It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Cabot (CBT - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 8.4% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.
Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Cabot due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.
Cabot’s Earnings and Sales Fall Short of Estimates in Q4
Cabot reported profits of $33 million or 55 cents per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019 (ended Sep 30, 2019), down from $94 million or $1.51 per share in the year-ago quarter.
Barring one-time items, adjusted earnings per share were $1.05, up from $1.00 in the year-ago quarter. However, earnings per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.10.
Net sales fell around 2.7% year over year to $827 million in the quarter. It lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $847.8 million.
Growth in new business sales, strong commercial execution and cost-reduction actions helped the company to reduce the impact of continued weakness in the China business and global automobile production.
Reinforcement Materials’ sales fell around 3.2% year over year to $452 million in the fiscal fourth quarter. Earnings before Interest and Tax (EBIT) in the segment were $71 million, up around 10.9% year over year. The rise resulted from increased volume, improved product and pricing mix, and reduced costs.
Sales in the Performance Chemicals unit went up 0.8% year over year to $259 million in the quarter. EBIT increased 2.5% year over year to $41 million on higher volume.
Sales in the Purification Solutions declined 6.9% year over year to $68 million in the quarter. EBIT increased $4 million year over year on increased margins from improved product and pricing mix as well as reduced costs.
Cabot had cash and cash equivalents of $169 million at the end of fiscal 2019, down around 3.43% year over year. The company’s long-term debt rose almost 42.4% year over year to $1,024 million.
Cash flows from operating activities were $195 million in the reported quarter. Capital expenditure was $69 million.
Cabot anticipates first-quarter fiscal 2020 to be challenging as customers actively manage year-end inventory levels. Gains from the new fumed silica plant in China and Reinforcement Materials' customer agreements are likely to aid the company in fiscal 2020.
Due to the International Marine Organization’s (IMO) new regulation, which is affecting both Reinforcement Materials and Performance Chemicals units, the company will continue to witness fluctuations in feedstock costs.
It expects the Purification Solutions segment to witness year-over-year growth on continued benefits from its transformation plan.
In fiscal 2020, Cabot’s Specialty Fluids business, which was divested in fiscal 2019, will not contribute to EBIT. The company expects adjusted earnings per share of $3.60-$4.10 for fiscal 2020.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.