The kegs of the American beer market are SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch
Lately, Boston Beer has had some decent numbers on tap, as recent history has shown a pattern of frothy earnings. But will its latest report go down as smoothly as the rest? There's only one way to find out. Pull up a stool, and let's take a closer look.
For the fourth quarter, Boston Beer drinkers chugged enough Samuel Adams to increase its revenues by 9.9% to $61.4 million. Unfortunately, though, while its happy customers were bottoms-up, the company's earnings bottomed out. Its net income came in at $2.8 million, down by 21.4% compared with the same period a year ago. The company blamed higher advertising and selling expenses.
Its fourth-quarter figures brought its fiscal 2004 earnings to $0.86 per share, a 22.9% increase year-over-year. Its robust net income growth for the year may make you drunk with investing joy, but invest responsibly. Because Boston Beer's sales, up an uninspiring 4.2%, to $239.7 million, could make you wake up with a fierce investing headache.
Low single-digit revenue growth is hardly fitting for an enterprise that is stamped with a price-to-earnings ratio (PE) of 27.2. While its rich PE valuation isn't refreshing, perhaps the company is more enticing from a cash flow perspective.
Boston Beer's improvement in its operating margins to 8.1%, up 17.4% compared with fiscal 2003, has allowed it to reel in trailing 12-month owner earnings (a measure developed by Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner, and formerly entitled structural free cash flow) of $12.9 million. The company sports an enterprise value (EV) of $272 million. EV equals market value of equity plus debt and minus cash. Because Boston Beer has no debt, it's safe to compare EV to owner earnings.
The company sells for 21 times owner earnings, a bit more attractive than PE thanks to the removal of cash from the numerator (GAAP earnings of $12.5 million are in the ballpark of OE). Given its lackluster revenue growth, a patient investor should be able to find a better deal in this stock.
A market beating lagernaut of an investment, it's not. At this time its stock is too pricey to be throwing a Boston Beer party, so invest responsibly and wait for a better deal before consuming.
Is pint-sized Boston Beer's stock too rich for your investing tastes? Check out these articles on the King of Kegs:
- King of Beers Losing Its Crown?
- Bud's Bottle Half Full?
- Anheuser-Busch Weathers the View
- Is Anheuser-Busch Giving Too Much?
Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.