Wall Street starts Birkenstock with top rating, flags limited upside

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[1/2]A shopper walks past a Birkenstock shoe store in London, Britain, October 11, 2023. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights

Nov 6 (Reuters) - Brokerages including J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs have started coverage on Birkenstock (BIRK.N), with most of them assigning their top ratings as they bank on brand loyalty and easing supply chain issues at the German luxury sandal maker.

Birkenstock made its New York Stock Exchange debut last month at $41, below its initial public offering price. The company priced its IPO at $46 per share, in the middle of its indicated price range.

The IPO had nearly two dozen underwriters, all of whom had to wait until this weekend to start coverage as required by industry practice.

Jefferies is among the most bullish, expecting the stock to end next year at $50, which represents an over 21% jump from current levels.

"Given its historic brand and loyal customer base, we believe the company is well-positioned to drive strong top-line growth, maintain its attractive margin profile, and expand its addressable market," said analysts at Jefferies.

Goldman Sachs sees an opportunity for market share gains, supported by the easing of supply constraints, as well as Birkenstock's pricing ability.

J.P. Morgan said it expects the management's mid-to-high teens annual revenue growth forecast as a "prudent" baseline.

But not all analysts are as optimistic. Morgan Stanley is skeptical of any upside, assigning a price target of $41 and an "equal-weight" rating, as it sees most catalysts as already priced in. HSBC analysts, meanwhile, expect recent production investments to weigh on gross margin.

Price targets from other brokerages ranged between $42 and $48.5.

Birkenstock shares fell in the days after its debut on Oct. 11, dropping as low as $35.83, following in the footsteps of marquee names such as chip designer Arm Holdings , grocery delivery app Instacart (CART.O), and marketing automation firm Klaviyo (KVYO.N), whose lackluster share moves post-debut have doused hopes for an IPO market resurgence.

Birkenstock has since recovered, but barely breached its debut open price, closing on Friday at $41.16.

Reporting by Reshma Rockie George and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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