By Leon Kaye / Source: TriplePundit


Chipotle proves a company can be responsible AND successful

Usually earnings calls are rather dry and pallid unless you are a stockholder excited about a company’s remarkable financial performance — or livid over a steep drop in stock price.

The investor relations officer will start by reading a safe harbor statement, reminding listeners that the company’s liability is limited should future results prove different from what is stated in the one-hour or so discussion. The chief financial officer may talk about additional details such as non-GAAP financial measures and details over adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash.

But Tuesday’s by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. was much more than a laundry list of financial accomplishments: It stood out as a remarkable business case for the sourcing of sustainable meat and sticking to a business’s principles.

If you were smarter than me and bought stock five or so years ago, you are laughing. The stock yesterday was listed at $676 a share — off a bit from its 52-week high of $727, but it has still been performing at an upward trajectory for almost 10 years. The company is successful: Fourth-quarter earnings were up 26.7 percent to $1.07, and 60 new restaurants helped boost sales that were already up 16.1 percent in comparable stores. Diluted earnings per share were at $3.34, up well over 50 percent. And 2014 was overall a banner year, with revenues up 27.8 percent to $4.11 billion, impressive considering many fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s are languishing.

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