Takeaway: All the conversations I’m having with investors about DRI are focused on the potential of an Olive Garden REIT.
DRI is due to report FY4Q15 earnings on Tuesday and it’s going to be a great quarter!
Three things to think about following the print:
The current street consensus has DRI FY4Q15 EPS at $0.93, up 150% year-over-year. Personally, I don’t think it’s out of the question that the company can print $1.00 for the quarter. The headlines will make for great press as the current management team is doing a great job realigning the cost structure of the company. Like Bob Evans recent announcement, I also suspect DRI will formally announce it is looking to do a bigger deal in the real estate space.
Other themes coming out of the FY4Q15 earnings call will be similar to the FY3Q15 themes:
With the stock at $69 and trading at 11.12x EV/NTM EBITDA, the street is discounting that DRI is going to have a great quarter. The question becomes how great is great and what is the upside from here? The bigger question shareholders need to ask is with all the improvement in profitability are they starving Olive Garden of essential capital and the initiatives to be relevant again?
All the conversations I’m having with investors about DRI are focused on the potential of an Olive Garden REIT. The potential for a REIT was a big focus of the Starboard presentation on value creation. To be clear, all of the talk of a REIT is temporary as it’s the last financial lever the board can pull to create value. The REIT discussion is also distracting the conversation away from the real issue and that is the Olive Garden renaissance plan.
I have no edge on the potential of a REIT, but the chances of a REIT seem very slim in the restaurant space. Contributing to the heightened expectations for DRI REIT are Hudson's Bay, Bob Evans and others announcing plans to potentially monetize their real estate into separate publically traded companies? Time will tell!
So what is DRI stock discounting?
Using the same price to Price/Sales analysis we used to determine that DRI was undervalued three years ago now shows that the company is overvalued. At the very least, there is a significant component of the current value that accounts for the value of the real estate portfolio.
Referring to the Starboard presentation on the Darden real estate opportunity, the investors valued the DRI real estate portfolio (including Red Lobster) at $3.8-$4.2 billion. Assuming Red Lobster was $2.2-$2.5 billion of the total, the remaining Olive Garden real estate is worth around $1.4-$1.7 billion (before tax leakage).
Our sum-of the parts analysis of DRI has the collective brands worth an enterprise value of $7.4 billion or approximately $49.74 per share. This implies that the market is valuing the DRI real estate at $2.4 billion or more than 100% of the value of Olive Garden’s real estate. With the stock at theses levels there is significant pressure on management and the Board to come up with a creative real estate transaction that makes Olive Garden relevant again.
If a deal can’t get done does DRI run the risk of becoming the Sears holdings of the restaurant industry? Nobody wants to follow the example of Sears Holdings Corp, Eddie Lampert, who had been criticized for starving the retailer of the capital reinvestment needed to keep stores refreshed and relevant in the minds of consumers.
Once we get past the DRI financial engineering and cost cutting the ultimate value of this company will be driven by Olive Garden and right now it’s being starved of capital to be relevant to the consumer.
Food and Organic Relative Performance versus the SPX
Consumer Staples Best Ideas List
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Last Thursday we presented our 102 page Black Book on WWAV and why it is deserving of being on Hedgeye Consumer Staples’ Best Ideas list as a Long.
Slides: CLICK HERE
Presentation: CLICK HERE
Our thesis builds off of three main pillars:
WWAV has been on Hedgeye’s Consumer Staples Best Idea list as a Long since 4/11/14, and since then has risen approximately 80%. But we don’t believe it is stopping here, management at WWAV is just warming up.
Since their IPO in 2012 WWAV has added three businesses, Earthbound Farm, So Delicious and most recently Vega. One sector they do not play in currently is meat alternatives, and we believe this could be a big growth driver for them in the future.
This company has been performing admirably, with low-double digit organic growth over the last eight quarters.
We strongly believe that the growth of plant-based foods is just beginning ― they have barely penetrated 30% of households in the U.S.
Another alternative to creating shareholder value is the potential of a competitor buying WWAV. We believe that there is a strong possibility of this happening within the next 1-3 years. Given the desperation for growth in this industry, companies have to be looking at WWAV as a possibility.
Commodity pricing is always going to be an issue for a natural organic CPG company or any CPG for that matter. WWAV management has been able to keep the affects in check as they maximize efficiencies across their supply chain. Additionally, WWAV has amazing brand loyalty, highlighted by their Horizon brand, in which all top line growth recently is driven by price, signifying that customers need the product and are willing to pay the premium.
Bottom line this is one of the best companies we can find in the consumer staples space. And we are looking forward to continuing to keep you up to date on all the action.
Please reach out if you have any questions.
Hedgeye Financials Sector Head Josh Steiner recently sat down with macro analyst Ben Ryan on The Macro Show. Their in-depth conversation covers a ton of financial ground and is a must-see discussion of the key issues and risks facing investors right now.
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