Consumer Products

Green Mountain Coffee Strikes Huge Deal With Coca-Cola, Posts Earnings Beat

Green Mountain Coffee Logo
Source: courtesy Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) reported first-quarter fiscal 2014 earnings after markets closed Wednesday. But the big news came shortly before the company released its numbers. The company has struck a deal with Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO) under which Coke will acquire a 10% minority position in Green Mountain. Even bigger: Coca-Cola has signed an agreement with Green Mountain that will give the smaller company an exclusive 10-year partnership with Coca-Cola for the production and sale of branded Coke products in single-serve, pod-based cold beverages.

The only downside to the deal with Coca-Cola is that the 10% stake of nearly 16.7 million shares was priced at $74.98, well below Wednesday’s closing price of $80.88.

At its annual meeting in March shareholders are being asked to approve a name change to Green Mountain Keurig. The company is planning to introduce a full-pot brewing system late this year that will not be compatible with its single-cup system and, as the deal with Coca-Cola demonstrates, has big plans to go after the cold drinks market as well, including taking a run at SodaStream International Ltd.’s (NASDAQ: SODA) countertop carbonation system.

Regarding its financial results, the maker of the Keurig single-cup brewing system posted quarterly adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.96 on revenues of $1.39 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.76 on revenues of $1.34 billion.First-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.90 and $1.41 billion in revenues.

Green Mountain reported that it sold a record 5.1 million Keurig systems during the quarter. Sales of its single portion packs rose 8% for the quarter and the only dim spot in the report was that other products and royalties revenues were down 18%. Gross margin rose from 31.3% in the year-ago quarter to to 33.5% in 2013.

For the 2014 fiscal year Green Mountain expects sales growth in the high single digits with more of the growth coming in the second half of the year. Adjusted EPS is forecast at $3.75 to $3.85, consistent with Green Mountain’s estimate at the end of last quarter. The consensus estimates call for revenue of $ 4.73billion and EPS of $3.82.

For the second quarter Green Mountain expects year-over-year sales growth in the low-to-mid single digits and adjusted EPS in a range of $0.93 to $0.98. The consensus estimates call for revenue of $1.09 billion and EPS of $1.02. The company’s forecast is weaker than expected, and that will weigh on the share price.

Almost unbelievably, the company’s shares are down about 1% in after-hours trading today, at $80.14 in a 52-week range of $42.25 to $89.66. Shares were halted briefly before the company released the news of the deal with Coca-Cola and its earnings results. The consensus target price for the shares was around $91.80 before today’s report.