Focusing In On Farmer Bros. (NASDAQ:FARM)

Cup glass of coffee with smoke and coffee beans on old wooden background

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Espresso is a method of stealing time that ought to by rights belong to your older self.”― Terry Pratchett, Thud!

In the present day, we take an in-depth have a look at a small cap concern that’s within the midst of a turnaround beneath new administration, is affordable on a worth to gross sales foundation and has picked up some latest insider shopping for as nicely. A full evaluation follows beneath.


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Firm Overview:

Farmer Bros. Have. (FARM) is a Northlake, Texas primarily based nationwide espresso roaster with an annual capability of greater than 125 million kilos. It is usually a wholesaler and distributor of espresso, tea, and culinary merchandise. These operations are performed out of the corporate’s three manufacturing vegetation, 4 distribution facilities, three tools refurbishing amenities, and 92 department warehouses. Farmer Bros. was based in 1912 and went public in 1952. After reaching an all-time excessive ($39.39) in 2004 and nearly reaching that degree once more in 2017, thinly traded shares of FARM have languished, buying and selling simply over $6.00 a share, translating to a market cap of roughly $115 million.

The corporate operates on a fiscal yr (FY) ending June thirtieth.


Farmer sells its choices by way of three channels: direct retailer supply (DSD); direct ship (DS); and eCommerce. DSD markets espresso, tea, culinary spices, in addition to espresso and tea tools (amongst different merchandise) to eating places, inns, casinos, espresso retailers, and comfort shops by way of 216 routes masking ~50,000 factors of supply, making it the nation’s largest. It additionally boasts one of many largest espresso brewing tools servicing groups within the business. DS sells wholesale espresso and personal label merchandise to massive nationwide clients, shipped from its distribution facilities through third-party carriers to its clients’ distribution facilities, normally on a value plus foundation. Espresso accounts for roughly half of DSD’s prime line and ~95% of DS’s. eCommerce entails three websites that conduct B2C, B2B, and DTC, however is at present a small a part of Farmer Bros. enterprise. The corporate doesn’t disaggregate its revenues however DSD is clearly the corporate’s chief.


For the previous 109 years, Farmer Bros. has participated in a extremely aggressive, fragmented, but deeply rooted US espresso business, which achieved revenues of $88 billion in 2018, together with of a $74 billion ‘away from dwelling’ market and a $14 billion ‘at dwelling‘ market. The corporate competes with different roasters equivalent to S&D Espresso & Tea, Trilliant Meals and Vitamin, Ronnoco Espresso, and Group Espresso Firm; specialty espresso suppliers equivalent to Distant Lands Espresso, Starbucks (SBUX), and Peet’s Espresso & Tea; conventional grocery retailer at dwelling manufacturers like Folgers and Maxwell Home; choices from wholesale foodservice distributors equivalent to Sysco Corp (SYY) and US Meals (NYSE:USFD); and membership shops equivalent to Costco (COST). All of those companies have bought espresso for at the very least 4 many years and lots of the manufacturers/companies have developed loyal followings or deep B2B relationships.

Current Challenges

With a big portion of its prime line derived from gross sales to eating places, casinos, and different locations the place individuals collect, the pandemic severely affected Farmer’s enterprise. Nevertheless, the corporate’s troubles began earlier than the onset of Covid-19 – after it went on a mini shopping for spree starting in 2017. After being primarily debt-free for many of its existence, the corporate went into hock to buy tea purveyor China Mist for $12.2 million and West Coast Espresso for $15.5 million throughout FY17. These acquisitions had been adopted by a $42.6 million purchase of Boyd Espresso (internet of working capital issues) in FY18. That intangible progress proved burdensome. After producing Adj. EBITDA within the low to mid-$40 million vary from FY14 to FY18, efficiency started to falter with Adj. EBITDA dropping to $31.9 million in FY19. Income solely rose tepidly from $541.5 in FY17 to $595.9 million in FY19, whereas debt surged from zero to $92 million.

These occasions utilized in a brand new administration crew in mid-2019 to get Farmer’s home so as. A part of its technique included reopening a distribution facility on the West Coast to be nearer to ~40% of its buyer base; thus consolidating the variety of regional branches and lowering the variety of routes it’s wanted to function. The now not obligatory branches had been bought to enhance the corporate’s steadiness sheet. For its roasting enterprise, administration scrapped an inefficient and underutilized manufacturing plant in Houston in favor of doubling the capability at its state-of-the-art roasting facility in Dallas Fort Price. Each the plant shuttering and new distribution middle effectuated in calendar 2021. The corporate is now targeted on streamlining operations at its different manufacturing and distribution hub within the Portland, Oregon market, the place it manages its different two roasting amenities. Farmer Bros. additionally rolled out handheld gross sales know-how to its rationalized DSD gross sales pressure, launched ecommerce websites for its Public Area, Boyd’s Espresso, and China Mist manufacturers, decreased SKUs by 48%, and exited unprofitable clients. In whole, month-to-month administration and exceeded its purpose of lowering bills by $6.5 million.

