Packaged-foods producer J.M. Smucker
For the third quarter of fiscal 2010, Smucker posted revenue of $1.2 billion, up 2% year over year. Excluding five additional days of Folgers-brand coffee sales, companywide volume climbed by a healthy 4%. This core metric once again proves that Smucker's product portfolio is well suited to the Great Recession's prevailing tastes.
Such basics as pancake mix, peanut butter, and fruit spreads were popular with consumers. But organic items -- the company's R.W. Knudsen line of juices, for instance -- were also standout performers. Whole Foods Markets'
As for profit, the first impression is that Smucker blew off the lid. On a reported basis, earnings per share soared by 68%, to $1.14. However, excluding costs associated with the 2008 Folgers acquisition, EPS notched a lesser, but still impressive, 34% jump.
Alas, investors who want a true picture of comparative performance must make one final adjustment. Remember those five added days of Folgers sales in the recent quarter? According to my calculations, the benefit may have amounted to as much $0.08 in EPS. Assuming such a boost, EPS (excluding acquisition-related items) nonetheless grew by roughly 25%. Bravo.
Coffee is Smucker's largest category, and Kraft
In fact, the coffee business is only looking stronger. Smucker just inked a manufacturing and distribution deal with K-Cup king Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
Yet judging by the market's reaction, investors were less than juiced by Smucker's results. Management raised current-year EPS guidance several cents, to a range of $4.02-$4.07, but those figures imply that next quarter's results will be shy of consensus estimates. In addition, investors may have been spooked by net sales that lagged volume growth -- the consequence of higher promotional spending in certain categories, along with price reductions designed to pass along lower commodity costs.
On the latter point, companies from Kraft to Unilever
On recent declines, Smucker shares already trade at a reasonable forward price-to-earnings ratio of 13.4. If the market continues to unnecessarily spread on the caution, aggressive buying may be the order of the day.
Smucker is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Chipotle and Green Mountain are Rule Breakers selections. Chipotle is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Starbucks and Whole Foods Market are Stock Advisor picks. Unilever is a pick of Global Gains and Income Investor. The Fool owns shares of Chipotle. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.