As it is yet another "hottest day of the year" in the UK today I thought i would feature three drink related stocks which have had announcements today.
First up is a stock I have mentioned before in relation to benefiting from Company mishaps, namely Britvic (BVIC). They have reported a Q3 IMS today which reads quite well and in which the key point was that they suggest their full year EBIT is now expected to be towards the top end of the £148m to £156m range guidance. This was driven by a good performance in the UK and France, while Ireland was a bit weaker. They are also highlighting good progress in the US with Fruit Shoot continuing to build momentum. This one has done well for me and been re-rated a little as they have delivered a good profits recovery since the Fruit Shoot problems a few years ago and the failed merger with A.G Barr. They now trade on around 15x next years expected earnings to September 2015 with a yield of 3% at a price of 730 pence. This seems fair enough to me so I'm happy to hold it as part of a diversified income portfolio, but it doesn't look juicy enough for me to suggest you rush out and buy it.
If Robinson's Barley Water is not your thing then how about a pint of Marston's Pedigree? Marston's (MARS) have also announced a reasonable looking IMS today in which they reported overall LFL sales of 4.1% for the 41 weeks to 19 July 2014. Surprisingly they said the World Cup had been neutral as it hit food sales while benefiting wet sales and the take home trade in particular. I guess England's early exit didn't help either. They remain confident of meeting full year expectations and hope to open around 27 new-build pub restaurants in the current financial year. I have done OK out of this one having bought it for £1 back in 2012 when it was on a tasty 6% yield. It re-rated nicely from there but has rather sat there like a flat pint over the last year or so around the 150 pence level. This leaves it on around 11x earnings with a yield (the main attraction) of close to 5% which is expected to grow at around 4%. So I'm happy to hold it on that basis, although the debt is higher than I normally like to see, but I can live with that in this case given the nature of the businesses and the assets backing the debt.
Finally today we have had another drink related stock reporting today which is probably the best quality stock on AIM as a Carlsberg advert might say. In this case it is a company called Nichols (NICL). If you are not familiar with it Nichols plc is a highly focused soft drinks business. Its brand portfolio includes Vimto, which is sold in over 65 countries and Levi Roots, Sunkist, Panda and Weight Watchers which are sold in the UK. The Group has a leading market position in both the "Still" and "Carbonate" drinks categories. Click the highlighted name above for a link to more information about them
They have reported interim results today which showed another strong performance with double digit growth in profits, earnings and dividends which has often been the case with this one. Indeed I made several times my money on this one a few years back but sold out as the growth appeared to be slowing and the rating got too rich for my taste based on my 2% and 20x sell discipline. The shares did carry on rising for a while as they continued to demonstrate growth, but as this has slowed recently the shares have come back and de-rated a little. In these figures they say they expect the second half to be stronger and that the full year results are expected to be in line at this stage. They also took an £8 million exceptional in these figures for a legal case that they lost. This represents about 35% of their PTP and I note the stock has fallen by around 8% since this was announced. The balance sheet is however solid with net cash of £32.9 million versus the £340 million market cap.
So again this could be a case of an opportunity being thrown up by a company mishap perhaps? However, having said that the rating still looks quite high at around 19x this years expected earnings with a 2.3% yield before any changes on the back of today's numbers. Thus I'll leave it on my watch list for now but i wouldn't put you off if you are prepared to pay up for quality, cheers and keep cool if you can.