Herbalife shares have struggled since the beginning of the year, and it doesn’t look like things will get any easier for the company any time soon. Foreign exchange headwinds are one of its biggest problems as the U.S. dollar strengthens, although Herbalife has also struggled with slowing sales due to adjustments in its rules.
Herbalife estimates cut
Analysts at Barclays have cut their estimates for the nutritional supplements company due to the continuing currency headwinds. In particular, they note the weakness in the Russian ruble, the euro, the British pound and the Brazilian peso compared to the strength of the U.S. dollar.
Analysts Meredith Adler, Eric Cohen and Sean Kras remain Overweight-rated on Herbalife. However, they also lowered their price target for the company, cutting it by 14% from $74 to $64 per share in a report dated Jan. 15. They have also reduced their earnings per share estimate for the fourth quarter from $1.19 to 99 cents per share. Their 2015 fiscal year estimate moves from $5.61 to $4.05 per share.
Herbalife sales slowdown to be temporary
The Barclays team also lowered their revenue estimates for Herbalife due to recent changes the company made to “protect its distributors,” they said. The multi-level marketing company made those changes in the midst of the ongoing PR battle with activist investor Bill Ackman, who accuses it of being a pyramid scheme. Among the changes are lowered amounts for first orders and stricter rules regarding what distributors can say about Herbalife and its products.
These changes have resulted in weakening sales, but Adler and her team expect sales to rebound. They think it could take about “a year or so” for all of the new initiatives to stop weighing on the company’s sales. But because the initiatives are being rolled out gradually to all parts of the globe, they say it could take longer than 12 months for the slowdown to end.
Herbalife stock is cheap?
The Barclays analysts think their new estimates may be conservative but add that even with their lowered estimates, shares of Herbalife are “still very inexpensive.” They believe investors are already being “compensated for the risks related to the revenue slowdown.”
They note that the Federal Trade Commission is still investigating Herbalife, so that remains an overhang on the company’s shares. They believe that if regulators only require small additional changes to Herbalife’s business model and if they fine the company a “manageable” amount, then its shares should “rise substantially.”
Shares of Herbalife rose as much as 1% during regular trading hours today.