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Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. (LNCE - Free Report) recently reported its fourth quarter and full year 2013 results. Despite increasing 10.4% from the prior-year quarter figure of 29 cents , Snyder’s-Lance’ fourth quarter 2013 adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 36 cents by 13.9%, primarily due to increased investments and higher tax rates.  

Snyder’s-Lance reported net revenue of $450.4 million during the quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $457 million by 1.4%. However, quarterly revenues increased 7.3% year over year driven by solid sales in its core brands.

Organic revenues from core brands grew 6.8% during the quarter, mostly driven by improved pricing. Hanover Cape Cod and Snack Factory brands performed particularly well during the quarter.   

The company reported gross margin of 33.3%, down 140 basis points (bps), due to the company’s increased investments for improvements in product quality, capacity and capabilities and consolidation of the Canadian business. Adjusted operating margin increased 10 bps to 34.4%, driven by lower operating expenses.

The board of directors of Snyder’s-Lance declared a cash dividend of 16 cents per share on the common stock, payable on Mar 5, 2014 to shareholders as of Feb 26, 2014.

Fiscal 2013

Snyder’s-Lance’s full year 2013 adjusted earnings per share of $1.16 increased 22.1% from the prior year level of 95 cents. The company reported net revenue of $1.76 billion, up 8.8% year over year driven by solid sales in its core brands.

Snyder’s-Lance carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, some better-ranked stocks in the consumer goods sector include ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Free Report) , The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN - Free Report) and J&J Snack Foods Corp. (JJSF - Free Report) . All the three companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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