The board of Monster Beverage Corporation ( MNST ) has approved an additional $200 million share repurchase program, thereby bolstering shareholder value.
Under the latest program, the company's board has authorized the repurchase of up to $200.0 million of its common stock. Monster repurchased approximately 6.7 million shares for $340 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, results of which were reported on Feb 27. Soon after the fourth quarter, the company repurchased an additional 0.3 million shares for approximately $16 million, thereby exhausting the available amount under the current share repurchase authorization of $250 million.
Share buybacks help the company reduce outstanding share count, thereby increasing earnings per share and return on equity. Apart from bolstering shareholder value, this strategic move will also lift the relatively undervalued share price. Regular share buybacks also reflect the company's confidence in its fundamentals.
Monster's fourth quarter 2012 earnings of 39 cents per share were ahead of the prior-year quarter by 10.6%, driven by top-line growth. Earnings, however, missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 41 cents. Sales grew 15% on a year over year basis, owing to the strong performance of Monster Energy brand in the international markets. The company is expected to continue to launch new brands in 2013.
Monster holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other beverage companies that warrant a look include Companhia De Bebidas Das Ame ( ABV ), Coca Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. ( CCH ), and Molson Coors Brewing Co. ( TAP ). While ABV carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Coca Cola Hellenic and Molson Coors hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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