Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) released its earnings report last night and is set for its investor call this morning. Analysts have provided their view of the company’s better than expected results ahead of that call.
Bullish analysts praise Herbalife’s results
D.A. Davidson & Co. analyst Timothy S. Ramey, one of Herbalife’s most notorious bulls, reiterated his Buy rating and $92 per share price target for the company. He notes that the reported $1.41 per share in earnings was a 36.1% increase from the same quarter a year ago and was well over his bullish forecast of $1.18 per share. He says the high results were driven by volume and sales leaders, each of which grew 13% during the quarter.
Ramey notes that the almost year-long attack launched by activist investor Bill Ackman doesn’t seem to be having an effect on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)’s ability to attract new distributors. Ackman and Ramey have been trading barbs over Herbalife recently, with Ackman suggesting earlier this month that it’s Ramey’s bullish call that’s driving the stock upward.
Barclays analyst Meredith Adler has an Overweight rating and $73 per share price target on the stock. She says the upside to the company’s report was mostly driven by better than expected costs, gross margins, royalty payments, and selling, general and administrative expenses.
Breaking Herbalife’s business into regions
Ramey took a closer look at Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)’s sales according to region. He noted that worries about China appear to be resolved, as the company reported that volume in the country rose 71% while sales leaders climbed 25%. Overall volume in the Asia Pacific region dropped 3%, although sales leaders rose 10%. Volume in South and Central America rose 32%, while sales leaders increased 29%. Mexico volume increased 4%, while sales volumes rose 8%. Volume in Europe and the Middle East rose 19%, while sales leaders in the region increased 13%.
Herbalife raises 2013 guidance, remains cautious for 2014
Last night Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) increased its earnings per share guidance to between $5.19 and $5.23 per share. The company’s previous estimate was between $4.83 and $4.95 per share. The company assumed a low Venezuelan exchange rate of 10 to 1 and does not include legal fees of $20.1 million and re-auditing fees of $7.3 million.
Ramey believes Herbalife’s fourth quarter guidance is conservative at between $1.11 and $1.15 per share. He’s estimating earnings of $1.18 per share, which is ahead of Wall Street consensus at $1.15 per share. The nutritional supplements company introduced 2014 guidance of between $5.45 and $5.65 per share last night, and Ramey thinks this range is also conservative because the tax rate will increase more than 200 basis points and the company plans to cut Venezuelan volume 60% to reduce exchange risk and raise prices and margins.