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Nu Skin shares plunge 14% as China crackdown hits revenues

Key Points
  • Nu Skin pre-announced disappointing second-quarter results and slashed its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, citing China's crackdown on health products. 
  • "We are adjusting our guidance for the year primarily due to a reduced revenue outlook in Mainland China following the government's 100-day campaign to review and inspect the health products and direct selling industries," said Nu Skin's CEO Ritch Wood. 
  • China represented 33% of Nu Skin's revenue in 2018.
Nu Skin products
Kim Kyung-Hoon | Reuters

Shares of Nu Skin Enterprises, which distributes health and beauty products via direct selling, tanked on Wednesday after the company said China's crackdown on health products is weighing on sales.

The company's stock fell more than 14% on Wednesday, hitting a new 52-week low.

Nu Skin pre-announced disappointing second-quarter results and slashed its full-year 2019 earnings forecast on Tuesday.

"We are adjusting our guidance for the year primarily due to a reduced revenue outlook in Mainland China following the government's 100-day campaign to review and inspect the health products and direct selling industries," said Nu Skin's CEO Ritch Wood in a press release.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government launched a 100-day campaign to crack down on illegal marketing, specifically in the sale of healthcare products. China represented 33% of Nu Skin's revenue in 2018 but the increased scrutiny on the direct selling industry resulted in restrictions on sales meetings which ultimately hurt recruitment of new customers.

"Continued restrictions on sales meetings, as well as media scrutiny, have negatively impacted consumer sentiment and contributed to this adjustment," said Wood.

For the second-quarter, Nu Skin, which is set to report earnings on August 6, said it expects revenue between $622 million and $623 million and earnings per share between 82 and 84 cents. The company previously forecast second-quarter revenue between $660 million and $680 million and earnings per share between 91 and 98 cents.

Nu Skin also slashed its 2019 full-year earnings per share outlook to between $3.20 to $3.35 and revenue between $2.48 billion to $2.52 billion. The company previously forecast earnings of $3.80 to $4.05 a share on revenue between $2.76 billion and $2.81 billion.

"We believe this indicates challenged business conditions will sustain and visibility on any improvement is extremely limited," Stifel's Mark Astrachan said in a note to clients.

DA Davidson, which downgraded the stock to neutral from buy and lowered its price target to $38 from $88 on Wednesday, said Nu Skin could not manage through the macroeconomic environment in China, "like it did successfully" in the first-quarter.

Shares of Nu Skin are down more than 40% in the last 12 months and down more than 25% year to date.