Monster Beverage Corporation (MNST - Free Report) reported lower-than-expected top and bottom-line numbers in second-quarter 2019. However, its earnings and sales improved on a year-over-year basis, driven by strength in the Monster Energy brand. Notably, this marked an earnings miss for the company after four straight quarters of reporting positive surprise. Meanwhile, its sales missed estimates after three consecutive beats.
A clear reflection of the company’s softer-than-anticipated second-quarter results was visible in a 5.9% decline in its share price during the after-hours trading.
However, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has gained 22.7% year to date, outperforming the industry’s 9% growth.
Monster Beverage’s earnings of 53 cents per share rose 11.9% year over year but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 56 cents.
Net sales of $1,104 million improved 8.7% year over year but lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,127 million. Moreover, gross sales (net of discounts and returns) rose 8% to $1,286.4 million.
The improvement in gross and net sales is attributed to robust sales growth for the Monster Energy brand’s energy drinks, both domestically and internationally, as well as strength in the Reign Total Body Fuel high-performance energy drinks that was launched in the first quarter. However, top-line growth was partly negated by unfavorable currency that hurt gross and net sales by $25.9 million and $30.7 million, respectively.
Additionally, net sales to customers outside the United States totaled $343.3 million, up 16.8% year over year. This represented about 31% of total sales in second-quarter 2019 compared with 29% in the year-ago quarter.
Monster Energy Drinks: Net sales at this segment rose 9.6% year over year to $1.02 billion. Robust gains from the sale of Monster Energy brand’s energy drinks and Reign Total Body Fuel high-performance drinks were partly offset by a negative impact of nearly $22.1 million from adverse currency rates.
Strategic Brands: This segment includes a range of energy drink brands acquired from The Coca-Cola Company (KO - Free Report) in addition to its affordable energy brands. Net sales at this segment declined 0.8% to $79.1 million in the second quarter. Currency headwinds hurt the segment’s results by $3.8 million.
Other: Net sales at this segment, which includes some products of American Fruits & Flavors sold to independent third parties (AFF Third-Party Products), fell 12.1% year over year to $5.8 million.
Costs & Margins
The company’s second-quarter 2019 gross margin contracted 120 basis points (bps) to 59.9%. Gross margin was impacted by negative geographic and product sales mix as well as increase in some input costs. However, this was partly offset by gains from increased prices for products sold in the United States and Canada along with lower aluminum costs.
Operating expenses rose 7.5% year over year to $282.3 million. G&A expenses, as a percentage of sales, grew 20 bps to 10.9%. However, selling expenses, as a percentage of net sales, dipped 20 bps to 11.2%. Meanwhile, distribution costs, as a percentage of sales, declined 30 bps to 3.4%.
Operating income of $379 million grew nearly 6% year over year. However, the operating margin contracted 90 bps to 34.3%, owing to soft gross margin and higher costs.
Monster Beverage ended the second quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $888.2 million, and total stockholders' equity of $4,057.6 million.
The company did not buy back shares during the second quarter. As of Aug 7, 2019, it had nearly $20.6 million and $500 million remaining to be bought back under share repurchase plans authorized in August 2018 and February 2019, respectively.
Strategies on Track
Monster Beverage is making significant progress in the implementation of its strategic alignment with Coca-Cola Bottlers globally. In April 2019, the company transitioned the distribution of Monster Energy drinks from Big Geyser’s territory (comprising the New York metro markets) to Liberty Coca-Cola. This marked the completion of transition to Coca-Cola system bottlers in the United States. In second-quarter 2019, the Coca-Cola bottlers launched Monster Energy drinks in Azerbaijan, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia. Further, Monster Beverage is on track with the transitioning of the Monster Energy brand to Coca-Cola system bottlers in more countries.
Furthermore, management remains committed toward product launches to boost growth. In the second quarter, it successfully launched the Monster Energy brand’s energy drinks in several new countries, including the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. It also launched Predator — its affordable energy brand — in several international markets in the second quarter.
The company is set to launch newer Monster Energy brand energy drinks in the United States and many international markets later in 2019. Additionally, it plans to launch Predator in additional international markets in 2019.
Two Better-Ranked Soft Drink Stocks to Count On
PepsiCo Inc. (PEP - Free Report) has an impressive long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. Further, it currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Fomento Economico Mexicano S.A.B. de C.V. (FMX - Free Report) , also a Zacks Rank #2 stock, has an impressive long-term earnings growth rate of 15.8%.
Biggest Tech Breakthrough in a Generation
Be among the early investors in the new type of device that experts say could impact society as much as the discovery of electricity. Current technology will soon be outdated and replaced by these new devices. In the process, it’s expected to create 22 million jobs and generate $12.3 trillion in activity.
A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks’ just-released special report reveals 7 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time.
See 7 breakthrough stocks now>>