Will This Soda IPO Keep Its Flavor?

Earlier this week, SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA  ) completed its initial public offering, and like the company's products, its stock has delivered a bubbly performance. After two days of public trading, SodaStream's stock is up more than 50% from its $20 IPO price.

The Israeli company makes carbonated beverage systems for home use, as well as the consumable products -- CO2 refills, carbonated beverage storage containers, and flavored syrups -- necessary to create, flavor, and store the fizz. For readers who have owned shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR  ) or followed its story, SodaStream's razor / blade business model applied to beverages will sound familiar and likely grab your attention.

The numbers
For the first six months of 2010, the company generated revenues of 68.7 million euros (or U.S. $96.2 million), up 50% from 2009. The company is profitable, with a 6% operating profit margin, a figure that should improve as the business scales. In its prospectus, the company says that it is targeting at least a 25% operating profit in mature markets, where higher-margin consumables represent a larger portion of total sales. The company's gross margin was 52% for the first six months of 2010, a figure significantly higher than that of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Will SodaStream catch on?
Most of the company's business is in Europe, with Sweden having the highest usage, at an estimated 20% of households with the beverage carbonation system. SodaStream is in the early stages of its U.S. expansion, but its systems are available at Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY  ) , Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM  ) , and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) , at price points ranging from $79 to $199.

Gaining popularity in a large market like the U.S. could transform the prospects of the company (and its stock), but will the company's pitch of cheaper, healthier, more environmentally friendly soda resonate with Americans hooked on Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) and PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) products? I think there is room in the market for a carbonated alternative, but I do wonder about consumers' willingness to exchange the refillable CO2 containers needed to create the fizz. For SodaStream to succeed, the company needs buyers to keep using the product to drive higher-margin consumables sales and positive word of mouth.

That said, I think this one is worth watching. If you agree, click here to add SodaStream to your watchlist, and let us know in the comments below if you think SodaStream will be a Green Mountain-like success or fall as flat as a week-old can of open soda.

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Fool contributor April Taylor does not own shares of the companies mentioned. Coca-Cola is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Amazon.com and Bed Bath & Beyond are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are Motley Fool Income Investor choices. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on PepsiCo. The Fool owns shares of 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 Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2010, at 12:18 PM, MikeSpiker wrote:

    Hmmm??? With competitors our there like Fizz Giz, Wassermax, AGA, etc... (comprehensive list at http://www.fizzgiz.com/competitors_and_diy_options.htm) - I doubt it will last. This company had a wonderfully successful 10-yr marketing campaign and a woderfully successful IPO. But their little known competitors are rising to the challenge. If Fizz Giz's $30 bargain basement soda maker gains a foothold in the market, the tiny little upstart could grow into a tough competitor.

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