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Reasons to Add John Bean Technologies (JBT) to Your Portfolio

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John Bean Technologies Corporation (JBT - Free Report) is poised to gain from focus on developing innovative products and services, and expanding the aftermarket business. It is also progressing well on its Elevate plan and strategic acquisition program. Growing demand for protein, beverages and ready-to-eat meals are likely to act as key catalysts over the long haul.

The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of A. Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B, when combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 or 3 (Hold), make solid investment choices.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

In the past three months, shares of the technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food and beverage industry globally with a focus on proteins, liquid foods and automated system solutions, have gained 10.1% compared with the industry's growth of 9.1%.

Let’s delve deeper.

Above-Industry Earnings Growth: John Bean Technologies has delivered an earnings growth rate of 27.4% over the past five years, outperforming the industry’s 3.5%. The company has a long-term estimated earnings growth rate of 5.5%. It is poised to perform well over the long run, courtesy of the growing middle class, increasing protein, and value-added food and beverage consumption globally.

Positive Earnings Estimate Revisions: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current fiscal year’s earnings has been revised upward by 7% over the past 60 days to $3.89 per share. The earnings estimate for 2021 has moved 1% north to $4.24 over the same time frame.

Impressive Earnings Surprise History: John Bean Technologies outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average earnings surprise being 28.5%.

Solid ROE: The company’s ROE of 27.7% is higher than the industry’s 23.6%, highlighting the company's tactical efficiency in utilizing shareholders' funds.

Valuation is Inexpensive: John Bean Technologies is currently trading at 12.84X forward 12-month EV/EBITDA, lower than the 19.56X for the industry.

Growth Drivers in Place

Pandemic Driven Demand, Focus on Innovation: Strong demand for packaged food, meat and staples in retail on account of the COVID-19 pandemic bodes well. This will support the company’s FoodTech segment in the near term.

John Bean Technologies’ Elevate plan is likely to drive continued growth and margin expansion. Per the plan, the company is focusing on accelerating development of innovative products and services to provide customers with solutions, which, in turn, enhance their yield and productivity.

Acquisitions a Key Growth Strategy: John Bean Technologies has a strategic acquisition program focused on companies that add complementary products. Last year, it acquired Proseal UK Limited, a leading provider of tray sealing technology, and Prime Equipment Group, Inc., a manufacturer of turnkey primary and water re-use solutions to the poultry industry. In fact, tray sealing is in sync with the needs of several FoodTech customers, particularly in the rapidly expanding market for convenience foods. The acquisition of Prime advances the company’s goal of becoming the preferred provider of full-line solutions for poultry customers.

Cost Cuts to Boost Margins: John Bean Technologies is focusing on pruning its cost structure in light of the uncertain market conditions. This includes cutting down discretionary spending, hiring freeze, halting pay raises, among others. These actions will help boost margins. Further, its ongoing restructuring plan will help improve effectiveness and productivity across all business units. The company is on track to achieve its total program savings target of $55 million.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other top-ranked stocks in the Industrial Products sector include Titan International, Inc. (TWI - Free Report) , Silgan Holdings Inc. (SLGN - Free Report) and Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc. (FBHS - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank of 2, currently.

Titan International has an estimated earnings growth rate of 21.1% for 2020. The company’s shares have soared 127% in the last three months.

Silgan has a projected earnings growth rate of 32% for fiscal 2020. Shares of the company have appreciated 16% over the past three months.

Fortune Brands has an expected earnings growth rate of 6.9% for the current year. The stock has rallied 35% in three months’ time.

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