As the broad financial markets sludge forward into uncertainty, we must realize that a large portion of companies contributing to the present ambiguity are legacy companies — companies that may at one time have been industry pioneers but are now merely making up the ranks. But as one market dies, another will almost certainly take its place. Despite the economic troubles we have witnessed, it's also an exciting time to be alive. Not only are companies producing new technologies making our lives longer and more productive, we have the opportunity to profit from these "stocks of the future."
Out of the burgeoning tech companies that exist today for public investment, few are as compelling as Mobileye (NASD:MBLY). Mobileye specializes in automated driving assistance systems, carrying a wealth of information in digital recognition software. Several leading companies, including powerhouse Tesla (NASD:TSLA), are long-time MBLY customers — adding a prominent name to a long clientele list.
This extensive business network will become even more critical in the years ahead. Automated driving systems will be virtually guaranteed to be a huge industry in less than a decade's time. Recently, several international automakers made a voluntary pledge to have automatic emergency braking standard equipment in all their new cars by 2022. That translates into millions of units that will potentially carry the Mobileye automation system.
Fundamentally, MBLY is rarely matched in productivity and efficiency. Mobileye's profitability margins are among the highest in its industry. It has produced a string of top-line sales growth while keeping costs and expenditures in check. That is evidenced not only by its net income trends, but also by the stability in its free cash flow.
Of course, Mobileye's competitors aren't going to take all this lying down. More tech firms are joining the fray. And as the voluntary deadline for emerging braking systems draw near, ever more companies will jump on the bandwagon, cutting prices to jump in on a fiercely contested industry. There are also rumors circulating that Tesla will no longer do business with Mobileye, citing a lack of innovation as a primary reason.
Should potential MBLY investors be concerned? As with any tech company, the broad industry is characterized by the risk of volatility, and MBLY is no exception. That said, Mobileye has strengths in both the balance sheet (it has no debt) and income statement that are difficult to stack up against. Also, the MBLY automated system is compatible with existing cars — that's a major advantage that can't be overlooked.
The daily ins-and-outs for MBLY is difficult to predict — the tech industry always is. That said, Mobileye has a significant advantage over its competitors. Not only is their technology widely incorporated among automakers for automated driving functions, MBLY has an extensive clientele network. The potential loss of Tesla is unlikely to break Mobileye. Instead, Tesla may actually be the one hurting as MBLY continues to surge ahead in a growing and exciting sector.