3 dirt cheap value shares under $2

Photo: Lovisa Prospectus

Buying beaten-up stocks isn’t for everyone. Often stocks are cheap for a reason, and sometimes there can even be ‘more than one cockroach in the kitchen’, which refers to the unscrupulous practice of releasing bad news in dribs and drabs.

However, many investors will also admit an innate attraction to buying cheap things and there are a number of businesses out there suitable for the bargain hunter. Each of them faces uncertainty, but by definition they wouldn’t be dirt cheap if there were no clouds in the sky.

Here are three which, in my opinion, offer the best value at today’s prices:

Lifehealthcare Group Ltd (ASX: LHC) – last traded at $1.50, down 51% for the year

As I’ve written previously here, medical device seller Lifehealthcare was smashed after its poor performance in the most recent half-year. However, there’s ample room for recovery once one-off costs work there way out of the business and if cash flows improve as management has forecast. While there’s a downside in that new product sales have been weaker than expected, Lifehealthcare is also priced for sub-par performance and a return to form could see plenty of upside.

The big question is around the company’s cash flows, and investors will want to watch that these stay in check and that debt does not rise too rapidly – nevertheless, I am considering buying more shares in Lifehealthcare today.

Thorn Group Ltd (ASX: TGA) – last traded at $1.45, down 47% for the year

Thorn shares took a dive after the company announced write-offs and the closure of several business lines would impact profit for the full year. Full-year profit is expected to be around $19 million to $21 million, which puts the company on a Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of ~10, well below the market average. Although profits are falling, most of the impact is non-cash, and investors are looking at close to double-digit returns from the dividend yield alone.

Some uncertainty remains around potential changes to consumer lending and leasing laws, although the company wouldn’t be changing hands so cheap if there were no clouds in the sky. I bought shares in Thorn for the first time after its recent downgrade, and am not yet in the market for more.

Lovisa Holdings Ltd (ASX: LOV) – last traded at $2.03, down 37% for the year

Lovisa fell earlier this year after the company announced falling margins due to higher sales activity and a weak Australian dollar, which the company was unable to absorb with higher prices. On the upside, the company is now trading for around the same price as it debuted on the market at, and looks to be trading at an estimated 11 times full-year profit, according to analyst forecasts from Nabtrade. With $8 million in cash, $12 million in debt, and positive cash flow of $6 million, Lovisa is well funded and looks attractive at today’s prices.

However, investors should be sure to watch that the company can maintain its competitive position and margins going forwards.

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Motley Fool contributor Sean O'Neill owns shares of LifeHealthcare Group Limited and Thorn Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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