B&G Foods, Inc. BGS posted fourth-quarter 2019 results, wherein the bottom line was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and declined year over year. However, sales improved year over year and beat the consensus mark, largely backed by gains from Clabber Girl’s buyout. Shares of the company gained 6.7% during the after-market trading session on Feb 25. Q4 Highlights Adjusted earnings of 28 cents per share were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the bottom line declined 17.6% year over year. The year-over-year decline could be blamed on higher net interest expenses, which rose 13.2%. Also, base business sales declined.
The Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) stock has slumped 19.4% in the past three months compared with the
industry’s decline of 0.1%. B&G Foods’ net sales of $470.2 million grew 2.6% year over year and surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $461 million. The top line was buoyed by the contribution of $25.2 million from Clabber Girl (acquired in May 2019), partly negated by the divestiture of Pirate Brands (concluded in October 2018). Notably, Pirate Brands recorded sales of $2.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Net sales from the company’s base business dropped 2.4% to $445 million due to a $14.9-million fall in unit volumes, partly compensated by improved net pricing to the tune of $4.1 million. Net sales from Green Giant products (including Le Sueur) fell 0.8%. Adjusted gross margin was 20.6%, up 160 basis points (bps) year over year. SG&A expenses declined 6.5% to $44.5 million, thanks to lower warehousing and consumer marketing costs along with a decline in certain non-recurring costs and costs related to acquisitions/divestitures. This was partly negated by a rise in general and administrative expenses and escalated selling costs. As a percentage of sales, SG&A expenses dipped 0.9% to 9.5%. Adjusted EBITDA increased 18.8% to $69.5 million on enhanced operating performance along with contributions from Clabber Girl, partly countered by Pirate Brands’ divestiture. Operating performance was backed by gains from pricing and cost-saving efforts, partially offset by inflated input costs. Adjusted EBITDA margin expanded 200 bps to 14.8%. Other Financial Updates The company, which shares space with Flowers Foods FLO, concluded the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $11.3 million, long-term debt of $1,874.2 million and shareholders’ equity of $812.5 million. In a separate press release, B&G Foods announced a quarterly cash dividend of 47.5 cents per share, payable Apr 30, to shareholders of record as of Mar 31. Guidance The company remains pleased with its 2019 performance, and expects its efficient pricing and cost-saving efforts to keep helping it battle cost inflation. Additionally, management remains focused on innovation and acquisitions. To this end, the company is generating growth on its plant-based innovations by Green Giant. Moving on similar lines, it announced the buyout of Farmwise last week, while it also acquired and integrated retail baking powder maker, Clabber Girl, in 2019. All said, management expects net sales of $1.660-$1.680 billion for 2020, whereas it recorded $1,660.4 million (around $1.660 billion) in 2019. Adjusted EBITDA for 2020 is anticipated to be $302.5-312.5 million, whereas it reported $302.5 million in the previous year. Further, the company projects adjusted earnings per share of $1.60-$1.80, whereas it recorded $1.64 in 2019. The mid-point of the guidance range of $1.70 is well above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.62. Check These Solid Food Stocks Lamb Weston ( LW Quick Quote LW - Free Report) , with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has long-term earnings per share growth rate of 8.8%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Hain Celestial HAIN, with a Zacks Rank #2, delivered positive earnings surprise in the last reported quarter. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020 In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2020? Last year's 2019 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +102.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buys. Access Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2020 today >>