Sometimes, you've got to force yourself to separate a stock from the company behind it. Case in point: McCormick
McCormick's had a tough time finding growth. Total revenue rose just 2% this quarter (up 3% in local currency terms), and volumes were soft. That's partly due to the company's desire to exit less profitable business arrangements, but it may also point to a dearth of underlying growth in the business. In segment operating profits, the combined results from McCormick's consumer and industrial businesses were essentially flat, excluding the impact of stock compensation expenses.
All the same, McCormick is not content to merely muddle through. The company aims for growth through acquisitions, and it just announced its latest purchase. For about $97 million in cash, it will buy Epicurean International, the company behind the Thai Kitchen and Simply Asia brands. Though the purchase price was a bit high (a double-digit multiple of EBITDA), the brands have grown well recently, and McCormick should be able to significantly boost their nationwide distribution.
I'm normally critical of acquisition strategies, but I can see the logic here. McCormick's acquisition of Zatarain's has proved fruitful, and there's plenty of room for the company to add brands and businesses in the packaged-food category. Even if they're sacrificing taste and nutrition in the process, people like the convenience of these products.
As a supplier to the likes of McDonald's
For more spicy Foolishness:
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).