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The Story Behind Sodastream International Ltd (SODA)’s Recent Volatility

Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA)Shares of Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) have shown significant volatility in the past month after surging to a 52-week high and then falling over 20% to just below $60 per share. It isn’t surprising at all that a high-growth small-cap stock would provide investors with this type of roller coaster ride; what is surprising is that the spike and then subsequent fall in share price wasn’t actually driven by real news. Speculation that the company was about to be acquired fueled the rise in share price, while the evaporation of acquisition rumors and a recent downgrade from Oppenheimer that cites valuation and expectations for “choppy” second half results headline the recent decline.

The question for investors is, has the big picture really changed?

The investment thesis

As outlined in a series of articles that chronicles each $10 move in Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA)’s share price over the past year as it has risen to $40, $50, $60, $70, and now back to $60 per share, the investment thesis is centered around huge growth potential. The company’s management expects to grow revenue to $1 billion by 2016. On the bottom line, analysts expect that SodaStream can continue to grow earnings by 25% per year over the next five years.

The growth drivers that can make this happen have not changed; increased penetration in the United States, expansion in emerging markets, new innovations in soda makers and unique products like SodaCaps, and the creation of new partnerships continue to be at the heart of the company’s growth plan and remain completely unchanged with one notable exception.

Since the previous article in this series, Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) has further enhanced its third party partnerships with the announcement of a new partnership with Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR). Through its new relationship with Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR)’s KitchenAid brand, SodaStream has added an ally that further solidifies both the concept of home soda carbonation and the Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) platform. In a “razor and blade” business model like SodaStream’s, finding ways to partner with household names like Whirlpool’s KitchenAid and avert the development of a competing platform are critical to continuing revenue growth from syrups and gas “carbonator” refills. Steve Symington recently outlined how this agreement could be SodaStream’s biggest deal yet.

The noise regarding a possible acquisition and the “potential” for a “choppy” second half had no real bearing on the investment thesis for the company. Investors should always be cautioned on purchasing shares solely in anticipation of a presently unannounced acquisition.

The valuation remains attractive

Even at its 52-week high of $77.80, shares of Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA) were not unreasonably valued considering the company’s growth prospects. As a result of the recent decline in share price, SodaStream’s valuation looks very similar to how it did back in May, as noted below:

Aug 23, 2012 Feb 20, 2013 May 10, 2013 Jun 4, 2013 Jul 14, 2013
CAPS rating (out of 5 stars) 2 stars 2 stars 3 stars 3 stars 3 stars
Share price $39.00 $49.10 $58.79 $70.35 $59.51
Market capitalization (in millions) $791 $1,000 $1,218 $1,431 $1,233
TTM revenues (in millions) $345 $436 $466 $466 $466
TTM price to sales ratio 2.28 2.29 2.61 3.06 2.77
TTM operating margin 10.40% 10.10% 10.20% 10.20% 10.20%
TTM price to earnings ratio 23.74 22.80 26.58 32.27 27.30
Forward price to earnings ratio 13.88 18.81 18.37 21.85 18.25
PEG ratio (per Yahoo! Finance) 0.79 0.75 0.90 1.12 0.89
Cash on balance sheet (in millions) $57 $63 $50 $50 $50
Debt on balance sheet (in millions) $0 $0 $8 $8 $8

With no negative changes to the big picture for Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA), this improved valuation presents an excellent value point to acquire shares. It is a bit confusing and short-sighted that Oppenheimer would use valuation as a reason for a downgrade of a company with a PEG below 1.

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