Sunday, June 21, 2015

Seeking Alpha: S & W Seed Has A Huge Opportunity, But The Ability To Execute Is The Key Risk Factor

I suppose it would be easy to blame S & W Seed's (NASDAQ:SANW) ongoing share price weakness on the overall malaise in the ag sector. The shares are down another 15% or so from when I last wrote about the company, but at their worst they were down closer to 50%. That's not just "well, it's a tough market"; S & W has made more than a few mistakes, leaving the Street to wonder if management can really execute on what seems like a robust opportunity in the alfalfa market.

The acquisition of DuPont's (NYSE:DD) alfalfa business should mark a major point of transition for the business, as it brings immediate credibility and scale to the company in the dormant alfalfa variety market (80% or so of the U.S. alfalfa market and 50% of the world market). What's more, the company's commitment to improved varieties of alfalfa seed (GM and others) should lead to more pricing power. But it all comes back again to the question of execution.

I believe the market opportunity can support high teens annualized revenue growth and operating margins in the mid to high teens over the long term, but that's a lot of benefit of the doubt for a company that thus far hasn't earned it. That's how it is with emerging companies, though - if you want to get in early and get the really big long-term gains, you have to accept an elevated risk; by the time the question of management's ability to execute (and/or whether the alfalfa market can be what I believe it can be) is answered, the opportunity to get in at a low price will be gone.

Read more here:
S & W Seed Has A Huge Opportunity, But The Ability To Execute Is The Key Risk Factor

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