Tuesday, March 06, 2012

LTS Nutraceuticals (LTSN) Not My Cup Of Tea

My mailbox is getting full again.  Sometimes it's full of invitations to cultural events in San Francisco or local business conferences.  Sometimes it's full of informative periodicals that keep me up to date on my favorite sectors and technologies.  Sometimes it's even full of baloney.  I got a free mailer recently from none other than my favorite whipping post, Trinity Investment Research.  Take a gander back at many of my postings for the past few months and you'll see my reflections on the stocks they've touted.  I just couldn't wait to digest their latest missive.

This latest mailer was pumping LTS Nutraceuticals (LTSN).  I'm wondering just what a "nutraceutical" is supposed to do.  It sounds like something you eat that might cure an ailment.  Man, it sure would be great to bite into a granola bar that cures cancer.  Maybe this company makes some kind of "superfood" like an acai/pomegranate smoothie.  I'm getting hungry already.

Trinity's brochure didn't describe this company's products very well.  I had to dig through LTSN's website to discover that it sells vitamins and dietary supplements though network marketing.  The website also touts the "entrepreneurial opportunity" of selling this stuff.  That almost sounds like Herbalife, which already has a pretty good lock on this kind of distribution channel.  You can probably find some former Herbalife distributors in line at your local unemployment office.  Ask them just how much success they had with creating personal distribution channels that compete directly with retail grocery stores and pharmacies.

Enough with the conjecture and comparison.  Look at LTSN's facts.  They've been around since 2010 with net losses, negative retained earnings, and negative free cash flow.  Yeah, this one meets all of Trinity Investment Research's criteria alright but in fairness they haven't been around long enough to lose as much money as some of Trinity's other picks.  The company's Form 8-K disclosures in the past few months discuss some acquisitions of product lines, but frankly the terms of those acquisitions look to be very disadvantageous to LTSN shareholders.  There is also little to differentiate the company's products (like some calcium-enriching supplement) from mundane solutions (like good old-fashioned Pasteurized milk).

This is one investment I just can't stomach.  Thanks again, Trinity Investment Research, for giving me some amusement.  Your so-called "breakaway stocks" make me want to break out an indigestion remedy.  Hey, maybe that's something LTSN could distribute just for Trinity's newsletter subscribers.

Full disclosure:  No position in LTSN at this time.