A leader in natural food and personal care products categories with an extensive portfolio of well-known brands and strong fundamentals, The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (HAIN) offers a healthy investment opportunity for investors. The stock is poised to surge as the economy gradually revives and the appetite for organic food increases.
An Attractive Investment Prospect
Hain Celestial, which competes with General Mills Inc. (GIS), remains a healthy option for investors. Barring a few hiccups, the shares have been portraying an upward trend since February end and touched a 52-week high of $89.40 yesterday. Considering the last traded price of $89.32 on Dec 23, the stock has amassed a year-to-date return of roughly 58.1%. The long-term EPS growth rate stands healthy at 11.8%.
If we look at the company’s earnings surprise history over the last 13 quarters, Hain Celestial has topped estimates by an average of 4.1%. In the last concluded quarter, the company posted earnings of 52 cents a share that came a penny ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and surged 26.8% year over year. Management cited that strong top-line growth, integration of acquired businesses and focus on high margin carrying brands facilitated the bottom-line growth.
Management anticipates sales in the range of $2,025 million to $2,050 million in fiscal 2014, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 17%. Earnings are projected in the range of $2.95 to $3.05 per share, up 16% to 20% year over year.
Acquisitions Driving Growth
Acquisitions have played a vital part in Hain Celestial’s strategy of building market share. These acquisitions have not only widened the company’s geographical presence, but have also provided opportunities to cross-sell products in the U.S., Canadian, and European markets.
The company recently acquired leading packaged grocery brands Hartley's, Gale's Robertson's, Frank Cooper's and Sun-Pat from Premier Foods plc. The company also acquired Ella's Kitchen Group Limited that offers organic baby food products under approximately 80 brands and provides them in easy to carry pouches.
Going forward, we believe that the company will be able to mitigate the cost pressures through increased productivity and efficient pricing. Moreover, Hain Celestial has undertaken a number of initiatives to improve its performance and positioned itself on the growth trajectory. The company’s Stock Keeping Unit (“SKU”) rationalization program has helped eliminate SKUs, which had lower sales volume or weak margins.
Currently, Hain Celestial carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth considering include, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR) and Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. (HTSI) both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).