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Cott Announces First Quarter 2012 Results and Share Repurchase Program for up to $35 Million in Common Shares

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 8:00 AM


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TORONTO and TAMPA, FL -- (Marketwire) -- 05/02/12 -- Cott Corporation (NYSE: COT) (TSX: BCB) today announced its results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012, as well as its plans to commence a share repurchase program for up to $35 million in common shares over a 12 month period.

First Quarter 2012 Results

  • Revenue of $524 million declined 1.9% (1.3% excluding the impact of foreign exchange) compared to $534 million.
  • Gross profit as a percentage of revenue was 12.1% compared to 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 13.0% in the first quarter of 2011.
  • Net income and earnings per diluted share were $6 million and $0.06, respectively, compared to $7 million and $0.07, respectively.
  • EBITDA was $45 million compared to $47 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased 2.9% to $46 million compared to $45 million.

Jerry Fowden, Cott's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "I'm pleased with the overall financial performance during the quarter, despite continued commodity pressures. Gross margin in the first quarter improved 270 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2011, reflecting the implementation of our 2012 strategy of gradual gross margin restoration by focusing on operational efficiencies and adjusting the balance between volume and margin."

FIRST QUARTER 2012 PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

  • Revenue decreased 1.9% (1.3% excluding the impact of foreign exchange) to $524 million as a result of lower North America volumes due primarily from exiting certain low margin case pack water business and the continuing decline in the U.S. shelf-stable juice market. The North America revenue performance was partially offset by growth in the United Kingdom / Europe ("U.K.") and higher average price per case across all business units.

  • Gross profit as a percentage of revenue was 12.1% compared to 13.0% in the first quarter of 2011 and 9.4% in the fourth quarter of 2011. The decline compared to the first quarter of 2011 was due primarily to higher commodity costs, particularly fruit and fruit concentrates, sweeteners and resin. The margin improvement versus the fourth quarter of 2011 was due primarily to a combination of operating efficiencies and an increase in the average price per case implemented in the first quarter of 2012.

  • Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses were $42 million compared to $45 million. The decrease in SG&A expenses was driven primarily by reduced costs associated with our information technology strategy.

  • Operating income was $21 million compared to $25 million.

  • EBITDA was $45 million compared to $47 million. Adjusted EBITDA increased 2.9% to $46 million compared to $45 million.

FIRST QUARTER 2012 REPORTING SEGMENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • North America filled beverage case volume decreased 8.3% to 156 million cases due primarily to exiting certain case pack water business and the continuing decline in the U.S. shelf-stable juice market. Revenue decreased 4.8% (4.7% excluding the impact of foreign exchange) to $408 million.

  • U.K. filled beverage case volume increased 4.6% to 41 million cases. Revenue increased 14.9% (16.9% excluding the impact of foreign exchange) to $99 million. Growth was driven by continued double digit growth in the energy and sports drinks categories and ongoing growth in the wholesale channel servicing the smaller convenience stores.

  • Mexico filled beverage case volume decreased 29.8% to 6 million cases. Revenue decreased 20.2% (13.2% excluding the impact of foreign exchange) to $9 million.

  • RCI concentrate volume decreased 13.9% to 71 million. Revenue decreased 2.6% to $7 million.

First Quarter Results Conference Call
Cott Corporation will host a conference call today, May 2, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EDT, to discuss first quarter results, which can be accessed as follows:

North America: (877) 407-8031
International: (201) 689-8031

A live audio webcast will be available through Cott's website at http://www.cott.com. The earnings conference call will be recorded and archived for playback on the investor relations section of the website for a period of two weeks following the event.

Share Repurchase Program
Cott Corporation announced its plans to commence, subject to compliance with the annual limits established by the Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX"), a share repurchase program for up to $35 million in common shares over a 12 month period. Cott's common shares may be purchased in open market transactions and privately negotiated repurchases under the program through either a 10b5-1 automatic trading plan or at management's discretion in compliance with regulatory requirements, and given market, cost and other considerations.

Subject to completion of appropriate filings with and approval by the TSX, repurchases will be made through the facilities of the TSX, the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"), or by such other means as may be permitted by the TSX and/or the NYSE. The rules and policies of the TSX contain restrictions on the number of shares that can be repurchased over a 12-month period, and also contain restrictions on the number of shares that can be purchased on any given day, based on the average daily trading volumes of the common shares on the TSX. Similarly, the safe harbor conditions of Rule 10b-18 impose certain limitations on the number of shares that can be purchased on the NYSE per day.

"We are pleased to be able to announce this share repurchase program as an excellent way to return value to our shareowners," continued Mr. Fowden.

There can be no assurance as to the precise number of shares that will be repurchased under the share repurchase program, or the aggregate dollar amount of the shares actually purchased. Cott may discontinue purchases at any time, subject to compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. Shares purchased pursuant to the share repurchase program will be cancelled.

About Cott Corporation
Cott is one of the world's largest beverage companies focusing on private-label and contract manufacturing. With approximately 4,000 employees, Cott operates soft drink, juice, water and other beverage bottling facilities in the United States, Canada, the U.K. and Mexico. Cott markets beverage concentrates in over 50 countries around the world.

Defined Terms
Certain defined terms used in this press release include the following. "GAAP" means U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. "EBITDA" means GAAP earnings (loss) before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. "Adjusted EBITDA" means GAAP earnings (loss) before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, excluding purchase accounting adjustments, integration expenses, restructuring and asset impairments. See the accompanying reconciliation of Cott's EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to its GAAP net income, as well as the "Non-GAAP Measures" paragraph below.

Non-GAAP Measures
Cott supplements its reporting of revenue determined in accordance with GAAP by excluding the impact of foreign exchange to separate the impact of currency exchange rate changes from Cott's results of operations and, in some cases, by excluding the impact of the Cliffstar acquisition. Cott supplements its reporting of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by excluding Cliffstar purchase accounting adjustments, integration expenses, restructuring and asset impairments to separate the impact of these items from the underlying business. Because Cott uses these adjusted financial results in the management of its business and to understand business performance independent of the Cliffstar acquisition, management believes this supplemental information is useful to investors for their independent evaluation and understanding of Cott's underlying business performance and the performance of its management. The non-GAAP financial measures described above are in addition to, and not meant to be considered superior to, or a substitute for, Cott's financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP. In addition, the non-GAAP financial measures included in this earnings announcement reflect management's judgment of particular items, and may be different from, and therefore may not be comparable to, similarly titled measures reported by other companies.

Safe Harbor Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 conveying management's expectations as to the future based on plans, estimates and projections at the time Cott makes the statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and Cott cautions you that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any such forward-looking statement.


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