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Lifeway Foods Inc. Message Board

  • billwcoln billwcoln Jul 9, 2013 8:06 AM Flag

    Will the true value of this company ever be realized?

    Honestly, below is what I expected when I bought this stock years ago. FORTUNE -- Chobani's 40-year-old founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, has grown his company in just a few short years into a $257 million business. It is now No. 3 among all yogurt brands (see chart at bottom), just after Yoplait and Dannon, and tops the booming Greek-style yogurt niche, which grew 200% last year. In November, Chobani (pronounced cho-BAN-ee, meaning "shepherd") broke ground on a new $100 million plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, to help fuel its U.S. expansion, and it recently purchased a dairy in Australia. Here's the Greek-yogurt king's story:

    Growing up in eastern Turkey, I was not really involved with the family business -- sheep and cow farming, yogurt and cheese making. But I think I learned from my father the unspoken business language or instincts that go back thousands of years. We call it Anatolian business practice -- your reputation is your asset.
    Is management up to the task of bringing out the true value of this company or are they just milking it for what they can?

    Sentiment: Hold

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    • bill,
      I think there is some credence to the second half of the last sentence of your post:
      "...are they just milking it for what they can?"
      Did you see the raises Julie and Ed received?
      Salary / bonus
      2011 $585,874 $75,000
      2012 $890,903 $125,000
      2011 $571,318 $100,000
      2012 $928,403 $150,000
      How about "personal usage of automobiles leased by the Company?
      $8400 lease payments, $4,740 insurance premiums (YIKES!), $1140 for fuel
      Same as Julie.
      Admittedly I have no clue what mom does, but she received $591,626 in "Fees Earned or Paid in Cash" plus $13,052 for "All other Compensation".
      While I may have a somewhat under appreciation of social media advertising, I'd love to see LWAY start some old school advertising. 2012 "Advertising and promotional costs" were $2,679,798, LOWER than 2011's $3,156,096.
      My suggestion how to fund additional advertising:
      "As of December 31, 2012 there were two equity securities, ONE OPTION ON EQUITY SECURITIES (my emphasis), and four corporate bond securities that had unrealized losses." "Option on equity securities" #$%$?
      A/O 12/31/12, LWAY's investments were valued at $1,869,888 or 9.5% of total assets. Why not sell these investments and SPEND the proceeds on MORE marketing? I find it very strange for any company to own equities. Isn't it difficult enough to manage a business? Leave the investing to retail and institutions.
      I think LWAY makes some good products. With people becoming more health conscious, they are looking for healthier products, but how many people have heard of LWAY's kefir?
      Getting back to the second half of your last sentence, yes, I think those in control have a great thing going and there's not much anyone can do about it given they control over 50% of LWAY. Dad must be proud.
      Speaking of dad, judging from posts written years ago, apparently LWAY owned investments when he was running the ship--to the chagrin of some posters!

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