its current price of $9. The company’s Web site is avxcorp.com.

Blackbaud (BLKB) headquartered in Charleston, is the fourth largest company in terms of market cap. Blackbaud is a global provider of software and services to non-profit organizations, with over 22,000 customers and a market capitalization of $546 million. Their products help non profits lower fund-raising costs, increase donations, and enhance communications with their donor base, as well as manage internal finances. Revenues have grown at 22.7 percent per year over the last three years, and earnings per share at 38 percent per year. Past investors have been rewarded in Blackbaud; the stock returned 18 percent in 2005, 54 percent in 2006 and 9 percent in 2007. It hasn’t been immune to the current market woes, though; this year it has fallen over 58 percent from its high of $30.23 to its current price of $12.50 per share. Blackbaud pays a small dividend of .40 per share, a yield of 3.2 percent. The company’s Web site is blackbaud.com.

The fifth largest in market capitalization, ScanSource, (SCSC) is a wholesale value-added distributor of point-of-sale and automatic identification and data capture systems and solutions, with markets in the United States and overseas. The company was incorporated in 1992; its headquarters are in Greenville, with distribution centers in Memphis, Tenn.; Florida; Mexico; and Belgium. ScanSource has market capitalization of a little over $479 million and annual sales for the past trailing 12 months of $2.175 billion. With a recent price of $18.14 per share, it sells at approximately 9.5 times trailing 12 months earnings. Revenues have increased at 14 percent per year over the last three years. The stock gained 11 percent in 2007, but has fallen more than 50 percent from its 12-month high of $38 per share this year. ScanSource is included in the Russell 2000 small cap index and the S&P small cap 600 index. Its Web site is at scansource.com

South Carolina’s largest non governmental publicly traded employer is not a homegrown company. Computer Science Corp., (CSC) headquartered in Falls Church, Va., has over 11,000 employees at its facility in Blythewood, and provides global consulting, information and technology systems, as well as outsourcing services. The company had revenues of $17.3 billion for the 12 months ending Oct. 3, and a market cap of over $4.3 billion. CSC is currently selling at $28.83, five times its annual per share earnings, and pays no dividend. It has fallen nearly 50 percent from its 52-week high of $55 per share. More information on CSC is available at the company’s Web site, csc.com.

Steven Weber and Elizabeth Loda, CFP, are senior investment advisors for The Bedminster Group, providing investment, estate, financial planning and brokerage services. The information contained herein was obtained from sources considered reliable. Their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those from any other source. The discussion of securities in this article should not be construed as a recommendation or solicitation to purchase.