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TSMC outsources part of CoWoS packaging production to OSATs

TSMC has outsourced part of its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging to OSATs including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL) and Amkor, particularly for low-volume customized products, according to industry sources......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesNov 25th, 2021

Sellers of American-made goods are thriving amid supply-chain chaos — but they can"t escape labor and cost pressures

Four US manufacturers based in four different states told Insider about the upsides — and challenges — of making their products close to home. American Giant makes a range of cotton products, including hoodies, sweatpants, and t-shirts, at factories in the South and Midwest.American Giant American manufacturers are thriving as global supply chains remain in turmoil.  They're not immune to other economic issues, like the labor crunch and rising shipping costs. But "the closer you are to your customer ... the fewer things that can go wrong," Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul told Insider. Unlike many retailers this holiday season, Bayard Winthrop isn't concerned about global supply chain snags.That's because Winthrop, the CEO of apparel retailer American Giant, is close to nearly every aspect of his company's supply chain: The cotton is grown in the US; it's spun into fabric and made into hoodies and sweatpants in factories throughout the Southeast and Midwest; then it's delivered, mostly by UPS, to customers across the country.That means nothing is stuck on a container ship or needs to be air-freighted to the US to arrive in time for the holidays. "We expect to be fully in stock in the holidays," Winthrop told Insider. "We don't spend any time talking about supply chain stuff internally." Winthrop is one of four manufacturing CEOs who spoke with Insider about what it's like to make products in the US during a time when global supply chains are in a state of upheaval.None of them is immune to challenges facing the US economy in 2021. Some are having trouble hiring while others are raising prices as raw material costs soar. But they also described the benefits of manufacturing close to home — mainly, more control over their supply chains and greater flexibility when problems arise.When the coronavirus began spreading worldwide last year, it shut down ports and took factories offline while simultaneously sparking a rush on consumer goods. In the US, where the labor market is tight, there are also fewer people to process all the goods coming into the country from overseas, leading to a backlog at the nation's ports.And so, in the intervening months, there's been a greater push to manufacture more goods in the US."There's not a guarantee that if you produce in the United States or North America, that you will be immune to any of this," Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, an industry group that partners with both manufacturers and unions, told Insider. "But there is a better chance that you will be less impacted."The labor crunch was very real — even with the promise of higher paySherrill Manufacturing produces its Liberty Tabletop line in Central New York.Sherrill ManufacturingThis mindset is on display at Sherrill Manufacturing in Central New York, which produces Liberty Tabletop, a line of flatware and cookware. Sherrill Manufacturing's supply chain is "about as vertically integrated as you could possibly imagine," Greg Owens, the company's CEO, told Insider. The company's products start as a coil or bar of steel that's made in one of three places: Western New York, Pittsburgh, or Tennessee. That steel is then turned into forks or knives at the company's manufacturing facility in Sherrill, New York, and boxed up using locally sourced packaging.Owens said that sales of Sherrill's flatware doubled in 2020 as more people ate at home and rose another 50% year-over-year in 2021. The biggest problem the company faces now is keeping products in stock. But there are other challenges, too: Owens estimates that steel prices have doubled since before the pandemic, and he said finding workers to fill open positions is harder than usual. The company has raised wages to attract and retain workers, but filling the 25 positions it added to boost production took a long time, he said. "We went a year advertising with our payroll company on their program, which puts job postings on 10, 15 different sites," he said. "Didn't get one application."'Biting the bullet' as costs riseVermont Flannel Company sews its clothing in the US.Vermont Flannel CompanyFinding workers has been a challenge for Vermont Flannel Company President Mark Baker too. The 30-year-old company manufactures its flannel shirts, pajamas, and blankets in the Green Mountain State and Baker said the biggest challenge the company has faced, besides the initial shut-downs in early 2020, is filling vacant positions. "We lost some people that either moved or decided they had other options," Baker told Insider. "It's really hard to find people to get into manufacturing nowadays." Vermont Flannel Company differs from American Giant or Sherrill Manufacturing in that it imports its raw materials. The company contracts with a mill in Europe that produces the fabric and ships it to the US, but Baker said Vermont Flannel hasn't hit many snags, despite the supply-chain crisis. The company purchases its fabrics almost a year in advance, and they're shipped to the Port of Boston, which isn't as large — or quite as constricted — as ports like Los Angeles.Baker said he's even more concerned about rising costs. The fabric is more expensive now, and the cost of shipping it to the US has skyrocketed. He's also worried about getting flannels shipped out to US customers ahead of the holidays because carriers like the United States Postal Service are raising prices and may face issues that delay shipments like last year. "I think it's going to be a little bit of a biting the bullet in the next six months," he said, adding that the company may have to raise costs if the issues persist.Soaring shipping prices amid soaring salesArrow + Phoenix's swimwear and activewear is manufactured in Nevada.Arrow + PhoenixKayla Bell is also familiar with the challenges of importing raw materials during a time of global upheaval.As the CEO of swimwear and activewear brand Arrow + Phoenix, which is manufactured in Henderson, Nevada, Bell had to scramble when shipments of her Italian-made fabric were disrupted in 2020 as the country grappled with devastating waves of the coronavirus.Arrow + Phoenix was simultaneously seeing demand for its suits soar, which Bell attributes, in part, to a societal focus on spending with Black-owned brands amid protests following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Customers were placing $1,000 worth of orders per day, so Bell found a US textile company that produced the same type of fabric as a substitute. Now Bell says she's facing a new logistical nightmare: shipping the finished products. The brand's domestic shipping costs have increased by about $2.50 more per package with USPS, she said, and its international shipping costs have also soared. As a result, Arrow + Phoenix raised its prices by a few dollars per item, scaled back on the number of styles and colors it sells, and offered preorders for certain items. "Before COVID, it was like 40 bucks for us to ship a swimsuit, or any package, over to Italy. Now it's $200," Bell told Insider. Bell's challenges, and those of the other companies, prove the complex nature of retail in 2021: No company, no matter how it makes its products or where, is isolated from the pressures of the global economy, or the undulations of supply and demand. Paul, the AFAM president, said these challenges are leading more companies to reconsider their supply chains, diversify their suppliers, make their manufacturing processes more flexible, and source products within the US. "I don't know anybody who's suggesting that we have autarky, that we just shut our country down and we're going to be self-sufficient," Paul said. "Just, the closer you are to your customer, the closer you are to your main assembly, the fewer things that can go wrong." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider18 hr. 17 min. ago

Hershey (HSY) Benefits From Prudent Buyouts & Solid Demand

Hershey (HSY) is boosting its presence through acquisitions, which are strengthening the portfolio. The company is also gaining from better-than-expected consumer demand. The Hershey Company HSY is undertaking strategic acquisitions to augment portfolio strength and boost revenues. The company continues to benefit from a recovery in away-from-home consumption. Robust at-home consumption is also contributing to the upside. These trends were reflected in third-quarter 2021 results, with sales and earnings beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate and rising year over year.Better-than-expected consumer demand, an improved tax outlook and optimized brand investment prompted Hershey to lift 2021 net sales and earnings forecast. Management envisions full-year net sales growth in the band of 8-9% compared with the prior projection of 6-8% growth. Hershey anticipates adjusted earnings between $6.98 and $7.11 per share, which suggests an increase of 11-13% from earnings of $6.29 in 2020. The company had earlier anticipated an increase of 8-10% in earnings per share.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAcquisitions Driving GrowthHershey strategically increased its presence through acquisitions, which have been strengthening its portfolio. The company recently entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Dot’s Pretzels LLC — the owner of Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels, a leading brand in the pretzel category. The addition of Dot’s Pretzels is a perfect match for Hershey’s growing salty snacking portfolio. The company announced its plans of acquiring Pretzels Inc. from an affiliate of Peak Rock Capital. The buyout will expand Hershey’s snacking and production capabilities. Management envisions concluding the transactions by the end of 2021.On Jun 25, 2021, Hershey concluded the acquisition of Lily's, a leading better-for-you (BFY) confectionery brand. The buyout is in sync with Hershey’s focus to create an impressive BFY confection portfolio as part of its multi-pronged, better-for-you snacking strategy. The acquisition of Lily's benefited net sales by 1.4 points in the third quarter. The company acquired ONE Brands, LLC in September 2019 to solidify its footing in the snacking category. Prior to this, the company acquired Pirate Brands in October 2018 to bolster its snacking business.Several other companies in the food space like Post Holdings, Inc. POST, Hormel Foods Corporation HRL and McCormick & Company, Incorporated MKC are benefiting from acquisitions.In fourth-quarter fiscal 2021, Post Holdings’ top line included $99.8 million in net sales from acquisitions made through fiscal 2021. The buyouts include Private label ready-to-eat cereal business Egg Beaters liquid egg brand, Almark Foods business and related assets and Peter Pan nut butter brand.Hormel Foods is strengthening its business through strategic acquisitions. In June, HRL acquired the Planters snacking portfolio from The Kraft Heinz Company. Prior to this, the company acquired Texas-based pit-smoked meats company Sadler's Smokehouse in March 2020. The buyout is in sync with Hormel Foods’ initiatives to strengthen its position in the foodservice space.McCormick has strategically increased its presence through acquisitions, which have been strengthening its portfolio. In December 2020, McCormick bought a 100% stake in FONA International, LLC and some of its affiliates. FONA’s diverse portfolio helps McCormick bolster its value-add offerings and expand the flavor solutions segment into attractive categories. In November 2020, McCormick acquired the parent company of Cholula Hot Sauce — a premium Mexico-based hot sauce brand.Wrapping UpHershey is encountering higher selling, marketing and administrative expenses for a while. During third-quarter 2021, selling, marketing and administrative expenses rose 3.7% year over year due to higher corporate expenses. Management expects supply chain costs, mainly logistics, labor and packaging to remain higher, at least through the first half of 2022. Raw material inflation is likely to be higher year over year in 2022.Nevertheless, Gains from strategic buyouts and improved consumer demand are likely to aid growth.Shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have increased 16.8% year to date compared with the industry's growth of 17%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hershey Company The (HSY): Free Stock Analysis Report Hormel Foods Corporation (HRL): Free Stock Analysis Report McCormick & Company, Incorporated (MKC): Free Stock Analysis Report Post Holdings, Inc. (POST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021

The 4 best drip coffee makers for a perfect cup of coffee in 2021

