As the continuing problems at Chipotle (CMG) - Get Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Report make very clear, issues of food safety are uppermost in consumers' minds. But if you are interested in investing in Neogen, think again.
At around $51, shares are down 9.5% for the year to date but up 1.6% for the past 52 weeks. The company is set to report fiscal third-quarter 2016 earnings results before the opening bell Wednesday.
For the quarter that ended February, the company is expected to earn 25 cents per share on revenue of $78.91 million, translating to year-over-year growth of 25% and 15.4%, respectively. For the full year, ending in May, earnings are projected to climb 14% year over year to $1.03 per share, while revenue of $320 million would mark a year-over-year increase of 13%.
The company continues to grow revenue and profits at high double-digit rates. But the valuation remains a concern. The company has missed Wall Street's earnings estimates in two straight quarters and that's not likely to change Wednesday either.
The stock is priced at 50 times fiscal 2016 estimates of $1.03 per share. This is three times the forward price to earnings multiple of the S&P 500 (SPX) index for a company not expected to deliver extraordinary growth.
Assuming it does earn $1.03 per share in fiscal 2016, that translates to year-over-year growth of just 14%. A handful of S&P 500 stocks are growing at twice that rate and pay a dividend. Neogen shares would be worth around $20 if the shares traded on par with the rest of the market. Be safe and stay away.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.