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3 cheap ASX manufacturing shares for the supply chain boom

In the wake of COVID-19, supply chains are already moving to become more local. For instance, there were acute shortages in healthcare, car parts and construction. In South Korea, Hyundai closed its plants due to a lack of car parts. Moreover, we all felt the impacts of a lack of hand sanitiser and face masks in the early days. 

When we talk about Australian manufacturers, thoughts go immediately to PPE manufacturer Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN) or shipbuilder Austal Limited (ASX: ASB). Yet there are several smaller companies selling at share prices I believe are below their intrinsic value.

Local supply chain manufacturing

Reliance Worldwide Corporation Ltd (ASX: RWC) manufactures and sells plumbing accessories – a core product in the residential and commercial supply chains. Over the past 4 years since its initial public offering (IPO), the company has grown its sales by an average of 46.5%. At the same time, it is continually improving its net profits.

Reliance has been acquiring companies to provide a comprehensive product offering. In addition, it operates in Australia, the UK and the US, providing exposure to the US housing market. The Reliance share price is selling at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.51. This is well below the company’s 10 year P/E average and I believe Reliance is currently selling at a discount to its intrinsic value.

Orora Ltd (ASX: ORA) manufactures packaging products. This includes bottles, boxes, cartons and aluminium cans. It operates in Australia and the US. Over the 6 years since its IPO, Orora has an average return on capital employed (ROCE) of 11%. This is a measure of how well the company can transform available capital into earnings. As companies move to localise supply chains, Orora is likely to see increased sales. 

This share has a one-off payment this year after the sale of one of its business. When combined with the dividend payment, this share pays a 18.8% yield (based on last Friday’s share price). However, it must be purchased before the ex-dividend date of 19 June. 

High tech manufacturing

Of the 3 companies, Electro Optic Systems Hldg Ltd (ASX: EOS) is the smallest. It manufactures components for the defence and space sectors. Sales for this company have doubled for the past 2 years. It has recently completed the acquisition of Audacy Corporation, a US satellite communications company, which will provide the manufacturer with greater product diversity. Electro Optic provides high technology solutions, including the space situational awareness network in conjunction with the United States.

The SpaceX launch over the weekend, combined with the recent Space Force announcement in the US and increases in defence spending, will likely see an increase in sales for this ASX mid cap. These are considered security critical areas. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to leave these areas in any concentrated and offshore manner, given the lessons from COVID-19. 

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Daryl Mather owns shares of Austal Limited. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Austal Limited and Reliance Worldwide Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Ansell Ltd. and Reliance Worldwide Limited. 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 Scott Phillips.

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