Drip coffee machines range from basic brewers with an on/off function to programmable, all-in-one appliances. Here are the best coffee makers of 2021. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Dylan Ettinger/Business Insider There are many excellent choices for high-quality electric coffee makers on the market today. Using my decade of coffee industry experience, I tested 8 machines to determine which performed best. Café Specialty's Drip Coffee Maker produced the best-tasting coffee and is easy to use. Electric drip coffee makers provide the quickest, easiest way to brew coffee. But can a coffee maker help you achieve the same great cup of coffee that you can get from your favorite cafe? As it turns out, yes.Automatic coffee makers have come a long way in the past few years. As appreciation of specialty coffee in the United States has grown significantly, manufacturers of coffee makers have outfitted their products with a variety of new features, many of which are designed to emulate facets of manually brewing pour-over coffee. For example, many modern machines come equipped with a pre-infusion cycle that allows the coffee to bloom, fully-customizable temperature controls, and settings that allow you to choose your preferred brewing strength. Whether you want a coffee maker that's straightforward and simple, one that allows you to make a wide variety of drinks, or one that gives you precise control, you'll find it in this buying guide.Here are the best coffee makers in 2021:Best drip coffee maker overall: Café Specialty Drip Coffee MakerBest budget drip coffee maker: Kitchenaid 12 Cup Drip Coffee MakerBest drip coffee maker for specialty drinks: Ninja Specialty Coffee MakerBest precision drip coffee maker: Breville Precision BrewerBest coffee maker overallDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderCapacity: 10 CupsFilter type: Reusable meshDimensions: Height: 14 in, Width: 7.3 in, Length: 12.5 inSpecial features: Temperature control, Wifi control via mobile phone appSCA certified: YesPros: High build quality, easy to use, consistent performance.Cons: Expensive when compared to competitors. The sleek Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker looks simple, but it delivers when it comes to performance. It's made primarily of stainless steel with a matte black finish, copper accents, a reusable titanium plated filter, and a vacuum sealed thermal carafe.The water reservoir holds up to 10 cups, and is outfitted with a carbon filter to ensure that any excess minerals in the water don't make it into the coffee. It also offers a temperature control option, an auto brew setting, and wifi connectivity that allows you to control the brewer remotely with a phone app. I found the controls for all these features to be intuitive and easy to use.Most importantly, this SCA certified machine (more on what that designation means here) produces some of the best coffee I tried in my tests. There are options available to brew at multiple degrees of strength, "Gold," "Light," "Medium," and "Bold," with "Gold" being the recommended setting. I tried coffee made at multiple settings and all were good, with the "Gold" and "Bold" having a more well-rounded, full flavor and a slightly heavier body. I was able to taste all the chocolate and fruit notes of the flavor profile in every cup. What makes this coffee maker the best I tested is its combination of simplicity and customizability. It's also extremely consistent — every cup of coffee brewed at every setting tasted just like it should. The only downside with this machine is the high price tag, but if you're willing to invest in a top-tier appliance, the Café Specialty won't let you down.$349.95 FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA$279.00 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $349.99 | Save 20%Best budget drip coffee makerDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderCapacity: 12 CupsFilter type: ReusableDimensions: Height: 14.34 in, Width: 7.17 in, Length: 13.4 inSpecial features: "Dosage Ladder" for easy measuringSCA certified: NoPros: High capacity, multiple options for brew strengthCons: Mostly plastic construction, fewer options than similar modelsThe unfortunate truth is that a high-quality, reliable coffee maker is not going to be cheap. At $99.99, this Kitchenaid 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker isn't "budget" for most, but this is about the minimum amount you will have to spend on a high-performance machine. The Kitchenaid has many of the same features as our favorite, the Café Specialty, but at less than a third of the price. This coffee maker is built mostly of sturdy plastic, with a glass carafe kept warm with a heating plate. With a 12 cup capacity, it's also one of the largest we tested. It comes with a reusable filter fitted with a convenient "dosage ladder" that matches the volume of ground coffee with the desired amount of water. It's very easy to use and the controls are intuitive, allowing for a "Bold" brewing option, a timed auto brew feature and a cleaning cycle.The coffee the Kitchenaid 12 Cup produced on the normal settings was well extracted and full-flavored, which was impressive considering that it's one of the simpler machines we tested. Using the "Bold" setting made an even better cup. It was much richer with a heavier mouth feel and still maintained all of the beans' chocolatey notes. It may lack a few of the extra features of other coffee makers, but the Kitchenaid delivers delicious results at a fraction of the price.$99.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%$99.99 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%$99.99 FROM KITCHENAIDOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%Best drip coffee maker for specialty drinksDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderCapacity: 10 CupsFilter type: Reusable and paperDimensions: Height: 15 in, Width: 8.8 in, Length: 12.5 inSpecial features: Milk frother, "Specialty" setting, iced coffee settingSCA certified: YesPros: "Specialty" brew setting and milk frother can be used to make espresso-style drinks, wide variety of brewing options.Cons: Lower build quality, mostly made of plastic.If you're looking for versatility in a coffee maker, the Ninja Specialty is the one to get. It can be operated with either a reusable filter or a paper filter. It also has a wide selection of brew sizes, from a single serving cup all the way to a full 18-ounce carafe. If you choose the former, there's a retractable platform that can hold a mug — an addition I found to be incredibly useful.Every setting is easily selected with a dial and light-up icons, along with clearly marked buttons on the face of the coffee maker. But the Ninja's most unique feature is the built-in electric milk frother, which is attached to an arm that folds out from the machine's side. This coffee maker offers multiple brew styles like "Classic," "Rich," "Over Ice," and "Specialty." Every cup I tried on both "Classic," and "Rich" settings was full-bodied and flavorful. What really sets the Ninja apart from the other machines I tested is its "Specialty" brewing feature, which produces a concentrated, 4-ounce pour of coffee. It's not quite as dense as espresso, and doesn't have crema, but I found the taste to be surprisingly similar. The "Specialty" setting paired with the built-in milk frother gives you the option to make specialty drinks like lattes. Again, it's not the same as using an espresso machine — the brewing process is completely different — but I was satisfied with my faux lattes. With a little practice I'm sure cappuccinos, cortados and flavored drinks such as mochas could also be in the rotation.$119.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%$119.99 FROM BED BATH & BEYONDOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%$119.99 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%Best precision drip coffee makerDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderCapacity: 12 CupsFilter type: Reusable and paperDimensions: Height: 15.7 in, Width: 6.7 in, Length: 12.4 inSpecial features: High degree of customizabilitySCA certified: YesPros: Highly customizable brewing variables, high-quality build, mostly stainless steel.Cons: Precision brewing options really most useful for more experienced coffee drinkers.The Breville Precision Brewer offers unmatched control over every variable in the brewing process. It's primarily made of stainless steel with a clear plastic reservoir. The brew basket is detachable, and you can use reusable or paper filters. With a 12 cup capacity, the Breville is perfect for making large batches of coffee, but it performs well at lower volumes as well. Most of the customization is done using the small, back-lit display screen and a single dial. The screen is easy to read and the menus are simple to navigate. When it comes to brewing, the Breville offers multiple preset brewing modes; "Fast," "Gold," (the recommended setting) and "Strong". It also offers presets for making both iced coffee and cold brew. And there's an attachment available that lets you swap out the brew basket with a pourover device like a Hario V60 or Kalita Wave. For my tests, I first tried brewing a pot of coffee with the SCA recommended "Gold" setting and followed that up with the "Strong" setting. The coffee I made on both the "Gold" and "Strong" presets was fully extracted and full-flavored, with the second cup a bit darker and more robust. Beyond these presets, the thing that really sets this brewer apart is the customization available in the "My Brew" setting, which allows users to modify almost every major variable in the brewing process — including the bloom time, water temperature, and water flow rate — and then save those settings for future use. If you're looking for a coffee maker to just get the job done there are simpler and more affordable options. But for the coffee aficionado who wants complete control of the brewing process, the Breville is the best maker you can get right now.$299.95 FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA$299.95 FROM BREVILLEWhat else we consideredDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderCuisinart PurePrecision Pour-Over Thermal Coffee BrewerThis coffee maker is the clear runner-up for the overall best. The Cuisinart PurePrecision is made primarily of stainless steel with a thermal carafe, uses a reusable metal filter, and has an 8 cup capacity. It's advertised as an automated alternative to a pour-over cone, using a pre-infusion cycle, variable water temperature and brew styles to give the user more control. The coffee it makes tasted great, especially when using the "Bold" setting. If the Cafe Specialty or Breville Precision are out of your price range, this is an excellent alternative.Ninja Dualbrew ProThe Ninja Dualbrew Pro offers all the same features and brewing options as the Ninja Specialty, with the addition of an attachment that allows the user to brew coffee from pods. As far as performance is concerned, the Dualbrew Pro performed very similarly to the Ninja Specialty in my tests. The only notable drawback is the lack of a reusable filter basket with the Dualbrew Pro. Switching between the pod brewing and standard brewing functions was a little awkward , and regardless of which setting you use, there will be either a loose plastic cone or pod brewing attachment. Unless you really want the option to use coffee pods, I recommend opting for the Ninja Specialty Brewer instead.Mr. Coffee Pod + 10-CupThe Mr Coffee is another machine that provides the option of brewing coffee pods as well as ground coffee. It has most of the standard features the other coffee makers here have, like a timed auto brew function and a variable "Strong" setting. It requires paper filters which are not included, and offers a water filter that fits into the water tank. The coffee made on the "Strong" setting was significantly better than the standard cup, which seemed slightly under extracted and weak. One positive feature here is that the manufacturers provide a reusable pod that allows you to use your own fresh coffee. The overall performance of this maker doesn't warrant recommending it over any of the others. Unless having a coffee maker that brews both pods and normal ground coffee is appealing, I'd recommend the Kitchenaid or Cuisinart PurePrecision over this one.OXO 8-Cup Coffee MakerThe OXO coffee maker has a good build quality, but lacks many features standard on other products. There's no option for brewing strength and no ability to control water temperature. Because of its lack of features and trouble maintaining temperature, I have a hard time recommending this maker over others I tested. The coffee it produced was acceptable, and it performed well, but at this price point you're better off choosing the Ninja Specialty or the Cuisinart PurePrecision.Our drip coffee maker testing methodologyDylan Ettinger/Business InsiderI have around a decade's worth of experience in the specialty coffee industry. Before testing and reviewing coffee products I worked as a barista, helped open a cafe, and worked behind the scenes in packaging and distribution. For additional expertise, I spoke with Max Gaultieri, barista, roaster and founder of Joules and Watts coffee in Malibu California, and Jessica Rodriguez, who heads the Certified Home Brewer program at the SCA. The coffee makers in this guide were thoroughly tested based on the following objective criteria:Build quality: While testing, I paid attention to the quality of the build, most notably what each coffee maker was primarily made of, (stainless steel, plastic, glass, etc.) I also noted which type of carafe each used and whether they were thermal or glass kept warm with a heating plate.Brewing capacity: For this criteria, I simply noted the maximum brewing capacity for each coffee maker. The machines I tested ranged from 8 to 12 cups of brewing capacityEase of setup and use: To test this, I followed the manufacturer's instructions for setup and operation for each coffee maker. During the setup, I paid close attention to how easy each coffee maker was to set up and use and whether there were any awkward controls or components on each machine.Type of filtration: Each coffee maker uses either a reusable filter (usually plastic mesh or stainless steel,) paper filters, or has the ability to use either.  Customizability: Most of the coffee makers I tested had multiple options to customize the brewing process. Some offered a simple choice between a standard brewing option and a "rich" or "strong" option. Some coffee makers, like the Breville, offered a much higher degree of customizability over brewing variables. For each coffee maker I began by using the recommended brewing preset, usually referred to as the "Medium," "Standard," and "Normal" settings. I then did a second test, again following manufacturer guidelines for any coffee maker that offered a "Strong" or "Bold" option, and tested how each cup tasted compared to the "Standard" settings. