Flowers Foods: A Foodservice Stock to Watch

| About: Flowers Foods, (FLO)
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Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO) is another example of a fairly boring stock that’s done incredibly well for investors. Despite having a market value in excess of $2 billion, Flowers is almost completely ignored by Wall Street. The stock is practically invisible on stock message boards.

So what do they do? Here’s what the company has to say:

Headquartered in Thomasville, Ga., Flowers Foods is one of the nation's leading producers and marketers of packaged bakery foods for retail and foodservice customers. Among the company's top brands are Nature's Own, Whitewheat, Cobblestone Mill, Blue Bird, and Mrs. Freshley's. Flowers operates 40 bakeries that are among the most efficient in the baking industry.

Now let’s look at some results. Thirty years ago, you could have picked up one share of FLO for about 17 cents (that's adjusted for ten, yes ten, 3-for-2 splits). Today the stock is going for about $25, so that’s a gain of over 14,000% or more than 18% a year. That doesn’t include a dividend, which usually yields between 2% and 4%.

Speaking of which, the company just raised its quarterly dividend by 14%, raising it from 17.5 cents a share to 20 cents a share. Going by the new dividend, the stock now yields about 3.2%.

In February, Flowers said that it expects 2010 EPS to increase by 10% to 15% over 2009’s total which came in at $1.38. That translates to a target of $1.52 to $1.59. They reaffirmed this guidance last month as well.

I don't think Flowers is a take-it-to-the-bank buy right here, but I'd love to see it drop to around $20 a share. This is definitely one to watch.