Canadian vitamin company Jamieson Wellness (Jamieson Wellness Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:JWEL) says it’s got solid momentum after a successful pandemic year, and portfolio manager Stephen Takacsy would agree, saying investors will want to pick up a stock like Jamieson on the recent pullback.
It’s a very interesting company. We looked at it at the IPO and we weren’t sure what to make of it, but we probably should have pulled the trigger because it was reasonably valued then and it’s a little rich now,” said Takacsy, CEO of Lester Asset Management, speaking to BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday.
Jamieson, which has its well-established line of vitamins and supplements along with sports drinks and a women’s health line under the Smart Solutions brand, had a great 2020, as Canadians naturally paid more attention to their health due to COVID-19. The results were clear in the company’s full-year financials, delivered in February.
There, Toronto-headquartered Jamieson showed revenue up 17 per cent for the year to $403.7 million, with its Jamieson Brands revenue climbing 19.0 per cent. Earnings were also up, with adjusted EBITDA increasing by 16 per cent to $88.0 million and adjusted EPS rose 21 per cent to $1.16 per diluted share.
Looking ahead, Jamieson management expect business to continue growing. With its Q4 2020 report, the company guided for 2021 revenue growth of between 4.3 and 8.6 per cent, while EBITDA is expected to hit between $95.0 and $100.0 million.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated health and wellness to become the top priority for consumers globally, and we are grateful for the role our brands play in supporting our consumers’ foundational health,” said outgoing CEO Mark Hornick in the company’s fourth quarter 2020 report.
“Throughout 2020, our existing consumers increased their daily compliance while broadening the selection of vitamins and supplements in their routines. Many new consumers have engaged with our brands for the first time, as shoppers look for quality products they can trust. We have seen these trends become more established through 2020 and look forward to building upon this baseline of growth in the coming year,” he said.
Jamieson said the broader interest in health and wellness continued through the fourth quarter of 2020, where the company said it also gained market share over its domestic competitors, where Maieson is the leading brand in Canada. Internationally, Jamieson said consumer demand for immunity-related products stayed strong across all its primary international markets, while Strategic Partners grew by 25 per cent in the Q4.
Takacsy said he was a little worried about private labels such as Shoppers Drug Mart’s Life brand taking up market share at Jamieson’s expense but the company had proved resilient.
“They’re also into nutritional drinks and sports drinks which are much more volatile and unpredictable in terms of achieving sales and there’s a lot of competition out there, so we just found it a bit rich,” Takacsy said.
“The stock did sort of tank a few years after the IPO [in 2017], but it’s been on a tear, especially with the pandemic. And people will probably continue to take vitamins even after the pandemic, so I think it’s still an interesting company,” he said.
“We just have a little bit of trouble with the valuation, but on the right dip it’s definitely something that we may buy. We’re looking at it carefully now because it had a pullback and it’s starting to creep back up,” Takacsy said.
Starting off at $16.50 per share in 2017, JWEL climbed to the $43 mark by November of last year before dropping back to the high $30’s where it’s mostly been this year. The stock is up 12 per cent since the start of March. Jamieson, which reports its first quarter 2021 results next Wednesday, has been able to keep its dividend going through the pandemic, with a payout ratio in the high 40 per cent range and a yield currently at 1.3 per cent.
Pandemic stocks from Zoom Video to at-home workout company Peloton to pet supplies store Chewy were all the rage last year and into the early weeks of 2021. But as a group they began to fade with the onset of vaccines in the United States and other countries, with many stocks showing first quarter drop-offs similar to Jamieson’s.
Takacsy says given its growth prospects the pullback in JWEL’s case may be overdone, however.
“There are some good opportunities out there for companies that rose a lot during the pandemic but have pulled back because of the rotation out of those pandemic stocks, and this may be a good opportunity to buy,” Takacsy said.
“Jamieson is a good company, very profitable and they’re diversifying their business. I would buy it but at the right price,” he said.