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure both of these options with every coffee maker were extracted properly and were not under or over developed.Consistency and flavor of coffee: Taste is ultimately subjective, so I looked primarily at whether each brewer produced consistent results. After testing with manufacturer recommended ratios, I used SCA standards to see if each brewer met expectations for each brewing variable. I pre-measured the coffee and water at the recommended ratio of 1 part coffee to 18 parts water. I used the recommended ratio of coffee to water to make a batch of 8 cups of coffee (8 cups is the maximum batch size that all the coffee makers had in common).  I used a kitchen scale and measured both the coffee and water in grams. I used 60.4 grams of ground coffee to 1088 grams (8 cups) of water. For each test, I timed how long the brewing cycle lasted. I also tested the water temperature in the brew basket after one minute of brewing time, in order to see how close the heating element was able to heat the water to the desired range of 195° - 205°F, and to find out roughly how long it stayed at the desired temperature. I again used the "Standard" option. Once finished, I noted the flavor of each cup and how well it was extracted.Additional features: After testing each coffee maker three times, I went back and tested the common special features or settings of each coffee maker. Some makers had additional brew settings set up for single-cup brewing, concentrated brewing or for making iced coffee. Others had built-in milk frothers. For this test, I looked at how easy each feature was to use and how effective they were in achieving their stated goal.To test these coffee makers I made sure to control as many variables as possible between each test. For each maker I used the Peru Eufemio Dominguez Aguilar Cajamarca from Joules and Watts coffee roasters in Malibu, California. The roast was recommended by Max Gaultieri, Joules and Watts founder and roaster, for it's balanced flavor profile with notes of chocolate cake and blackberry. The coffee was ground fresh at a medium coarseness with a Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder. The water used in each test was tap water filtered by a standard Brita filtration pitcher. Each coffee maker was tested a minimum of three times.Drip coffee maker FAQsHow do I make the perfect cup of coffee in a coffee maker?The best way to make perfect coffee is by making sure your coffee-to-water ratio is correct. You can always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and your ratio might change depending on how strong you want your coffee, but the SCA recommends a coffee to water ratio of 1:18. To get to know your machine, Max Gualtieri recommends you start with "15:1 and adjust up or down to your preference. For example, if you are using 30 grams of coffee you'll use 450 grams of water." What kind of coffee goes in a coffee maker?Any coffee can work in a coffee maker, but there are a few factors to look for that will ensure the best results. First, make sure your coffee is fresh. Most roasters print the roast date on every bag of coffee. Try to find a coffee roasted less than two weeks before you want to brew. Second, if you can, grind your coffee just before brewing. "Optimally, freshly roasted and freshly ground coffee goes into the coffee maker. Yes, grinding is an extra step and yes, it is completely worth it," Gaultieri says.Do fresh grounds in coffee makers really make a difference?"Always!" Gaultieri says. After roasting, all of the flavorful oils and sugars start to decay and the gasses inside the coffee beans leak out, creating a more dull and stale flavor. Pre-grinding your coffee long before brewing amplifies that effect. "The coffee starts to lose volatile aromatic compounds as soon as it is ground," says Gaultieri. By breaking up the beans and releasing more of the gasses and exposing the organic compounds and oils to the air, it spoils even more quickly.What variables affect the coffee brewing process?No matter how you're making your coffee, the same variables always contribute to the quality of the cup you're making. The choice of coffee, grind coarseness, water temperature, coffee-to-water ratio, brewing time and filtration method all contribute heavily to how your coffee is going to turn out. Different brewing methods require adjusting the specifics of those variables, but the most important factor is always going to be the coffee you use. "Start with quality coffee!" Gualtieri says. Make sure it's freshly roasted and freshly ground.Why is water temperature so important for brewing coffee?Water temperature has a huge effect on the coffee brewing process. Brewing at the proper temperature (195° - 205°F, 90° - 96°C) ensures that the proper amount of coffee solubles are extracted. What is blooming and why is it important?Blooming is a commonly recommended step in the brewing process when making pour over coffee. Blooming, or pre-infusing, is when a small amount of hot water is used to soak the beans in order to help release the carbon dioxide gas in the coffee. Without blooming, the CO2 bubbles released can disrupt the overall brewing process by making the ground bed uneven and lead to an uneven extraction. Many coffee makers now utilize a programmed pre-infusion process to help create a more evenly extracted and full-flavored cup of coffee.Why should I buy an electric coffee maker?Electric coffee makers may seem overly complicated and expensive when compared to manual brewing devices like the French press, or a pour-over. Electric coffee makers excel when it comes to consistency. "Both methods use the same variables to extract coffee. One difference with electric coffee makers is there isn't the human variable," Rodriguez says, "A coffee machine is programmed to do the same thing every time it is turned on, and if it is a good machine, it will do this very consistently." Electric coffee makers also often have features such as timed brewing, which can save time in the morning if your schedule is tight.Should I choose a thermal carafe or warming plate?Coffee makers often have either thermal carafes or warming plates to keep coffee warm after it's brewed. But Jessica Rodriguez warns, "The heating plate is sometimes overlooked as an element that can affect flavor. If a brewer has a heating plate to keep the carafe warm, it is really important that the plate does not raise the temperature of the brew, which can have a negative impact on the flavor." In my testing, I found that most coffee makers with thermal carafes do a great job of maintaining the temperature of the coffee for about an hour.What kind of filters should I use?Different coffee makers use different methods of filtration. The most common are reusable metal or mesh filters and single-use paper filters. Some makers even allow the user to choose between the two. The major difference between filtration types is how much of the dissolved coffee solids and oils they allow to pass through. "Filtration affects the beverage clarity which affects the body/mouthfeel sensory experience of coffee." Rodriguez says. Reusable filters have the added bonus of producing less waste and cutting long-term costs.What sets an SCA certified home brewer apart from other coffee makers?The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) has a program that rigorously tests coffee makers and certifies the ones that perform to their standards. As Jessica Rodriguez, Certifications Program Manager at the SCA explains, "Multiple production units are submitted and tested at 1L and full capacity for adequate brew basket space to hold the SCA Golden Cup ratio of 55g/L, that they can reach and maintain a brewing temperature of 92 – 96C, the total water contact time falls between 4 – 8 minutes, the total dissolved solids of each brew falls between 1.15% - 1.45% and is consistent from extraction to extraction, and that there is good beverage clarity. Submitted brewers are also subjected to a uniformity of extraction test procedure that analyzes the spent coffee bed for the evenness of extraction." Basically, any SCA certified brewer is proven to produce high-quality, consistent cups of coffee.The best drip coffee maker deals from this guideA good cup of coffee starts with good beans and, of course, a good coffee maker. Our recommended drip coffee makers come in a range of prices, but the best ones seldom go on sale. If you're looking for the best times to shop,  try Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day — they're all pretty reliable occasions for good coffee maker deals. During Black Friday last year, we saw our best overall pick, the Cuisinart Coffee Plus, discounted by a rare $30.Here, we've gathered up the best deals available on our expert-recommended machines:Café Specialty Drip Coffee Maker$279.00 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $349.99 | Save 20%$349.95 FROM WILLIAMS SONOMAKitchenAid 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker$99.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%$99.99 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%$99.99 FROM KITCHENAIDOriginally $109.99 | Save 9%Ninja CM401 Specialty Coffee Maker$119.99 FROM AMAZONOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%$119.99 FROM BED BATH & BEYONDOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%$119.99 FROM BEST BUYOriginally $169.99 | Save 29%Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.Check out our other great coffee guidesBialettiThe best espresso machinesThe best french pressesThe best stovetop espresso makersThe best coffee grindersRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 22nd, 2021

BellRing Brands Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BellRing Brands, Inc. (NYSE:BRBR) ("BellRing"), a holding company operating in the global convenient nutrition category, today reported results for the fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2021. Highlights: Fourth quarter net sales of $340.0 million; operating profit of $53.1 million; net earnings available to Class A common stockholders of $9.7 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $60.5 million Fiscal year net sales of $1,247.1 million; operating profit of $168.0 million; net earnings available to Class A common stockholders of $27.6 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $233.9 million Announces agreement with Post to increase RTD shake production Fiscal year 2022 net sales and Adjusted EBITDA expected to range between $1.36-$1.41 billion and $255-$265 million, respectively Fourth Quarter Operating Results Net sales were $340.0 million, an increase of 20.3%, or $57.4 million, compared to the prior year period. Premier Protein net sales increased 18.2%, with volumes up 13.6%, and Premier Protein ready-to-drink ("RTD") shake net sales increased 18.5%, with volumes up 13.6%. Premier Protein net sales benefited from (i) RTD shake distribution gains for both existing and new products, (ii) strong velocities driven in part by promotional activity and continued category momentum and (iii) higher average net selling prices driven by price increases to offset cost inflation. Dollar consumption of Premier Protein RTD shakes increased 30.2% in the 13-week period ended October 2, 2021, as compared to the same period in 2020 (inclusive of NielsenIQ Total US xAOC including Convenience and management estimates of untracked channels). Dymatize net sales increased 41.3%, with volumes up 32.4%, and benefited from (i) distribution gains for both existing and new products, (ii) lapping global specialty retail store and gym closures in the prior year period in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic (which drove declines in shipments, consumer mobility and on-the-go consumption), (iii) strong velocities driven in part by continued category momentum and (iv) higher average net selling prices (driven by a favorable product mix). Net sales of all other products increased 7.6%. Overall net sales growth was impacted by supply chain disruptions across BellRing's contract manufacturer network. This resulted in lower than anticipated production, which exacerbated already low inventories and caused missed sales. Gross profit was $96.0 million, or 28.2% of net sales, an increase of 6.9%, or $6.2 million, compared to $89.8 million, or 31.8% of net sales, in the prior year period. The lower gross profit margin was driven by higher input costs (predominantly freight and whey-based and milk-based proteins) and planned promotional activity. Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses were $38.0 million, or 11.2% of net sales, an increase of $2.8 million compared to $35.2 million, or 12.5% of net sales, in the prior year period. Operating profit was $53.1 million, an increase of 8.4%, or $4.1 million, compared to $49.0 million in the prior year period. Interest expense, net was $9.6 million, compared to $13.5 million in the prior year period, with the decrease primarily driven by a reduction in the aggregate principal amount of debt outstanding. Income tax expense was $3.0 million, an effective income tax rate of 6.9%, compared to zero in the prior year period. In both periods, the effective income tax rate differed significantly from the statutory rate primarily as a result of taking into account for U.S. federal, state and local income tax purposes a 28.8% distributive share of the items of income, gain, loss and deduction of BellRing Brands, LLC ("BellRing LLC"). In the fourth quarter of 2020, the effective income tax rate was impacted by a favorable adjustment recorded in connection with finalizing the tax deductibility of transaction costs associated with BellRing's initial public offering (the "IPO"). Net earnings available to Class A common stockholders were $9.7 million, a decrease of 3.0%, or $0.3 million, compared to $10.0 million in the prior year period. Net earnings available to Class A common stockholders excluded $30.8 million of net earnings attributable to the Company's redeemable noncontrolling interest ("NCI"), compared to $25.5 million excluded in the prior year period. Net earnings per diluted share of Class A common stock were $0.25, compared to $0.26 in the prior year period. Adjusted net earnings available to Class A common stockholders were $9.9 million, or $0.25 per diluted share of Class A common stock, compared to $10.0 million, or $0.25 per diluted share of Class A common stock, in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $60.5 million, an increase of 6.7%, or $3.8 million, compared to $56.7 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA in both periods included an adjustment for the portion of BellRing LLC's consolidated net earnings which was allocated to NCI, resulting in the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA including 100% of BellRing. Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Results Net sales were $1,247.1 million, an increase of 26.2%, or $258.8 million, compared to the prior year. Premier Protein net sales increased 25.1%, with volumes up 23.9%. Dymatize net sales increased 43.3%, with volumes up 29.3%. Net sales of all other products increased 6.9%. Gross profit was $386.2 million, or 31.0% of net sales, an increase of 14.3%, or $48.2 million, compared to $338.0 million, or 34.2% of net sales, in the prior year. The lower gross profit margin was driven by higher input costs (predominantly milk-based proteins and freight for RTD shakes) and planned incremental promotional activity. SG&A expenses were $167.1 million, or 13.4% of net sales, an increase of $15.3 million, compared to $151.8 million, or 15.4% of net sales, in the prior year. SG&A expenses for fiscal year 2021 included $6.1 million of higher marketing and consumer advertising expenses, $5.2 million of restructuring and facility closure costs and higher incentive compensation accruals, which were partially offset by $1.7 million of lower costs related to BellRing's separation from Post Holdings, Inc. ("Post"). Restructuring and facility closure costs and separation costs were treated as adjustments for non-GAAP measures. Operating profit was $168.0 million, an increase of 2.4%, or $4.0 million, compared to $164.0 million in the prior year, and was negatively impacted by $29.9 million of accelerated amortization incurred in connection with the discontinuance of the Supreme Protein brand, which was treated as an adjustment for non-GAAP measures. Interest expense, net was $43.2 million, compared to $54.7 million in the prior year, with the decrease primarily driven by a reduction in the aggregate principal amount of debt outstanding. Income tax expense was $8.8 million, an effective income tax rate of 7.1%, compared to $9.2 million in the prior year, an effective income tax rate of 8.4%. In both years, the effective income tax rate differed significantly from the statutory rate primarily as a result of taking into account for U.S. federal, state and local income tax purposes a 28.8% distributive share of the items of income, gain, loss and deduction of BellRing LLC in the periods subsequent to BellRing's IPO. Net earnings available to Class A common stockholders were $27.6 million, an increase of 17.4%, or $4.1 million, compared to $23.5 million in the prior year. Net earnings available to Class A common stockholders in fiscal year 2021 excluded $86.8 million of net earnings attributable to the Company's redeemable NCI, compared to $76.6 million excluded in the prior year. Net earnings per diluted share of Class A common stock were $0.70, compared to $0.60 in the prior year. Adjusted net earnings available to Class A common stockholders were $35.7 million, or $0.90 per diluted share of Class A common stock, compared to $24.3 million, or $0.62 per diluted share of Class A common stock, in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA was $233.9 million, an increase of 18.6%, or $36.7 million, compared to $197.2 million in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA in both years included an adjustment for the portion of BellRing LLC's consolidated net earnings which was allocated to NCI, resulting in the calculation of Adjusted EBITDA including 100% of BellRing. Basis of Presentation On October 21, 2019, BellRing closed its IPO of 39.4 million shares of Class A common stock. Upon completion of the IPO and certain transactions completed in connection with the IPO, BellRing became the holding company for BellRing LLC (which became the holding company for Post's historical active nutrition business). Effective October 21, 2019, BellRing allocates a portion of the consolidated net earnings of BellRing LLC to NCI, reflecting the entitlement of Post to a portion of the consolidated net earnings. As of September 30, 2021, Post held 71.2% of the economic interest of BellRing LLC. Prior to October 21, 2019, Post held 100% of the economic interest of BellRing LLC, which was allocated to NCI. For the period prior to the IPO included in the twelve months ended September 30, 2020, BellRing's financial statements present the combined results of Post's historical active nutrition business which have been prepared on a stand-alone basis and are derived from the consolidated financial statements and accounting records of Post. The combined financial statements reflect the historical results of operations, financial position and cash flows of the active nutrition business. In the opinion of management, the assumptions underlying the active nutrition business's historical combined financial statements were reasonable. Agreement with Post to Increase RTD Shake Capacity BellRing and Post have entered into an agreement in which Post will purchase and develop land with the intent to build an aseptic processing facility to produce RTD shakes for BellRing. BellRing and Post expect to enter into a contract manufacturing agreement. BellRing and Post expect to provide further details as progress is made. Post's Plan to Distribute Its Interest in BellRing to Post Shareholders On October 27, 2021, Post and BellRing announced the signing of a transaction agreement related to Post's previously announced plan to distribute a significant portion of its interest in BellRing to Post's shareholders. The parties expect the distribution to be completed in the first calendar quarter of 2022, subject to certain customary conditions, including the receipt of certain tax opinions and the approval of BellRing's stockholders (including the approval of BellRing's stockholders other than Post). There can be no assurance that the proposed distribution will be completed as anticipated or at all. Please refer to the press release dated October 27, 2021 for further information. COVID-19 Commentary BellRing continues to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business and remains focused on ensuring the health and safety of its employees and serving customers and consumers. BellRing's primary categories returned to growth rates in line with their pre-pandemic levels during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 and have remained strong in subsequent periods. As the overall economy continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, input and freight inflation, equipment delays and input and labor availability are pressuring BellRing's supply chain. Lower than anticipated production and delays in capacity expansion across the broader third party shake contract manufacturer have resulted in low inventories and missed sales. Service levels and fill rates remain below normal levels, and certain products have been placed on allocation. These factors are expected to improve but persist throughout fiscal year 2022 and are dependent upon BellRing's contract manufacturer partners' ability to deliver committed volumes, add capacity on expected timelines, retain manufacturing staff and rebuild inventory levels. Outlook For fiscal year 2022, BellRing management expects net sales and Adjusted EBITDA each to grow 9%-13% over fiscal year 2021 (resulting in a net sales range of $1.36-$1.41 billion and an Adjusted EBITDA range of $255-$265 million). BellRing management expects the following: Net sales growth to be high single digits in the first half of 2022 and mid teens in the second half of 2022, with sequential improvement in each quarter throughout the year as incremental capacity comes online. As previously discussed, the accelerated growth experienced in fiscal year 2021 exceeded BellRing's current shake manufacturing capacity. As a result, inventories are low and expected to recover throughout fiscal year 2022. Adjusted EBITDA growth is weighted toward the second half of 2022, with Adjusted EBITDA margins flat as the benefits from pricing actions and lower brand investments are offset by significant inflation. BellRing management expects fiscal year 2022 capital expenditures of approximately $4 million. BellRing provides Adjusted EBITDA guidance only on a non-GAAP basis and does not provide a reconciliation of its forward-looking Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP guidance measure to the most directly comparable GAAP measure due to the inherent difficulty in forecasting and quantifying certain amounts that are necessary for such reconciliation, including adjustments that could be made for restructuring and facility closures costs, separation costs, net earnings attributable to redeemable NCI and other charges reflected in BellRing's reconciliation of historical numbers, the amounts of which, based on historical experience, could be significant. For additional information regarding BellRing's non-GAAP measures, see the related explanations presented under "Use of Non-GAAP Measures." Use of Non-GAAP Measures BellRing uses certain non-GAAP measures in this release to supplement the financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). These non-GAAP measures include Adjusted net earnings available to Class A common stockholders, Adjusted diluted earnings per share of Class A common stock and Adjusted EBITDA. The reconciliation of each of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure is provided later in this release under "Explanation and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures." Management uses certain of these non-GAAP measures, including Adjusted EBITDA, as key metrics in the evaluation of underlying company performance, in making financial, operating and planning decisions and, in part, in the determination of bonuses for its executive officers and employees. Additionally, BellRing LLC is required to comply with certain covenants and limitations that are based on variations of EBITDA in BellRing LLC's financing documents. Management believes the use of these non-GAAP measures provides increased transparency and assists investors in understanding the underlying operating performance of BellRing and in the analysis of ongoing operating trends. Non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, as they exclude certain items as described later in this release. These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. For additional information regarding BellRing's non-GAAP measures, see the related explanations provided under "Explanation and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures" later in this release. BellRing Conference Call to Discuss Earnings Results and Outlook BellRing will host a conference call on Friday, November 19, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. EST to discuss financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 outlook and to respond to questions. Darcy H. Davenport, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul A. Rode, Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the call. Interested parties may join the conference call by dialing (877) 876-9173 in the United States and (785) 424-1667 from outside of the United States. The conference identification number is BRBRQ421. Interested parties are invited to listen to the webcast of the conference call, which can be accessed by visiting the Investor Relations section of BellRing's website at www.bellring.com. A slide presentation containing supplemental material will also be available at the same location on BellRing's website. A replay of the conference call will be available through Friday, November 26, 2021 by dialing (800) 753-9146 in the United States and (402) 220-2705 from outside of the United States. A webcast replay also will be available for a limited period on BellRing's website in the Investor Relations section. Prospective Financial Information Prospective financial information is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying the prospective financial information described above will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. For further discussion of some of the factors that may cause actual results to vary materially from the information provided above, see "Forward-Looking Statements" below. Accordingly, the prospective financial information provided above is only an estimate of what BellRing's management believes is realizable as of the date of this release. It also should be recognized that the reliability of any forecasted financial data diminishes the farther in the future that the data is forecasted. In light of the foregoing, the information should be viewed in context and undue reliance should not be placed upon it. Additional Information Regarding the Proposed Distribution of Post's Interest in BellRing and Where to Find It This communication does not constitute an offer to sell, the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. In connection with the proposed transaction, BellRing Distribution, LLC ("New BellRing") and BellRing intend to file relevant materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("the SEC"), including a proxy statement of BellRing, a prospectus of New BellRing and any other applicable registration statement to be filed in connection with the separation. