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Here's Why Investors Should Avoid B&G Foods (BGS) Stock

B&G Foods, Inc. BGS stock has been losing sheen lately. A look at the company’s price performance reveals that the stock has witnessed an unimpressive run on the bourses in the past six months. Shares of this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company have lost 2.7%, against the industry’s growth of 9.8% in the same time frame. Let’s delve deeper into the factors that are weighing on the stock.

The company’s estimates have gone down by 4 cents to 52 cents in the fourth quarter. In the past 60 days, the estimates for 2018 and 2019 dipped 5 cents and 10 cents to $2.02 and $2.11 per share, respectively.

What’s Hurting the Stock?

B&G Foods has been exposed to headwinds from high freight charges for a while now. This has hurt the company’s margins, which remained troubled in the third quarter of 2018. Gross margin contracted 260 basis points (bps) in the third quarter, following a 280 bps and 170 bps decline in the second and first quarters, respectively. The rise in freight costs along with unfavorable timing of price increases also weighed on the company’s EBITDA margin during the quarter. Industry-wide freight costs are expected to remain escalated throughout the year, which is likely to keep margins under pressure. In fact, adjusted EBITDA for 2018 is now anticipated to be $338.0-$343.0 million compared with the old view of $345-$355 million.

Further, the company is battling high interest expenses for the past few quarters. Notably, net interest expenses escalated 19.5% in third-quarter 2018, followed by rise of 44.1% and 25.5% in the second and first quarters of 2018, respectively.

Additionally, high level of debt also acts as deterrent to the company. B&G Foods ended third-quarter 2018 with net debt of $1.7 billion. In third-quarter 2018, the company’s debt-to-equity ratio remained high at 3.12 followed by 3.05 and 2.94 in the second and first quarter respectively. However, to reduce debt load, the company recently inked a deal to divest Private brands to The Hershey Company HSY.

Owing to these headwinds, the company lowered its outlook for 2018. Management now expects net sales of $1.71-$1.72 billion, down from the old projection of $1.73-$1.75 billion. Also, it projects adjusted earnings per share between $1.98 and $2.05 compared with $2.05-$2.15 forecasted earlier.

Bottom Line

Although the company has been actively pursuing acquisitions and reducing inventory levels, the afore-mentioned woes along with a drab fiscal view are major concerns.

Looking for Promising Food Stocks? Check These

The Chef’s Warehouse, Inc. CHEF, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, has long-term earnings per share growth rate of 19%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

McCormick & Company, Incorporated MKC, a Zacks Rank #2 stock, has long-term earnings per share growth rate of 9%.

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Hershey Company (The) (HSY) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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