4.11.2004: Meldung: Hain Celestial Group Reports Fiscal First Quarter Results

Adjusted Earnings of $0.18 per share before $0.01 of compensation charges
GAAP Net Income of $0.17 per share
Revenue Grows to $137.6 million
Reaffirms Full Year Earnings Guidance at $0.92 to $1.01 per share

The Hain Celestial Group (Nasdaq: HAIN), a leading natural and organic food company, today announced results for the Fiscal 2005 first quarter. Hain Celestial reported net income of $0.17 per share, after deducting $0.01 per share for certain previously announced compensation charges, compared with net income of $0.19 per share in the prior year"s comparable quarter. Before deducting the compensation charges, adjusted (non-GAAP) earnings were $0.18 per share. First quarter sales grew 8.3% to $137.6 million, compared with net sales of $127.1 million in the prior year period.

During the Fiscal 2005 first quarter, the Company incurred compensation charges for terminated personnel and non-cash compensation which aggregated approximately $0.6 million. As previously disclosed, these charges are expected to aggregate approximately $0.75 million in the second quarter of Fiscal 2005, after which time the compensation charges for terminated employees will be concluded. In the Fiscal 2005 first quarter, the Company"s estimated effective annual tax rate increased as expected to 39% from 38% in the prior year"s quarter. Also impacting earnings by $0.01 per share in the Fiscal 2005 first quarter was an increase in the average diluted shares outstanding by 1.5 million shares.

Operating income in the quarter was $ 10.8 million as compared to $11.3 million in the prior year"s quarter. The Company reported gross margins at 28.3% of sales as compared with 29.2% in the prior year"s quarter, the reduction coming principally from the higher costs of ingredients and freight of approximately $2.5 million not yet offset by the price increase implemented during the quarter which contributed approximately $1 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses were 20.5% of sales this year versus 20.3% last year.

Irwin Simon, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased with the good growth in many of our key brands this quarter. There has been continued broad acceptance of our previously announced price increase. Our tea and snacks brands showed very good growth and our international businesses also performed well. We achieved this performance in our business even with a reduction in inventories at two major distributors and increased commodity and freight costs during the quarter. All of our U.S.-based businesses were impacted by the inventory reductions, with sales of our grocery brands most affected. Despite the challenges of the quarter, we refused to make short-term decisions at the end of the quarter that would have otherwise impacted our strategy for the year.

"As we move forward, we will continue to grow intelligently and pursue opportunities for more savings and margin enhancement across our brands. I am particularly encouraged by our sales activity in October, where we have seen strong increases over the prior year. This reflects our belief that inventory reductions at distributors help increase inventory turns and the frequency of reorders, and that our strategic decisions will bring us better results over the long term. We have also made significant progress integrating our recently acquired Ethnic Gourmet and Rosetto frozen foods businesses, and we are expanding the distribution of the JASON personal care products to channels where those products have not previously been carried."

Mr. Simon continued, "We are also excited at the opportunity for additional savings in a new collaborative initiative with the H. J. Heinz Company to assist us with our cost savings programs over the next twelve months. Heinz has appointed Dave Gaertner, Vice President - Business Development, to coordinate this initiative from our headquarters in Melville. Working with Heinz executives, we have begun to identify specific opportunities for savings in the cost of market research and in freight/ transportation and co-packing. We have also introduced the Heinz Operating Free Cash Flow and Cash Conversion Cycle model for measuring performance metrics in our business. In future periods we will report our progress in this initiative."

"We made progress on all of our strategic priorities for the year -- including improvements in our processes and our core growth brands, and greater efficiencies. We met our internal objectives for the quarter, and we reaffirm our previously announced full year earnings guidance of $0.92 to $1.01 per share on revenues of $650 - $670 million," Mr. Simon concluded.

Management will host a conference call to discuss its first quarter results at 8:00 a.m. EST today, November 3, 2004. The call may be accessed through the Investor Relations section of the Hain Celestial website at http://www.hain-celestial.com . Please log in to the call at least fifteen minutes ahead of time to allow time for registration. A replay of the call will be available on the same section of the Hain Celestial website until December 3, 2004.

