There's an old saying in this business: Don't sit on the news. But that's just what I did with something regarding Hain Celestial (NASDAQ:HAIN), which I've been focused on -- only to be "scooped" today by veteran Prudential analyst John McMillan, who told his clients what I should've told you earlier: organic growth at Hain Celestial last quarter, based on numbers provided in the 10-Q, was 4.6%. That's a far cry from the 12% suggested on its post-earnings conference call several weeks ago and the low-double digit organic growth the company has posted (based calculations from on 10-Q filings) in recent quarters.
Hain management doesn't like to talk about organic growth because it claims once an acquisition is done its post-deal maneuverings can improve performance; it prefers investors to watch "consumption" of its brands via SPINS and IRI data.
Well, the consumption data shows that aside from one existing brand, a baby food, the only two brands showing strong growth over the past year were two that were acquired over the past two years. The suggestion is that Hain is addicted to acquisitions, which is all the more reason to watch organic growth. My favorite questions to all acquisitive companies -- a question I've asked Hain and am now awaiting an answer: What will growth be when the acquisitions stop?
I'll pass along the answer and more when I get it. Just can't tell you whether I'll be doing it here, in my MarketWatch Column, on CNBC, in my relatively new gig of writing a column for the Weekend Wall Street Journal, which can usually be found on page B-4 or B-5 -- or a combination, thereof. (How's that for a tease?)