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENTS/PROSPECTUSES, PROXY STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NEW BELLRING, BELLRING AND THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain these materials (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC free of charge from the SEC's website, www.sec.gov, BellRing's website, www.bellring.com, or Post's website, www.postholdings.com. The transaction and distribution of this communication may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions and persons who come into possession of any document or other information referred to herein should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. Any failure to comply with these restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities will be made, directly or indirectly, in or into any jurisdiction where to do so would be inconsistent with the laws of such jurisdiction. Participants in a Solicitation BellRing, New BellRing, Post and their respective directors and executive officers and other members of management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from BellRing's stockholders with respect to the approvals required to complete the proposed transaction. More detailed information regarding the identity of these potential participants, and any direct or indirect interests they may have in the proposed transaction, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the BellRing proxy statement when filed with the SEC. Information regarding the directors and executive officers of BellRing is available in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on January 20, 2021. Information regarding the directors and executive officers of Post is available in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on December 7, 2020. Free copies of these documents may be obtained as described above. Forward-Looking Statements Certain matters discussed in this release and on BellRing's conference call are forward-looking statements, including BellRing's net sales, Adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditures outlook for fiscal year 2022, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on BellRing's business, BellRing's continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the proposed transaction between Post and BellRing for the distribution of a significant portion of Post's interest in BellRing to Post's shareholders, including the amount of BellRing equity Post intends to distribute, the form of distribution and the expected timing of the completion of the proposed transaction. These forward-looking statements are sometimes identified from the use of forward-looking words such as "believe," "should," "could," "potential," "continue," "expect," "project," "estimate," "predict," "anticipate," "aim," "intend," "plan," "forecast," "target," "is likely," "will," "can," "may" or "would" or the negative of these terms or similar expressions, and include all statements regarding future performance, earnings projections, events or developments. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including negative impacts on the global economy and capital markets, the health of BellRing's employees, BellRing's ability and the ability of its third party contract manufacturers to manufacture and deliver its products, operating costs, demand for its on-the-go products and its operations generally; BellRing's dependence on sales from its RTD protein shakes; BellRing's ability to continue to compete in its product categories and its ability to retain its market position and favorable perceptions of its brands; disruptions or inefficiencies in BellRing's supply chain, including as a result of BellRing's reliance on third party suppliers or manufacturers for the manufacturing of many of its products, pandemics (including the COVID-19 pandemic) and other outbreaks of contagious diseases, labor shortages, fires and evacuations related thereto, changes in weather conditions, natural disasters, agricultural diseases and pests and other events beyond BellRing's control; BellRing's dependence on a limited number of third party contract manufacturers for the manufacturing of most of its products, including one manufacturer for the substantial majority of its RTD protein shakes; the ability of BellRing's third party contract manufacturers to produce an amount of BellRing's products that enables BellRing to meet customer and consumer demand for the products; BellRing's reliance on a limited number of third party suppliers to provide certain ingredients and packaging; significant volatility in the cost or availability of inputs to BellRing's business (including freight, raw materials, packaging, energy, labor and other supplies); BellRing's ability to anticipate and respond to changes in consumer and customer preferences and behaviors and introduce new products; consolidation in BellRing's distribution channels; BellRing's ability to expand existing market penetration and enter into new markets; the loss of, a significant reduction of purchases by or the bankruptcy of a major customer; legal and regulatory factors, such as compliance with existing laws and regulations, as well as new laws and regulations and changes to existing laws and regulations and interpretations thereof, affecting BellRing's business, including current and future laws and regulations regarding food safety, advertising, labeling, tax matters and environmental matters; fluctuations in BellRing's business due to changes in its promotional activities and seasonality; BellRing's ability to maintain the net selling prices of its products and manage promotional activities with respect to its products; BellRing's high leverage, its ability to obtain additional financing (including both secured and unsecured debt) and its ability to service its outstanding debt (including covenants that restrict the operation of its business); the accuracy of BellRing's market data and attributes and related information; changes in estimates in critical accounting judgments; economic downturns that limit customer and consumer demand for BellRing's products; changes in economic conditions, disruptions in the United States and global capital and credit markets, changes in interest rates, volatility in the market value of derivatives and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; risks related to BellRing's ongoing relationship with Post, including Post's control over BellRing and ability to control the direction of BellRing's business, conflicts of interest or disputes that may arise between Post and BellRing, and BellRing's obligations under various agreements with Post, including under the tax receivable agreement; conflicting interests or the appearance of conflicting interests resulting from certain of BellRing's directors also serving as officers or directors of Post; risks related to the proposed distribution by Post of a significant portion of its ownership interest in BellRing, including that it is subject to various conditions and may not occur, BellRing's inability to take certain actions because such actions could jeopardize the tax-free status of the proposed distribution and BellRing's possible responsibility for U.S. federal tax liabilities related to the proposed distribution; the ultimate impact litigation or other regulatory matters may have on BellRing; risks associated with BellRing's international business; BellRing's ability to protect its intellectual property and other assets and to continue to use third party intellectual property subject to intellectual property licenses; costs, business disruptions and reputational damage associated with information technology failures, cybersecurity incidents and/or information security breaches; impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or other intangibles; BellRing's ability to identify, complete and integrate or otherwise effectively execute acquisitions or other strategic transactions and effectively manage its growth; BellRing's ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; significant differences in BellRing's actual operating results from BellRing's guidance regarding its performance; BellRing's ability to hire and retain talented personnel, employee absenteeism, labor strikes, work stoppages or unionization efforts; and other risks and uncertainties described in BellRing's filings with the SEC. These forward-looking statements represent BellRing's judgment as of the date of this release. BellRing disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. About BellRing Brands, Inc. BellRing Brands, Inc. is a rapidly growing leader in the global convenient nutrition category. Its primary brands, Premier Protein® and Dymatize®, appeal to a broad range of consumers across all major product forms, including ready-to-drink protein shakes, powders and nutrition bars, and are distributed across a diverse network of channels including club, food, drug, mass, eCommerce, specialty and convenience. BellRing's commitment to consumers is to strive to make highly effective products that deliver best-in-class nutritionals and superior taste. For more information, visit www.bellring.com. Contact:Investor RelationsJennifer Meyerjennifer.meyer@bellringbrands.com(314) 644-7665 Media RelationsLisa Hanlylisa.hanly@bellringbrands.com(314) 665-3180 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (Unaudited)(in millions, except for per share data)   Three Months EndedSeptember 30,   Year Ended September 30,   2021   2020   2021   2020 Net Sales $ 340.0     $ 282.6     $ 1,247.1     $ 988.3   Cost of goods sold 244.0     192.8     860.9     650.3   Gross Profit 96.0     89.8     386.2     338.0   Selling, general and administrative expenses 38.0     35.2     167.1     151.8   Amortization of intangible assets 4.9     5.6     51.2     22.2   Other operating income, net —     —     (0.1 )   —   Operating Profit 53.1     49.0     168.0     164.0   Interest expense, net 9.6     13.5     43.2     54.7   Loss on refinancing of debt —     —     1.6     —   Earnings before Income Taxes 43.5     35.5     123.2     109.3   Income tax expense 3.0     —     8.8     9.2   Net Earnings Including Redeemable Noncontrolling Interest 40.5     35.5     114.4     100.1   Less: Net earnings attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest 30.8     25.5    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 18th, 2021

Post Holdings Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2021

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Post Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:POST), a consumer packaged goods holding company, today reported results for the fourth fiscal quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2021. Highlights: Fourth quarter net sales of $1.7 billion; operating profit of $137.8 million; net earnings of $29.9 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $272.5 million Fiscal year net sales of $6.2 billion; operating profit of $655.7 million; net earnings of $166.7 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $1,123.3 million Generated $588.3 million in cash from operations in fiscal year 2021 Fiscal year 2022 Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP) expected to range between $1.16-$1.20 billion including the full year results of BellRing Brands Fourth Quarter Consolidated Operating Results Net sales were $1,695.6 million, an increase of 20.1%, or $284.3 million, compared to $1,411.3 million in the prior year period, and included $99.8 million in net sales from acquisitions made in fiscal year 2021. More information on these acquisitions is discussed later in this release. Gross profit was $428.5 million, or 25.3% of net sales, a decrease of 2.7%, or $11.8 million, compared to $440.3 million, or 31.2% of net sales, in the prior year period. Results for the fourth quarter of 2021 reflect the ongoing volume demand recovery of the Foodservice segment, strong growth at BellRing Brands and pricing actions, which were more than offset by input and freight inflation and higher manufacturing costs. Labor shortages and supply chain disruptions drove manufacturing inefficiencies during the fourth quarter of 2021, resulting in missed sales, declines in throughput and higher per unit product costs. Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses were $241.7 million, or 14.3% of net sales, an increase of 5.2%, or $11.9 million, compared to $229.8 million, or 16.3% of net sales, in the prior year period. Operating profit was $137.8 million, a decrease of 23.0%, or $41.1 million, compared to $178.9 million in the prior year period. Net earnings were $29.9 million, a decrease of 47.5%, or $27.1 million, compared to net earnings of $57.0 million in the prior year period. Net earnings included the following:   Three Months Ended September 30, (in millions) 2021   2020 Income on swaps, net (1) $ (17.2 )     $ (5.3 )   United Kingdom ("U.K.") tax reform expense (1) 0.7       13.0     Equity method losses, net of tax 17.4       8.3     Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interest (2) 19.3       10.3             (1) Discussed later in this release and was treated as an adjustment for non-GAAP measures. (2) Primarily reflected the allocation of 28.8% and 69.0% of BellRing Brands, Inc.'s ("BellRing") and Post Holdings Partnering Corporation's ("PHPC"), respectively, consolidated net earnings to noncontrolling interest.   Diluted earnings per common share were $0.39, compared to diluted earnings per common share of $0.83 in the prior year period. Adjusted net earnings were $28.4 million, or $0.44 per diluted common share, compared to $52.5 million, or $0.77 per diluted common share, in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $272.5 million, a decrease of 0.8%, or $2.3 million, compared to $274.8 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 2020 included an adjustment of $18.8 million and $9.8 million, respectively, primarily for the portion of BellRing's and PHPC's consolidated net earnings which was allocated to noncontrolling interest, resulting in Adjusted EBITDA including 100% of the consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of BellRing and PHPC. Fiscal Year 2021 Consolidated Operating Results Net sales were $6,226.7 million, an increase of 9.3%, or $528.0 million, compared to $5,698.7 million in the prior year. Gross profit was $1,814.3 million, or 29.1% of net sales, an increase of 1.5%, or $26.9 million, compared to $1,787.4 million, or 31.4% of net sales, in the prior year. SG&A expenses were $974.1 million, or 15.6% of net sales, an increase of 4.3%, or $39.8 million, compared to $934.3 million, or 16.4% of net sales, in the prior year. Operating profit was $655.7 million, a decrease of 6.4%, or $44.8 million, compared to $700.5 million in the prior year, and included $29.9 million of accelerated amortization which was treated as an adjustment for non-GAAP measures. Net earnings were $166.7 million, an increase of $165.9 million, compared to $0.8 million in the prior year. Net earnings included the following:   Year Ended September 30, (in millions) 2021   2020 Loss on extinguishment and refinancing of debt, net (1) $ 94.8       $ 72.9   (Income) expense on swaps, net (1) (122.8 )     187.1   U.K. tax reform expense (1) 40.0       13.0   Equity method losses, net of tax 43.9       30.9   Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interest (2) 40.0       28.2           (1) Discussed later in this release and were treated as adjustments for non-GAAP measures. (2) Primarily reflected the allocation of 28.8% and 69.0% of BellRing's and PHPC's, respectively, consolidated net earnings to noncontrolling interest.   