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Can Lenovo Overcome the Negative PC Bias?

Stocks in this article: HPQ DELL MSFT AAPL GOOG IBM RIMM

What's more, in its most recent quarter, the company reported growth in revenue and operating profits -- climbed 35% and 46% respectively with absolute margins registering at 2.3%. In other words, PCs are dying everywhere except those made by Lenovo.

However, it's challenge remains growing its U.S. market share to match what it has established, not only in China, but in markets such as India and Russia where its enjoys pie slices of 17% and 12% respectively.

As it seeks to enter the realm of mobile devices, I wonder if Lenovo has just become bored with its PC success or does it really see a significant growth opportunity outside of its core business? Microsoft has been trying to take on Apple and Google for years in this area with little success.

Although I sound a bit apprehensive about its prospects, Lenovo appears to be making some decent strides by having already amassed a 12% share in China and quickly becoming the country's second largest smartphone company behind Samsung.

How undervalued does Lenovo appear to be? Projecting just 2% free cash flow compound growth over the next decade is sufficient to fuel a target price well into the $20s, even with an above-average discount rate.

Although I don't think Lenovo is going to get much attention until investors feel better about the health of China's economy, I believe this is an undervalued way to play ongoing IT hardware demand growth in multiple emerging markets.

Bottom Line

Lenovo deserves more love than it gets from investors. While the company is operating on all cylinders, it is still a relatively unknown. But I think with its tablet and smartphone objectives this is all about to change.

It is not out of the realm of possibility that Lenovo might consider making a play for a company such as Research in Motion (RIMM). I can't think of a better way for it to make a splash on the market while also announcing its presence in the U.S. in the most authoritative way.

However, I'm not holding my breath. Though the company has the cash to make something like this happen, it's just not its style. As a result, it will continue to be ignored as the negative PC bias continues, and despite the obvious value in its shares. Although it operates a successful business with strong fundamentals, it has much work to do to overcome that which it can't control -- investor sentiment.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL and held no position in any of the other stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.
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