Apparently notorious Herbalife bull Tim Ramey owns shares of the company as well
Herbalife has really been taking a hit from the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies. It’s a common theme across all of Wall Street, and analysts from multiple firms have cut their estimates and price targets for Herbalife because of this very issue.
Changing analyst views on Herbalife
Well-known Herbalife bull Tim Ramey of Pivotal Research Group is the latest to slash his estimates, but unsurprisingly, he remains Buy-rated on the multi-level marketing company. He has also maintained his $75 per share price target on the stock.
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In addition to Ramey, analysts at Vetr Research also updated their models for Herbalife. Unlike Ramey though, they downgraded the company’s stock, pushing it down from a Strong Buy rating to a Buy rating. The firm’s price target is $30.04 per share.
Ramey still bullish on Herbalife
Herbalife has made several changes in its procedures as a result of regulatory investigations and pressure from short-seller and activist investor Bill Ackman. Ramey continues to think the company’s new “Gold Standard” initiatives will keep pressuring its volumes throughout the first half of this year. However, he thinks Herbalife stock is already factoring in these pressures, as shares have declined 41% since the company’s third quarter earnings report.
The analyst slashed his fourth quarter earnings per share estimate from $1.34 to $1.22 per share. Herbalife is scheduled to release its next earnings report on Feb. 26. For the full year of 2015, Ramey expects to see earnings of $5 per share, compared to his previous estimate of $5.50. Herbalife has guided for full year 2015 earnings of between $5.45 and $5.75 per share.
However, Ramey notes that the guidance “needs a mark-to-market for the precipitous rise” in the value of the U.S. dollar, which has come since the company’s last guidance issued on Nov. 3.
The analyst expects to see a decline in sales of 3.4% due to a 2.1% volume increase that will probably be offset by a headwind of 5.5% from currency exchange rates.
Ramey owns Herbalife shares
On a related issue, it turns out that Ramey actually owns some shares of Herbalife—something which typically goes against standard ethics. According to Michelle Celarier of the New York Post, he owned shares of Herbalife in October before he joined Pivotal Research while he was still at Post Holdings. Pivotal’s chief compliance officer, Jeff Shelton, said analysts are not typically allowed to own shares of companies they cover.
However, he said they waived the policy for Ramey because his position was small. He added that the position is even smaller, as shares of Herbalife have plunged by 25% since October. Ramey joins other big-name investors like Post Holdings founder Bill Stiritz and UBS in taking a stake in Herbalife.
Shares of Herbalife closed up by 7.39% at $35.15 per share on Monday.