Keurig Green Mountain Is Becoming a Beverage Giant

With its recent partnership with Coca-Cola, Keurig is ready to take on some of the giants in its industry. But does that mean now is the time to invest in the company?

May 10, 2014 at 12:00PM

Shares of Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR) are up more than 30% year to date, trading at close to $100 a share. However, this is still a long way from its all-time high of $125 that it hit earlier this year. The company took a big hit last week on news that Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) might be looking to buy a 10% stake in SodaStream. However, Keurig still appears to have some key growth opportunities that make it a stock worth owning.

The at-home beverage market
Although it remains to be seen whether Starbucks and SodaStream actually partner up, Keurig has already made the first move toward the at-home beverage market with its Coca-Cola partnership.

Sales are expected to grow in the high-single digits year over year for 2014, which is great compared to the mid-single digit growth that was expected prior to the Coca-Cola announcement. Keurig's 10-year deal with Coca-Cola means that it will be able to use Coca-Cola products for its planned cold-beverage system. Coca-Cola is also going to take a 10% equity stake in Keurig.

Other big opportunities
Keurig is still the leader in specialty coffee. Its portfolio has expanded to tea and other beverages, but the other exciting opportunity is the company's plan to enter the water-purification market this year.

Its upcoming Keurig 2.0 model will also come with an anti-lock technology, which prevents the use of K-Cups not designed by Keurig. This should help it maintain its dominance in the single-serve category. The other opportunity to expand the company's market share is to continue offering affordable Keurig brewer models. Finally, there is also the potential to attack the foodservice sector. Only about 1% of foodservice establishments have Keurig brewers.

Taking on the giants
One of Keurig's biggest competitors is Starbucks. This company has one of the largest reaches of all the major coffee retailers, and it's still growing. The coffee company has already been expanding its baked goods and beverage offerings, but it's now looking to take on a new industry altogether.

Starbucks is planning to tap the booze market by serving alcohol in its stores. Starbucks also has plenty of store growth opportunities in Asia. The coffee company has 11,000 stores in the U.S. but only 7,000 in international markets. Starbucks plans to open 500 stores in Asia this year, with half of those in China. Then there's Brazil, where Starbucks only has 45 stores.

J.M. Smucker (NYSE:SJM) is another major player in the coffee space. Much like Starbucks' retail presence, J.M. Smucker has an impressive presence in grocery stores. It also sells various other products besides coffee. Products offered include peanut butter, fruit spreads, and ice cream toppings.

But J.M. Smucker's key revenue generator is U.S. retail coffee. This generates nearly 40% of company-wide revenue. The main driver of this is its Folgers business and Dunkin' Brands' Dunkin Donuts packaged coffee. One headwind for J.M. Smucker, however, is that Starbucks is increasing its packaged coffee presence.

How shares stock up
Keurig pays a 1% dividend yield, which is lower than the other two companies. Starbucks' dividend yield is 1.4%, and J.M. Smucker offers a 2.4% dividend yield. As far as valuation goes, J.M. Smucker trades the cheapest with a 16 P/E based on next year's earnings estimates. Keurig and Starbucks trade at 22 and 23 P/E ratios, respectively.

Bottom line
The number of people drinking coffee on a daily basis is quite impressive. This number is likely to continue to grow as global populations rise. In addition, the rise of the middle class in emerging markets will help bolster coffee demand. The at-home coffee market is still very new and exciting. This part of the market is less saturated than the retail coffee market. For investors looking to make a play on the at-home coffee market, Keurig Green Mountain is worth a closer look.

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Marshall Hargrave has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Keurig Green Mountain and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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