About The Hain Celestial Group

The Hain Celestial Group, headquartered in Melville, NY, is a leading natural and organic beverage, snack, specialty food and personal care products company in North America and Europe. Hain Celestial is a leader in almost all natural food categories- Beverages, Specialty Tea, Snacks, Grocery, Frozen Foods-and the natural Personal Care category with well-known brands that include: Celestial Seasonings®, Terra Chips®, Garden of Eatin"®, Health Valley®, WestSoy®, Earth"s Best®, Arrowhead Mills®, Hain Pure Foods®, Breadshop"s®, Casbah®, Carb Fit(TM), DeBoles®, Nile Spice®, Westbrae Natural®, Rice Dream®, Soy Dream®, Imagine®, Walnut Acres Certified Organic®, Rosetto®, Ethnic Gourmet®, Yves Veggie Cuisine®, The Good Dog®, and in Europe, Lima®, Biomarche®, Grains Noirs®, Natumi® and Milkfree®. The Company"s principal specialty product lines include Hollywood® cooking oils, Estee® sugar-free products, Kineret® kosher foods, Boston Better Snacks(TM), and Alba Foods®. The Company"s personal care product lines consist primarily of JASON® pure, natural and organic products. Hain Celestial"s corporate website is http://www.hain-celestial.com . The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. common stock trades on the NASDAQ® National Market under the symbol HAIN.

Safe Harbor Statement

The following constitutes a "Safe Harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. Except for the historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward- looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks include but are not limited to general economic and business conditions; the ability to implement business and acquisition strategies, integrate acquisitions, and obtain financing for general corporate purposes; competition, retention of key personnel and compliance with government regulations and other risks detailed from time-to-time in the Company"s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2004. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements.

Consolidated Balance Sheets
(In thousands)

September 30, June 30,
2004 2004
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $9,765 $27,489
Trade receivables, net 70,922 69,392
Inventories 93,109 86,873
Deferred income taxes 3,111 3,111
Other current assets 14,459 11,449
Total current assets 191,366 198,314

Property, plant and equipment, net 87,836 87,002
Goodwill, net 338,730 333,218
Trademarks and other intangible
assets, net 55,712 55,793
Other assets 11,651 9,904
Total assets $685,295 $684,231

Current liabilities:
Accounts payable and accrued
expenses $53,065 $59,031
Income taxes payable 4,966 2,489
Current portion of long-term debt 4,784 6,845
Total current liabilities 62,815 68,365

Deferred income taxes 14,807 14,807
Long-term debt, less current portion 99,906 104,294
Total liabilities 177,528 187,466

Stockholders" equity:
Common stock 371 371
Additional paid-in capital 395,557 394,740
Deferred compensation (2,575) (2,809)
Retained earnings 112,279 106,097
Treasury stock (9,285) (9,285)
Foreign currency translation
adjustment 11,420 7,651
Total stockholders" equity 507,767 496,765

Total liabilities and
stockholders" equity $685,295 $684,231

Consolidated Statements of Operations
(in thousands, except per share amounts)

Three Months Ended September 30,
2004 2003

Net sales $137,604 $127,053
Cost of Sales 98,629 89,891
Gross profit 38,975 37,162

SG&A expenses 28,185 25,819

Operating income 10,790 11,343

Interest expense and other expenses 655 791
Income before income taxes 10,135 10,552
Income tax provision 3,953 4,010
Net income $6,182 $6,542

Basic per share amounts $0.17 $0.19

Diluted per share amounts $0.17 $0.19

Weighted average common shares
Basic 36,273 34,221
Diluted 36,855 35,356

Contact: Ira Lamel, CFO Jeremy Fielding/
The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. David Lilly (Media)
631-730-2200 Kekst and Company

Source: The Hain Celestial Group
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