Blue Buffalo Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Results

WILTON, Conn., Feb. 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ:BUFF), the leading natural pet food company in the United States, today announced its fourth quarter and full year 2017 results.

  • Fourth Quarter Highlights
    ◦ Net sales of $337 million, up 14.2%
    ◦ Net income of $54 million, up 54.1%; Adjusted Net Income of $54 million, up 50.2%
    ◦ Adjusted EBITDA of $80 million, up 22.4%
    ◦ Diluted EPS of $0.27, up 55.3%; Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.27, up 51.4%
  • Full Year Highlights
    ◦ Net sales of $1,275 million, up 10.9%
    ◦ Net income of $194 million, up 48.6%; Adjusted Net Income of $195 million, up 24.3%
    ◦ Adjusted EBITDA of $319 million, up 15.8%
    ◦ Diluted EPS of $0.97, up 48.9%; Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.98, up 24.5%
  • 2018 Outlook
    ◦ Net sales between $1,400 million and $1,430 million
    ◦ Adjusted Diluted EPS of $1.20 to $1.24

“I’m pleased to say that 2017 was a strong year,” said CEO Billy Bishop. “Blue Buffalo’s momentum continues to be strong as we gained share, broadened our distribution footprint, and built two new plants to fuel our growth. Looking ahead, we’re very optimistic about our future.”

Fourth Quarter of 2017 Compared to Fourth Quarter of 2016

Net sales increased $41.9 million, or 14.2%, to $337.0 million, driven primarily by volume growth. Net sales of Dry Foods increased $25.9 million, or 10.8%, to $265.9 million while net sales of Wet Foods, Treats and Other Products increased $16.0 million, or 28.9%, to $71.1 million.

Gross profit increased $19.9 million, or 15.1%, to $151.9 million and gross margin was 45.1%, up 40 bps compared with 44.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016.  The increase in gross margin was driven primarily by favorable product mix and supply chain efficiencies, which were partially offset by higher distribution costs.

Selling, general, and administrative expenses increased $3.1 million, or 4.4%, to $75.0 million.  Adjusted SG&A, which excludes litigation expenses and costs incurred in preparing for our public offerings, increased $4.6 million, or 6.5%. This increase was primarily due to our ongoing investment in advertising and marketing consistent with our brand building strategy.

Net income increased $18.8 million, or 54.1%, to $53.6 million, or $0.27 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017, as compared to $34.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016. Adjusted Net Income, which excludes litigation expenses and costs incurred in preparing for our public offerings, increased $17.9 million, or 50.2%, to $53.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to $35.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share in the fourth quarter of 2017 increased 51.4% to $0.27, compared to $0.18 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Full Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to Full Year Ended December 31, 2016

Net sales increased $124.8 million, or 10.9%, to $1,274.6 million, primarily driven by volume growth. Net sales of Dry Foods increased $79.3 million, or 8.5%, to $1,013.5 million, while net sales of Wet Foods, Treats and Other Products increased $45.5 million, or 21.1%, to $261.1 million.

Gross profit increased $73.4 million, or 14.2%, to $589.1 million and gross margin was 46.2%, up 130 bps compared with 44.9% in 2016.  The increase in gross margin was driven primarily by favorable product mix and supply chain efficiencies, which were partially offset by higher distribution costs. 

Selling, general, and administrative expenses increased $23.1 million, or 8.8%, to $285.8 million.  Adjusted SG&A, which excludes litigation expenses and costs incurred in preparing for our public offerings, increased $30.0 million, or 11.8%. This increase was primarily due to our ongoing investment in advertising and marketing consistent with our brand building strategy.

During the fourth quarter of 2016, Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. (“BBC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into a settlement agreement with respect to the previously disclosed Nestlé Purina lawsuit. In connection with the settlement agreement, the Company recorded a charge of $32.0 million.

Net income increased $63.3 million, or 48.6%, to $193.5 million, or $0.97 per diluted share in 2017, as compared to $130.2 million, or $0.65 per diluted share in 2016. Adjusted Net Income increased $38.0 million, or 24.3%, to $194.8 million in 2017, compared to $156.8 million in 2016. Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share in 2017 increased 24.5% to $0.98, compared to $0.79 in 2016.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $193.9 million in 2017 compared with $127.2 million in 2016. Net cash provided by operating activities for fiscal 2017 increased by $66.6 million as 2016 included a $32.0 million payment related to a settlement agreement with respect to the previously disclosed Nestlé Purina lawsuit.

Cash and cash equivalents were $282.2 million as of December 31, 2017 as compared to $292.7 million as of December 31, 2016.

Impact of Tax Reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The significant change that impacted 2017 was the remeasurement of deferred taxes in connection with the reduction in the corporate statutory income tax rate from 35% to 21%. The impact of these adjustments increased our net income for both the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017 by $5.4 million.

