Consumer Products

Tankola: Keurig Green Mountain CEO Goes On and On After Earnings, Guidance, Layoffs

Keurig Green Mountain Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) may have beaten earnings estimates marginally, but this is going to be a deemed a mixed fiscal third-quarter report from analyst to analyst following the company. Still, we need to at least keep in mind that Keurig Green Mountain shares have been cut in half from their highs of the past year. Still, the company did have its shares halted for the news release. While there may be some shareholder-friendly news here, the overall trend’s growth is of yesteryear — and the CEO’s quote was extremely long.

UPDATE: Shares reopened, and let’s say it wasn’t pretty by any means.

Earnings per share were $0.80 from operations, on $969.5 million in revenue. That is a 5% sales decline, and the numbers compare to Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $0.79 earnings per share (EPS) and $1.04 billion in revenue.

Keurig noted that its pod equivalent servings volume growth was 5%, with some 12% growth in U.S. At Home channels — still, this was a 1% decrease in the quarter in pod net sales. The company also announced a multiyear productivity program (that is called cost limitations and efficiencies, with a 5% workforce cut) that is expected to generate close to $300 million in cost savings over 3 years.

Another issue is that Keurig Green Mountain approved a $1 billion share repurchase plan. That is against an $11.5 billion market cap. The company also kept its $0.2875 per share cash dividend in place.

For the quarter ahead, the company sees $0.70 to $0.75 in adjusted EPS. The company also sees a net sales growth decline of low-teens compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014.

For the year 2015, the company sees a net sales decline of low-single to mid-single-digits compared to fiscal year 2014, and it sees Non-GAAP EPS falling in the low-teens.

Keurig Green Mountain also gave the following introductory guidance for 2016:

  • Expects its hot business to deliver modest non-GAAP earnings per share growth over fiscal 2015 inclusive of the expected productivity savings.
  • Expects that its investment in Keurig KOLD in 2016 will be at least $100 million and could be higher, depending largely on pod manufacturing efficiencies and channel mix. Its fiscal year 2016 non-GAAP EPS excludes any restructuring or one-time charges related to the productivity program.
  • Expects non-GAAP earnings per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2016 to decline versus the prior year quarter.

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Perhaps the company’s quote from management explains just how cautious or nervous it was going into the report. We would note that this is a very long quote for a company officer comment in an earnings report. President and CEO Brian Kelley said:

While we are not pleased with our revenue growth, we delivered earnings at the high end of our previous guidance. We are taking decisive actions to adapt and compete more effectively in today’s rapidly-evolving, dynamic marketplace. We are implementing a multi-year productivity program that we are confident will enhance our operational effectiveness and enable us to fund incremental investment in innovation and brand building. In addition, our new Keurig K200 brewer is off to a strong start with its introduction this past quarter. We believe this addition, as well as the enhancements we’ve made to our entire At Home brewer line up will allow for continued growth in our U.S. installed base. We continue to believe that our hot system has the potential to reach more than 50 million U.S. households over time –more than double its size today. In addition, the upcoming launch of our Keurig KOLD system creates an even larger opportunity for long-term growth and value creation.

Going forward, we will continue to maintain a strong, flexible capital structure and balance sheet to enable us to return significant value to our shareholders as we continue to invest in the business. Underscoring our commitment to delivering value to our shareholders, today we announced that our Board authorized an additional $1 billion share repurchase which adds to our existing plan. With innovative technology and a premier beverage brands portfolio, Keurig continues to be a recognized leader in the industry and we are confident we will continue our legacy of delivering disruptive and innovative products for the benefit of all Keurig constituents.

Shares were halted at the closing bell, but the closing price was down 2.3% at $74.82. Its 52-week range is $68.72 to $158.87, and the pre-earnings consensus price target was $104.00.

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UPDATE FOR AFTER-HOURS: Keurig Green Mountain shares were last seen down about $21.00, just above $55.00. Let’s call that a new 52-week low.

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