Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Color on quarter: Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)

Couple of firms comment on Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX) after the co reported strong results last night:

- Baird notes CROX reported another solid upside surprise and significantly raised its FY07 guidance. Yet the guidance remains conservative in our opinion. CROX is well positioned to have another outstanding year in FY07, especially considering continued distribution expansion, new licenses and recent acquisitions, particularly Jibbitz.

For FY07, CROX is raising its sales and EPS guidance from growth of more than 30% to growth of more than 45%. This now includes Q1 sales and EPS guidance of $113-$117 million and $0.47-$0.49. In short, the midpoint of the company's guidance represents 156% sales and 187% EPS growth. Although this may sound aggressive, consider that CROX will likely be in nearly 3x as many doors in Q1 as a year ago. The company has also more than doubled the number of its footwear styles from a year ago. Additionally, CROX is layering on incremental revenues from its various licenses and acquisitions. For Q1, they are modeling sales of $117.3 million and EPS of $0.49; however, they believe these are conservative forecasts.

For FY07, 45% sales and EPS growth would imply FY07 sales and EPS of roughly $514.4 million and $2.33, respectively. This is up substantially from the sales and EPS of $437.9 million and $1.98, respectively, implied by its old guidance. Yet the firm believes the new guidance remains conservative. Excluding the midpoint of the company's Q1 guidance, CROX is only guiding to sales and EPS growth of 29% over the balance of FY07. Based on the company's revised guidance, the firm raisedFY07 EPS estimate from $1.98 to $2.38, which they feel remains a conservative forecast.

Maintains Outperform and ups tgt to $85 from $80.

- Piper Jaffray notes they maintain a high degree of confidence in their estimates given improvements in visibility and product flow, early response to new spring styles, international door growth, and square footage gains at key retail accounts. Firm is raising their FY07 sales estimate to $526M (+48% Y/Y) and EPS to $2.35 (+47% Y/Y). They are introducing initial FY08 sales and EPS estimates at $630M and $2.94, reflecting 20% topline and 25% bottomline growth. $70 price target (up from $57) is predicated on 30x FY07E EPS, in-line with LT est. EPS growth and up from 26.5x. They think a 30x multiple is appropriate as it balances near-term sales momentum and profitability with valuation & execution risk inherent to newly public companies.

- TWP says that given the upside in 4Q, their positive view on new products, licensing arrangements and expectations for international growth,they are raising their 2007 estimates and introducing 2008 estimates. Firm's 2007 revenue and EPS estimates go from $475.8mn and $2.20, respectively, to $553.5mn and $2.50, representing 56% revenue growth and 55.6% EPS growth. They are introducing 2008 revenue and EPS estimates of $672.7mn and $3.00.

CROX shares are currently trading at 22.4x firm's new 2007 EPS estimate, a steep discount to their 2007 forecast earnings growth of 56%. Given the evidence of momentum into the strong seasonal months, the ongoing diversification of the business, and potential for earnings to outpace our estimates, they believe Crocs deserves an earnings multiple closer to the forecast growth rate, and see upside potential to CROX shares. Firm believes the shares are attractively valued at current levels.

Notablecalls: While I'm pretty sure the shorts will ultimately win the war, they're most likely going to lose today's battle.

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