Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) Earnings Preview: A Bar Set High

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) Earnings Preview: A Bar Set High

Herbalife Ltd. (HLF) is scheduled to release its next earnings report tonight after closing bell, and Wall Street is expecting earnings of $1.07 per share on sales of $1.07 billion for the first quarter. Interestingly though, these consensus numbers are based on estimates from only a handful of analysts as most don’t seem willing to touch such a controversial stock.

Wall Street wants much from Herbalife

Herbalife management guided for adjusted earnings of 97 cents to $1.07 per share, meaning that the consensus calls for the company to meet the high end of its guidance. Analyst Tim Ramey of Pivotal Research is at the high end of consensus as he’s estimating adjusted earnings of $1.10 per share after raising his estimate from $1.04 per share late last month. Last year Herbalife posted adjusted earnings of $1.29 per share.

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Ramey said currencies should be less of a headwind for the rest of this year, although he doesn’t believe currencies added much, if anything, to the multi-level marketing company’s first quarter because of the hedging it has in place. He adds that Herbalife included an 80-cent per share headwind to earnings in its guidance, and he expects this headwind to be revised downward to 65 cents per share.

Ramey is projecting full-year earnings of $4.65 per share, up from his previous estimate of $4.50 per share. Consensus stands at $4.60, and management guided for $4.05 to $4.50 per share. He notes that because of how few analysts are covering Herbalife now, “even small anomalies in a single analyst’s estimate will move the mean.”

Any update on the FTC?

Herbalife has been dealing with investigations by various agencies for some time, one of which is the Federal Trade Commission. Ramey and activist investor Bill Ackman, who has been trying to tear the company down for years, both believe the probe is in the final stages, although Ramey expects a favorable outcome for the company.

He also believes Herbalife will be able to amend and expand its credit facility after the FTC probe is resolved so that it can buy back about $1 billion worth of its shares The Pivotal analyst said in his April 29 report that he believes the Securities and Exchange Commission investigation will also close along with the FTC probe.

Herbalife shares hovered around their opening value of $57.91 for much of the day today.

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