Hormel Foods: Great But Overvalued Consumer Staples Stock (NYSE:HRL)
Hormel Meals Company (NYSE:HRL) is an efficient shopper staples firm with good manufacturers and a very good observe file of paying dividends. However the inventory is overvalued primarily based on the valuation metrics and a reduced money circulate mannequin. The near-zero rates of interest of the previous decade have been an aberration that helped increase the valuation multiples positioned on firms. The rise in rates of interest could also be starting to reset valuations. Present shareholders can generate revenue by opportunistically promoting lined calls. Traders trying so as to add to their holdings can look forward to a decrease valuation.
Excessive stock could stress margins
Excessive inflation over the previous 12 months has elevated Hormel’s value of stock. The corporate sometimes carried, on common, about 50 days’ value of gross sales in stock over the previous decade, with a regular deviation of 4 days (Exhibit 1). The firm is now carrying over 60 days’ value of gross sales in inventory, nicely above two commonplace deviations from the imply, presumably indicating that the corporate could should sacrifice margins to promote by means of this stock. The corporate’s working money flows eroded in Might and July 2022 quarters, with margins at 6%. The corporate’s working money circulate margin averaged 10.06% over the previous decade, however the common dropped to 9.8% between April 2020 and October 2022, a drop of 26 foundation factors. The corporate has elevated revenues by rising costs, however gross sales volumes have declined. It might not have a lot flexibility to extend costs additional.
Hormel has no constructive value momentum
Shopper Staples confirmed a robust efficiency over the previous 12 months throughout excessive market volatility. Hormel has carried out poorly throughout this era, with a return of unfavourable 6.2%, and has underperformed the patron staples sector. The Vanguard Shopper Staples ETF (VDC) has dropped simply 2.8% over the previous 12 months.
Between June 2019 and January 2023, Hormel Meals had a mean month-to-month return of simply 0.46%, in comparison with a 1% return for the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF (VOO). The month-to-month returns of Hormel Meals had a light correlation of 0.24 throughout this era. The inventory has low volatility (Beta) of 0.23, as measured by a linear regression mannequin. Low-beta shares, a lot of that are within the shopper staples sector, have carried out nicely throughout this bear market. Over the previous ten years, the corporate had a decrease complete return of 203.7% in comparison with the return of 226.7% of the S&P 500 Index, returning 203.7%.
Good dividend, manageable debt and an underwhelming share repurchase
The corporate presents a dividend yield of two.45%, low in comparison with the 4.5% supplied by the U.S. 2-12 months Treasury however much better than the 1.59% supplied by the Vanguard S&P 500 Index ETF. The corporate has elevated its dividend for the 57th consecutive 12 months and paid its 377th quarterly dividend, a incredible observe file.
The corporate’s internet debt-to-free money circulate a number of is 2.6x, and its debt-to-EBITDA ratio is 2.06; each ratios point out a manageable debt degree. Its internet debt was $2.25 billion on the finish of the October 2022 quarter (Exhibit 2). The corporate made share repurchases value $590.5 million since 2013, however the firm issued shares value $424.20 (Exhibit 3). For essentially the most half, the share repurchases helped stop additional dilution in shares quite than lowering the general share rely. The diluted share rely stood at 549.6 million over the previous twelve months; it was 540.4 million in 2013.
Hormel Meals is overvalued
A reduced money circulate (DCF) mannequin estimate of $31 per share exhibits the inventory could also be overvalued (Exhibit 4). This DCF mannequin assumes a beneficiant 5% progress price in income, a 7.5% free money circulate margin (Working Money – CapEx), and a ten% weighted common value of capital. The corporate has grown its income by a mean of 4.18% over the previous decade, however this price contains income progress as a result of acquisitions. The corporate has struggled to develop revenues organically. For instance, the corporate generated 2% natural internet gross sales progress within the fourth quarter of 2022.
Acquisitions could also be too costly on this high-interest price atmosphere. Newell Manufacturers and the Goodyear Tire Firm are examples of firms that made costly acquisitions throughout a low-interest price atmosphere and are actually struggling to scale back their leverage. A drop in demand has induced their working money flows to erode. Being a shopper staples firm, Hormel could have higher safety in opposition to demand erosion than Newell Manufacturers and the Goodyear Tire Firm, which function within the discretionary phase of shopper spending.
The inventory trades at a ahead GAAP PE of 23x. The corporate has averaged a ahead GAAP PE of 24x over the previous 5 years. However, for many of the previous 5 years, the price of capital was near zero. Up to now 12 months, the price of capital and traders’ expectation of a return have modified. Money is not trash, as Ray Dalio had remarked through the interval of low-interest charges.
For fiscal 2023, the corporate is guiding for a 1% to three% improve in income and a 6% improve in diluted earnings per share on the excessive finish. However, traders could have to pay shut consideration to working money circulate margins to make sure the corporate can generate sufficient money to fund its capital expenditures and dividends comfortably. Traders should pay shut consideration to working money flows quite than EPS progress. The EPS progress doesn’t precisely signify an organization’s money circulate era capability. An organization’s money circulate energy, progress, and predictability will decide its worth.
Promote lined calls to generate revenue
An investor sitting on appreciable beneficial properties could select to generate further revenue by promoting lined calls on Hormel. It might be clever to promote a name when there may be constructive momentum within the inventory within the coming weeks. For instance, calls expiring on March 17, 2023, with a $47 strike value final offered for $0.43, producing a 0.9% yield primarily based on the strike value. An almost 1% yield is an affordable premium for about 5 weeks. The inventory must rise by 4.5% from the present $44.95 for the decision to be assigned. Based mostly on the month-to-month return information between June 2019 and January 2023, the inventory returned greater than 4.5% in 16% or about seven months.
An investor might be extra conservative in promoting lined calls if the yield on value exceeds 3.5%. Traders ought to intently watch the inventory’s momentum going to the earnings name on March 2 and act accordingly. A strong constructive momentum going into its earnings launch could generate affordable name premiums whereas lowering the danger of name project.
Hormel Meals has nice manufacturers and should make a wonderful long-term holding in a portfolio. The inventory’s valuation is stretched, leaving no room for execution errors. The corporate carries a manageable debt load however doesn’t provide sufficient dividend yield to justify shopping for at present costs. Present shareholders could contemplate producing further revenue by opportunistically promoting lined calls. Traders could also be higher off ready to buy Hormel Meals Company.