Diluted earnings per common share were $2.38, compared to $0.01 in the prior year. Adjusted net earnings were $156.0 million, or $2.39 per diluted common share, compared to $202.8 million, or $2.89 per diluted common share in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA was $1,123.3 million, a decrease of $17.2 million, compared to $1,140.5 million in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal years 2021 and 2020 included an adjustment of $38.2 million and $26.4 million, respectively, primarily for the portion of BellRing's and PHPC's consolidated net earnings which was allocated to noncontrolling interest, resulting in Adjusted EBITDA including 100% of the consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of BellRing and PHPC. Recent Acquisitions The table below lists Post's recent acquisitions, including the acquisition date, the fiscal year in which the acquisition was completed and the segment in which the results of the acquisition are reported. Acquisition Acquisition Date Fiscal Year Segment Private label ready-to-eat cereal business of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. (the "PL RTE Cereal Business") June 1, 2021 2021 Post Consumer Brands Egg Beaters liquid egg brand ("Egg Beaters") May 27, 2021 2021 Refrigerated Retail Almark Foods business and related assets ("Almark") February 1, 2021 2021 Foodservice and Refrigerated Retail Peter Pan nut butter brand ("Peter Pan") January 25, 2021 2021 Post Consumer Brands Henningsen Foods, Inc. ("Henningsen") July 1, 2020 2020 Foodservice         Post Consumer Brands North American ready-to-eat ("RTE") cereal and Peter Pan nut butters. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $521.7 million, an increase of 10.6%, or $49.8 million, compared to the prior year period, and included $66.0 million in combined net sales from the PL RTE Cereal Business and Peter Pan. Volumes increased 7.4% (including a 1,270 basis point benefit from the PL RTE Cereal Business and Peter Pan). Excluding the benefit from acquisitions, volumes declined driven by (i) continuing broader softness across value and private label cereal products, (ii) losses resulting from the decision to exit certain low-margin private label business and (iii) licensed brands. Segment profit was $66.5 million, a decrease of 28.4%, or $26.4 million, compared to the prior year period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $105.2 million, a decrease of 13.3%, or $16.1 million, compared to the prior year period. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $1,915.3 million, a decrease of 1.7%, or $33.8 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit was $316.6 million, a decrease of 19.5%, or $76.9 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit for fiscal year 2021 was negatively impacted by a provision of $15.0 million for a legal settlement, which was treated as an adjustment for non-GAAP measures. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $460.5 million, a decrease of 9.3%, or $47.4 million, compared to the prior year. Weetabix Primarily U.K. RTE cereal and muesli. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $127.2 million, an increase of 11.9%, or $13.5 million, compared to the prior year period, and reflected a favorable foreign currency exchange rate tailwind of approximately 710 basis points. Volumes were flat as growth in new product introductions, private label and drink products was offset by declines in all other products. These declines were driven by lapping increased purchases in the prior year period resulting from increased at-home consumption in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Segment profit was $32.8 million, an increase of 17.1%, or $4.8 million, compared to the prior year period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $42.7 million, an increase of 12.7%, or $4.8 million, compared to the prior year period. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $477.5 million, an increase of 8.4%, or $37.1 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit was $115.4 million, an increase of 2.8%, or $3.1 million, compared to the prior year. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $152.8 million, an increase of 4.2%, or $6.2 million, compared to the prior year. Foodservice Primarily egg and potato products. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $456.8 million, an increase of 42.5%, or $136.3 million, compared to the prior year period, and included $13.1 million in net sales from Almark. Volumes increased 23.1% (including a 180 basis point benefit from Almark), driven by significantly higher away-from-home demand in the current year period. Egg volumes increased 21.1% (including a 230 basis point benefit from Almark) and potato volumes increased 34.3%. Segment profit was $14.2 million, an increase of 389.8%, or $19.1 million, compared to the prior year period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $55.6 million, an increase of 134.6%, or $31.9 million, compared to the prior year period. When compared to the prior year period, fourth quarter 2021 segment profit and segment Adjusted EBITDA benefited from volume recovery and improvements in average net pricing and fixed cost absorption. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $1,615.6 million, an increase of 18.6%, or $253.8 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit was $61.7 million, an increase of 141.0%, or $36.1 million, compared to the prior year. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $197.0 million, an increase of 36.8%, or $53.0 million, compared to the prior year. Refrigerated Retail Primarily side dish, egg, cheese and sausage products. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $251.1 million, an increase of 12.4%, or $27.7 million, compared to the prior year period, and included $20.6 million in combined net sales from Egg Beaters and Almark. Volumes increased 9.7% (including an 810 basis point benefit from Egg Beaters and Almark), with growth in side dish and egg products partially offset by declines in sausage and cheese products. Volume information by product is disclosed in a table presented later in this release. Segment profit was $3.7 million, a decrease of 86.3%, or $23.4 million, compared to the prior year period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $24.0 million, a decrease of 48.1%, or $22.2 million, compared to the prior year period. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $974.5 million, an increase of 1.4%, or $13.3 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit was $75.9 million, a decrease of 39.6%, or $49.7 million, compared to the prior year. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $151.7 million, a decrease of 24.3%, or $48.8 million, compared to the prior year. BellRing Brands Ready-to-drink ("RTD") protein shakes, other RTD beverages, powders and nutrition bars. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $340.0 million, an increase of 20.3%, or $57.4 million, compared to the prior year period. Premier Protein net sales increased 18.2% and benefited from (i) RTD shake distribution gains for both existing and new products, (ii) strong velocities driven in part by promotional activity and continued category momentum and (iii) higher average net selling prices driven by price increases to offset cost inflation. Net sales for Dymatize increased 41.3% and for all other products increased 7.6%. Segment profit was $53.1 million, an increase of 8.4%, or $4.1 million, compared to the prior year period. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $60.5 million, an increase of 6.7%, or $3.8 million, compared to the prior year period. Fourth quarter 2021 segment profit and segment Adjusted EBITDA margins were negatively impacted by a decline in gross profit margin driven by higher input costs (predominantly freight and whey-based and milk-based proteins) and planned promotional activity. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $1,247.1 million, an increase of 26.2%, or $258.8 million, compared to the prior year. Segment profit was $168.0 million, an increase of 2.4%, or $4.0 million. Fiscal year 2021 segment profit reflects $29.9 million of accelerated amortization (incurred in connection with the discontinuance of the Supreme Protein brand), $5.2 million of restructuring and facility closure costs and $1.7 million of lower transaction costs related to BellRing's separation from Post, each of which were treated as adjustments for non-GAAP measures. Segment Adjusted EBITDA was $233.9 million, an increase of 18.6%, or $36.7 million, compared to the prior year. As of September 30, 2021, BellRing had $609.9 million in total principal value of debt and $152.6 million in cash and cash equivalents. For further information, please refer to the BellRing fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 earnings release and conference call (the details of which are included later in this release). Interest, Loss on Extinguishment and Refinancing of Debt, (Income) Expense on Swaps and Income Tax Interest expense, net was $92.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to $95.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Interest expense, net included $9.6 million and $13.5 million attributable to BellRing in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 2020, respectively. In fiscal year 2021, interest expense, net was $375.8 million, compared to $388.6 million in fiscal year 2020. Interest expense, net in fiscal year 2021 included $43.2 million attributable to BellRing. Interest expense, net in fiscal year 2020 included (i) $54.7 million attributable to BellRing and (ii) a loss of $7.2 million resulting from the reclassification of losses previously recorded in accumulated other comprehensive loss to interest expense. Loss on extinguishment and refinancing of debt, net of $94.8 million was recorded in fiscal year 2021 in connection with (i) Post's repayment of its 5.00% senior notes due in August 2026 and (ii) an opportunistic repricing of BellRing Brands, LLC's ("BellRing LLC") term loan in February 2021. Loss on extinguishment of debt, net of $72.9 million was recorded in fiscal year 2020 in connection with (i) Post's repayment of its 5.50% senior notes due in March 2025 and 8.00% senior notes due in July 2025, (ii) Post's repayment of the entire principal balance of its term loan in the first quarter of 2020, (iii) the assignment of debt to BellRing LLC related to the creation of BellRing's capital structure in the first quarter of 2020 and (iv) the amendment and restatement of Post's credit agreement in March 2020. (Income) expense on swaps, net relates to mark-to-market adjustments on interest rate swaps. Income on swaps, net was $17.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to $5.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. For fiscal year 2021, income on swaps, net was $122.8 million, compared to an expense of $187.1 million in fiscal year 2020. Income tax expense was $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, an effective income tax rate of 7.5%, compared to $15.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, an effective income tax rate of 16.7%. For fiscal year 2021, income tax expense was $86.6 million, an effective income tax rate of 25.7%, compared to $3.5 million in fiscal year 2020, an effective income tax rate of 5.5%. In fiscal year 2021, as a result of enacted tax law changes in the U.K., which included a provision to increase the U.K.'s corporate income tax rate from 19% to 25% effective April 1, 2023, Post recorded a $40.0 million income tax expense related to the remeasurement of Post's U.K. deferred tax assets and liabilities considering the 25% U.K. corporate income tax rate for future periods. In fiscal year 2020, the effective income tax rate differed significantly from the statutory tax rate primarily as a result of a rate differential on foreign income and discrete tax benefits, which largely related to Post's equity method investment in 8th Avenue Food & Provisions, Inc. ("8th Avenue"). Additionally, in fiscal year 2020, as a result of enacted tax law changes in the U.K., which included a provision to increase the U.K.'s corporate income tax rate from 17% to 19%, Post recorded a $13.0 million income tax expense related to the remeasurement of Post's U.K. deferred tax assets and liabilities considering the 19% U.K. corporate income tax rate for future periods. Share Repurchases and New Share Repurchase Authorization During the fourth quarter of 2021, Post repurchased 0.7 million shares of its common stock for $78.3 million at an average price of $110.50 per share. During fiscal year 2021, Post repurchased 4.0 million shares of its common stock for $393.6 million at an average price of $98.37 per share. Subsequent to the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 and as of November 17, 2021, Post repurchased 0.7 million shares of its common stock for $78.7 million at an average price of $105.66 per share. On November 17, 2021, Post's Board of Directors approved a new $400 million share repurchase authorization. Share repurchases under the new authorization may begin on November 20, 2021. As of November 17, 2021, Post had purchased $223.4 million under its previous $400 million share repurchase authorization, which became effective on February 6, 2021, and will be cancelled effective November 19, 2021. Repurchases may be made from time to time in the open market, in private purchases, through