NEW YORK — The Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. strategy of expanding in the U.S. baking market is “clearly working for investors,” said Alan Alanis, executive director and Latam food and beverage analyst for J.P. Morgan & Co., N.Y.
Mr. Alanis spoke with Milling & Baking News as part of an annual Wall Street analyst stock market preview for 2014 (the full feature, including additional comments about Bimbo by Mr. Alanis, will be published in the Jan. 21 issue of the magazine).
“Bimbo was one of the better companies in terms of performance on the Mexican exchange in 2013,” he said. “Investors are happy. It is one of very few companies that has outperformed the Mexican Bolsa in each of the past four years.”
Compared with the performance of grain-based foods shares in 2013, the 20% gain in Bimbo shares was about average. But while U.S. food company share prices surged together with sharp gains in the overall market (the S.&P.500 was up 32%), Bimbo’s strong performance occurred against a backdrop of weakness for the Mexican stock market, which declined 2.2% in 2013.
Overall, Mr. Alanis said Bimbo has been “performing pretty well” in terms of financial results, though earnings trends were not especially promising over the four-year period of share price strength. He noted earnings per share fell 9% in 2010, 6% in 2011 and 60% in 2012.
“Suddenly, 2013 was the year everything was working,” he said. “I’m expecting growth by more than 100%. After more than three years of investing and struggle, the company is developing more traction. My estimate is that they should grow earnings by 62% in 2014.”
Part of the improved results reflects the decline in commodity prices, Mr. Alanis said, noting corn is down more than 40%, wheat down 11% and sugar off 17%.
“They have beautiful tailwinds in terms of commodities,” he said. “There has been a good amount of pricing rationality in the U.S. And they maintained leadership and dominance in the Mexican market.”
Going forward, Mr. Alanis remains upbeat about Bimbo.
“They have been buying assets at a very reasonable price, and I think they emerged stronger,” he said. “They have done their homework in terms of making sure they have the right management leadership in place.”