Energizer Holdings, Inc. ( ENR Quick Quote ENR - Free Report) posted an earnings miss in first-quarter fiscal 2020, wherein the metric also declined year over year. The top line however improved year over year. Moreover, the company reiterated the view for fiscal 2020. Q1 in Detail Adjusted earnings came in at 85 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 99 cents and declined 48.2% from the year-ago quarter’s $1.64. This can be blamed on the decline in earnings before income taxes coupled with higher interest expenses.
The company reported net sales of $736.8 million, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $736 million by a slight margin. Also, sales rose 28.8% on a year-over-year basis buoyed by strength in acquired businesses, partly offset by lower organic sales and adverse currency fluctuations, excluding Argentina.
Meanwhile, organic sales fell 3.4% during the quarter, mainly because of lower replenishment and phasing of holiday promotional activity. Segments in Detail Batteries revenues (84.4% of total revenues) increased 19.2% year over year to $621.9 million, while revenues at the Auto Care segment grew from $20.5 million to $78.7 million. Revenues at Lights and Licensing segment improved 22.7% to $36.2 million. In the Americas, the company recorded revenues of $514.5 million, up 37.8% from the year-ago quarter. Revenues at the International segment amounted to $222.3 million, mirroring an increase of 12% from the year-ago quarter. Margins Energizer’s adjusted gross margin contracted 640 basis points (bps) to 41.8%, primarily due to the buyout of lower-margin profile businesses, increased product costs, and adverse impact of foreign currency and tariffs. This was partly compensated by gains from pricing and realized synergies. SG&A expenses, excluding acquisition and integration costs, amounted to $111 million, reflecting an increase of $25.3 million from the year-ago quarter. This includes the addition of $23.5 million from the acquired business. Further, advertising and sales promotion expenses totaled $46.8 million, highlighting an increase of 14.4% from the year-ago quarter. Furthermore, the company reported earnings before income taxes of $58.7 million in the quarter. This represents a decline of 34.8% year over year. Other Financial Details Energizer ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $293.5 million, long-term debt of $3,383.6 million and shareholders' equity of $587.5 million. Cash flow generated from operations was $123.5 million in the first three months of fiscal 2020, while capital expenditures grossed $11.7 million. Adjusted free cash flow summed $136.7 million at quarter-end. During the quarter, the company paid dividends of $22.7 million for its common stock and $4 million for mandatory preferred convertible stocks. Other Developments Subsequent to the quarter, Energizer completed the sale of its Europe-based Varta consumer battery business to Germany-based VARTA Aktiengesellschaft (VARTA AG). The $2-billion battery business operates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The deal will help VARTA AG expand its product portfolio and strengthen position in the portable battery space. The initial sale proceeds received from Varta AG and Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. ( SPB Quick Quote SPB - Free Report) were nearly $345 million. Proceeds are utilized to clear the company’s downtime term loan debt. Guidance Despite soft earnings in the quarter, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is on track to achieve its current-year plans and long-term goals. Moreover, it is encouraged about its initiatives to expand market positions in the Batteries, Lights and Auto Care categories. Also, it expects to deliver organic sales growth and recognize significant integration synergies. Notably, management reaffirmed its fiscal 2020 view. The outlook includes a full-year impact of the acquisitions concluded in the second quarter of last fiscal. However, it excludes gains related to the storm activity in current fiscal, which if occurs, will be incremental. Energizer continues to project fiscal 2020 reported net sales increase in the range of 9-10%. This includes organic growth in combined battery business of 1-2% and combined auto care business at 3.5%. Further, the company continues to anticipate gross margin expansion of 10-40 bps for fiscal 2020. Depending on the first-quarter gross margin performance, management projects an improvement of 200-240 bps in the metric over the remainder of the fiscal year. Moreover, adjusted EBITDA is expected in the range of $610-$640 million. The company still expects adjusted earnings per share in the band of $3.00-$3.20. Adjusted free cash flow is anticipated in the range of $310-$340 million for the current fiscal. 2 Consumer Staples Stocks to Watch The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG Quick Quote PG - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.6% and a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. ( LW Quick Quote LW - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.8% and a Zacks Rank #2. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 6 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2020. Click here for the 6 trades >>