Top Beverage Investments for Summer 2014

Summer’s here and the time is right for cold beverages for consumers and investors alike. This makes companies like Coca-Cola, Keurig Green Mountain, and SodaStream worth a look.

Jun 1, 2014 at 6:00PM

Today's beverage companies are not your mom and dad's soda pop as diversification and global branding have created a wave of products and opened doors to new markets across the global village. Of course, Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) remains a leader, but upstarts like Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ:GMCR) and SodaStream (NASDAQ:SODA) offer more choices to consumers and investors.

Coca-Cola says no to BVO, yes to Keurig Green Mountain
In early May, Coca-Cola announced that it will cut a controversial ingredient from all of its drinks. The company said it will be "transitioning from the use of brominated vegetable oil (BVO)."

While the company believes BVO is safe, this has been a hot-button issue. Some consumer groups have been pressuring the beverage company to eliminate its use of the oil.

Coke's announcement stated in part that "in the coming months, select citrus-flavored products available on shelves, in vending machines and fountain machines will begin to incorporate the new ingredients...we anticipate the transition will be complete for all of our beverages in the United States by the end of 2014."

In short, this will steer the company clear of this potential controversy and support its iconic brand name. However, a bigger move by Coke in May was the company increasing its stake in Keurig Green Mountain.

As previously reported in February 2014, Coca-Cola took about a 10% stake in Keurig Green Mountain by ponying up $1.25 billion for 16.7 million of its shares. According to a recent report by Bloomberg News, Coke increased its holding to 16% and now controls 26 million Keurig Green Mountain Shares.

Why the Coke deal with Keurig Green Mountain matters
The original deal between the beverage makers is a 10-year partnership that offers Keurig Green Mountain a path to move into the home-brewed cold beverage and soda game with its 'The Keurig Cold Machine.'

Like its home coffee-making cousin, the machine makes sodas, sports drinks, and other beverages at home using specially designed pods. Now, exclusive Coca-Cola-branded pods designed for use with the at-home beverage system will be part of the mix. In short, this is a win-win deal for both companies.

Keurig Green Mountain has the opportunity to tap into Coke's branding and global market presence. As for Coca Cola, the alliance gives the iconic beverage maker a straight path into the growing 'single-serve at home' channel. The deal also provides a new packaging format for other Coca-Cola brands.

Obviously this raises speculation on the Street that Keurig Green Mountain could be a takeover target. This is because Coke needs to diversify its business as soft-drink sales decline.

Keurig Green Mountain's single-cup beverage system will become available for sale toward the end of the company's 2015 fiscal year, which is actually later in 2014. So the question remains as to how successful this product launch will be, and whether consumers will maintain their enthusiasm for home-brewed cold beverages in the long run.

In the meantime, any take-over speculation is merely coffee talk, so to speak. Coca-Cola's play has, however, been a boon to the share price of Keurig Green Mountain -- which presently hovers at about $117, slightly off of the 52-week high of $124.42. Moreover, with a forward P/E of 28.99, below the current ratio of 33.07, investors may want to top off their cups.

What this deal means for SodaStream
The strategic alliance between Coca-Cola and Keurig will have an impact on SodaStream -- the leader in the at-home carbonated-beverage market -- and a play for a similar alliance or takeover could occur in time.

Meanwhile, the company released its first-quarter results in May. The financial report was highlighted by revenue increasing from $117.6 million in the year-ago period to $118.2 million. However, earnings suffered due to expenses associated with the company's expansion into markets outside of the U.S. as well as the negative impact "from the challenging holiday season."

SodaStream's Chief Executive Officer Daniel Birnbaum said that the company is adjusting its marketing and selling strategies to "further increase household penetration."

"We are confident that our long history leading the evolution of home carbonation continues to provide us with strong competitive advantages and compelling growth opportunities across the globe," he said.

Going forward, the company still anticipates that full-year revenue will climb by about 15% while it also expects revenue to recover and grow by 11% over 2013 to come in at $62.2 million.

SodaStream's tough earnings year in 2013 left a mark on its share price and Soda currently trades at about $37 and change. However, with a forward P/E of 16.70, well below the current ratio of 25.28, investors can expect some tasty profits at this price level.

Final foolish thoughts
Growth opportunities exist in the at-home beverage sector, and the Coca-Cola deal with Keurig Green Mountain is good for both companies. Also, the increased interest that Soda will garner as a takeover target or strategic partner will benefit the company in the long run. In sum, this is a good time for long-term investors to consider each of these beverage companies.

Will this stock be your next multi-bagger?
Give us five minutes and we'll show how you could own the best stock for 2014. Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks one stock with outstanding potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on one of the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303% over the subsequent years! Believe me, you don't want to miss what could be his biggest winner yet! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.

Kyle Colona has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola, Keurig Green Mountain, and SodaStream. The Motley Fool owns shares of SodaStream and has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and short January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't 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.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information