The private label foods company lost $4.96 per share in the quarter ending Dec. 31, down from an 85 cent gain in the same quarter of 2015. The quarterly loss contributed to a $4.10 loss per share for the full year, down from a $2.63 gain in 2015. Full-year adjusted EPS of $2.95, while declining 8% from 2015, beat analysts' expected diluted EPS of $2.82, according to FactSet, and quarterly adjusted EPS of $1.14 also exceeded the expected $1.09.
On Feb. 1, 2016, TreeHouse completed its $2.7 billion purchase of Conagra Brands' (CAG - Get Report) (then known as ConAgra Foods) private label business. The acquisition drove a 105.3% increase year-over-year in TreeHouse's fourth quarter net sales, to $1.78 billion. For the full year, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company booked net sales of $6.175 billion, up about 93% year-over-year and above the consensus estimate of $6.135 billion.
"Although the company does not explicitly break out Private Brands in its segment reporting, we estimate most of the aforementioned beat at the EBIT level was driven by better than expected results in the Private Brands business, partially offset by weaker results in the other 3 segments and higher than expected corporate expense," Jefferies analyst Akshay Jagdale wrote in a Thursday morning note.
In TreeHouse's North American retail grocery segment, which includes most of the private label business, quarterly sales increased 123% to $1.49 billion. TreeHouse's other main segment, the industrial and export business, reported net sales of $131.4 million, up 22.8% year-over-year, driven by a 31.8% increase from the ConAgra acquisition.
While cautioning that the food industry overall can expect volatility and flat top-line growth in 2017, TreeHouse said it expects full-year net sales of $6.4 billion to $6.6 billion and guided EPS of $3.50 to $3.70.
"The solid recovery in THS's quarterly performance as well as its largely in-line 2017 guidance reinforces our view that despite the temporary hiccup in 3Q, Private Brands' integration remains on track, which given currently depressed earnings expectation and valuation, creates a favorable risk-reward ratio," BMO Capital Markets analyst Amit Sharma wrote.