Andrew Peller Limited

TSX : ADW.A
TSX : ADW.B


Andrew Peller Limited

February 12, 2014 16:26 ET

Andrew Peller Limited Reports Solid Results in Third Quarter Fiscal 2014

GRIMSBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 12, 2014) -

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 today its results for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2013.

FISCAL 2014 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Continued sales growth across majority of trade channels primarily in our premium wine portfolio
  • Gross margins impacted by intense price competition and increased raw material costs
  • Selling and administrative expenses decrease due to restructuring initiative that began in Q4 of fiscal 2013
  • High quality vintage 2013 grape crop largest in Company's history
  • Cash flow from operating activities rises to $19.1 million through first nine months of year
  • 11% increase in common share dividends announced in June 2013

"We were pleased with our performance through the busy holiday season as we generated solid sales growth in the majority of our established trade channels. We look for this growth to continue through the balance of the year," commented John Peller, President and CEO. "We are also seeing the benefits of a number of programs implemented to reduce costs and enhance efficiencies which we expect to result in increased profitability in the coming years."

Sales for the three months ended December 31, 2013 rose 2.6% to $81.9 million. The third quarter is historically the strongest of the year due to increased consumer purchases of the Company's products during the holiday season. For the first nine months of fiscal 2014 sales increased 2.8% to $231.8 million.

Gross margin was 36.0% of sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2014 compared to 38.6% in the same period last year. For the nine months ended December 31, 2013 gross margin was 36.8% of sales compared to 38.6% in the same prior year period. Gross margins in fiscal 2014 have been affected by continued price competition in certain Western Canadian markets, higher costs for wine and juice purchased on international markets, and increased costs to expedite production to meet higher than anticipated demand for certain products during the third quarter. The decrease in gross margin was partially offset by successful cost control initiatives to reduce distribution, operating, and packaging expenses. A special levy implemented by the Ontario government on July 1, 2010 served to reduce sales and gross margin by approximately $1.5 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2013.

Selling and administrative expenses declined in the first nine months of fiscal 2014 due to the ongoing restructuring that began in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 in the Company's personal winemaking division. As a percentage of sales, selling and administrative expenses for the nine months ended December 31, 2013 improved to 23.9% from 25.1% last year.

Earnings before interest, amortization, unrealized derivative gains (losses), other expenses, and income taxes ("EBITA") were $11.4 million and $30.1 million for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2013 compared to $11.9 million and $30.4 million for the same periods in fiscal 2013.

Interest expense declined in fiscal 2014 due to lower debt levels resulting from improved management of working capital.

Through the first nine months of fiscal 2014 the Company incurred restructuring charges of $0.4 million in the personal winemaking division related to ongoing cost savings initiatives to outsource distribution and reduce marketing and administrative expenses.

The Company recorded a non-cash gain in the first nine months of fiscal 2014 related to mark-to-market adjustments on an interest rate swap and foreign exchange contracts aggregating approximately $0.5 million compared to a non-cash gain of $1.1 million in the prior year. The Company has elected not to apply hedge accounting and accordingly these financial instruments are reflected in the Company's financial statements at fair value each reporting period. These instruments are considered to be effective economic hedges and have enabled management to mitigate the volatility of changing costs and interest rates during the year.

Other expenses in fiscal 2014 relate primarily to pension liabilities incurred for prior service that were negotiated as part of the new collective agreement with the BC labour union signed in June 2013, partially offset by income from the expropriation of the Company's Port Moody facility which was closed effective December 31, 2005. The property is temporarily being used as a staging area for the construction of a rapid transit project. Payments amounting to $2.0 million for the use of the property were received in advance and were recorded as deferred income and are being recognized as other income over the five-year term of the expropriation, which began on July 1, 2012.

Adjusted net earnings, defined as net earnings not including restructuring charges, unrealized losses and gains on derivative financial instruments and other expenses or income, were $14.7 million for the nine months ended December 31, 2013 compared to $14.5 million in the prior year.

Net earnings for the three and nine months ended December 31, 2013 were $6.0 million or $0.43 per Class A Share and $14.6 million or $1.05 per Class A Share compared to $6.6 million or $0.47 per Class A Share and $15.5 million or $1.11 per Class A Share, respectively, for the comparable prior year periods. The reduction in net earnings in fiscal 2014 is primarily due to the decrease in gross margins, one-time restructuring charges, and the change in non-cash gains on derivative financial instruments and other income and expenses between the two fiscal years.

