Two analysts this week came out with divergent ratings, but not necessarily different outlooks, on Austin-based Hormel Foods Corp.
Jefferies analyst Akshay Jagdale initiated coverage last week with a “buy” rating. Deutsche Bank analyst Mario Contreras downgraded his recommendation to a “hold.”
“We believe Hormel is one of the best-managed companies in the food industry,” Jagdale wrote, “and believe it is capable of delivering best-in-class, double-digit earnings growth and superior shareholder returns.”
Contreras likes Hormel, especially compared to other packaged food companies. He moved the company to a “buy” rating in August but now feels Hormel’s valuation has gotten too high. He likes Hormel’s management, and he believes it would benefit from more merger and acquisition opportunities in the future. He also sees benefits from the CytoSport (Muscle Milk) acquisition but notes that Hormel stock is up 50 percent year-to-date.
“Hormel’s stock is now trading at close to 20 percent premium to the group [vs. historical 5-6 percent premium],” Contreras wrote. “It is increasingly difficult to see meaningful upside from these levels.”
Jagdale also noted that Hormel is trading at the high end of its historical valuation range. However, he added: “We expect the stock’s premium valuation relative to its packaged food peers to hold given Hormel’s solid earnings growth prospects.”
Hormel stock is currently trading around $79.70. Contreras pegged a 12-month price target of $75 to his “hold” rating, and Jagdale backs his “buy” rating with an $85 price target.
IPOs down in the U.S., globally from last year
Initial public offering activity in 2015 has slowed from 2014, one of the strongest years for IPOs in the past decade. As of last week global IPOs raised $156.2 billion in 2015, down 35 percent from 2014, according to a preliminary report from Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused Exchange Traded Funds and is an IPO investment adviser.
Through last week, the number of deals completed was down 26.1 percent, with 308 companies completing an IPO in 2015, down from 417 in 2014. Globally the Asia Pacific market has garnered a lion’s share with 44.6 percent of all proceeds.
In the U.S., the number of IPO pricings as of last week was down 38 percent from 2014, with 169 deals compared with 274 in 2014. The $30 billion was down from $85.2 billion.
In Minnesota, only one company completed an IPO in 2015: Plymouth-based Entellus Medical raised $78 million on Jan. 29. GWG Holdings was the only offering in 2014.