The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States could have big implications on corporate profitability. On the campaign trail, Trump advocated strongly for corporate tax reform. Specifically, the president-elect argued in favor of reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% from the current 35%, which is one of the highest tax rates on the planet.
If Trump can strong-arm support in Congress for his corporate tax-cut plans, it could pay off big time for U.S.-centric beverage companies Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX), Boston Beer Co. (NYSE:SAM), and Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Should you add these stocks to your portfolio now?
Pouring up profits
Starbucks may have its sight set on global domination, but it's still generating the majority of its sales in the good ole U.S., and that means that it's paying a hefty tax bill every year.
Over the past 12 months, the company's effective tax rate is a whopping 32.9%, but if Trump gets his corporate tax-cut plan through Congress, it could drop significantly.
To put the potential profit tailwind of a Trump tax cut in perspective, Starbucks' annual tax bill is about $880 million, so we're not talking chump change.
Starbucks also benefits from a more business-friendly labor secretary. Following Trump's election, it's less likely that advocates for a national minimum-wage hike will gain the necessary traction to pass mandated wage increases. That won't help Starbucks in markets that have instituted their own minimum-wage plans, such as California, but it will still help it control its labor expense at its own pace, rather than follow the government-set pace.
Since Starbucks' plans include opening 12,000 more stores by 2021, and many of those stores will be abroad, the tax tailwind might not be as great five years from now as it is today. But make no mistake, it will still be a big short- to mid-term catalyst supporting earnings growth for the coffee brewer.
The market for craft beer in the United States is going through a renaissance, and while in the short term that's taken a toll on Boston Beer Co.'s sales, this company is still a big and highly profitable player in the U.S. "better beer" segment.
The company sold more than $270 million worth of beer and other products, including Angry Orchard hard cider, last quarter, and this year, iconic beer lover and Boston Beer chairman James Koch estimates earnings per share will clock in at $6.70.
Because the bulk of Boston Beer's unit volume is sold to U.S. distributors, Boston Beer's effective tax rate is 36.9%. A cut in taxes courtesy of Trump's tax plan could save this company and its shareholders millions of dollars. Last quarter alone, Boston Beer set aside $18.6 million for taxes. Cutting the tax rate by more than half for this company could be significant, especially since operating income last quarter was $50.3 million.
Beer, wine, and spirits powerhouse
Constellation Brands is a global Fortune 500 producer and marketer of top-selling beer, wine, and liquor brands, but like these other two companies, it's still dependent on U.S. revenue for its profits.
The company's Corona and Modelo brands make it the third biggest beer company in the U.S., and its Ballast Point craft brewery is one of the most popular craft breweries in existence today. Its wines include Robert Mondavi and Mark West, and its spirits brands include Svedka Vodka.
Constellation Brands' sales and profit totaled $2 billion and $359 million last quarter, respectively, and over the past year, the company's effective tax rate is 31.5%.
Since the company's effective tax rate is considerably higher than what Trump has proposed, and its provision for taxes last quarter was $164 million, there could be substantial profit tailwinds for Constellation Brands if Trump ushers his lower corporate tax rate through Congress.