Strong Financial Position

Working capital at December 31, 2013 increased to $48.5 million compared to $41.7 million at March 31, 2013. Higher inventories and a decrease in bank indebtedness were partially offset by an increase in income taxes payable. The Company's debt to equity ratio was 0.71:1 at December 31, 2013 compared to 0.83:1 at March 31, 2013. Shareholders' equity as at December 31, 2013 was $141.5 million or $9.89 per common share compared to $129.7 million or $9.07 per common share as at March 31, 2013. The increase in shareholders' equity is due to solid net earnings for the year partially offset by the payment of dividends.

In the first nine months of fiscal 2014 the Company generated cash from operating activities, after changes in non- cash working capital items, of $19.1 million compared to $6.7 million in the prior year. Cash flow from operating activities increased due to strong earnings performance, lower income tax installments, and a smaller increase in non- cash working capital compared to the prior year.

Financial Highlights (Unaudited)
(Condensed consolidated financial statements to follow)
For the three and nine months ended December 31, Three Months Nine months
(in $000) 2013 2012(1) 2013 2012(1)
Sales 81,854 79,813 231,798 225,557
Gross margin 29,475 30,801 85,376 87,108
Gross margin (% of sales) 36.0 % 38.6 % 36.8 % 38.6 %
Selling and administrative expenses 18,097 18,942 55,302 56,697
EBITA 11,378 11,859 30,074 30,411
Restructuring charge 254 - 353 -
Unrealized gains on financial instruments (252 ) (683 ) (519 ) (1,079 )
Other (income) expenses (22 ) 214 242 (213 )
Net earnings 5,967 6,572 14,599 15,454
Earnings per share - Class A $ 0.43 $ 0.47 $ 1.05 $ 1.11
Earnings per share - Class B $ 0.37 $ 0.41 $ 0.91 $ 0.97
Dividend per share - Class A (annual) $ 0.400 $ 0.360
Dividend per share - Class B (annual) $ 0.348 $ 0.314
Cash provided by operations (after changes in non-cash working capital items) 19,148 6,655
Working capital 48,492 45,000
Shareholders' equity per share $ 9.89 $ 9.18
(1) Amounts for the period ended December 31, 2012 were restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19. Please refer to Note 2 in the Notes to the Financial Statements for the period.

The Company calculates adjusted earnings as follows:

For the three and nine months ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 Three Months Nine months
(in $000) 2013 2012(1) 2013 2012(1)
Net earnings 5,967 6,572 14,599 15,454
Restructuring costs 254 - 353 -
Net unrealized gains on derivatives (252 ) (683 ) (519 ) (1,079 )
Other expenses (income) (22 ) 214 242 (213 )
Income tax effect of the above 5 122 (20 ) 336
Adjusted earnings 5,952 6,225 14,655 14,498
(1) Amounts for the period ended December 31, 2012 were restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19. Please refer to Note 2 in the Notes to the Financial Statements for the period.

About Andrew Peller Ltd.

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 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 250 Winexpert and Wine Kitz authorized retailers and franchisees 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 more 102 well-positioned independent retail locations in Ontario under The Wine Shop and Wine Country Vintners store names. The Company also owns Grady Wine Marketing Inc. based in Vancouver and The Small Winemaker's Collection Inc. based in Ontario; both of these wine agencies are importers of premium wines from around the world and are marketing agents for these fine wines. The Company has entered into an agreement to produce and market the Wayne Gretzky brands across Canada. The Company's products are sold predominantly in Canada with a focus on export sales for its icewine and personal winemaking products.

The Company utilizes EBITA (defined as earnings before interest, amortization, unrealized derivative (gain) loss, other 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
2013 2013 2012
Restated(1) Restated(1)
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) $ $ $
Assets
Current Assets
Accounts receivable 24,383 25,484 24,937
Inventory 122,330 115,931 110,256
Current portion of biological assets - 938 881
Prepaid expenses and other assets 1,555 1,573 1,338
Income taxes recoverable - 268 -
148,268 144,194 137,412
Property, plant, and equipment 89,330 88,841 84,490
Biological assets 13,826 13,405 12,556
Intangibles 13,305 12,606 13,621
Goodwill 37,473 37,473 37,473
302,202 296,519 285,552
Liabilities
Current Liabilities
Bank indebtedness 53,462 60,099 57,495
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 34,064 33,616 37,118
Dividends payable 1,391 1,252 1,252
Income taxes payable 2,472 - 40
Current portion of derivative financial instruments 1,002 1,107 1,272
Current portion of long-term debt 7,385 6,450 5,366
99,776 102,524 102,543
Long-term debt 39,921 41,473 41,456
Long-term derivative financial instruments 508 1,215 1,943
Post-employment benefit obligations 4,248 6,411 6,665
Deferred income 1,010 1,314 -
Deferred income taxes 15,263 13,881 12,038
160,726 166,818 164,645
Shareholders' Equity
Capital stock 7,026 7,026 7,026
Retained earnings 134,450 122,675 113,881
141,476 129,701 120,907
302,202 296,519 285,552
Commitments
(1) Restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19.

