Why Alliance One Shares Jumped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Alliance One International (NYSE: AOI  ) were looking stronger today, finishing up 8% after a top-notch second-quarter earnings report.

So what: The tobacco supplier said sales increased 21% to $700 million, while operating income was slightly down at $48.3 million as cost increases slightly outweighed revenue gains. Net income was much lower because of a debt retirement expense charge. Without the charge, Alliance would have had a per-share profit of $0.11 a share. CEO Pieter Sikkel said, "Volume, revenue, and core operating income are on track to exceed last year," and full-service volumes improved 10.7%.

Now what: While the revenue and volume growth were solid, Alliance still has an enormous debt burden to deal with. The company just refinanced its debt, in part issuing $735 million in loans at 9.875%, and in the past quarter interest expense ate up nearly two thirds of operating income. The new rate should help lower expenses, but interest expense figures to be a problem for the foreseeable future. Shares are certainly cheap, but they're that a way for a reason. Still, if Alliance One puts up more quarters like this, the stock should move higher.

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