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Why the Bellamy’s Australia Ltd share price crashed today

Bellamy's baby formula
Credit: Bellamy's

Shares of Bellamy’s Australia Ltd (ASX: BAL) have been sold down heavily today as investors process the group’s half-year earnings results, which were released to the market this morning. Bellamy’s share price fell as much as 21% when the market opened despite the strong result.

As far as the numbers go, this was a very solid performance from Bellamy’s.

Revenue and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) were both marginally higher than the unaudited figures provided by management two weeks ago at $105.1 million and $19.2 million (an EBIT margin of 18.3%). That represented growth of 83% and 334% on the prior corresponding period, respectively, while net profit after tax (NPAT) was also 325% higher at $13.7 million.

Indeed, a strong result was always anticipated. The “unprecedented demand” for infant formula provided by companies such as Bellamy’s and a2 Milk Company Ltd (Australia) (ASX: A2M) was heavily publicised by the media, whereby many Australian parents were reportedly forced to drive for miles in search of available stock.

This was, in part, driven by individuals who were purchasing it locally and then selling it to residents in China for a large premium. Bellamy’s is addressing this issue through its online store and also growing its sales direct to consumers in China.

Pleasingly, Bellamy’s also noted strong demand for its various food products. It has also signed a new manufacturing deal with FONTERRA ORD UNIT (ASX: FSF), or “Fonterra”, in order to better service the growing levels of demand for its infant formula products, with the volume benefits expected to be realised early in the 2017 financial year.

In Asia, the company is also powering ahead on all cylinders right now. It almost doubled its Asia segment sales year-on-year, amounting to $14.2 million, while it also noted that it had outpaced two competing European organic formula brands. That is very encouraging for Bellamy’s, which relies on the strength of its brand-name as a competitive advantage.

The company also guided for full-year revenue to be in the range of $240 million to $260 million – which would represent full-year growth of almost 90% at the mid-point of that range. The EBIT margin is also tipped to be mostly in line with the first-half (18.2%), which would imply full-year EBIT of around $45.5 million, up around 270% from FY15.

Although the share price plunged as much as 21% earlier, it has since regained some composure to trade ‘just’ 11.4% lower at $12.34. Indeed, the fall may be due to disappointment that the group didn’t provide an even more robust earnings guidance.

Investors shouldn’t be too disheartened by the market’s reaction however. The company itself appears to be powering ahead with its operations and, assuming it can execute on its growth strategy properly and remain one of the most sought-after brands amongst parents, the shares could still climb further in the long-run.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ASXvalueinvest.

The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of Bellamy's Australia. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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