WHAT'S NEW: Annie's Q4 adjusted EPS was 29c, which was lower than analyst's consensus of 34c. The company's Q4 revenue was $60.1M, which was slightly lower than expectations. The natural food company said that it foresees FY15 adjusted EPS of 88c-95c which is lower than the consensus analyst forecast of $1.13 prior to the report. Annie's expects FY15 adjusted net sales growth of 18%-20%. Overall, the company expects Q1 results to be significantly impacted by a renewed inventory reduction focus by its largest customer, year-over-year commodity inflation and the phasing of investment spending to support new product introductions and base business growth. These factors are expected to result in an a Q1 operating loss in the company's seasonally smallest quarter, Annie's explained, noting that it expects margins to show solid improvement on a year-over-year basis in the second half of the fiscal year.
WHAT'S NOTABLE: During the company's Q4 earnings conference call, Annie's said that it is entering FY15 with a "strong" position in an industry that continues to grow quickly. Still, the company is positioning itself for a more competitive environment, it noted.
ANALYST OPINION: After Annie's reported lower than anticipated Q4 earnings, RBC Capital analyst David Palmer decreased his price target on the stock to $37 from $45. However, the firm believes the two most likely situations for the company are that its results will improve exponentially in FY15 or that Annie's will be acquired by another firm. RBC cut its FY15 EPS estimate on Annie's, but still maintains an Outperform rating on the shares. William Blair analyst Jon Anderson also lowered his estimates for Annie's FY15 EPS, but said the company's guidance update and stock pullback likely make for a stable entry point for longer-term investors. William Blair maintains an Outperform rating on Annie's shares, but noted that near-term relative outperformance may be hard for the stock to achieve given the headwinds the company faces.
PRICE ACTION: Near noon, shares of Annie's fell nearly 9% to $31.79.
Reporting by Gina Gioldassis.
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