CST: 27/05/2016 07:17:24   

Andrew Peller Limited Reports Strong Results in Third Quarter of Fiscal 2016

106 Days ago

GRIMSBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb 10, 2016) -

This news release contains forward-looking information that is based upon assumptions and is subject to risks and uncertainties as indicated in the cautionary note contained elsewhere in this news release.

Andrew Peller Limited (TSX:ADW.A)(TSX:ADW.B) ("APL" or the "Company") announced strong growth and increased net earnings for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015.

NINE MONTH FISCAL 2016 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Sales up 5.3% on strong third quarter, solid organic growth and successful launch of new products;
  • Gross margin strengthens on revenue increase and cost savings;
  • EBITA up 22.1% on revenue growth and improved profitability;
  • Net earnings of $20.9 million or $1.50 per Class A share; and
  • Company named "Canadian Wine Producer of the Year" in December by the International Wine and Spirit Competition.

"Our strong market presence and well established trade channels resulted in another period of strong growth and solid performance in the third quarter of fiscal 2016," commented John Peller, President & Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Peller Limited. "We were very proud to be awarded Canadian Wine Producer of the Year in December, a testament to the dedication and skill of our winemaking teams and the quality of our products."

Sales for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015 rose 8.4% and 5.3%, respectively, to $91.8 million and $260.1 million compared to the same periods last year. The increase in revenues was due to strong organic growth driven by distribution expansion, as well as the introduction of new products and categories over the prior twelve months. The third quarter in each fiscal year is typically the strongest due to increased consumer purchasing of the Company's products during the holiday season.

Gross margin as a percentage of sales for the three months ended December 31, 2015 was 36.3% compared to 36.8% last year. For the first nine months of fiscal 2016 gross margin increased to 37.6% from 36.6% in the prior year. Gross margin in fiscal 2016 has benefited from the positive impact of the Company's cost control initiatives to improve productivity and raw material cost savings, which has largely offset the negative impact of the weak Canadian dollar compared to the prior year.

Selling and administrative expenses in fiscal 2016 were slightly higher than the prior year, however, as a percentage of sales, selling and administrative expenses improved to 23.3% of revenues for the first nine months of fiscal 2016 from 24.2% of revenues in the prior year. The Company is focused on ensuring selling and administrative expenses are tightly controlled, however it expects selling expenses will increase through the balance of the year and in fiscal 2017 to support the launch of new products and the start-up of the new Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery and Craft Distillery.

Earnings before interest, amortization, net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, other (income) expenses, and income taxes ("EBITA") were $12.4 million and $37.3 million for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015, up 12.9% and 22.1% from the same respective periods of fiscal 2015. The increase in EBITA is the result of the higher sales and increased gross margins in the current year. Interest expense decreased for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the same prior year periods due to lower interest rates and lower debt levels.

The Company recorded a net unrealized non-cash gain in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2015 related to mark-to-market adjustments on interest rate swaps and foreign exchange contracts. The Company has elected not to apply hedge accounting and accordingly the change in fair value of these financial instruments is reflected in the Company's statement of earnings each reporting period. These instruments are considered to be effective economic hedges and have enabled management to mitigate the volatility of changing foreign exchange and interest rates during the year.

Adjusted earnings, defined as net earnings not including net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, and other (income) expenses, were $6.8 million and $20.1 million for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015, respectively, compared to $5.7 million and $14.5 million in the same prior year periods.

Net earnings rose for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2015 to $7.1 million or $0.51 per Class A Share and $20.9 million or $1.50 per Class A share, respectively, compared to $5.7 million or $0.41 per Class A Share and $14.7 million or $1.06 per Class A share in the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 2015.

