Are they drinking to your portfolio's health in Russia? On Wednesday, we'll get an update on that score when Russia's dairy king, Wimm-Bill-Dann (NYSE:WBD), reports its Q4 and full-year 2006 results.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? Eight analysts follow the company. Five say to buy; three suggest holding.
  • Revenues. On average, they predict 25% sales growth to $468.2 million.
  • Earnings. For some reason, they do not make any predictions on profits for the quarter. But with the year's estimate standing at $1.94 per share, and $1.50 already booked through the first three quarters, it looks like the expectation is for $0.44 per share on Wednesday.

What management says:
Wimm-Bill-Dann has made a couple of interesting announcements since the end of last quarter. For one, it picked up a controlling interest in another dairy, this time for 83.36% of the Angarsky Dairy Plant in Russia. For another, it issued a $150 million Eurobond earlier this month. Considering that the firm has been generating substantial free cash flow for more than a year now, it seems to me the company is saying loud and clear: "We plan further acquisitions."

Also interesting is what Wimm did not say -- or at least, did not file with the SEC -- namely, its third-quarter earnings announcement. To find that, and learn how the company did that quarter, you'll have to go to the company's website, Let's hope the firm doesn't make a habit of this -- forgetting to file earnings news seems like a pretty big slip-up.

What management does:
Moreover, it seems to me like Wimm's results were the kind a company wouldn't ordinarily want to hide. As shown in the table below, it continued expanding its rolling gross and net margins, while operating margins dropped only a bit.





























All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
CEO Tony Maher certainly seemed pleased with the company's performance, characterizing it as "strong top-line and bottom-line performance across all of our business segments, driven by strong organic growth combined with our efforts to manage costs." Not only did sales strengthen year over year in the third quarter, but they accelerated from the pace set earlier in the year.

Most notably, the problem child of the company, its beverages division (i.e. juice and water), emerged from single-digit growth to produce 15% better sales than in last year's Q3. I imagine Maher himself deserves a lot of credit for that. The Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) veteran has a special knowledge of the Russian juice market, and was in fact responsible for Coke's acquisition of Wimm rival Multon back in 2005.

About the only thing that concerned me about last quarter's report was the firm's announcement that its founding shareholders capitalized on Wimm's skyrocketing share price to cash out of a 10% stake in the company. Maher spun this as well as humanly possible, calling it "a liquidity boost," that "re-affirmed our faith in the domestic equity markets." Even so, I doubt the founders gave a whole lot of thought to boosting Wimm's liquidity, and expressing confidence in the Moscow stock exchange, while cashing their checks.

Milk -- it does a body good. For an additional dose of financial calcium, bone up on Wimm-Bill-Dann with:

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Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above.