Full Year 2018 Outlook

For the full year 2018, the Company expects to deliver net sales between $1,400 million and $1,430 million and Adjusted Diluted Earnings Per Share of $1.20 to $1.24.

Information Regarding Today’s Announcement of Definitive Merger Agreement with General Mills, Inc. 

In a separate press release issued this morning, Blue Buffalo announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with General Mills, Inc. under which General Mills, Inc. will acquire Blue Buffalo for $40.00 per common share, in cash, or an enterprise value of approximately $8.0 billion. For further information on the transaction, please visit http://ir.bluebuffalo.com to access a copy of the press release.

In light of this announcement, Blue Buffalo no longer plans to update financial guidance and will not hold its investor conference call on fourth quarter 2017 results, previously planned for 5 pm ET on February 27, 2018.

Important Information Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures

The Company presents non-GAAP financial measures, including Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Diluted EPS, Adjusted SG&A, Adjusted Income Taxes, Adjusted Operating Income and Adjusted Gross Profit, in this press release as management uses these measures in assessing our operating performance, and we believe they are helpful to investors, securities analysts and other interested parties, in evaluating the performance of companies in our industry. We also believe that these non-GAAP financial measures are useful to management and investors, securities analysts and other interested parties as measures of our comparative operating performance from period to period. These non-GAAP financial measures are not measurements of financial performance under GAAP. They should not be considered as alternatives to cash flow from operating activities, as measures of liquidity, or as alternatives to net income as a measure of our operating performance or any other measures of performance derived in accordance with GAAP. The methods used by the Company to calculate its non-GAAP financial measures may differ significantly from methods used by other companies to compute similar measures. As a result, any non-GAAP financial measures presented herein may not be comparable to similar measures provided by other companies. Please see the schedules to this press release for additional information and reconciliations of such non-GAAP financial measures to the nearest GAAP measure. With respect to our expectations under “Full Year 2018 Outlook” above, for Adjusted Diluted EPS a reconciliation to the closest corresponding GAAP financial measure is not available without unreasonable efforts on a forward-looking basis due to the high variability, complexity and low visibility with respect to litigation expenses and public offering costs excluded from this non-GAAP financial measure. We expect the variability of these charges to have a potentially unpredictable, and potentially significant, impact on our future GAAP financial results.

About Blue Buffalo

Blue Buffalo, based in Wilton, CT, is the nation’s leading natural pet food company, providing natural foods and treats for dogs and cats under its BLUE Life Protection Formula, BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics, BLUE Freedom, and BLUE Natural Veterinary Diet lines. Paying tribute to its founding mission, the Company, through the Blue Buffalo Foundation, is a leading sponsor of pet cancer awareness and of critical research studies of pet cancer, including causes, treatments and the role of nutrition, at leading veterinary medical schools and clinics across the United States. For more information about Blue Buffalo, visit the Company’s website at www.BlueBuffalo.com.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to the expectations regarding the performance of the Company’s business, financial results, liquidity and capital resources and other non-historical statements, including the statements in the “Full Year 2018 Outlook” section of this press release. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “projects,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of these words or other comparable words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including, among others, risks inherent to the pet food industry, macroeconomic factors beyond the Company’s control, competition for customers, risks related to the Company’s manufacturing and supply chain, the success of the Company’s Heartland manufacturing facility, risk of disruption at the Company’s third party distribution centers, risks related to the Company’s expansion outside the United States, the Company’s ability to protect the Company’s intellectual property and that of third parties, performance of the Company’s information technology systems, adverse litigation judgments or settlements and the Company’s indebtedness. Additional factors that could cause the Company’s results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on February 26, 2018, as such risk factors may be updated from time to time in our periodic filings with the SEC, and which are accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this release and in the Company’s filings with the SEC. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

Contacts:

Investors & Financial Analysts

Michael Nathenson
EVP & CFO
203-665-3400
investors@bluebuff.com

Media

Phil Cheevers
VP, Communications
203-665-3234
media@bluebuff.com

 
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Unaudited Consolidated Statements of Income
(dollars in thousands, except for share data)
 
  Three Months Ended
December 31,
    Twelve Months Ended
December 31,
  2017   2016     2017   2016
Net sales $ 336,963     $ 295,096       $ 1,274,589     $ 1,149,778  
Cost of sales 185,104     163,157       685,501     634,095  
Gross profit 151,859     131,939       589,088     515,683  
Selling, general, and administrative expenses 75,049     71,912       285,849     262,761  
Provision for legal settlement               32,000  
Operating income 76,810     60,027       303,239     220,922  
Interest expense 2,162     3,385       11,141     14,619  
Interest income (653 )   (143 )     (1,440 )   (505 )
Other non-operating expense, net 181           213      
Income before income taxes 75,120     56,785       293,325     206,808  
Provision for income taxes 21,500     21,983       99,796     76,567  
Net income $ 53,620     $ 34,802       $ 193,529     $ 130,241  
                 
