What you may not know is the company has been on a buying spree, and that should be a factor when McCormick reports fiscal first-quarter 2016 earnings results before the opening bell Tuesday.
For instance, in August the company bought Texas-based One World Foods, the seller of Stubb's barbeque sauces. This deal followed the May acquisition of Drogheria & Alimentari and a deal for Brand Aromatics in March 2015.
For the quarter that ended in February, McCormick is expected to earn 69 cents per share on revenue of $1.03 billion, compared to the year-ago quarter when earnings were 70 cents per share on $1.01 billion in revenue. For the full year, ending November, earnings are projected to climb 6% year over year to $3.69 per share, while revenue of $4.36 billion would mark a year-over-year increase of 1.5%.
At close to $96, shares are up 12% for the year to date and nearly 32% for the past 52 weeks. That's a lot of garlic powder. The company even pays a 43-cent quarterly dividend that yields 1.83% annually.
McCormick beaten Wall Street's earnings-per-share estimates in nine out of the past 10 quarters. Can it do it again despite the negative impacts of a strong U.S. dollar that devalues its overseas sales? Sure it can -- McCormick is benefiting from higher sales volumes and better profit margins, driven by its focus on cost efficiency and its goal of giving consumers more of what they want. The acquisitions don't hurt either.
To the extent McCormick has found ways to accelerate its pace of integrating these assets into its business, investors should be optimistic about guidance for the second quarter and full year. Buying the stock now looks like a smart move.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.