SodaStream Pops in More Ways Than One


SodaStream (NAS: SODA) has gone from fizzy to flat.

Shares of the company behind the popular home-based soda makers had soared 22% in the four trading days leading up to this morning's report. Today it's giving it all back.

Results were decent enough on the surface. Revenue climbed 32% to $85.7 million. Adjusted earnings rose 21% to $6.7 million, though it's flat at $0.25 on a per-share basis because of the weighted influx of new shares during the fourth quarter of 2010's IPO.

Convert that into euros and SodaStream landed well ahead of expectations, just as the consumer-facing speedster has done in each of its first five quarters since going public.

Guidance is solid, as SodaStream sees revenue and adjusted earnings climbing 28% and 35%, respectively, for all of 2012. We're looking at a fast-growing company delivering double-digit net margins, and it's hard to complain about that.

The report was a beat looking back and solid looking ahead, so why is Mr. Market spitting it back out today?

Well, let's take a closer look at the quarter's performance. Revenue on the starter kits rose 24% and the consumables (CO2 carbonators and flavors) climbed 38%. That doesn't seem too shabby, but now let's get to unit sales.

SodaStream's been rolling out fancier starter systems to woo shoppers who want something more stylish and functional. The end result is that folks are willing to pay more for the systems. That's great, but in terms of units we're only talking about 767,000 systems sold during the quarter. That's just an 8% uptick over the 2010 holiday shopping season, contrasting the 24% spike in flavors and 27% increase in carbonators on a unit basis.

One can argue that SodaStream can't win. The shares sold off last year when soda makers were outpacing consumables. "Folks aren't using the darn things after they buy them," cynics argued. Now we're at the other end of the argument. "Folks are using them, but they're just not buying them!"

Cynics, huh? They're never wrong.

The fears are overblown. We've now had two years of holiday promotional pushes since SodaStream entered the U.S. market. Isn't it better to know that they're not collecting dust in the attic next to the Margaritaville drink makers and ice cream churners than to see the starter kits flying off the shelves?

I'm not a fan of the tireless comparisons of SodaStream to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) . However, they both tend to go through the same patchy moments of doubt where investors fret about the pace of new systems relative to the higher-margin consumables that inevitably follow.

So let's put things into its proper perspective. Yes, the shares are selling off this morning. In reality, investors who bought just a week ago are still showing positive gains. Keep an eye on system sales in the future, of course, but as long as consumables are growing nicely you'd be an idiot to call this a fad.

Drink up
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At the time thisarticle was published Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of SodaStream International and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Green Mountain. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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