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Why Is Watts Water (WTS) Up 3.5% Since Last Earnings Report?

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A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Watts Water (WTS - Free Report) . Shares have added about 3.5% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Watts Water due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Watts Water Beats Earnings and Revenue Estimates in Q3

Watts Water reported healthy third-quarter 2018 results mainly driven by strong operating performance in the Americas, resulting in year-over-year growth in sales and profitability. Both the top line and the bottom line surpassed the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate in the quarter.

Net Income

On a reported basis, net income increased 18.9% year over year to $31.5 million or 92 cents per share, driven by higher price, volume, productivity, lower effective tax rate and reduced non-operating expenses.

Adjusted net income came in at $34 million or 99 cents per share compared with $27.5 million or 80 cents per share a year ago. The bottom line beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents.


On a reported basis, quarterly net sales increased 7.2% year over year to $390.9 million primarily driven by strong performance in the Americas. The top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $380 million.

Organic sales jumped 8% year over year. Regionally, organic sales in the Americas increased 10%, driven by higher demand in plumbing, drains and heating and hot water products, leading to incremental price and higher volume. Organic sales improved 4% in Europe owing to volume growth in drains and electronics products. Organic sales in Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (APMEA) grew 3% driven by higher volume in the Middle East and Africa, Australia and Korea.

Cost and Margins

Cost of goods sold went up 6.8% year over year to $226.4 million. Gross profit increased 7.7% to $164.5 million. Operating income was $46.9 million, up 5.9%. Operating margin was down 10 basis points (bps) to 12%. Adjusted operating margin was 12.9%, up 30 bps.

Segmental Performance

Americas: Net sales increased 9.9% to $262.7 million in the reported quarter. Adjusted operating income increased 11.1% to $45 million.

Europe: Net sales were up 2.4% year over year to $111.6 million. The segment’s adjusted operating income was $12.8 million compared with $14 million in the year-ago quarter.

APMEA: Net sales remained flat at $16.6 million. Adjusted operating income came in at $2.5 million compared with $0.7 million in the prior-year quarter.

Cash Flow and Liquidity

In the first nine months of 2018, Watts Water generated $66.6 million of cash from operating activities compared with $73.4 million in the year-ago period. As of Sep 30, 2018, the company had $156.8 million as cash and cash equivalents with $350.7 million as long-term debt, net of current portion. Net debt-to-capitalization ratio was 20.1%.

The company repurchased nearly 57,000 shares of Class A common stock for approximately $4.7 million during the third quarter.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates.

VGM Scores

Currently, Watts Water has a nice Growth Score of B, however its Momentum Score is doing a bit better with an A. However, the stock was allocated a grade of C on the value side, putting it in the middle 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. Notably, Watts Water has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). We expect an in-line return from the stock in the next few months.

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