Monster Beverage (MNST - Get Report), known as Hanson Natural until Jan. 9, markets and distributes popular brands of beverages such as Monster Energy Drinks and Hansen Natural. Hansen Natural produces soda, juice, lemonade, tea and flavored water.
Energy drinks are one of the fastest growing segments of the soft drink market, much as the handcrafted beer market is for the beer business. The most popular energy drink in the market place is Red Bull, which is owned by a privately held an Austrian company. Monster is second in market share behind Red Bull. Energy drinks sell for anywhere between $2 and $3 per can and hence have a much more robust profit margin that soda.Monster Beverage increased earnings by 34% in 2011 and is expected to do so by 23% in 2012. The stock sells for 30 times 2012 earnings. The company carries no debt and as of the most recent quarter held nearly $800 million of cash and short-term investments. The company's stock split 2-for-1 in the middle of February. As of the most recently reported period, Monster Beverage is one of the top holdings of Renaissance Technologies. -- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.
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