forward, derivative, accelerated repurchase or automatic purchase transactions, or otherwise. The shares would be repurchased with cash on hand and cash from operations. Any shares repurchased would be held as treasury stock. The authorization does not, however, obligate Post to acquire any particular amount of shares, and repurchases may be suspended or terminated at any time at Post's discretion. BellRing Enters into Agreement with Post to Increase RTD Shake Capacity BellRing and Post have entered into an agreement in which Post will purchase and develop land with the intent to build an aseptic processing facility to produce RTD shakes for BellRing. BellRing and Post expect to enter into a contract manufacturing agreement. BellRing and Post expect to provide further details as progress is made. Post's Plan to Distribute Its Interest in BellRing to Post Shareholders On October 27, 2021, Post and BellRing announced the signing of a transaction agreement related to Post's previously announced plan to distribute a significant portion of its interest in BellRing to Post's shareholders. The parties expect the distribution to be completed in the first calendar quarter of 2022, subject to certain customary conditions, including the receipt of certain tax opinions and the approval of BellRing's stockholders (including the approval of BellRing's stockholders other than Post). There can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will be completed as anticipated or at all. Please refer to the press release dated October 27, 2021 for further information. COVID-19 Commentary Post continues to closely monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business and remains focused on ensuring the health and safety of its employees and serving customers and consumers. Post products sold through retail channels generally experienced an uplift in sales starting in March 2020 and continuing through the first half of fiscal year 2021 driven by increased at-home consumption in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, most of Post's retail categories exhibited a mix shift to premium products. In the second half of fiscal year 2021, most of Post's retail channel product categories trended toward growth rates in line with their pre-pandemic levels. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Post's foodservice business was significantly impacted by lower away-from-home demand resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various channels, including full service restaurants, quick service restaurants, education and travel and lodging. Since then, the recovery of Post's foodservice volumes has been closely tracking with changes in the degree of restrictions on mobility and gathering. Volumes in certain channels and product categories have nearly fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Volumes in other channels impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have recovered from low levels experienced at the height of the pandemic, but have recently plateaued at levels below pre-pandemic volumes. In the aggregate, overall foodservice volumes remain below pre-pandemic levels. As the overall economy continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, input and freight inflation and other supply chain disruptions, including input availability, are pressuring Post's supply chains in all segments resulting in missed sales and higher manufacturing costs, most notably in foodservice and refrigerated retail. Per unit product costs escalated as throughput declined and fixed cost absorption worsened. Service levels and fill rates remain below normal levels, and inventories are low, resulting in the placement of certain products on allocation. These factors are expected to persist into fiscal year 2022 and are dependent upon Post's ability to adequately hire, train and retain manufacturing staff, maintain sufficient supplies of ingredients and packaging and rebuild inventory levels. Volume and profit recovery in Post's foodservice business is dependent on both changes in the degree of restrictions on mobility and gathering and on the ability to navigate supply chain disruptions. Post expects its foodservice business to return to pre-pandemic profitability in fiscal year 2023. Volume growth in Post's refrigerated retail business, most notably for side dish products, is expected to be constrained until supply chain performance has stabilized. BellRing COVID-19 Commentary BellRing's primary categories returned to growth rates in line with their pre-pandemic levels in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020 and have remained strong in subsequent periods. As the overall economy continues to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, input and freight inflation, equipment delays and input and labor availability are pressuring BellRing's supply chain. Lower than anticipated production and delays in capacity expansion across the broader third party shake contract manufacturer have resulted in low inventories and missed sales. Service levels and fill rates remain below normal levels, and certain products have been placed on allocation. These factors are expected to improve but persist throughout fiscal year 2022 and are dependent upon BellRing's contract manufacturer partners' ability to deliver committed volumes, add capacity on expected timelines, retain manufacturing staff and rebuild inventory levels. Outlook Post management expects Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal year 2022 to be between $1.16-$1.20 billion, including BellRing for the full year. Compared to prior years, fiscal year 2022 is expected to be more weighted to the second half as Post prices incremental inflation and navigates lingering supply chain disruptions. Post management expects the first quarter to be particularly impacted and performance to sequentially improve in each quarter throughout the year. This outlook range assumes that by the end of the first half of fiscal year 2022 the rate of inflation has peaked and labor markets have normalized. Post management expects Post's fiscal year 2022 capital expenditures to range between $250-$300 million. This includes approximately $50 million for the purchase of land and construction of a new facility with the intent to manufacture RTD shakes for BellRing. Post provides Adjusted EBITDA guidance only on a non-GAAP basis and does not provide a reconciliation of its forward-looking Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP guidance measure to the most directly comparable GAAP measure due to the inherent difficulty in forecasting and quantifying certain amounts that are necessary for such reconciliation, including adjustments that could be made for income/expense on swaps, net, gain/loss on extinguishment and refinancing of debt, net, noncontrolling interest adjustment, equity method investment adjustment, mark-to-market adjustments on commodity and foreign exchange hedges and warrant liabilities and equity securities, gain on/adjustment to bargain purchase, provision for legal settlements, transaction and integration costs and other charges reflected in Post's reconciliations of historical numbers, the amounts of which, based on historical experience, could be significant. For additional information regarding Post's non-GAAP measures, see the related explanations presented under "Post's Use of Non-GAAP Measures." BellRing Outlook For fiscal year 2022, BellRing management expects net sales and Adjusted EBITDA each to grow 9%-13% over fiscal year 2021 (resulting in a net sales range of $1.36-$1.41 billion and an Adjusted EBITDA range of $255-$265 million). BellRing management expects the following: Net sales growth to be high single digits in the first half of 2022 and mid teens in the second half of 2022, with sequential improvement in each quarter throughout the year as incremental capacity comes online. As previously discussed, the accelerated growth experienced in fiscal year 2021 exceeded BellRing's current shake manufacturing capacity. As a result, inventories are low and expected to recover throughout fiscal year 2022. Adjusted EBITDA growth is weighted toward the second half of 2022, with Adjusted EBITDA margins flat as the benefits from pricing actions and lower brand investments are offset by significant inflation. BellRing management expects fiscal year 2022 capital expenditures of approximately $4 million. BellRing provides Adjusted EBITDA guidance only on a non-GAAP basis and does not provide a reconciliation of its forward-looking Adjusted EBITDA non-GAAP guidance measure to the most directly comparable GAAP measure due to the inherent difficulty in forecasting and quantifying certain amounts that are necessary for such reconciliation, including adjustments that could be made for restructuring and facility closures costs, separation costs, net earnings attributable to redeemable noncontrolling interest and other charges reflected in BellRing's reconciliation of historical numbers, the amounts of which, based on historical experience, could be significant. For additional information regarding BellRing's non-GAAP measures, see the related explanations presented under "Use of Non-GAAP Measures" in BellRing's fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 earnings release. BellRing, as a separate publicly-traded company, releases guidance regarding its future performance. These statements are prepared by BellRing's management, and Post does not accept any responsibility for any such statements. 8th Avenue Standalone Financial Information Post owns a 60.5% common equity interest in 8th Avenue, which is an unconsolidated affiliate that manufactures and distributes private label peanut and other nut butters, pasta, dried fruit and nut products and granola. For the fourth quarter, net sales were $236.3 million, an increase of 3.2%, or $7.3 million, compared to the prior year period. Net loss was $16.1 million, a decrease of 631.8%, or $13.9 million, compared to the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA was $14.8 million, a decrease of 34.5%, or $7.8 million, compared to the prior year period. For fiscal year 2021, net sales were $900.8 million, a decrease of 2.5%, or $23.4 million, compared to the prior year. Net loss was $24.3 million, a decrease of 279.7%, or $17.9 million, compared to the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA was $75.2 million, a decrease of 20.2%, or $19.0 million, compared to the prior year. As of September 30, 2021, 8th Avenue was capitalized with $17.9 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, $735.6 million of senior secured debt, $60.1 million related to a sale-leaseback transaction, $250.0 million in principal amount of preferred equity and $97.9 million of accumulated, but unpaid, preferred dividends. Summarized financial information for 8th Avenue is disclosed later in this release. Post's Use of Non-GAAP Measures Post uses certain non-GAAP measures in this release to supplement the financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). These non-GAAP measures include total segment profit, Adjusted net earnings, Adjusted diluted earnings per common share, Adjusted EBITDA for Post and 8th Avenue and segment Adjusted EBITDA. The reconciliation of each of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure is provided later in this release under "Explanation and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures" and "Explanation and Reconciliation of 8th Avenue's Non-GAAP Measure." Management uses certain of these non-GAAP measures, including Adjusted EBITDA and segment Adjusted EBITDA, as key metrics in the evaluation of underlying company and segment performance, in making financial, operating and planning decisions and, in part, in the determination of bonuses for its executive officers and employees. Additionally, Post is required to comply with certain covenants and limitations that are based on variations of EBITDA in its financing documents. Management believes the use of these non-GAAP measures provides increased transparency and assists investors in understanding the underlying operating performance of Post and its segments and in the analysis of ongoing operating trends. Non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, as they exclude certain items as described later in this release. These non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. For additional information regarding Post's non-GAAP measures, see the related explanations provided under "Explanation and Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures" and "Explanation and Reconciliation of 8th Avenue's Non-GAAP Measure" later in this release. Post Conference Call to Discuss Earnings Results and Outlook Post will host a conference call on Friday, November 19, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. EST to discuss financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 outlook and to respond to questions. Robert V. Vitale, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Jeff A. Zadoks, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the call. Interested parties may join the conference call by dialing (877) 876-9174 in the United States and (785) 424-1669 from outside of the United States. The conference identification number is POSTQ421. Interested parties are invited to listen to the webcast of the conference call, which can be accessed by visiting the Investor Relations section of Post's website at www.postholdings.com. A replay of the conference call will be available through Friday, November 26, 2021 by dialing (800) 938-2490 in the United States and (402) 220-9028 from outside of the United States. A webcast replay also will be available for a limited period on Post's website in the Investor Relations section. BellRing Conference Call to Discuss Earnings Results and Outlook BellRing will host a conference call on Friday, November 19, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. EST to discuss financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 and fiscal year 2022 outlook and to respond to questions. Darcy H. Davenport, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul A. Rode, Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the