I think the article is very much correct. My guess is that the weather problems which were very real in Q1 in the Midwest and Northeast, affected only a small % of Amnf's sales, since the vast bulk of sales (I have never seen a breakdown) are in the West and international, and we already know that the latter is up and the former should not have been affected. They had to disclose the weather effect because they always speak conservatively and if they just talked about international sales being strong and ignored the effect of weather, they could arguably have been faulted.
The key for Amnf and many of the food stocks, restaurants and apparel stores with any presence in the bad weather parts of the country, is that when they report they are able to say that in recent weeks (late March and early April), the effects from weather have been reversed and sales have again been strong. The market will completely forgive companies that can say that in my view. I think Amnf will be in that camp and I have added to an already very large position in recent days.
Apart from concerns about weather, there were undoubtedly investors with large gains who waited to take them in 2014 which allowed the stock to rise quickly at the end of last year and the resulting timing of tax selling hurt the stock early this year. Then there are always those who panic at any decline and exacerbate it temporarily.. But none of this will matter if a decent narrative is set forth together with the Q1 numbers. Those numbers I am betting will not be bad despite the weather, because sales in the affected areas are just not that much. A 10% decline affecting 10% of sales (this is a complete guess) would hurt sales by 1%, offset by the rise in international sales and likely continued growth in the West. The stock has had its decline and it's now time to buy IMHO.
Last year the Q1 dividend was declared on March 7th and the company said this:
"Starting this year the Company decided to push out its first dividend announcement of the year from February into March in order to coincide with the completion of its financial audit. The timing of the actual payment of this dividend will continue to be in April".
I would expect a similar schedule for the announcement and payment this year. Since the dividend was just raised in Q4, I don't expect any increase or special until later in the year.
The enterprise value of any company is the market value (number of shares x price) plus debt, less cash. When the cash on the balance sheet exceeds the debt, the enterprise value will be less than the market cap. This is a good thing, not evidence that a stock is fully valued (though it could be, but not for that reason).
Nor is paying a decent dividend a bar to a stock being a growth stock. It is a bonus. Amnf has absolutely been a growth stock based on its earnings growth over many years. Just the recently announced quarter was up 30% in terms of E.P.S.
I own 162K shares bought starting in 2005. I trade around the edges, but have never substantially reduced my holdings and have no plans to do so now (the large embedded gains are a disincentive to sell, but if I thought the stock had no upside it wouldn't stop me).. I strongly disagree with those who believe that the stock is fully valued. There are at least two scenarios that would make the stock go much higher quickly. One would be an announcement that the company is gradually going to expand its geographic reach. There is nothing unique to California. The success there can be exported, at a measured pace. The other is a buyout. Both of these are serious possibilities. In the meantime, if they can continue to grow earnings at 15-20%, the stock can easily go up to the 2.50 level In the next year as was predicted in a blog referenced here a week or two ago. It is called Financial Acceleration, I believe.
For those of us who have been with Pnra since the late 90s when the old ABPCA was in single digits, it is not at all surprising that Ron Shaich has a lot in the bank with analysts. He has been brilliant in selling the mediocre Au Bon Pain to focus on a 25 restaurant acquisition with St..Louis Bread, recognizing before anybody how fast casual in the suburbs could be huge. There have been few disappointments over the years (an attempt at selling pizza was a failure, for a time the love by many of Atkins seemed to be a threat to selling bread and pastries, and a few other relatively minor ones). By in large Pnra has had huge growth over the past 15 years and has done it with a pristine balance sheet. It is an extraordinary achievement. If bad weather and through-put problems slow the growth for a few quarters, so be it. The investment community knows that Pnra is a winner and will be back huge before long. I have watched numerous shorts over the years losing a fortune. For a short time, a few have made money, but long term if one had to put a stock away and not trade it for ten years, there are few better candidates than Pnra.
I was not able to find the products you list on the cited web site.
However, on the Amnf web site home page they list Bolognese sauce and Alfredo sauce as "new". Plus, if you click on Food Service Products and each of the categories on the left, there appear to be many products that I don't recall seeing the last I looked which was maybe a year ago. These include such items as butternut squash ravioli, jumbo wild mushroom ravioli and southwest chipotle pesto sauce, among quite a few others.
I don't think comparisons to 2011 and 2012 in terms of its own PE are very meaningful. The stock is better known today with significant institutional ownership which has made the company much more attractive than the typical pink sheet stock, a problem that I think held it back a few years ago, especially when it traded at less than $1. Plus, the entire market has had a significantly higher PE than 2 or 3 years ago. Most important, years of consistent earnings growth, actually accelerating in 2013 even with your conservative Q4 estimate, gives rise to more confidence in future results. Confidence in earnings results in a higher PE.
