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There's hard money to be made in soft drinks. Just ask SodaStream (Nasdaq: SODA ) .
The company behind its namesake home carbonation system posted blowout quarterly results this morning. Revenue soared 59% to $66.3 million. Net income may have slipped slightly to $0.28 a share, but it still blew away Wall Street's targets. Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.13 a share on $55.8 million in revenue.
A couple of factors were baked into the thankfully temporary margin erosion. For starters, sales and marketing costs outran top-line growth, as SodaStream expanded aggressively outside of its Western European stronghold. The big stateside push paid off; the 238% revenue spike in the Americas was roughly 10 times greater than its sales growth in Western Europe.
The strong U.S. push helped SodaStream sell 712,000 of its manual water carbonation systems, 85% more than it did during the 2009 holiday quarter. This is welcome news for the future, but it's a margin drag for now. SodaStream's meatier markups come in its CO2 refills, replacement bottles, and soda syrup. Those repeat purchases should pick up at this point. Don't worry. We saw this happen when Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR ) started out selling a ton of its Keurig systems nearly at cost. It's the razor-and-blades model all over again, though SodaStream appears to be making money on its razors.
SodaStream's guidance calls for revenue to climb 25% this year, with earnings soaring by 40%. Earning $18 million on $266.5 million will result in margins expanding again, but analysts will have some tweaking to do on their models.
As a result of its November IPO, SodaStream now has roughly 20 million shares outstanding. The pros were targeting a 2011 profit of $1.10 a share on $249.9 million in revenue. Wall Street will need to lower its bottom-line estimates while jacking up its top-line goals.
The disparity probably explains why the shares popped 4% higher at the opening before turning negative. Mr. Market was initially elated, only to realize that 40% net income growth will mean that SodaStream earns roughly the $0.92 a share it earned in 2010 because of the IPO's dilution. It's also not ideal to see SodaStream sell fewer refillable carbonators than the 2.6 million it cleared during the third quarter.
I'll still take it.
SodaStream's shares aren't cheap by most valuation yardsticks, but this is robust growth in a moribund industry. Dr Pepper Snapple (NYSE: DPS ) is pegged to grow revenue at a 4% annualized clip in 2011 and 2012. PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP ) and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO ) have some acquisitive sizzle fizzing up this year's growth forecasts, but analysts see just 6% top-line growth at both pop stars during a more normalized 2012. Generic bottler Cott (Nasdaq: COT ) is growing faster than the brand names, but it's still a slowpoke pitted against SodaStream.
The next few quarters will be telling for SodaStream. Are the folks that were moved by Bed Bath & Beyond's (Nasdaq: BBBY ) displays this past quarter to make the initial investment now stocking up on more soda syrup and carbonation cylinders, or is this the next Margaritaville cocktail maker? Several years of European success tend to move SodaStream away from faddish fears, but its success as an investment rests largely on how our country's soda-addicted ways play into SodaStream's value, health, and eco-friendly propositions.
Is SodaStream the real deal or a passing craze? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.