It isn't easy being a purveyor of pop these days, and SodaStream (SODA) investors wish they were only going from fizzy to flat. The stock has surrendered more than 80% of its value since peaking five summers ago, and the stage is set next week as the company behind the namesake maker of carbonated beverages reports quarterly results.
The market isn't holding out for much when SodaStream reports on Tuesday morning. Analyst see revenue sliding 3% since the prior year to clock in at $89 million. That would make this SodaStream's weakest top-line showing in four years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
It sounds bleak, yes, but if SodaStream hits that target, it would break an unwelcome streak of six consecutive quarters of double-digit percentage declines. That's important, and it wouldn't take much for SodaStream to actually deliver year-over-year top-line growth. The trend has already started to turn positive in Western Europe, SodaStream's biggest market. We also saw SodaStream exceed top-line forecasts three months ago, checking in with an 11% decline instead of the 13% drop the market was modeling. There have also been currency swings that could turn what had previously been a headwind into a tailwind.
Down to the last drop
It's highly unlikely we'll see growth on the other end of the income statement. Wall Street pros are targeting a profit of just $0.11 a share, a sliver of the $0.40 a share it rang up a year earlier. It's a much bigger hole for SodaStream to claw its way out of. Declining sales in the U.S. have hurt, and an overall drop in beverage makers and flavor bottles -- but not carbonators, thankfully -- have decimated margins, but so has the company's mad scramble to push out new products and reconfigure its marketing strategy.
SodaStream had historically positioned its product as a soda maker, but with shrinking consumption trends for flavored soft drinks, the company began pitching its machine as a maker of sparkling water last year.
The most encouraging sight out of SodaStream's most recent quarterly report was that Western Europe revenue rose 6% since the prior year on a constant currency basis. With its biggest market improving, carbonator sales holding up (rising 7% over the past year), and the U.S. dollar proving mortal the ingredients are there for a modestly acceptable quarter. SodaStream stock moved 9% higher the day it posted its fourth-quarter results in February.
The company may never get back to where it was when its product and stock were all the rave a few years ago, but Tuesday morning doesn't have to be scary with positive catalysts starting to materialize.