Although Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is under fire because of a handful of investigations into its business model, Wedbush analysts continue to view the company’s fundamentals as strong. They believe that ultimately, the investigations will uncover nothing and that the nutritional supplements company will be cleared of the allegations that it is a pyramid scheme.
Estimating Herbalife’s earnings
In a report dated April 16, 2014, analysts Rommel Dionisio and Alicia Reese say they believe Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is very well-positioned to beat earnings estimates when it reports the results from its fourth fiscal quarter. That report is expected on April 29. They also believe the company could raise its guidance for the rest of the year.
The analysts project that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)”s revenue will be $1.236 billion and its earnings per share will be $1.31 for the quarter. Breaking those numbers down by region, they expect to see 8% growth in North America, 5% in Mexico, 17% in Central and South America, 15% in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, 3% in the Asia-Pacific region, and 24% growth in China.
They note that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) guided for revenue to increase by between 6.5% and 8.5% to between $1.214 billion and $1.236 billion. The multi-level marketing company guided for quarterly earnings of between $1.25 and $1.29 per share.
Herbalife’s momentum remains strong
The Wedbush team states that their channel checks suggest Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) has continued going strong in the U.S. They see strong recruit trends for the company’s senior-level Sales Leaders and expect high single-digit growth momentum in the number of Sales Leaders and Members. They believe Herbalife will continue this growth trend even though there has been so much press about the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation.
In addition, they believe the speed at which the investigation of New Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE:NUS) wrapped up in China means good things for Herbalife and for other direct selling companies in China.
Strength seen in Herbalife’s new skincare products
The analysts said they’ve seen good indications in their channel checks that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is seeing momentum build in its new SKIN line. They say this is a positive driver for both top and bottom line growth because it should help diversify the company’s sales mix, which will result in greater productivity of Herbalife’s sales force.
They also expect the new product line to have a “meaningfully higher” gross margin than the other products the company sells, like its popular Formula 1 diet shake line. Additionally, they think offering skincare products will keep customers loyal for longer compared to the average customer who just buys weight loss products.
Driving more upside to Herbalife’s results
The Wedbush team also notes that if Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) keeps buying back more shares, the company’s earnings per share could see significant upside. They would not be surprised if the company takes on more debt in the near term so that it can continue its aggressive plan.
They maintained their Outperform rating and $90 per share price target on Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF).