So what: In the third quarter, Monster's net sales rose 19% year over year, landing at $757 million. Operating income jumped 54% higher, coming in at $291 million. On the bottom line, GAAP earnings increased 20% to $0.84 per diluted share.
This was Monster's strongest year-over-year sales growth figure since the summer of 2012, and a sharp upturn from nearly flat sales growth in the second quarter. Analysts would have settled for earnings of $0.81 per share on something like $737 million in sales.
Here's where I would normally compare the reported figures to management's guidance for the quarter, but Monster doesn't play the guidance game at all. I think the market reaction speaks for the quality of these figures.
Now what: A couple of unique details played into Monster's results this quarter.
First, the company had pre-announced plans to raise the prices on some of its most popular drinks at the end of August, motivating a few customers to stock up on reserves at the old, lower price. According to Monster's management, this effect may have added roughly $11 million to the third quarter's net sales. The fourth quarter will benefit from a full three months at the higher price level, but those $11 million in pre-raise sales have been moved into the third quarter and aren't coming back.
Elsewhere, Monster is still in the early stages of integrating with the international bottling network of Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Monster launched a nationwide supply chain in Germany during the third quarter, powered by Coke's unmatched bottling and distribution network. Management is "pleased" with the early progress in Germany, but there's much more to come.
"We have entered into a number of distribution agreements for various other international markets served by the Coca-Cola bottler system, which will be implemented over the following months," said Monster CEO Rodney Sacks.
In fact, Sacks seems to feel downright bad about not having rolled out its international Coke partnership much earlier. In the light of that opportunity, even the strong sales growth that was delivered in the third quarter could have been even greater:
"Although we achieved another quarter of sales growth, distributor transitions and uncertainties in portions of our international non-Coca-Cola distribution network limited further revenue growth during the quarter," Sacks said. "Changes in foreign currency exchange rates also adversely affected our results."
Anders Bylund has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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