A little more than a year ago, fellow Fool Bill Mann wrote up Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
I agree with Mr. Mann's assertion that the company's focus on stock splits is a bit absurd, and that the number of pieces you cut a pie into doesn't change the size of the pie. What matters is the business itself and what it offers investors. Historically, Rocky Mountain Chocolate has not disappointed here, and this quarter wasn't any different.
The easily visible proof of Rocky Mountain's continued success is the 22% increase in diluted earnings per share versus the same quarter last year and the 2% increase in operating margin. More importantly, Rocky Mountain has a history of strong free cash flow. It returns a portion of those funds to shareholders as a cash dividend that currently yields approximately 1.1% -- a dividend that really matters. The company also expects to report a balance sheet free of long-term debt when it files its 10-Q. All considered, Rocky Mountain is a fine company and does well despite the competition from See's, Godiva -- which is owned by CampbellSoup
What's not to like? The share price, for one. It seems the company's chocolate isn't the only thing that's a bit rich at the moment -- the shares trade at about 45 times trailing earnings. If I found the price of shares more attractive in relation to the free cash flow, I would also spend time researching the company's franchise model as well, which can often be the downfall of a fast-growing franchiser.
Rocky Mountain is a solid business, and it's not terribly uncommon for profitable businesses to trade for a premium. Nonetheless, I'd wait for one of the usual waves of investor fear that occasionally plagues small caps before taking the plunge.
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