I admit it: I'm a fan of Smucker's
For the first time in a long time, Smucker's earnings news was almost entirely sweet. While sales were only up 2% year over year, to $501.7 million, earnings per climbed a surprising 38% to $0.62 a share, beating analysts' estimates into jelly. The earnings increase was mainly driven by lower taxes and decreased merger and acquisitions charges. These drivers may lack the strategic glamour of "expanding competitive moats," "hyper-growth," or even "continuing ones," but I'm sure investors will take the good as it comes.
Of course, Smucker's still retains its sweet position in consumers' minds, with strong brands like Pillsbury, Jif, and Crisco. These are highly mature products -- while growth is pretty much an afterthought, stability is the name of the game here.
Unfortunately for investors, stability doesn't exactly mean solid returns for investors on one key metric: Return on equity only climbed an estimated 2% year over year. However, it was a nice bone to throw the analysts, and the company reiterated its guidance for 8% long-term growth. Half of that should come from acquisitions, with the other half from core operations. I would have liked the company to include its cash flow statement with the earnings report, but I guess we can't have everything.
While Smucker has some tasty products, investors could do a lot better than to sink their teeth into this stock. There are stronger, more attractive food businesses out there, including Kellogg
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