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Nicholas Financial, Inc. (NICK) is “One to Watch”

Nicholas Financial, Inc. provides direct consumer loans and purchases installment sales contracts from automobile dealers for used cars and light trucks. Nicholas Financial operates a network of forty-nine branch offices in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee. Its software subsidiary, Nicholas Data Services, Inc., designs, develops, supports and sells accounting software to small businesses throughout North America and is the computer automation provider for Nicholas Financial.

Nicholas Financial enables individuals with blemished credit to purchase a vehicle. Vehicles have long held a special place in the hearts of Americans. An American’s car is a symbol of freedom and hope for a future. From the time a teenager receives his learners permit, vehicle ownership gives the freedom to go just about anywhere. A vast majority of Americans will sacrifice a great deal to keep this freedom at all costs. It is this attachment that causes the company to believe that both the subprime borrower and secondary automobile markets will continue to expand.

Over the past year, Nicholas Financial has worked to modernize and strengthen its corporate infrastructure. Their IT staff has upgraded and expanded the company’s computing facilities, which should provide ample processing and data storage capacities for future growth. Going forward, the company will continue to implement efficiencies that will help lower costs and amplify earnings growth once an economic rebound occurs. In addition, Nicholas Financial intends to increase its revenues by adding new branches in the years to come.

As of last report, the company had $204 million in total assets and $116 million in total liabilities. During the second quarter, revenues increased from $13.1 million to $13.7 million year-over-year, while net income increased from $1.6 million to $2.3 million. Trading at a P/E ratio of 13 and Price/Book Value of 0.81, the company is undervalued compared to industry averages.

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