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Bear of the Day: Edgewell Personal Care (EPC)

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Edgewell Personal Care Co. (EPC - Free Report) , formerly known as Energizer Holdings, is a company that owns many popular personal care brands, from Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic sun care products; Playtex, Carefree, and o.b. feminine care products; to Edge and Skintimate shave creams; Diaper Genie and gloves; and Wet Ones moist wipes.

While Edgewell’s most recent quarterly results surpassed our consensus estimates, the company has been on a downward track for the better part of the last year. What’s going on with this Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) stock?

Q2 Results

In early May, Edgewell reported results that beat the Zacks Consensus on both the top and bottom line.

However, excluding the $2.4 million benefit from the one month of the Jack Black acquisition, a $3.8 million negative impact from the Playtex gloves divestiture, and a $19.3 million benefit from currency, net sales fell 3.4% year-over-year.

Looking at geographic revenues, North America sales declined 7% but International market sales grew 4%. In particular, volumes were lower in North America Wet Shave, Infant Care and Feminine Care, but were offset in part by higher volumes in global Sun and Skin Care and International Wet Shave.

Gross margin decreased 100 basis points because of an unfavorable price mix due to increased Sun Care returns, as well as higher promotional activity in support of new Wet Shave products.

Updated 2018 Guidance

As a result, the company revised its full-year EPS and sales outlook in order to reflect increased risks.

Edgewell now expects adjusted EPS in the range of $3.40 to $3.60 per share (down from $3.90 to $4.10 per share).

Net sales are projected to decline about 50 basis points, while organic net sales should now be down roughly 3% (previously 1%).

Earnings Outlook

Estimates took a hit in the days following the report.

For the current quarter, five analysts cut their outlook in the last 60 days, and the consensus has dipped 38 cents from $1.16 to $0.78 per share. Earnings are expected to decline almost 30% for the period.

Six analysts have revised their estimates downward for fiscal 2018 as well, with earnings projected to fall about 13.6%. The consensus has decreased from $3.76 to $3.43 per share.

Looking at the next fiscal year, earnings could grow 7.8%, but the current consensus sits at $3.70 per share, falling 35 cents in the past 60 days.

Can EPC Stock Turn Things Around?

The company is currently trading at a forward P/E of 14.3X.

Looking ahead, Edgewell is committed to a new enterprise-wide initiative called “Project Fuel,” a strategy that it hopes will transform its business and cost structure, deliver significant cost savings, increase agility, and provide capabilities and financial resources that are needed to drive growth and shareholder value.

The company expects Project Fuel to deliver an estimated $225 million in gross cost savings between fiscal years 2019-2021.

For investors wanting exposure to consumer product stocks, and one with more near-term potential, they should consider Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings (OLLI - Free Report) , an outlet and inventory retailer and merchandiser. It’s a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank right now, and earnings could grow almost 37% for the current fiscal year.

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