Corn Products Intl: Strong Q1, Higher Estimates

Jun.11.08 | About: Ingredion, Inc. (INGR)

Corn Products International, Inc. (CPO) recently reported another solid quarterly performance, posting record net income for the ninth consecutive quarter. Both sales and income were up nicely, with income increasing 18% from the same period last year. In spite of the great results and the bullish outlook, this stock is still carrying attractive valuations.

Corn Products International, Inc. operates as a supplier of various food products, such as starches and sweeteners. The company serves a wide variety of industries and a cross section of international markets in 15 countries. CPI was founded in 1906, carries a market cap. of $3.45 billion and is headquartered in Westchester, Illinois.

Strong First-Quarter Results

CPI's strength was on display when the company reported impressive first-quarter results on April 22. Sales were up 22% from the same period last year, to $931 million. Net income jumped 18% from the year prior, to $173 million. This produced earnings of 85 cents per share, safely ahead of analyst expectations of 71 cents per share.

CPI posted impressive growth numbers from a number of its international markets, but its South American growth was particularly impressive. Sales were up 36% from last year to $272 million. The gain was driven by higher prices and favorable currency translations, because volume actually declined slightly due to takeaway in the Brazilian brewing segment.

Higher Operational Cash Flow, Lower Debt

In a time when cash is king and lenders are tightening borrowing requirements, CPI was able to pay down some of its debt and improve its operational cash flow. The company's debt was reduced to $414 million from $474 million, while its cash from operations improved to $116 million from $58 million last year. The gain was driven by an increase in net income and a $40 million improvement in working capital.

Higher Estimates, Attractive Valuations

After the solid quarter, both the company and the analyst community boosted earnings expectations. The current-year estimate is now pegged at $3.10 per share, up from $2.82 60 days ago.

Based upon these earnings projections, this stock is priced at a bargain compared to the overall market, carrying a forward P/E multiple of 14.5X.

Technicals

This stock has been volatile over the last six months, but over the last two, it has rallied, as shares have jumped from just above $31 to their current location over $45.

Moving forward, their is a significant level of resistance just above $48 which needs to be eclipsed in order for this stock to continue its upward ascent. Take a look at the chart below.