Lamb Weston Holdings, Inc. (LW) operates in a somewhat boring segment of the economy. Nonetheless, Lamb Weston’s frozen potatoes business is booming and it’s poised to keep humming through good economic times and bad since its offerings are staples across various cuisines and meals at restaurants, in homes, and beyond.

Lamb Weston topped our quarterly earnings and revenue estimates in early October and upped its outlook.

Yet, the stock has been hammered since the summer as Wall Street took profits after a massive year-plus run. Lamb Weston has also suffered amid a broad-based downturn across the consumer staples sector.

LW stock is now sitting at levels that might make investors want to consider diving into the frozen potato producer. Lamb Weston also recently announced plans to boost its dividend payout and stock buybacks.

An Essential in Consumer Staples

Lamb Weston has been in business for roughly 70 years and it spun off from ConAgra (CAG) in the fall of 2016. Today, LW is one of the largest suppliers of frozen potatoes in the world, selling a nearly endless array of offerings including fries, hash browns, mashed potatoes, and beyond.

Lamb Weston sells its frozen potato products to restaurants and retailers around the world. LW’s growth has been rather impressive outside of its small Covid-based downturn. Simply put, fries, potatoes, and potato-based foods are core menu offerings at restaurants across the U.S. and internationally. Lamb Weston’s products are also likely filling up freezers in homes across the globe.

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Recent Growth and Outlook

Lamb Weston grew its revenue by 31% during its fiscal 2023 (period ended in May 2023) after it posted 12% sales expansion in FY22. Most recently, its first quarter fiscal 2024 revenue soared 48% to $1.67 billion, including $375 million of incremental sales attributable to acquisitions.

Lamb Weston back in February completed its purchase of the remaining equity interests in its European joint venture with Meijer Frozen Foods. The company has also continued to benefit from the “pricing actions initiated last year as well as improved customer and product mix.”

LW’s adjusted quarterly earnings skyrocketed 109% to $1.63 per share to blow away our EPS estimate by 50%. The company boosted its FY24 guidance on October 5 on the back of its stellar quarter, coupled with what it views as solid current demand and a favorable pricing environment.

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Zacks estimates call for Lamb Weston to expand its FY24 revenue by 28% to $6.84 billion and then add another 6% to the top line next year. Meanwhile, its adjusted earnings are projected to climb by 22% during FY24 and 6% higher in FY25.

Lamb Weston’s bottom line outlook has already jumped since its recent release and its most recent/most accurate EPS estimates came in solidly above the upbeat consensus. LW’s upward earnings revisions help it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) right now. The positivity extends a wave of upward earnings revisions that began at the start of 2023.

Other Fundamentals

Lamb Weston shares have soared 190% since their November 2016 debut to destroy the S&P 500’s 110% and the Zacks Consumer Staples sector’s -5% decline. LW stock is also up 52% in the past 24 months to blow away the benchmark’s -7% decline. This strong performance includes a 24% drop since early July.

Lamb Weston currently trades roughly 44% below its average Zacks price target. LW does trade under both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages right now.

That said, buyers started to nibble at the stock recently. LW currently trades between its 50-week and 200-week moving averages, and it sits at its most oversold RSI levels since it went on its last big run.

On the valuation front, Lamb Weston is trading around its Covid-selloff lows at 14.7X forward 12-month earnings. This marks an 8% discount to its sector despite its outperformance and 35% value compared to its own median.

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Bottom Line

Lamb Weston on October 11 announced a series of near-term and long-term initiatives. Some of these efforts include a commitment to returning more cash to shareholders by targeting a dividend payout ratio of 25%-35% of net income and a newly-increased $500 million share repurchase authorization.

Lamb Weston is far from flashy, but it plays a crucial role in providing one of the most popular food items on the planet. Six of the seven brokerage recommendations Zacks has for LW are “Strong Buys,” next to one “Hold.”

— Benjamin Rains

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Source: Zacks