Shares of GNC Holdings (NYSE:GNC), a specialty retailer of health and wellness products including vitamins and diet products, are soaring nearly 30% higher as of 11:35 a.m. EST after the company released fourth-quarter results and made a large investor announcement.
Starting with the quarterly results, GNC reported $557.7 million in fourth-quarter revenue, which was lower than the prior year's $569.9 million and below analysts' estimates calling for $568.8 million, per FactSet estimates. GNC's bottom-line loss also narrowed from the prior year's loss of $433.4 million to a loss of $209.8 million. When adjusted, GNC's fourth-quarter earnings checked in at $0.25 cents per share, in line with FactSet consensus estimates.
Another driving force behind GNC's jump in price Tuesday was the announcement of a strategic partnership and China joint venture agreement with Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co., which will now invest roughly $300 million and become GNC's single-largest shareholder. Ken Martindale, GNC chief executive officer, said in a press release:
As a recognized leader in China, Hayao is an ideal partner as we look to leverage the strength of the GNC brand and capitalize on the demand for nutritional supplements in China. Hayao's strong distribution network and regulatory, operational and manufacturing expertise will enhance our ability to expand our local product assortment. We are confident this partnership will provide us with the expertise to navigate the competitive Chinese landscape and rapidly expand our brand in China
After a rough 2017, the narrowing bottom-line loss and significant investment from Hayao has put GNC in a much better position than it was a few months ago, but make no mistake -- the company has much work to do if it wants to convince investors it has a growth story going forward.