AptarGroup Follows a Good Quarter With Light Guidance

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AptarGroup Inc. (NYSE: ATR) announced second-quarter 2017 results on Thursday after the market closed, highlighting solid performances from its pharma and food-and-beverage segments, but also a disappointing showing from the beauty-and-home business and an underwhelming outlook. Shares of the consumer-packing company fell more than 6% Friday as the market absorbed the news.

Let's have a closer look, then, at AptarGroup's performance over the past few months, as well as what investors can expect down the road.

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AptarGroup results: The raw numbers

What happened with AptarGroup this quarter?

  • On a constant-currency/non-GAAP basis, core sales rose 1%, and net income climbed 12.2%.
  • This quarter's per-share earnings also included tax benefits of $0.09 per share related to stock-based compensation, and $0.05 per share related to planned cash repatriation activities.
  • By comparison, AptarGroup's guidance (provided last quarter) called for lower earnings per share of $0.92 to $0.97.
  • Revenue by segment included:
  • A 5% decline in beauty-and-home sales, including a 4% decline in core sales growth and a 1% negative impact from foreign exchange.
  • 6% growth in pharma sales, including an 8% increase in core sales growth and a 2% decline from foreign exchange.
  • 6% growth in food-and-beverage sales, including a 7% increase in core sales and a 1% negative impact from foreign exchange.

What management had to say

AptarGroup CEO Stephen Tanda stated:

Looking forward

To be fair, three months ago AptarGroup management did warn that the beauty-and-home segment faced uncertainties surrounding economic growth rates in the U.S. and Brazil. And the company expects the segment to continue to endure weakness in both countries in the third quarter, with added risk in China this time resulting from "excessive heat wave energy restrictions."

Meanwhile, Tanda elaborated that the pipeline for pharma "remains solid" but that it may have trouble finding year-over-year sales growth given difficult comparisons with large custom tooling sales that occurred in last year's third quarter. Finally, on a more encouraging note, the food-and-beverage segment should continue to grow as AptarGroup leverages its offerings across new categories.

As a result, Aptar sees third-quarter 2017 earnings per share arriving in the range of $0.77 to $0.82, compared with reported and currency-adjusted earnings of $0.82 and $0.83 per share, respectively, in last year's third quarter. By comparison -- and though we don't usually pay close attention to Wall Street's demands -- consensus estimates predicted higher third-quarter earnings of $0.92 per share.

In the end, this was a decent quarter for AptarGroup, even slightly outpacing the conservative expectations management outlined in April -- and even as the beauty-and-home segment struggled as management suggested it would. There's always a chance, of course, that AptarGroup is once again under-promising with its current earnings guidance. But with that guidance lagging the profitability many investors had already built into their models, it was no surprise to see shares pulling back from near 52-week highs on Friday.

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Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AptarGroup. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.