CHICAGO, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks Equity Research highlights:Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) as the Bull of the Day and Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) as the Bear of the Day. In addition, Zacks Equity Research provides analysis on Dean Foods Company (NYSE: DF), Air Products and Chemicals(NYSE: APD) and Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG).
Stanley Black & Decker's (NYSE: SWK) fourth quarter results were impressive, with the top line growing 149% and EPS surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a wide margin.
Stanley's financial guidance and 21% hike in cost synergies expected from the BDK acquisition inspired a great deal of confidence that boosted the growth prospects of the company. It is also anticipated that all three of its segments would deliver organic revenue growth in the low- to mid-single digits in 2011.
Moreover, Stanley's strategy of shifting its business portfolio toward favored growth markets through acquisitions and divestitures enables expansion in its global business platform. Anticipating strong growth ahead, we upgrade Stanley to Outperform.
Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) is a global manufacturer as well as marketer of high-quality brand products and possesses a formidable portfolio of well-established brands. However, as the company uses different commodities and raw materials, cost-push inflation remains a key risk factor.
Further, with the intense competition prevailing in the branded food market, Sara Lee is constantly under pressure to maintain its position. In addition, after the resignation of Sara Lee's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Barnes and the divestiture of its North American bakery business, there are big questions going forward.
Sara Lee is considering a sell-off itself to JBS, a Brazilian company. We currently downgrade the shares of Sara Lee from Neutral to Underperform.
Dean Foods Company's (NYSE: DF) adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter fiscal 2010 came in at 15 cents, well behind 31 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter but beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.
Dean Foods' full-year 2010 earnings of 80 cents per share fell 49.7% from the prior-fiscal earnings of $1.59 but surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.
Dean Foods faces an exceptionally tough fiscal 2010, as the wholesale pricing of its private label milk at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar remained under pressure. The company also faces volume weakness in the whole year.
Dean Foods' quarterly net sales grew 5.5% year over year to $3,153.0 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,176.0 million. The growth was primarily a pass-through of higher commodity costs at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar to consumers in the form of higher prices and record top and bottom line performance at WhiteWave-Alpro that were partially offset by volume softness at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar.
Segment-wise, during the fourth quarter, Dean Foods' Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar sales increased 5.2% to $2,625.9 million while its WhiteWave-Alpro's sales increased 7% to $527.0 million.
For the full fiscal 2010, the company's sales grew 9.1% year over year to $12,122.9 million fell short the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $12,164.0 million.
Air Products Withdraws Airgas Bid
Air Products and Chemicals(NYSE: APD) withdrew its $5.9 billion offer to acquire Airgas Inc. (NYSE: ARG) after a Delaware Judge upheld Airgas' poison pill defense. Air Products had taken the case to the Delaware court so that it would be allowed to buy the company for $70 per share.
According to management of Air Products, the Board of Directors of Airgas barred its shareholders from deciding whether they wanted to accept the all cash offer of $70.00. Subsequently, Air Products decided to withdraw the offer. Airgas, on the other hand, had a different take and felt that the price offered was not sufficient to compensate the shareholders.
The Air Products and Airgas battle continues from October 2009 when Air Products made an all-stock offer at an implied value of $60 per share to acquire Airgas. After being rejected, Air Products upped its offer to a cash and stock proposal with an implied value of $62 per share in December 2009.
However, once again in February 2010, Air Products came up with an unsolicited public offer of $60 per share in cash. Airgas' board had relentlessly rejected all the offers on the premise that it highly undervalued the company and its future prospects, including its industry leading position in the packaged gas business, unrivaled platform and benefits expected from the substantial recent investments.
In December last year, Air Products increased its offer to $70 per share and called it the best and final offer. The board of Airgas rejected the offer again stating that the $70 per share offer was inadequate and that the value of Airgas should be at least $78.00 per share.
The acquisition would have helped Air Products venture into the North American gas market and strengthen its packaged gas business.
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