Hain Celestial For Health & Wealth

Zacks Investment Research
updated | Zacks.com

A leader in natural food and personal care products categories with an extensive portfolio of well-known brands, The Hain Celestial Group Inc. (NASDAQ:HAIN) offers investors one of the strongest growth profiles in the industry. The stock is poised to surge as the economy gradually revives and appetite for organic foods gets bigger.

Hain Celestial continues to remain a healthy option for the investors. Shares of the company have portrayed an upward trend so far this year, giving a return of 18.7% considering the last traded price of $43.16 on April 10, moving closer to its 52-week high of $46.50.

We believe that the company remains well positioned to capitalize on the growing global demand for organic products. During the second-quarter 2012 earnings call, management hinted that consumption in the U.S. increased 7%, which is quite a good number in this scenario.

The company registered increased consumption in core categories with robust contribution from Earth’s Best, Celestial Seasonings, MaraNatha Garden of Eatin, Sensible Portions, The Greek Gods, Imagine, Linda McCartney and JASON. Hain Celestial also experienced solid sales across recently-acquired brands.

Acquisitions have been a key part of the company’s strategy to build market share. Not only did buyouts expand Hain Celestial’s geographic reach, but also brought in opportunities to cross-sell its products in the U.S., Canadian and European markets. Notably, a healthy balance sheet enables the company to target strategic acquisition opportunities.

Following its growth plan, Hain Celestial completed the acquisition of U.K.-based marketer and manufacturer of fresh and frozen foods, Daniels Group (“Daniels”), which is expected to amplify the sales of the company as it provides a gateway to a sturdy food and grocery market that is swiftly gaining ground. The frozen category represents over 50% of food sales in the U.K.

Rise in consumption, innovative marketing and expanded distribution facilitated Hain Celestial to post healthy sales and earnings numbers during the second quarter of 2012. The quarterly earnings of 52 cents a share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 49 cents, and surged 33.3% from the prior-year quarter. Revenues in the quarter rose 32.1% to $385.6 million.

Hain Celestial stood by its earlier projection and expects revenues between $1,455 million and $1,480 million and earnings in the range of $1.63 to $1.73 per share for fiscal 2012. The company’s strategic investments combined with continued efforts to contain costs, increase productivity, and enhance cash flows and margins, helped to boost the company’s performance.

The company’s strong fundamentals and favorable outlook are compelling. We thus, maintain our bullish stance on the stock even in a volatile market. We currently have a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock. However, Hain Celestial, which competes with General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS) and Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), holds a Zacks #2 Rank that translates into a short-term ‘Buy’ rating.

 
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