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Bear of the Day: Blue Bird Corporation (BLBD)

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Blue Bird Corporation BLBD is a historic maker of school buses and it’s expanded its offerings to include alternative fuel and EV buses. The stock went on a huge run after the vaccine announcement last fall as Wall Street cheered the likelihood schools would reopen soon.

Most U.S. schools are back in person and the company could rebound in the next few years. However, its near-term outlook is hardly strong and its stock is down 25% in the last three months.

Blue Bird Basics

Blue Bird is a leading independent designer and manufacturer of school buses, with roughly 180,000 buses in operation today. The company is rather stable and has remained a staple in American school districts for decades.

BLBD’s sales had grown over the last several years before they slipped marginally in FY19 and then dropped 14% in fiscal 2020 (period ended Oct. 3, 2020), as the entire education world was turned upside down.

Zacks estimates call for its fiscal 2021 revenue to fall another 17% to $730 million, with its adjusted earnings projected to sink 51% to $0.40 a share. Luckily, the company is projected to bounce back in 2022, with its EPS expected to surge 75% above our current year projection on 11% higher sales.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Bottom Line

Despite the expected progress, Blue Bird’s earnings revisions have trended in the wrong direction to help it land a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) at the moment, alongside its “D” grades for Value and Momentum and an “F” for Growth in our Style Score system.

On top of that, its Automotive – Domestic industry is near the bottom quarter of over 250 Zacks industries. And the nearby chart showcases that Blue Bird stock has significantly underperformed its industry in the past three years, while falling 19%.

The Macon, Georgia company is set to bounce back as life and schools return to normal. The firm could also benefit as it sells more electric school buses and more districts slowly revamp their fleets as part of a broader green push.

All that said, investors might want to stay away from BLBD stock for now, or at least until it shows signs of a more prolonged comeback.

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