Basic net income per common share $ 0.27     $ 0.18       $ 0.99     $ 0.66  
Diluted net income per common share $ 0.27     $ 0.17       $ 0.97     $ 0.65  
Basic weighted average shares 195,302,613     196,516,632       196,256,128     196,363,084  
Diluted weighted average shares 197,889,189     199,446,875       198,918,417     199,348,746  
 

 
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Unaudited Consolidated Balance Sheets
(dollars in thousands, except for share data)
 
  December 31,
2017
  December 31,
2016
ASSETS      
Current assets:      
Cash and cash equivalents $ 282,223     $ 292,656  
Receivables, net 150,260     115,446  
Inventories 79,945     70,941  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 7,893     6,130  
Total current assets 520,321     485,173  
       
Restricted cash 781     781  
Property, plant and equipment, net 326,404     162,232  
Deferred income taxes 52     1,311  
Other assets 1,028     853  
Total assets $ 848,586     $ 650,350  
       
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY      
Current liabilities:      
Current maturities of long-term debt $ 4,000     $ 3,960  
Accounts payable 63,979     35,238  
Other current liabilities 70,994     59,629  
Total current liabilities 138,973     98,827  
       
Long-term debt 389,914     379,177  
Deferred income taxes 7,095     12,660  
Other long-term liabilities 13,468     13,348  
Total liabilities 549,450     504,012  
       
Commitments and contingencies      
Stockholders’ equity:      
Preferred stock; $0.01 par value; 150,000,000 shares authorized; none issued or outstanding at December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016      
Common stock, voting; $0.01 par value; 1,500,000,000 shares authorized; 197,615,064 and 196,524,010 shares issued at December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively 1,976     1,965  
Additional paid-in capital 81,113     71,420  
Retained earnings 266,221     72,692  
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) (174 )   261  
Treasury stock, at cost: 2,092,774 and no shares at December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively (50,000 )    
Total stockholders’ equity 299,136     146,338  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $ 848,586     $ 650,350  
 

 
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Unaudited Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(dollars in thousands)
 
  Year Ended December 31,
  2017   2016
Cash flows from operating activities:      
Net income $ 193,529     $ 130,241  
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided      
by operating activities:      
Depreciation and amortization 10,514     9,200  
Amortization of debt issuance costs 354     122  
Stock-based compensation 3,683     4,609  
Loss on disposal of fixed assets 593     49  
Deferred income taxes (4,306 )   11,988  
Payment for class action legal settlement     (32,000 )
Effect of changes in operating assets and liabilities:      
Receivables (33,611 )   (35,509 )
Inventories (8,930 )   12,493  
Prepaid expenses and other assets (1,928 )   (2,109 )
Accounts payable 27,995     4,563  
Other liabilities 5,966     23,596  
Net cash provided by operating activities 193,859     127,243  
       
Cash flows from investing activities:      
Capital expenditures (170,970 )   (56,345 )
Restricted cash     (308 )
Proceeds from the sale of fixed assets     15  
Net cash used in investing activities (170,970 )   (56,638 )
       
Cash flows from financing activities:      
Proceeds from issuance of debt 400,000      
Repayment of long-term debt (382,147 )    
Repurchase of common stock (50,000 )    
Payment of debt issuance costs (4,352 )    
Principal payments on long-term debt (2,990 )   (3,960 )
Proceeds from exercise of stock options 6,021     1,915  
Net cash used in financing activities (33,468 )   (2,045 )
       
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents 146     (157 )
Net (decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents (10,433 )   68,403  
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period 292,656     224,253  
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period $ 282,223     $ 292,656  
       
Supplemental schedule of non-cash investing activities:      
Accruals related to property, plant and equipment 5,411      
 

 
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Reconciliation of GAAP to Adjusted Results*
(dollars in millions, except for share data)
 
    Three Months Ended December 31, 2017  
    Gross
Profit
  % of
Sales
  SG&A   % of
Sales
  Operating
Income
  % of
Sales
  Income
Taxes
  % of
Sales
  Net
Income
  % of
Sales
  Diluted
EPS
 
