LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. — The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. is inching closer to its target of $5 billion in annual net sales in 2020. The distributor of Greek Gods yogurt and Earth’s Best baby food achieved a record $2.7 billion in fiscal 2015. Next up — $3.5 billion in 2018.
In the short term, company executives said they are optimistic about Hain Celestial’s performance in the year ahead.
For the fiscal year ended June 30, Hain Celestial’s net income was $167,896,000, equal to $1.65 per share on the common stock, up 21% from $139,851,000, or $1.43 per share, for fiscal 2014. Net sales for the year advanced 25% to a record $2,688,515,000, which compared with sales of $2,153,611,000 for the year before. Excluding the impact of a major recall, sales increased 26% over the previous year.
|Irwin Simon, founder, president and c.e.o. of Hain Celestial.|
“These successful results were achieved despite the largest toughest voluntary recall in our company’s history, and along with that, a fire that limited our capacity for one of our core brands, Tilda,” said Irwin Simon, founder, president and chief executive officer, during an Aug. 18 earnings call with financial analysts.
Net income for the fourth quarter was $71,072,000, or 69c per share, up 100% from $35,724,000, or 36c per share, for the prior-year period. Net sales for the quarter increased 20% to a record $698,136,000 from $583,828,000 the year before.
Looking ahead to 2016, the company expects to achieve total net sales of $2.97 billion to $3.11 billion, an increase of approximately 10% to 15% over fiscal 2015, and earnings of $2.11 to $2.26 per diluted share, an increase of 12% to 20% over fiscal 2015.
“Why am I so optimistic about 2016?” Mr. Simon said. “Our geographic footprint will get bigger. Today, international sales are 40% with the U.S. at 60%, and I’d like to see it 45/55 or even 50/50. We have a great position in categories like snacks, antibiotic-free and organic protein, which are growing double digits.”
Distribution gains and more than 100 new product launches drove record net sales of $1,367,388,000 for Hain Celestial US during the year, up nearly 7% from the segment’s year-ago results. Citing Nielsen numbers, the company said consumption of its top 200 s.k.u.s in the United States was up 11% with distribution up 5% for the year. In the third quarter, the company achieved more than 100,000 new points of distribution at key retailers across the country, said John Carroll, executive vice-president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial North America.
“Our distribution momentum has continued, as we gained additional new authorizations in (the fourth quarter) at key accounts, such as Whole Foods, Meijer, Publix, Sprouts and Wal-Mart and Target, and… Panera Bread just authorized two BluePrint s.k.u.s (stock-keeping units) in all U.S. locations, and we’ll begin shipping this week,” Mr. Carroll said.
Another reason Hain executives are optimistic about the year ahead is the return of MaraNatha products to shelves. MaraNatha and Hain’s private label nut butter products were recalled in August 2014 following a Salmonella scare, resulting in $50 million in lost sales.
“We’ve regained 100%-plus of our roasted, no-stir, and raw almond butter distribution,” Mr. Carroll said. “We’re also executing a MaraNatha brand makeover, featuring new interruptive packaging graphics, with a clear wrap around label, to showcase our high-quality product, and we’re aggressively investing in digital and in-store marketing to drive retrial of MaraNatha, which is still, by the way, the leading brand of almond butter in the category.”
Finally, the company is confident in forthcoming innovation, which includes Greek Gods Chia Greek yogurt, Terra fruit and veggie nut bars, Celestial Seasonings ready-to-drink and aseptic chai tea lattes and Rudi’s organic pumpkin bread.
“I’m excited about 2016 because of our products, our categories, our customers and last but not least, just the demand for natural healthy products,” Mr. Simon said.