Somebody looking at Ammf as a potential investment, is more likely to compare it to other consumer staples companies and note the superior growth rate and dividend that Amnf has as reasons not to consider the PE excessive when it is comparable to or below that of other consumer staples companies. If Amnf can earn even only .115 this year, and my guess is that they can do better, the forward PE at 2.10 would be a tad above 18. I don't find that at all unreasonable. Any evidence that new products will add to earnings would be a bonus and make the stock go even higher. The fact that it was quite unknown and trading at a ridiculously low PE two years ago, is not likely to deter investors going forward in my view.
I think that you are setting too high a bar. Last year's Q4 was .020, a 33% increase from the prior year. If they report at least .025, I think the stock will at least hold the 2.00 level and more likely go to 2.05-2.10.. You can't compare the PE of Amnf to that of the large food stocks like General Mills or Campbell's Soup which are growing EPS at 8% at most. Amnf is growing much faster, pays a higher dividend with a potential for a special, plus it should trade with a premium for a possible sale of the company, not a reasonable possibility with the large companies. . Note, too, that Q4 is not a seasonally strong quarter. Somebody here once analyzed the various quarters over a period of years and demonstrated that. So the fact that they earned .028 in seasonally strong Q3 doesn't mean that they have to do better than that for Q4 in order for it to be a strong quarter. The comparison is properly made with Q4 of 2012 which, as noted, was .020.
Last year, earnings were announced on February 15th. I expect earnings to be announced near that date again. . Many companies take longer to announce end of year results compared to other quarters,
Since February 15th is a Saturday and Amnf seems to like Thursday (and to a lesser extent) Friday announcements), I would bet on the most likely dates being 2/13. 2/14, 2/20 and 2/21 in decreasing order of likelihood.
The author is a serious money manager and has over 50K followers on Seeking Alpha who will see this list of only 11 stocks, including amnf, This is great publicity.
It is a nice write-up. Just one additional point: The report confirmed that the four new products which were mentioned in the Q4 PR will begin being sold in Q4. While we don't know what they are, let alone how they will do, they represent further potential upside for 2014.
Agree completely that a special dividend seems likely.
In all the years that I have owned Amnf since 2005, it has never reported earnings, dividends or anything else after the close. It has also, to the best of my recollection, never reported anything ahead of the open. Reports and announcements have usually been between 11:00 A.M and 1:00 P.M. Eastern.
That is a very thoughtful blog post. I have been looking at Time & Sales for the last few days and there has been heavy buy volume preceded by light sell volume which reduced the price by a few cents. I think Financial Acceleration is onto something.,
Yahoo won't let me link to it, but if you google Bretton you can read the Q1 shareholder letter which has a long discussion of amnf, not surprisingly very favorable.
There is seasonality. This is discussed in detail in the Connecticut Comments piece which somebody already referenced. Also discussed there is the fact that the buying ahead of the price increase would have occurred in Q4, not Q1, explaining the slight revenue decline in Q1
This company is looking terrific in all respects. The reduction in commodity prices should be an additional help to the numbers later this year. Based on the Q1 results, and understanding the seasonality, the chance of a special dividend this year has increased IMHO. I happen to think that the chance of a buyout has also increased, though nobody should buy the stock for that reason alone. Fortunately, the fundamentals more than justify purchase at current levels. I added another 10K shares after seeing the results.
I intended to say that about 360K of the 500K had not been spent as of the end of 2012. It is possible that some of the remaining amount was spent in Q1 without negatively affecting the balance sheet as it appears in the Annual Report. To that extent, the chance of a dividend increase is greater than if the entire 360K is yet ot be spent. We'll know more when the Q1 balance sheet and related documents are released.
I agree with one caveat. On p.45-46, the Annual Report discloses a capital expenditure of about 500K to be made in the second half of the year of which about 340K has yet to be paid for:
Sometime in the second half of 2013, the Company will have installed
new plant equipment at an approximate total cost of $500,000. As of
Page 45 of 98
December 31, 2012 the Company has expended $160,234 towards the
purchase of this equipment.
This may delay a dividend increase, especially if they decide to do share repures beyond what is currently authorized.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
I agree completely. While I recently trimmed some because it became too large a position, I added 10K @ .9945 because I think somebody just decided to sell. Nothing more.
I doubt that the delayed announcement indicates anything significant. The ex-dividend date in the past has been very late in March. There was no good reason that i can fathom to have announced the dividend 7 or 8 weeks before ex-div. My guess is that they simply adjusted the announcement date to be around 2-3 weeks ahead of ex-div, as is far more typical. I would only get concerned if we get no annoucement by the middle of the month, though I doubt that will happen.
Earnings are out. They are terrific. Revenue is up 19%. EPS is up 33%. Price increases put into effect in January should help Q1. Other initiatives set forth in Press Release. All in all a home run.