As readers of Motley Fool Global Gains know, I'm a fan of the international beer and soft beverage game. I own shares of Mexican triple-play (Coke, beer, and convenience stores) FEMSA
I've also been keeping an eye on Andina's Chilean peer/competitor, Compania Cervecerias Unidas
That's why this week's earnings news out of CCU (which also hawks wine and other spirits) opened my eyes a bit more than usual. The headlines declared a 30% uptick in net income for the first half of 2007, a mark that, on the surface, seems to really outrun recent results at Andina.
Are things everything they seem? For the first half of the year, revenues increased 9.5%, due to some new soft drink products and (as at Andina) price increases as well as a fizzy Argentine market. Leverage helped move gross and operating margins up by 1.2 and 3.0 percentage points, respectively, and that goes a long way toward explaining those turbo-charged gains on the bottom line.
That's certainly impressive work, but the final piece of the stock-buy equation is the one that's always been the sticker with me for this company, the price. My discounted cash flow models require me to assume long-term growth rates that are a bit too heady in order just to justify today's tag. In order to get a 20% margin of safety, I have to assume 25%-per-year growth for half a decade. That's not something I'd count on, despite CCU's recent success.
At the time of publication, Seth Jayson, a top-10 Motley Fool CAPS player, had shares of FEMSA, but no positions in any other company mentioned here. See his latest CAPS blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Coca-Cola is an Inside Value recommendation. Fool rules are here.