Strong Financial Position

Working capital at December 31, 2015 increased to $82.2 million compared to $69.0 million at March 31, 2015. Overall bank debt declined to $83.4 million as at December 31, 2015 compared to $89.0 million at March 31, 2015 due to the improved earnings performance and working capital management, and scheduled long-term debt repayments. As a result, the Company's debt to equity ratio strengthened to 0.51:1 at December 31, 2015 compared to 0.60:1 at March 31, 2015. Shareholders' equity as at December 31, 2015 was $163.7 million or $11.45 per common share, up from $147.4 million or $10.31 per common share as at March 31, 2015. The increase in shareholders' equity is due to the strong net earnings partially offset by the payment of dividends.

The Company generated cash from operating activities in the first nine months of fiscal 2016, after changes in non-cash working capital items, of $16.7 million compared to $17.6 million in the same prior year period. Higher earnings were partially offset by an increase in inventories and accounts receivable and a decrease in accounts payable and accrued liabilities due to the timing of inventory receipts and payments compared to March 31, 2015.

On August 7, 2015, the Company amended its debt facilities to extend the maturity date to July 31, 2020 and reduce the floating interest rate in relation to the one to six-month Canadian Dealer Offered Rate (CDOR) to CDOR plus an applicable margin based on the Company's leverage. For the nine months ended December 31, 2015, the applicable margin was 1.40%. On May 14, 2014, the Company entered into an interest rate swap to fix the interest rate on the amount outstanding on the term loan until April 29, 2019. On December 2, 2015, the Company entered into an interest rate swap with an effective date of April 30, 2019 and a termination date of July 31, 2020 to fix the interest rate on the term loan until maturity.

The Company is consulting with the Premier's Advisory Council established by the Government of Ontario regarding future changes to the distribution of beverage alcohol in the Province of Ontario. While no significant decisions relating to wine have been announced, the impact of any changes remains uncertain until details are known and they are implemented.

Increase in Common Share Dividends

On June 3, 2015 the Company's Board of Directors announced a 7.1% increase in common share dividends for shareholders of record on June 30, 2015 payable on July 10, 2015. The annual dividend on Class A Shares was increased to $0.450 per share from $0.420 per share, and the annual dividend on Class B Shares was increased to $0.391 per share from $0.365 per share. This was the Company's seventh dividend increase in the last nine years. The Company has consistently paid common share dividends since 1979. APL currently designates all dividends paid as "eligible dividends" for purposes of the Income Tax Act (Canada), unless indicated otherwise.

Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery and Craft Distillery

On September 4, 2015 the Company announced that it had filed planning documents for the development of the new Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery and Craft Distillery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Located on land adjacent to the Company's Trius Winery, the proposed 15,000 square foot facility will include a winery, craft distillery, barrel aging cellars, tasting rooms, retail and hospitality facilities, all surrounded by landscaping and vineyards. The Company established its strategic alliance with the Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery in 2011, and has generated significant growth in their brands to where their wines are now among the top-ten best sellers across Canada. The new winery and distillery is expected to open in the spring of 2017 and will add to the significant investments the Company has made in its Peller Estates, Trius, Thirty Bench, Sandhill and Red Rooster estate wineries.

Canadian Wine Producer of the Year

On December 3, 2015 the Company announced that it had been awarded "Canadian Wine Producer of the Year" by the International Wine and Spirit Competition ("IWSC"). Established in 1969, the IWSC was the first competition to seek out the best wines, sprits and liqueurs from around the globe. Now one of the world's foremost wine competitions, the IWSC's panel of carefully selected industry experts comprised of Masters of Wine, wine buyers, sommeliers, qualified wine educators and respected wine journalists judges wines from more than 90 countries in a rigorous seven-month process that includes a double-blind tasting as well as chemical and microbiological analysis. An IWSC award is recognized internationally as a badge of excellence and quality.

