The pizza wars continue in earnest this week, with Papa John's
Papa John's posted earnings of $10.9 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, easily better than last year's loss of $2.6 million, or $0.15 per share, in the same quarter. However, that apparently remarkable recovery isn't quite what it appears. Last year's results included losses from the consolidation of the franchisee-owned cheese-purchasing company, BIBP Commodities, that totaled $11.5 million, or $0.66 per share. BIBP Commodities' impact on the most recent results was a minuscule loss of $117,000, or $0.01 per share -- hardly a fair comparison. However, removing BIBP Commodities from the equations, Papa John's still grew earnings by 21.2% year over year.
Revenue growth was a bit more modest, increasing 5.3% to $242.1 million in the quarter. As always, I like to look at comp sales to get a better idea of the company's sales growth. At first glance, Papa John's quarterly increase of 6.1% looks quite impressive. However, a closer look reveals it's not so hot, considering that last year's decline of 1.9% made growth this year a bit easier.
Papa John's continues to increase its stockpile of cash, ending the quarter with $37.8 million in cash from operations. The company credits its strong cash flow to operating income increases and favorable working capital changes.
For the second consecutive quarter, Papa John's increased its guidance for the full year. It now expects earnings per share to be $2.42 to $2.48, which would represent an increase of 8% to just under 11% over last year's earnings. Those estimates also put the company's forward price-to-earnings ratio at about 18.
All in all, it was another strong quarter with a plethora of positive news. Papa John's clearly feels confident enough about future growth to increase guidance. I believe those who are already investors should also feel confident. However, considering the stock has climbed 49% over the past year, those looking to grab a slice now might be better off waiting for a dip.
For more pizza to go, see:
Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo doesn't own shares of any company in this article.
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