We all know the set-up. You find a cool product, ogle at its great price, buy it, bring it home, use the heck out of it, and soon find the consumable replacements cost you serious coin. Not so great for your pocketbook, but glorious for the manufacturer. Primo Water
Let’s take a closer look at why you should think thrice about Primo.
A great business model doesn’t necessarily yield a successful company
Primo Water’s razor-and-blades business model generates recurring revenue from water bottles, syrups, and carbonators for both its water dispensers and its at-home soda-maker Flavorstation products. But this business model doesn’t always equal triumph. Exhibit A: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
One case where this model has worked brilliantly is SodaStream
Insatiable thirst or saturation?
Consumers adore fizzy, customized beverages. And they love gadgets. Marry the two, and you’ve got a $39 billion U.S. market for at-home carbonated beverages. Despite the risk of at-home soda making becoming a fad, European countries that claim less than half the soda consumption than the U.S., use these at-home products heavily. SodaStream enjoys 25% market penetration in Sweden, and has achieved 80% market share in some European countries. In all fairness, Primo’s Flavorstation is in its infancy by comparison but, so far, Primo has stumbled to keep up.
Primo’s Flavorstation is sold at mega-retailers Lowe’s
Enough flavor to keep business afloat?
Primo’s shaky cash position puts into question the company’s viability over the long haul. Gross margins are improving, but the company has yet to turn a profit.
Primo Water’s stock has taken a nosedive, losing roughly half its value so far this year. Meanwhile, business model cousin SodaStream enjoyed an 11% return during this same period, as did the NASDAQ Composite.
Primo Water’s expected revenues from its Flavorstation segment represent a very small amount of both its overall revenues and SodaStream’s total revenues. Primo’s long-term strategy involves integrating multiple purified water-based beverages -- including hot drink, carbonated, and flavored -- from a single Primo water dispenser for either home or office use. If the company can successfully pull this off, then maybe it’ll finally give SodaStream some viable competition, and give its income statement the shot in the arm it so desperately needs.
What to Watch For
Primo Water’s next earnings date release is August 6. Watch to see if this company meets future estimates, cleans up its shaky cash situation, and can finally generate positive cash flow. Stay tuned to see if it’ll start competing seriously in SodaStream’s playground, or if it continues to get trounced. In the meantime, I’m not ready to take a swig of Primo for my own portfolio.
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Fool contributor Nicole Seghetti owns shares of Wal-Mart. Follow Nicole on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool owns shares of SodaStream International and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of SodaStream International and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls on Lowe's Companies, creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and creating a bull call spread position in Wal-Mart Stores. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.