Central Garden & Pet Company Announces Record Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Results
Central Garden & Pet Company (“Central”), a market leader in the Garden and Pet industries, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 ended September 25, 2021.
“Central delivered another year of record results, thanks to the continued strength of the Garden and Pet industries and our teams’ relentless execution as they adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the pandemic. We made meaningful progress against our Central to Home strategy, investing in capabilities such as consumer insights, digital marketing and innovation, to drive our organic growth. Moreover, we added four acquisitions to the Central portfolio,” said Tim Cofer, CEO of Central Garden & Pet. “As we look to fiscal 2022, we expect to face continued inflationary pressures and supply chain disruption. However, I am confident in the dedication of our people and their ability to perform in this challenging environment.”
Fiscal 2021 Results
Net sales of $3.3 billion increased 23% from $2.7 billion in the prior year, driven by the Company’s four recent acquisitions, Hopewell Nursery, Green Garden, DoMyOwn and D&D, as well as organic growth in both the Garden and Pet segments. Organic net sales increased 13%, with the most significant contributions coming from dog treats and chews, distribution, wild bird feed, small animal supplies and outdoor cushions.
Net sales for the Pet segment for fiscal 2021 increased 13% to $1.9 billion compared to $1.7 billion a year ago, and net sales for the Garden segment increased 38% to $1.4 billion compared to $1.0 billion in the prior year.
Despite significant inflationary headwinds and the impact of inventory-related purchase accounting, gross margin was largely in line with the prior year, decreasing 20 basis points to 29.4%. The Company was able to mostly offset these headwinds through a combination of pricing actions and gross productivity efforts as well as favorable product mix.
Operating income of $254 million increased 29% from $198 million in fiscal 2020. Operating margin increased 40 basis points to 7.7% compared to 7.3% a year ago, due to improved overhead leverage, despite rising logistics costs and heightened investment spending.
Other expense was $1.5 million compared to $4.3 million in the prior year. The difference was due primarily to impairment in fiscal 2020 on two minority investments impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Net interest expense was $58 million compared to $40 million in the prior year. The increase was mainly due to incremental interest expense related to recognizing the impacts of the call premium, unamortized debt issuance cost and double interest on the debt retired during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 as well as higher debt outstanding.
Net income was $152 million, an increase of 26% compared to $121 million a year ago. Diluted earnings per share grew 25% to $2.75 compared to $2.20 in the prior year driven by strong operating results partially offset by a 1% increase in the number of shares outstanding and an increase in the Company’s income tax rate, as compared to the prior year.
Adjusted EBITDA was $329 million, an increase of 30% compared to fiscal 2020.
The effective tax rate for the fiscal year was 21.6% compared to 21.0% in the prior year.
Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results
Net sales increased 9% to $739 million compared to $676 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, driven by the Company’s four recent acquisitions, partially offset by an organic sales decline of 1%. The organic sales decline was principally due to unprecedented growth in net sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. On a two-year compound annualized growth rate basis, organic sales increased 11% in the fourth quarter.
Gross margin was largely in line with the prior year quarter, decreasing 20 basis points to 28.8%. The Company was able to mostly offset substantial inflationary cost pressure through a combination of aggressive pricing actions and gross productivity efforts as well as favorable product mix.
Operating income was $10 million compared to $25 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Operating margin was 1.3%, a decrease of 240 basis points compared to 3.7% in the prior year quarter, primarily driven by increasing costs for key commodities, freight and labor as well as heightened strategic investment spending, partially offset by pricing actions and favorable product mix as well as improved overhead leverage.
Other expense was $1.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, compared to $35 thousand in the prior year quarter, mainly due to unfavorable minority investment activity.
Net interest expense was $14 million for the fourth quarter compared to $11 million in the prior-year period, primarily due to higher debt outstanding.
This resulted in a net loss of $3.0 million compared to net income of $14 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, and a loss per share of $0.06 compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.25 in the prior year quarter.
Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $32 million, down 23% from $41 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.
Pet Segment Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results
Fourth quarter net sales for the Pet segment increased 3% to $459 million. The most significant contributions to the segment’s growth came from dog treats and chews, distribution, outdoor cushions and animal health. On a two-year compound annualized growth rate basis, sales increased 14% in the fourth quarter.
The Pet segment’s operating income was $32 million, compared to $36 million in the prior year quarter. Operating margin of 6.9% reflected a decrease of 110 basis points compared to 8.0% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, primarily due to significant cost inflation across key commodities, freight and labor as well as heightened investment levels to build capacity and drive future growth, partially offset by pricing actions and favorable product mix.
Garden Segment Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2021 Results
Net sales for the Garden segment increased 21% to $280 million driven by a $78 million contribution from the Company’s recent acquisitions. On an organic basis, net sales for the Garden segment declined 13%, as continued strength in wild bird feed was more than offset by softness across the rest of the Garden portfolio. On a two-year compound annualized growth rate basis, organic Garden segment sales increased 6% in the fourth quarter.
The Garden segment’s operating income was $1.1 million as compared to $14 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Operating margin was 0.4%, down 570 basis points compared to 6.1% in the prior year quarter, primarily driven by significant cost inflation and investment which more than offset of pricing and productivity initiatives.
At September 25, 2021, the Company’s cash and cash equivalents was $426 million, compared to $653 million a year ago. Cash flow from operations for fiscal 2021 was $251 million, compared to $264 million in the prior year.
Total debt at September 25, 2021 was $1.2 billion compared to $700 million at September 26, 2020. The Company’s leverage ratio, as defined in the Company’s credit agreement, at the end of the quarter and the fiscal year was 3.0x compared to 2.2x in the prior year.
Outlook for Fiscal 2022
The Company currently projects fiscal 2022 GAAP EPS of $3.10 or better. The outlook includes the Company’s anticipated investments in capacity expansion and automation at or slightly above fiscal 2021 levels, increased investments in brand building and eCommerce to drive sustainable growth, increasing costs for key commodities, freight and labor, muted consumer demand patterns following extraordinary demand spanning the last two fiscal years, as well as pricing actions across the Company’s portfolio to help mitigate inflationary headwinds. The Company expects the impact of the headwinds to be more heavily front-half weighted.
For the full fourth quarter results, click here.
About Central Garden & Pet
Central Garden & Pet (NASDAQ: CENT) (NASDAQ: CENTA) understands that home is central to life and has proudly nurtured happy and healthy homes for over 40 years. With fiscal 2021 net sales of $3.3 billion, Central is on a mission to lead the future of the pet and garden industries. The Company’s innovative and trusted products are dedicated to helping lawns grow greener, gardens bloom bigger, pets live healthier and communities grow stronger. Central is home to a leading portfolio of more than 65 high-quality brands including Pennington, Nylabone, Kaytee, Amdro and Aqueon, strong manufacturing and distribution capabilities and a passionate, entrepreneurial growth culture. Central Garden & Pet is based in Walnut Creek, California and has over 7,000 employees across North America and Europe. For additional information about Central, please visit the Company’s website at www.central.com.
Friederike Edelmann – Investor Relations – (925) 412-6726 – email@example.com
Source: Central Garden & Pet Company