Financial Highlights (Unaudited)
(Condensed consolidated financial statements to follow)
For the three and nine months ended December 31, Three Months Nine months
(in $000 ) 2015 20141 2015 20141
Sales 91,775 $84,630 260,093 246,906
Gross margin 33,277 31,152 97,804 90,293
Gross margin (% of sales) 36.3 % 36.8 % 37.6 % 36.6 %
Selling and administrative expenses 20,832 20,128 60,502 59,744
EBITA 12,445 11,024 37,302 30,549
Net unrealized (gains) losses on derivative financial instruments (525 ) 50 (921 ) (50 )
Other (income) expenses 68 (72 ) (61 ) (186 )
Adjusted net earnings 6,807 5,666 20,131 14,539
Net earnings 7,146 5,682 20,858 14,714
Earnings per share - Class A $0.51 $0.41 $1.50 $1.06
Earnings per share - Class B $0.45 $0.36 $1.30 $0.92
Dividend per share - Class A (annual) $0.450 $0.420
Dividend per share - Class B (annual) $0.391 $0.365
Cash provided by operations 16,721 17,587
(after changes in non-cash working capital items)
Working capital 82,240 71,786
Shareholders' equity per share $11.45 10.36
1. Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.
The Company calculates adjusted net earnings as follows:
For the three and nine months ended December 31, Three Months Nine months
(in $000) 2015 20141 2015 20141
Net earnings $ 7,146 $ 5,682 $ 20,858 $ 14,714
Net unrealized (gains) losses on derivative financial instruments (525 ) 50 (921 ) (50 )
Other (income) expenses 68 (72 ) (61 ) (186 )
Income tax effect of the above 118 6 255 61
Adjusted earnings $ 6,807 $ 5,666 $ 20,131 $ 14,539
1. Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.

About Andrew Peller Limited

Andrew Peller Limited is a leading producer and marketer of quality wines in Canada. With wineries in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, the Company markets wines produced from grapes grown in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula, British Columbia's Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and from vineyards around the world. The Company's award-winning premium and ultra-premium VQA brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Hillebrand, Thirty Bench, Crush, Wayne Gretzky, Sandhill, Calona Vineyards Artist Series, and Red Rooster. Complementing these premium brands are a number of popularly priced varietal brands including Peller Estates French Cross in the East, Peller Estates Proprietors Reserve in the West, Copper Moon, XOXO, skinnygrape, Black Cellar and Verano. Hochtaler, Domaine D'Or, Schloss Laderheim, Royal, and Sommet are our key value priced brands. The Company produces wine based liqueurs and cocktails under the brand Panama Jack and wine based spritzers under the skinnygrape brand. The Company imports wines from major wine regions around the world to blend with domestic wine to craft these popularly priced and value priced brands. With a focus on serving the needs of all wine consumers, the Company produces and markets premium personal winemaking products through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Global Vintners Inc., the recognized leader in personal winemaking products. Global Vintners distributes products through over 170 Winexpert authorized retailers and more than 600 independent retailers across Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, and China. Global Vintners award-winning premium and ultra- premium winemaking brands include Selection, Vintners Reserve, Island Mist, KenRidge, Cheeky Monkey, Ultimate Estate Reserve, Traditional Vintage, and Cellar Craft. The Company owns and operates over 100 well-positioned independent retail locations in Ontario under The Wine Shop, Wine Country Vintners, and Wine Country Merchants store names. The Company also owns Andrew Peller Import Agency and The Small Winemaker's Collection Inc.; both of these wine agencies are importers of premium wines from around the world and are marketing agents for these fine wines. The Company's products are sold predominantly in Canada with a focus on export sales for its icewine and personal winemaking products. More information about the Company can be found at www.andrewpeller.com.

The Company utilizes EBITA (defined as earnings before interest, amortization, net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, other (income) expenses, and income taxes). EBITA is not a recognized measure under IFRS. Management believes that EBITA is a useful supplemental measure to net earnings, as it provides readers with an indication of cash available for investment prior to debt service, capital expenditures, and income taxes. Readers are cautioned that EBITA should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings determined in accordance with IFRS as an indicator of the Company's performance or to cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities as a measure of liquidity and cash flows. The Company also utilizes gross margin (defined as sales less cost of goods sold, excluding amortization) and adjusted earnings as defined above. The Company's method of calculating EBITA, gross margin, and adjusted earnings may differ from the methods used by other companies and, accordingly, may not be comparable to measures used by other companies.