                       
As reported (GAAP)   $ 151.9     45.1 %   $ 75.0     22.3 %   $ 76.8     22.8 %   $ 21.5     6.4 %   $ 53.6     15.9 %   $ 0.27    
Litigation expenses (a)           (0.2 )   %   (0.2 )   %       %   (0.1 )   %      
As adjusted   $ 151.9     45.1 %   $ 75.2     22.3 %   $ 76.7     22.7 %   $ 21.5     6.4 %   $ 53.5     15.9 %   $ 0.27    
                                               
    Three Months Ended December 31, 2016  
    Gross
Profit
  % of
Sales
  SG&A   % of
Sales
  Operating
Income
  % of
Sales
  Income
Taxes
  % of
Sales
  Net
Income
  % of
Sales
  Diluted
EPS
 
                       
As reported (GAAP)   $ 131.9     44.7 %   $ 71.9     24.4 %   $ 60.0     20.3 %   $ 22.0     7.4 %   $ 34.8     11.8 %   $ 0.17    
Litigation expenses (a)           1.3     0.4 %   1.3     0.4 %   0.5     0.2 %   0.8     0.3 %      
As adjusted   $ 131.9     44.7 %   $ 70.6     23.9 %   $ 61.3     20.8 %   $ 22.5     7.6 %   $ 35.6     12.1 %   $ 0.18    

 

    Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2017  
    Gross
Profit
  % of
Sales
  SG&A   % of
Sales
  Operating
Income
  % of
Sales
  Income
Taxes
  % of
Sales
  Net
Income
  % of
Sales
  Diluted
EPS
 
                       
As reported (GAAP)   $ 589.1     46.2 %   $ 285.8     22.4 %   $ 303.2     23.8 %   $ 99.8     7.8 %   $ 193.5     15.2 %   $ 0.97    
Litigation expenses (a)           1.9     0.2 %   1.9     0.2 %   0.7     0.1 %   1.3     0.1 %   0.01    
As adjusted   $ 589.1     46.2 %   $ 283.9     22.3 %   $ 305.2     23.9 %   $ 100.5     7.9 %   $ 194.8     15.3 %   $ 0.98    
                                               
    Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2016  
    Gross
Profit
  % of
Sales
  SG&A   % of
Sales
  Operating
Income
  % of
Sales
  Income
Taxes
  % of
Sales
  Net
Income
  % of
Sales
  Diluted
EPS
 
                       
As reported (GAAP)   $ 515.7     44.9 %   $ 262.8     22.9 %   $ 220.9     19.2 %   $ 76.6     6.7 %   $ 130.2     11.3 %   $ 0.65    
Litigation expenses (a)           6.7     0.6 %   6.7     0.6 %   2.5     0.2 %   4.2     0.4 %   0.02    
Public offering costs (b)           2.1     0.2 %   2.1     0.2 %       %   2.1     0.2 %   0.01    
Provision for legal
settlement (c)
                  32.0     2.8 %   11.8     1.0 %   20.2     1.8 %   0.10    
As adjusted   $ 515.7     44.9 %   $ 253.9     22.1 %   $ 261.8     22.8 %   $ 90.9     7.9 %   $ 156.8     13.6 %   $ 0.79    
 
 
*Amounts may not be additive due to rounding.
(a) Represents costs, net of insurance primarily related to the litigation with Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.
(b) Represents costs incurred for our public offerings.
(c) Represents a provision related to a settlement agreement with respect to Nestlé Purina PetCare Company lawsuit entered into in November 2016.
 

 
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.
Reconciliation of GAAP to Adjusted Results*
(dollars in millions, except for share data)
 
    Three Months Ended     Twelve Months Ended
    December 31,
2017
  December 31,
2016
    December 31,
2017
  December 31,
2016
Net income   $ 53.6     $ 34.8       $ 193.5     $ 130.2  
Interest expense     2.2       3.4         11.1       14.6  
Interest income     (0.7 )     (0.1 )       (1.4 )     (0.5 )
Provision for income taxes     21.5       22.0         99.8       76.6  
Depreciation and amortization   $ 2.7     $ 2.4         10.5       9.2  
EBITDA (a)   $ 79.4     $ 62.5       $ 313.5     $ 230.1  
Litigation expenses (b)     (0.2 )     1.3         1.9       6.7  
Public offering costs (c)                         2.1  
Provision for legal settlements (d)                         32.0  
Stock-based compensation (e)     0.7       1.6         3.7       4.6  
Adjusted EBITDA   $ 79.9     $ 65.3       $ 319.2     $ 275.6  
                   
*Amounts may not be additive due to rounding.
(a) EBITDA represents net income plus interest expense, interest income, provision for income taxes and depreciation and amortization.
(b) Represents costs, net of insurance primarily related to the litigation with Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.
(c) Represents costs incurred for our public offerings.
(d) Represents a provision related to the Settlement Agreement entered into in November 2016.
(e) Represents non-cash, stock-based compensation expense.