These effectivity initiatives had been counterbalanced by the pandemic, the consequences of which had been initially felt on Farmer’s prime line as its clients noticed much less site visitors. Income fell from $595.9 million in FY19 to $510.3 million in FY20 and to $397.9 million in FY21. The impacts then migrated down the revenue assertion with transportation inflation, labor shortages, and better espresso costs (mitigated considerably by hedging) all hampering margins. After producing money from working actions of $35.5 million in FY19, the corporate primarily broke even on that metric over FY20 and FY21, and when $32.7 million for upkeep and enlargement capex had been factored into the algebra, the corporate’s money state of affairs would have been grimmer if not for all its effectivity measures. The corporate exited FY21 (June 30, 2021) with money of $10.3 million, debt of $91 million, and extra liquidity on its revolver of $36.5 million.

1QFY22 Outcomes:

Regardless of inflationary impacts, Farmer Bros. is simply in want of a turnaround in its DSD enterprise to leverage its profitability-improvement initiatives. Minor indicators of life arrived on November 5, 2021, when the corporate reported a 1QFY22 lack of $0.14 per share (GAAP) on internet gross sales of $108.4 million as in comparison with a lack of $0.37 per share (GAAP) on internet gross sales of $97.3 million in 1QFY21. The 11% enchancment at its prime line beat Avenue consensus (one analyst) by $3.5 million whereas the underside line was $0.23 a share higher than estimate. Farmer’s DSD enterprise was nonetheless down 25% versus pre-pandemic (1QFY20) ranges; nonetheless, that represents a marked enchancment over 1QFY21 when internet gross sales had been down 41% year-over-year, and a small uptick sequentially versus 4QFY21, which was down 27% from its respective pre-Covid interval. Gross margins improved 600 factors foundation year-over-year to 29% – closing in on pre-acquisition ranges of low to mid-30s – considerably roasting from the closure of its Houstoning plant.

With that mentioned, Adj. EBITDA margin, which approximated 8% in the course of the acquisition spree and appeared to have troughed at ~4% in the course of the pandemic, remains to be on the lookout for sound footing. That metric in 1QFY22 was 3.2%, reflecting the corporate’s effectivity efforts greater than counterbalanced by inflationary pressures. Administration did trace that its clients are prepared to soak up these prices, which ought to portend larger internet gross sales and gross margins in upcoming quarters.

Steadiness Sheet & Analyst Commentary:

The corporate’s money place fell barely to $6 million on September 30, 2021 because it constructed stock in entrance of its peak season, whereas debt dropped barely to $89 million, which elevated availability on its revolver to $38.5 million. On November tenth, 2021, administration filed a $175 million shelf registration, offering it with flexibility if it wants to boost money. Worry of a secondary providing owing to this transfer was the offender within the post-earnings selloff from the mid-$8 degree to beneath $6.

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With solely ~18.1 million shares excellent and a market cap of $115 million, Farmer doesn’t get pleasure from a lot sponsorship from the Avenue, however the two analysts (actually now one) masking it (Roth and B. Riley) are bullish on its prospects for a turnaround. Each have ‘purchase’ scores. Roth has a $14 worth goal and B. Riley, whose protection was primarily suspended with the latest departure of its analyst, had a $12.50 goal. The corporate is predicted to generate internet gross sales of $458 million in FY22.

Administration made a concerted and considerably orchestrated effort to exhibit its bullishness, with the CEO, CFO, and Chief Provide Chain Officer every investing $100,000 into shares of FARM within the low to mid-$6 space in early and mid-December.


With shares down greater than 50% from a latest intraday July 2021 peak of $12.94, buyers are getting impatient with the turnaround story. With a said effort to exit unprofitable clients, do not search for the online gross sales determine to normalize round FY19 ranges; and with inflation hitting Farmer’s price construction, the return to significant profitability remains to be someday down the street. Nevertheless, the corporate seems as a automotive caught within the mud with its wheels spinning on an incline. After they lastly catch, a sluggish however regular climb ought to start. That would happen prior to anticipated with worth will increase, and insiders, with their latest purchases, are signaling these are within the works. At present buying and selling at beneath a .25 price-to-FY22E gross sales ratio, simply over $6 represents a great ‘toe within the water‘ place entry level for shares of FARM. Provided that, FARM deserves a small ‘watch merchandise‘ place for now whereas ready for extra certainty the turnaround effort is gaining traction.

Even unhealthy espresso is best than no espresso in any respect.David Lynch

Bret Jensen is the Founding father of and authors articles for the Biotech Discussion board, Busted IPO Discussion board, and Insiders Discussion board

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