Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (UNKNOWN:GMCR.DL) continues to thrive behind the consistent success of the Keurig single serve coffee machine and its products in addition to the company's excellent fiscal year which ended Sept. 28, it has said it does not expect its growth to slow as it gave guidance for the current quarter which showed it continuing its growth. Despite the guidance, Green Mountain will have to survive threats from increased sompetition in single serve coffee makers and unlicensed single serve packets if they hope to see this growth in FY 2014.
The company's fourth quarter numbers were impressive with a profit of $127 million and EPS of $0.83, increasing from a profit of $91.9 million in FYQ4 of 2012. This final quarter of FY 2013 rounded off the year's revenue at $4.275 billion. This quarter also saw net sales rise 11% and an increase in single serve packages to $777.9 million, up 11% as well.
The continued earnings growth of this company has pushed the stock up over 90% from its 52 week low this past January. This company wide growth has come at a time where competition is as intense as ever for the coffee maker, with companies like Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Huntington Beach continuing to provide competitor single serving coffee makers. While Starbucks Corp. has an extensive distribution agreement with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, they have released a Verismo™ System, which produces single cups of cappuccino and latte drinks, a direct competitor for the Rivo® System by Keurig.
Additionally, the single serve packets, which they formerly held patents on, have seen an increase in unlicensed private labels since the patents expired in September of 2012. The share of unlicensed private labels in October of 2012 was a mere 0.4%, which has risen greatly. In October, this share stood at 8.7%. This change is much more relevant to the company in terms of sales because these unlicensed private labels typically price their products 15%-20% lower than the Green Mountain K-cups.
Green Mountain is attempting to side step the unlicensed products and their potential challenges through the release of the Keurig 2.0. This next generation single serve brewer is set to launch in 2014, which will be the major contributor to the decrease in market share of unlicensed Keurig compatible cups.
The Keurig 2.0 will be capable of reading any K-cup put into the machine and will only work with licensed products. This will render the unlicensed products virtually obsolete as additional technological advances will create a demand for the 2.0 even in homes which already possess the Keurig 1.0.
This rollout of the new brewer could spell trouble for the coffee maker as they will likely anger some customers who are unwilling to do away with the unlicensed products. As a way to avoid this, the company's CEO, Brian Kelley, said during the company's earnings call on Nov. 20 that Green Mountain is "in discussions with a large number of unlicensed players to welcome them into the system." This move could help to level the price points and help the company to increase its margins without losing the customers.
This projected release of a revolutionary new brewer is allowing for bold predictions for the company's upcoming fiscal year. The guidance for the current quarter, which the company provided, EPS of $0.85-$0.90 and low-to-mid single digit sales growth, is modest and below analysts' expectations. Despite this, the analysts have stuck by their strong predictions for the fiscal year as a whole for Green Mountain, with some predictions saying the revenue will be $4.69 billion with an EPS of $3.78.
It is clear the company's desire for a successful release are also somewhat tied into the release of the Keurig Cold and the Keurig Water, which will allow customers to brew energy drinks, sodas, sports drinks, iced teas etc. These product releases are related because a successful rollout of the Keurig 2.0 will act as major publicity for the company just before the new products are released.
Overall, the release of the Keurig 2.0 will be an important driver to watch, but if handled correctly, there is no reason that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters would slow their growth in 2014.
Fool contributor Connor Foreman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.