For the full year, the door-to-door makeup mogul put together a 27% increase in earnings per share to $1.77, atop a sales increase of 10% (in constant currencies). The Q4 tally totaled $0.61 per share, an 11% advance over the same quarter last year. If you're one of those people who like spotting a trend, this one's pretty obvious. The growth is slowing.
Is the party over?
Maybe. An early dose of holiday humbug had investors running for the exits in December. Anyone who went slumming back then has seen an impressive two-month gain. Much of the reason for the rebound might be the firm's steady cash flow. Cash from operations jumped 52% over last years, and whenever cash flow growth outruns earnings growth, value-minded investors should take notice. Heavier capital spending this year means that the more Foolish bottom line, free cash flow, increased only 48% over last year.
But does that make the stock a real value now? Unfortunately, the answer for this Fool is no. Avon's enterprise value of nearly $20.5 billion is 34 times free cash flow. True, the firm's dividend hike and share buyback show a commitment to shareholders, but with growth slowing, there's no point in paying full price when the market is so prone to periodic fire sales.
For related Foolishness
- Keep Avon on your woulda-shoulda-coulda list?
- Is Tupperware crashing Avon's party, or its own?
- Holiday humbug an overreaction?
- Has it really been so long since Avon's higher calling?
Seth Jayson loves a good company, but he loves a great price even more. At the time of publication, he had positions in no firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.