As we head into the second week of our new year, grease-meister WD-40
On Monday, the company will attempt to best analyst estimates that it earned only $0.35 per diluted share in fiscal Q1, which would make for about 3% earnings growth against the year-ago quarter's $0.34.
That figure would hold true even though WD-40 did not expense its stock options last year, but will do so this year. In its last earnings report, which covered fiscal Q4 and FY 2005, WD-40 announced that in accordance with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 123-R, it will begin to expense its issued stock options in fiscal 2006. The upshot of this change in accounting is that we should see WD-40 report $0.06 to $0.08 less per share this fiscal year than it would have reported without the expensing.
For comparison, had WD-40 been "expensing" last year, reported earnings would have been lowered by a similar amount: $0.06. (Incidentally, by comparing the hypothetical expense incurred last year, and the expected expense to be incurred this year, a Fool can reasonably assume that WD-40 expects to hold its rate of stock options dilution pretty much constant this year. That means we should once again see dilution of less than 1% year over year -- fairly tame.)
With options expensing taking similar "pro forma" bites out of each fiscal year's Q1 results (about a penny apiece), it's fair to say that the quarterly results truly are comparable. Therefore, investors can only be disappointed if WD-40 announces tomorrow that it did indeed grow earnings only 3% year over year, despite growing sales by the expected 9%.
Such an underwhelming result would suggest that the company isn't living up to our hopes that it can realize greater levels of pricing power. It would also suggest that WD-40 has a ways to go to achieve the ambitious goal of 10-12% annualized profits growth it set for itself last month.
When pondering all of this over the weekend, though, bear in mind that none of the above numbers are yet set in stone. Until we hear from the company itself, they're all still just estimates prepared by a quartet of analysts who follow the company -- analysts who have been wrong four times out of the past four quarters, overestimating the company's performance once, and underestimating its profitability thrice. Whatever numbers WD-40 reports on Monday, history suggests that they'll be nothing like what any of us expects.
For more Foolish musings on WD-40, read:
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in WD-40.