With blood running in the streets, is it time to buy Corn Products?
That's the question some might ask when looking at Corn Products
The company had guided investors to expect earnings of $1.33 to $1.44 a share this year. Analysts were honed in on $1.40 a share. But Corn Products now says it expects earnings of $1.16 to $1.22 this year versus earnings of $1.25 last year.
Listen to the conference call, and there is good news. In Asia/Africa, a strong recovery is under way. The company will have a near-record year in South America. In its North American operations, the U.S. is meeting expectations, Mexico is doing "great," and Canada is exceeding expectations.
Only the troubled boilers, to be replaced by new boilers (who would have guessed?), are labeled as problematic. An anticipated 4% increase in the effective tax rate to 38.5% is also having an impact on earnings.
Before you say, "Ah, that doesn't sound too bad," read the company's other press release today -- the one announcing possible Canadian duty taxes on U.S. corn. The company doesn't see a long-term impact if these duties are imposed, but it does indicate it is looking at possible restructuring options -- including plant closings. Suffice it to say that if duties are imposed, the company would likely incur restructuring charges.
So, this year, earnings will be down slightly, and there might be a restructuring charge in 2006. That hardly sounds like a disaster down at the corn processing plant.
Value investors will notice that Corn Products sells for 7.1 times its enterprise value (EV) to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Peer Imperial Sugar
While you're looking -- bear in mind, the relative strength, or weakness, of commodity prices and shipping prices will also weigh on the company's profitability. Corn, (the commodity, not the company) is hedged by the company. While that reduces volatility, there is always risk. So, do you like what you see?
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