Baron Funds Comments on Cognex
Shares of Cognex, Corp. (CGNX), which sells machine vision systems for factory automation applications, declined 25.1% in the quarter. First quarter results showed some deceleration in the sales growth rate but most of the shortfall was related to one cyclical end market.The shares fell later in the quarter over concern about exposure to Europe. Cognex has $9 per share in cash (a third of its market capitalization) and net of that it has traded down to ten times our projection for earnings. We believe it is way too cheap. We think the stock could trade at twice that multiple since we believe its factory automation segment (which makes up three quarters of sales) can continue to grow organically at about 20% and expand margins, which is quite extraordinary.