Andrew Peller Limited common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbols ADW.A and ADW.B).

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

Certain statements in this news release may contain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including the "safe harbour provision" of the Securities Act (Ontario) with respect to Andrew Peller Limited and its subsidiaries. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the growth of the business in light of the Company's recent acquisitions; its launch of new premium wines; sales trends in foreign markets; its supply of domestically grown grapes; and current economic conditions. These statements are subject to certain risks, assumptions, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. The words "believe", "plan", "intend", "estimate", "expect", or "anticipate" and similar expressions, as well as future or conditional verbs such as "will", "should", "would", and "could" often identify forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this news release, the Company has made assumptions and applied certain factors regarding, among other things: future grape, glass bottle, and wine prices; its ability to obtain grapes, imported wine, glass, and its ability to obtain other raw materials; fluctuations in the U.S./Canadian dollar exchange rates; its ability to market products successfully to its anticipated customers; the trade balance within the domestic Canadian wine market; market trends; reliance on key personnel; protection of its intellectual property rights; the economic environment; the regulatory requirements regarding producing, marketing, advertising, and labeling its products; the regulation of liquor distribution and retailing in Ontario; and the impact of increasing competition.

These forward-looking statements are also subject to the risks and uncertainties discussed in this news release, in the "Risk Factors" section and elsewhere in the Company's MD&A and other risks detailed from time to time in the publicly filed disclosure documents of Andrew Peller Limited which are available at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions which could cause actual results to differ materially from those conclusions, forecasts, or projections anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Because of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The Company's forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this news release, and except as required by applicable law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
Unaudited
These financial statements have not been reviewed by our auditors
December 31 March 31 April 1
2015 2015 2014
Restated (1) Restated (1)
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) $ $ $
Assets
Current Assets
Accounts receivable 29,918 25,616 22,693
Inventory 122,719 117,812 120,751
Biological assets - 1,129 1,062
Prepaid expenses and other assets 2,568 2,207 1,381
Income taxes recoverable - - 240
155,205 146,764 146,127
Property, plant, and equipment 104,956 104,951 104,945
Intangibles 11,412 12,331 13,209
Goodwill 37,473 37,473 37,473
309,046 301,519 301,754
Liabilities
Current Liabilities
Bank indebtedness 30,060 32,522 54,407
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 32,680 36,712 37,371
Dividends payable 1,564 1,460 1,391
Income taxes payable 3,893 1,902 -
Current portion of derivative financial instruments 652 992 1,002
Current portion of long-term debt 4,116 4,194 7,392
72,965 77,782 101,563
Long-term debt 49,265 52,269 38,328
Long-term derivative financial instruments 1,358 1,447 268
Post-employment benefit obligations 5,328 6,165 6,132
Deferred income 202 506 910
Deferred income taxes 16,203 15,975 16,003
145,321 154,144 163,204
Shareholders' Equity
Capital stock 7,026 7,026 7,026
Retained earnings 156,699 140,349 131,524
163,725 147,375 138,550
309,046 301,519 301,754

(1) Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.

The above statements should be read in conjunction with the entire interim consolidated financial statements and notes. They will be available on the Investor Relations section of www.andrewpeller.com and at www.sedar.com.

ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings
Unaudited
These financial statements have not been reviewed by our auditors
For the three
months ended
For the three
months ended
For the nine months
ended
For the nine months
ended


(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
December 31, 2015

$
December 31, 2014
Restated (1)
$
December 31, 2015

$
December 31, 2014
Restated (1)
$
Sales 91,775 84,630 260,093 246,906
Cost of goods sold (note 4) 58,498 53,478 162,289 156,613
Amortization of plant and equipment used in production 1,506 1,468 4,525 4,359
Gross profit 31,771 29,684 93,279 85,934
Selling and administration (note 4) 20,832 20,128 60,502 59,744
Amortization of plant, equipment, and intangibles used in selling and administration 893 815 2,627 2,442
Interest 771 1,166 2,789 3,722
Operating earnings 9,275 7,575 27,361 20,026
Net unrealized (gains) losses on derivative financial instruments (525 ) 50 (921 ) (50 )
Other expenses (income) 68 (72 ) (61 ) (186 )
Earnings before income taxes 9,732 7,597 28,343 20,262
Provision for (recovery of) income taxes
Current 2,345 1,964 7,322 5,035
Deferred 241 (49 ) 163 513
2,586 1,915 7,485 5,548
Net earnings for the period 7,146 5,682 20,858 14,714
Net earnings per share
Basic and diluted
Class A shares 0.51 0.41 1.50 1.06
Class B shares 0.45 0.36 1.30 0.92

(1) Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.

The above statements should be read in conjunction with the entire interim consolidated financial statements and notes. They will be available on the Investor Relations section of www.andrewpeller.com and at www.sedar.com.

ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
Unaudited
These financial statements have not been reviewed by our auditors
For the three
months ended
For the three
months ended
For the nine months
ended
For the nine months
ended


(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
December 31, 2015

$
December 31, 2014
Restated (1)
$
December 31, 2015

$
December 31, 2014
Restated (1)
$
Net earnings for the period 7,146 5,682 20,858 14,714
Items that are never reclassified to net earnings
Net actuarial (losses) gains on post-employment benefit plans (447 ) (89 ) 249 (1,033 )
Deferred income tax recovery (provision) 116 23 (65 ) 268
Other comprehensive (loss) income for the period (331 ) (66 ) 184 (765 )
Net comprehensive income for the period 6,815 5,616 21,042 13,949

(1) Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.

The above statements should be read in conjunction with the entire interim consolidated financial statements and notes. They will be available on the Investor Relations section of www.andrewpeller.com and at www.sedar.com.

ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Unaudited
These financial statements have not been reviewed by our auditors




(in thousands of Canadian dollars)
For the nine months
ended

December 31, 2015
$
For the nine months
ended
December 31, 2014
Restated (1)
$
Cash provided by (used in)
Operating activities
Net earnings for the period 20,858 14,714
Adjustments for:
Loss on disposal of property and equipment 465 284
Amortization of plant, equipment, and intangible assets 7,152 6,801
Interest expense 2,789 3,722
Provision for income taxes 7,485 5,548
Post-employment benefits (588 ) (602 )
Deferred income (304 ) (304 )
Net unrealized gains on derivative financial instruments (921 ) (50 )
Interest paid (2,785 ) (3,548 )
Income taxes paid (5,331 ) (2,479 )
28,820 24,086
Changes in non-cash working capital items related to operations (note 5) (12,099 ) (6,499 )
16,721 17,587
Investing activities
Proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment 20 11
Purchase of property, plant and equipment (6,517 ) (4,408 )
Purchase of intangibles - (369 )
(6,497 ) (4,766 )
Financing activities
Decrease in bank indebtedness (2,462 ) (20,163 )
Issuance of long-term debt - 15,020
Repayment of long-term debt (3,078 ) (2,750 )
Deferred financing costs (96 ) (617 )
Dividends paid (4,588 ) (4,311 )
(10,224 ) (12,821 )
Increase (decrease) in cash during the period - -
Cash, beginning of period - -
Cash, end of period - -

(1) Restated to reflect the early adoption of the amendments to IAS 16 and IAS 41.

The above statements should be read in conjunction with the entire interim consolidated financial statements and notes. They will be available on the Investor Relations section of www.andrewpeller.com and at www.sedar.com.

Mr. Brian Athaide
CFO and EVP Human Resources
(905) 643-4131 Ext. 2210
brian.athaide@andrewpeller.com