We don’t like UA around tomorrow’s print – either into it or out of it. Let me be crystal clear on duration…
TAIL (3 years): Luv you long time, UA. These guys are pulling one right out of Nike’s playbook. The growth profile is unquestionable to us. Though they have yet to get any ancilarry categories right – such as Women, Footwear, and International – they will. Of that, I am near certain. But that is also one of the reasons why the team and I don’t like this name on a TREND (3-month) duration.
TREND: The fact of the matter is that even through all the ebbs and flows of revenue, UA has been printing an operating margin of 10-11%. It could have easily been printing something in the mid-high teens. But no, instead it opted to plow the capital into the model to stimulate top line growth. I like that. But’s a double edged sword…
- On one hand , I am extremely confident in the top line trajectory. When Plank stands up there and says that the company will double in sales over 3-years, I believe him (and I’m a natural cynic).
- But the reality is that there have been several initiatives that simply have not panned out yet. Footwear has been a zero. Granted, the original structure of the company was insufficient for anything but failure in this category), and the current team will tread slowly (no pun intended). They probably won’t mess it up, but we’re very very close to the point where people won’t simply give the Gene McCarthy organization the benefit of the doubt. If footwear does not work, this company won’t double.
- Charged cotton was a good launch. Definitely better than footwear. But it was a shadow of its core performance product. This is not a savior for UA.
- UA is spending like a drunken sailor. That’s probably a bit dramatic. But with growth in retail stores accelerating, endorsing Michael Phelps, Lindsay Vonn, Kemba Walker, Derrick Williams (#2 NBA draft – ahead of Kemba at #9) and some dude named Tom Brady, the reality is that UA is in investment mode. They’ll play this like Nike in that they will make it work – but will spend more along the way to ensure their success.
If you have a 3-year+investment time horizon, then you have nothing to worry about. They’re doing the right thing.
But we’re paid to point out the potential landmines along the way.
With the stock at $78, 40x+ earnings, 16x+ EBITDA and very little controversy on the name, we’re simply wary – if not flat-out negative given that cash flow is headed the wrong way.