A leader in natural food and personal care product categories with an extensive portfolio of well-known brands and strong fundamentals, The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN - Analyst Report) is poised to surge as the economy gradually revives and the demand for organic food increases. Over the past one year, the stock has surged 29% and still looks promising. The long-term earnings per share (EPS) growth rate stands at a healthy 15.1%.
If we look at the company’s earnings surprise history over the last 14 quarters, Hain Celestial has topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 3.9%, including an earnings surprise of 2.3% in third-quarter fiscal 2014. In the last concluded quarter, the company posted earnings of 88 cents a share that came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a couple of cents and surged 22.2% 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.
For fiscal 2014, management now anticipates sales to increase by 24% and earnings per share to grow between 24% and 25%.
Hain Celestial’s strategic investments coupled with continued efforts to contain costs, increase productivity, and enhance cash flows and margins enabled it to deliver healthy results. The company, which competes with General Mills Inc. (GIS - Analyst Report), expects to sustain strong momentum as it remains well positioned to capitalize on the growing global demand for organic products through acquisitions, which has been a key strategy in building market share.
Hain Celestial, through strategic opportunities, constantly endeavors to expand its footprint in organic and natural products and in turn, "Change the Way the World Eats". Its latest attempt is the acquisition of Tilda Limited, a renowned name in Basmati rice and Rudi's Organic Bakery, one of the leading organic and gluten-free companies.
Earlier, the company had 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 remain focused on 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.
Hain Celestial currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Other Stocks that Warrant a Look
Other better-ranked stocks worth considering include The Kroger Co. (KR - Analyst Report) and Inventure Foods, Inc. (SNAK - Snapshot Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).