|A comparison of MILT and PVAT:|
MILT used to be a huge company back in the 80s, with sales in the $500 million a year range. They also used to be profitable. In the 90's they shrunk by about 90% and lost enough money to wipe out all prior profits and build up a sizeable negative retained earnings. By contrast PVAT was minuscule 10 years ago and has grown considerably during the period, and has consistently been profitable. Both have debt, but PVAT got theirs by acquiring other companies.
They companies do compete some, but aren't usually direct competitors. PVAT competes in a higher price segment with value added features such as micro-miniaturized components. Examples are their specialized flightline computers which they sell to Lockheed and Raytheon, or their battlefield internet computers designed to enhance situational awareness during combat. By contrast MILT competes in more general ruggedized computers, and they are more susceptible to competition from a Dell or IBM product that is somewhat ruggedized. As a result, MILT typically has much narrower margins.
The turnaround at MILT appears to be from cost-controls as opposed to increased sales. Perhaps that is sustainable, perhaps not. Sometimes cutting costs puts companies into a death spiral by decreasing R&D and sales expense, resulting in later decreases in revenues. In any caseI don't feel any compulsion to be in every stock that goes up, and while MILT may go up, I'll skip it. I do know PVAT, and they have the best products, the best margins, a history of growth, a history of profit, a strong cash flow, strong management, and a very reasonable PE.