Charles River Labs brushes aside PETA proposal

The Boston Business Journal is reporting that shareholders of Wilmington-based Charles River Laboratories have soundly rejected a proposal submitted by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (better known as PETA) to stop doing business  with monkey suppliers that have been accused of violating animal-welfare laws.

Oddly enough, PETA is itself a shareholder of Charles River Labs. There’s your first clue. Public companies rarely seem to favor proposals that come directly from rank-and-file shareholders, and often have the clout to thwart them from becoming reality. Said proposals have a tendency to potentially threaten sales/profits, and so it is no surprise that management takes a dim view of the.  

Anyway, the report says the proposal came Tuesday, during the company’s annual meeting. The Journal reported that among nearly 40 million votes cast at that time, 95 percent of shareholders rejected the proposal. About 1 million — or 2.5 percent — voted for it, while a similar number abstained.

Charles River officials, who didn’t respond to the Journal’s request for comment, seemed to suggest the proposal was a moot point. The company, which breeds its own animals for research, had asked shareholders to vote against the proposal, arguing that it already requires its vendors to meet the standards of animal-welfare laws.

The company has seen things go its way thus far in 2017. Its stock is up nearly 16 percent, and its first-quarter revenues ($445.8 million) and net income ($1.29 per share, after one-time items are excluded) each beat analyst expectations.

Charles River forecasts full-year earnings of between $5 per share and $5.15 per share. At Friday’s closing price of $88.28, that’s more than 17 times forward earnings.

That’s a bit rich for me.