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 or 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, 2013
$
December 31, 2012
Restated(1)
$
December 31, 2013
$
December 31, 2012
Restated(1)
$
Sales 81,854 79,813 231,798 225,557
Cost of goods sold 52,379 49,012 146,422 138,449
Amortization of plant and equipment used in production 1,205 1,180 3,600 3,527
Gross profit 28,270 29,621 81,776 83,581
Selling and administration 18,097 18,942 55,302 56,697
Amortization of plant, equipment, and intangibles used in selling and administration 732 646 2,367 2,426
Interest 1,241 1,359 3,834 4,079
Restructuring costs 254 - 353 -
Operating earnings 7,946 8,674 19,920 20,379
Net unrealized gains on derivative financial instruments (252 ) (683 ) (519 ) (1,079 )
Other expeses (income) (22 ) 214 242 (213 )
Earnings before income taxes 8,220 9,143 20,197 21,671
Provision for income taxes
Current 1,926 2,140 4,690 5,089
Deferred 327 431 908 1,128
2,253 2,571 5,598 6,217
Net earnings for the period 5,967 6,572 14,599 15,454
Net earnings per share
Basic and diluted
Class A shares 0.43 0.47 1.05 1.11
Class B shares 0.37 0.41 0.91 0.97
(1) Restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19.

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 or 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,
2013
$
December 31,
2012
Restated(1)
$
December 31,
2013
$
December 31,
2012
Restated(1)
$
Net earnings for the period 5,967 6,572 14,599 15,454
Items that are never reclassified to net income
Net actuarial gains (losses) on post-employment benefit plans 499 (71 ) 1,822 (1,755 )
Deferred income tax (provision) recovery (130 ) 17 (474 ) 454
Other comprehensive income (loss) for the period 369 (54 ) 1,348 (1,301 )
Net comprehensive income for the period 6,336 6,518 15,947 14,153
(1) Restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19.

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 or at www.sedar.com.

ANDREW PELLER LIMITED
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Unaudited
These financial statements have not been reviewed by our auditors
For the nine
months ended
For the nine
months ended
December 31, 2013 December 31, 2012
Restated(1)
(in thousands of Canadian dollars) $ $
Cash provided by (used in)
Operating activities
Net earnings for the period 14,599 15,454
Adjustments for:
Loss (gain) on disposal of property and equipment 63 (547 )
Amortization of plant, equipment, and intangibles 5,967 5,953
Interest expense 3,834 4,079
Provision for income taxes 5,598 6,217
Revaluation of biological assets 99 295
Post-employment benefits (341 ) (727 )
Deferred income (304 ) 1,819
Net unrealized gain on derivative financial instruments (519 ) (1,079 )
Interest paid (3,638 ) (3,853 )
Income taxes paid (1,950 ) (3,201 )
23,408 24,410
Changes in non-cash working capital items related to operations (note 5) (4,260 ) (17,755 )
19,148 6,655
Investing activities
Proceeds from disposal of property and equipment 18 514
Purchase of property, equipment, and biological assets (6,202 ) (11,266 )
Purchase of intangibles (1,512 ) -
Proceeds from disposal of a business - 1,000
(7,696 ) (9,752 )
Financing activities
Decrease in bank indebtedness (6,637 ) 4,789
Issuance of long-term debt 4,086 6,500
Repayment of long-term debt (4,868 ) (4,280 )
Deferred financing costs - (155 )
Dividends paid (4,033 ) (3,757 )
(11,452 ) 3,097
Increase (decrease) in cash during the period - -
Cash, beginning of period - -
Cash, end of period - -
(1) Restated to reflect the adoption of the amendments to IAS 19.

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 or at www.sedar.com.

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