Tag Archives: BREAKFAST

WENDY’S (WEN) DOWN OVER 10% TODAY – IT’S ABOUT BREAKFAST, RIGHT?? – NOT EXACTLY

Download PDF

WENDY’S (WEN) DOWN OVER 10% TODAY – IT’S ABOUT BREAKFAST, RIGHT?? – NOT EXACTLY

Wendy’s stock is under a lot of pressure today, as a result of their entry (again) into the breakfast fray. The company said that they will spend about $20M to support the breakfast initiative. Analysts are obviously reacting skeptically, since WEN has previously experimented with breakfast, in 1985, 2007 and 2012. Since $20M amounts to less than $.09/share, it seems like a reduction of $2.70/share (as this written) is a bit overdone.  This is like when your wife criticizes you for not putting the top back on the toothpaste. It’s not about the toothpaste 😊

The chart below shows the outstanding price performance of WEN over the last five years. It has recently been selling for over 30x EPS estimates for 2019, and about 20x trailing EBITDA.

The table below provides some broad financial results over the last eight years, including the Arby’s divestiture. There have been lots of “puts and takes” from the income statement, and the GAAP earnings per share have fluctuated accordingly.  We show both the GAAP results and the Adjusted Earnings Per Share from Continuing Operations.

Operating Profit, as reported, was up from 2011 to 2014, has been “flat” from 2014 through 2018. As shown on the annual cash flow statement, we view Net Cash Generated from Operating Activities  as a reasonable proxy for how a company is really progressing. Though fluctuating, up and down during the period, THIS NUMBER IS LOWER NOW THAN IT WAS IN 2011. For our purposes here, we can (charitably) call it  “flat” as well.

EPS has been up sharply from 2011 until 2018, both adjusted or by GAAP. That “progress”, however, has been, since 2014 especially, the result of borrowing $1.3 billion to buy back about 150 million shares of stock. (Ain’t low interest rates grand?? ) Setting aside the modest remaining equity, reduced from the buyback: with $2.8 billion of long term debt against calendar ’18 EBITDA of  $379M ($250M of pretax, pre-interest, continuing operating profit + $129M of Depreciation), with debt now at 7.4x TTM EBITDA, one would have to conclude that this financial lever has been pulled.

CONCLUSION

Just a week ago we wrote an article describing how the stock of lots of companies (we referenced Starbucks (SBUX) and Restaurant Brands (QSR), in the wake of the breakdown of ULTA and OLLI), are “priced for perfection”, are vulnerable to the possibility of even a small disappointment. Wendy’s now comes into play from that standpoint. Over the last five years, WEN has provided essentially flat Operating Profit and Net Cash from Operating Activities. Earnings Per Share have been increased through leveraging the balance sheet and acquiring a great deal of stock. Down over 10% as we conclude this piece, WEN still sells at 30x estimated earnings for calendar ’19 and 19x our calculation of ‘18x EBITDA from continuing operations. Setting aside the prospect of success with breakfast, which will be expensive and time consuming, and is the focus of virtually all of today’s press coverage: We are not long or short WEN common stock, because we cannot predict how long investors will embrace “asset light” and “free cash flow” companies (this one has $2.8B of debt to service), but,  by all standards we consider reasonable, WEN is more than fully valued.

Roger Lipton

 

Download PDF

McDONALD’S STOCK UP BIG! IS IT TOO LATE TO BUY?

To access this content, you must purchase Website Subscription.

INCLUDED IN YOUR ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION:

  • Broad economic insight. As described in “Restaurants/Retail – Why Bother?” the restaurant and retail industries provide a leading indicator of far broader economic trends. You no longer have to be the last to know.
  • Two to three analytical pieces per week (“Roger’s Rap”) personally written by Roger Lipton describing corporate developments within his industry specialization, including their relevance to the broader economy.
  • Periodic “macro” discussions personally written by Roger Lipton, analyzing fiscal and monetary matters that will likely affect your investments and your business.
  • Opportunity to “Ask Rog” about your personal concerns, regarding individual companies or broader economic trends. Roger will use his best efforts to answer questions submitted, obviously limited by the number of requests . He may answer your question by email directly and/or include your question with his “Roger’s Rap” releases.
  • You are provided access to “Friends of Rog”, depending on your financial and operational needs. The outstanding individuals suggested here, have been personally “vetted” by Roger over decades. Roger receives no compensation based on whether or not use their services.
  • A free copy of the legendary best selling book, How you can Profit from the coming devaluation, as shown at right, written in 1970 by Harry Browne, which predicted the 2000% rise in the price of gold. This profound piece is more relevant today than ever, so Roger re-published it in 2012. This book will help you preserve the fortune you are in the process of accumulating.