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Why Middleby Stock Is Cooking With Gas Today

By Anders Bylund - Mar 1, 2021 at 1:54PM

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The food service and kitchen equipment leader posted analyst-stumping results in the fourth quarter of 2020.

What happened

Shares of food service, food processing, and home kitchen equipment maker Middleby (MIDD -1.14%) rose as much as 12.6% on Monday, powered by a strong fourth-quarter earnings report.

So what

The company behind brands such as TurboChef, Viking, and Bakers Pride saw net sales fall 7% to $729 million. Adjusted earnings declined from $1.96 to $1.62 per diluted share. Your average analyst had expected far deeper drops with earnings of roughly $1.41 per share on top-line sales near $695 million. Middleby's order backlog stood at a record $523 million by the end of the fiscal year, up from $308 million one year earlier.

A chef wearing a medical mask holds a plate of food in a commercial kitchen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

All three of Middleby's operating segments reported significant revenue growth compared to the third quarter, led by an 18% sales jump in residential kitchen products and 15% higher revenue from commercial food service.

"Restaurants continue to gain experience and proficiency as they perfect their procedures for delivery, carry out, drive-through and curbside pickup," said Middleby CEO Tim FitzGerald. "Our virtual sales experience and showroom tours have been in high demand."

The company also opened a 40,000 square-foot product demonstration facility in Dallas last week, where prospective customers can experience and evaluate many of Middleby's product lines in a live setting.

"We believe the timing is right for this type of facility as customers want a hands-on experience as they reinvent their food service operations," FitzGerald said.

The lower sales and earnings might not impress you much but the company is springing back from the COVID-19 crisis with a vengeance and a sensational backlog of unfilled orders. Middleby is trading at fresh all-time highs today, having gained 29% over the last year and bouncing back with a 287% return from last April's market bottom.

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The Middleby Corporation
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