NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With 2013 stock gains of close to 50%, I believe the Street owes the management team at Helen of Troy ( HELE) an apology, given the endless complaints about the company's margin leverage and organic growth.
Given Helen's breadth of end-market exposure, which includes housewares, personal care, health care/home segment, water filtration and so on, I do understand analysts concerns regarding organic growth, which measures a company's operational performance using only internal resources and excluding events like acquisitions, is an important metric used to gauge performances of companies that are so well diversified.
It's rare that companies like Helen can enter so many markets without going the mergers and acquisitions route. While there's nothing wrong with that, one acquisition (or two) can add an immediate boosts to the acquirer's revenue performance, making management appear way more competent than they really are.
While I've always maintained a strong bias towards organic growth, in the case of Helen it's been exaggerated and in some instances overblown to downplay the company's performance. When compared to, say, Proctor & Gamble (PG), which is equally well-diversified, I don't believe Helen of Troy's results have swayed that drastically both on an absolute and organic basis.
The other thing analysts conveniently forget is that even though this company is often accused of growing solely by acquisitions, management must still execute. It's one thing to spend billions on a deal. But at the end of the day, the deal must still work from the standpoint of synergies in order for value to be extracted.