call. Interested parties may join the conference call by dialing (877) 876-9173 in the United States and (785) 424-1667 from outside of the United States. The conference identification number is BRBRQ421. Interested parties are invited to listen to the webcast of the conference call, which can be accessed by visiting the Investor Relations section of BellRing's website at www.bellring.com. A slide presentation containing supplemental material will also be available at the same location on BellRing's website. A replay of the conference call will be available through Friday, November 26, 2021 by dialing (800) 753-9146 in the United States and (402) 220-2705 from outside of the United States. A webcast replay also will be available for a limited period on BellRing's website in the Investor Relations section. Prospective Financial Information Prospective financial information is necessarily speculative in nature, and it can be expected that some or all of the assumptions underlying the prospective financial information described above will not materialize or will vary significantly from actual results. For further discussion of some of the factors that may cause actual results to vary materially from the information provided above, see "Forward-Looking Statements" below. Accordingly, the prospective financial information provided above is only an estimate of what Post's and BellRing's management believes is realizable as of the date of this release. It also should be recognized that the reliability of any forecasted financial data diminishes the farther in the future that the data is forecasted. In light of the foregoing, the information should be viewed in context and undue reliance should not be placed upon it. Additional Information Regarding the Proposed Distribution of Post's Interest in BellRing and Where to Find It This communication does not constitute an offer to sell, the solicitation of an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. In connection with the proposed transaction, BellRing Distribution, LLC ("New BellRing") and BellRing intend to file relevant materials with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("the SEC"), including a proxy statement of BellRing, a prospectus of New BellRing and any other applicable registration statement to be filed in connection with the separation. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENTS/PROSPECTUSES, PROXY STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT NEW BELLRING, BELLRING AND THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain these materials (when they are available) and other documents filed with the SEC free of charge from the SEC's website, www.sec.gov, Post's website, www.postholdings.com, or BellRing's website, www.bellring.com. The transaction and distribution of this communication may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions and persons who come into possession of any document or other information referred to herein should inform themselves about and observe any such restrictions. Any failure to comply with these restrictions may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. No offering of securities will be made, directly or indirectly, in or into any jurisdiction where to do so would be inconsistent with the laws of such jurisdiction. Participants in a Solicitation Post, BellRing, New BellRing and their respective directors and executive officers and other members of management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from BellRing's stockholders with respect to the approvals required to complete the proposed transaction. More detailed information regarding the identity of these potential participants, and any direct or indirect interests they may have in the proposed transaction, by security holdings or otherwise, will be set forth in the BellRing proxy statement when filed with the SEC. Information regarding the directors and executive officers of Post is available in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on December 7, 2020. Information regarding the directors and executive officers of BellRing is available in its definitive proxy statement, which was filed with the SEC on January 20, 2021. Free copies of these documents may be obtained as described above. Forward-Looking Statements Certain matters discussed in this release and on Post's conference call are forward-looking statements, including Post's Adjusted EBITDA outlook for fiscal year 2022, Post's capital expenditure outlook for fiscal year 2022, including statements regarding the purchase of land and construction of a new facility to manufacture RTD shakes, statements regarding the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Post's business, including the effect on BellRing's business, Post's and BellRing's continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed transaction between Post and BellRing for the distribution of a significant portion of Post's interest in BellRing to Post's shareholders, including the amount of BellRing equity Post intends to distribute, the form of distribution and the expected timing of the completion of the proposed transaction and BellRing's net sales, Adjusted EBITDA and capital expenditures outlook for fiscal year 2022. These forward-looking statements are sometimes identified from the use of forward-looking words such as "believe," "should," "could," "potential," "continue," "expect," "project," "estimate," "predict," "anticipate," "aim," "intend," "plan," "forecast," "target," "is likely," "will," "can," "may" or "would" or the negative of these terms or similar expressions, and include all statements regarding future performance, earnings projections, events or developments. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements made herein. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including negative impacts on Post's ability to manufacture and deliver its products, workforce availability, the health and safety of Post's employees, operating costs, demand for its foodservice and on-the-go products, the global economy and capital markets and Post's operations generally; Post's high leverage, Post's ability to obtain additional financing (including both secured and unsecured debt), Post's ability to service its outstanding debt (including covenants that restrict the operation of Post's businesses) and a downgrade or potential downgrade in Post's credit ratings; disruptions or inefficiencies in Post's supply chain, including as a result of Post's reliance on third parties for the supply of materials for and the manufacture of many of Post's products, pandemics (including the COVID-19 pandemic) and other outbreaks of contagious diseases, labor shortages, fires and evacuations related thereto, changes in weather conditions, natural disasters, climate change, agricultural diseases and pests and other events beyond Post's control; significant volatility in the cost or availability of inputs to Post's businesses (including freight, raw materials, energy and other supplies); Post's ability to hire and retain talented personnel, increases in labor-related costs, the ability of Post's employees to safely perform their jobs, including the potential for physical injuries or illness (such as COVID-19), employee absenteeism, labor strikes, work stoppages and unionization efforts; Post's ability to continue to compete in its product categories and Post's ability to retain its market position and favorable perceptions of its brands; Post's ability to anticipate and respond to changes in consumer and customer preferences and behaviors and introduce new products; changes in economic conditions, disruptions in the U.S. and global capital and credit markets, changes in interest rates, volatility in the market value of derivatives and fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; allegations that Post's products cause injury or illness, product recalls and withdrawals and product liability claims and other related litigation; Post's ability to identify, complete and integrate or otherwise effectively execute acquisitions or other strategic transactions and effectively manage its growth; Post's ability to successfully execute the proposed distribution of its interest in BellRing and realize the strategic and financial benefits from the proposed transactions; the possibility that PHPC, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company in which Post indirectly owns an interest (through PHPC Sponsor, LLC, Post's wholly-owned subsidiary), may not consummate a suitable partnering transaction within the prescribed two-year time period, that the partnering transaction may not be successful or that the activities for PHPC could be distracting to Post's management; conflicting interests or the appearance of conflicting interests resulting from several of Post's directors and officers also serving as directors or officers of one or more of Post's related companies; impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or other intangibles, or other-than-temporary impairment in the carrying value of investments in unconsolidated subsidiaries; Post's ability to successfully implement business strategies to reduce costs; legal and regulatory factors, such as compliance with existing laws and regulations, as well as new laws and regulations and changes to existing laws and regulations and interpretations thereof, affecting Post's businesses, including current and future laws and regulations regarding tax matters, food safety, advertising and labeling, animal feeding and housing operations and environmental matters; the loss of, a significant reduction of purchases by or the bankruptcy of a major customer; the failure or weakening of the RTE cereal category and consolidations in the retail and foodservice distribution channels; the ultimate impact litigation or other regulatory matters may have on Post; costs, business disruptions and reputational damage associated with information technology failures, cybersecurity incidents or information security breaches; Post's ability to successfully collaborate with third parties that have invested with Post in 8th Avenue and to effectively realize the strategic and financial benefits expected as a result of the separate capitalization of 8th Avenue; costs associated with the obligations of Bob Evans Farms, Inc. ("Bob Evans") in connection with the sale and separation of its restaurants business in April 2017, which occurred prior to Post's acquisition of Bob Evans, including certain indemnification obligations under the restaurants sale agreement and Bob Evans's payment and performance obligations as a guarantor for certain leases; Post's ability to protect its intellectual property and other assets and to continue to use third party intellectual property subject to intellectual property licenses; the ability of Post's and its customers', and 8th Avenue's and its customers', private brand products to compete with nationally branded products; risks associated with Post's international businesses; changes in estimates in critical accounting judgments; losses or increased funding and expenses related to Post's qualified pension or other postretirement plans; significant differences in Post's, 8th Avenue's and BellRing's actual operating results from any of Post's guidance regarding Post's and 8th Avenue's future performance and BellRing's guidance regarding its future performance; Post's, BellRing's and PHPC's ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; and other risks and uncertainties described in Post's, BellRing's and PHPC's filings with the SEC. These forward-looking statements represent Post's judgment as of the date of this release except with respect to BellRing's guidance regarding its future performance, which represents BellRing's judgment as of the date of this release. Post disclaims, however, any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements. About Post Holdings, Inc. Post Holdings, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a consumer packaged goods holding company operating in the center-of-the-store, refrigerated, foodservice, food ingredient and convenient nutrition food categories. Its businesses include Post Consumer Brands, Weetabix, Michael Foods, Bob Evans Farms and BellRing Brands. Post Consumer Brands is a leader in the North American ready-to-eat cereal category and also markets Peter Pan® nut butters. Weetabix is home to the United Kingdom's number one selling ready-to-eat cereal brand, Weetabix®. Michael Foods and Bob Evans Farms are leaders in refrigerated foods, delivering innovative, value-added egg and refrigerated potato side dish products to the foodservice and retail channels. Post's publicly-traded subsidiary BellRing Brands, Inc. is a holding company operating in the global convenient nutrition category through its primary brands of Premier Protein® and Dymatize®. Post participates in the private brand food category through its investment with third parties in 8th Avenue Food & Provisions, Inc., a leading, private brand centric, consumer products holding company. For more information, visit www.postholdings.com. Contact:Investor RelationsJennifer Meyerjennifer.meyer@postholdings.com(314) 644-7665 Media RelationsLisa Hanlylisa.hanly@postholdings.com(314) 665-3180 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (Unaudited)(in millions, except per share data)   Three Months EndedSeptember 30,   Year Ended September 30,   2021   2020   2021   2020 Net Sales $ 1,695.6       $ 1,411.3       $ 6,226.7       $ 5,698.7     Cost of goods sold 1,267.1       971.0       4,412.4       3,911.3     Gross Profit 428.5       440.3       1,814.3       1,787.4     Selling, general and administrative expenses 241.7       229.8       974.1       934.3     Amortization of intangible assets 41.6       40.1       194.4       160.3     Other operating expenses (income), net 7.4       (8.5 )     (9.9 )     (7.7 )   Operating Profit 137.8       178.9       655.7       700.5     Interest expense, net 92.5       95.3       375.8       388.6     Loss on extinguishment and refinancing of debt, net —       —       94.8       72.9     (Income) expense on swaps, net (17.2 )     (5.3 )     (122.8 )     187.1     Other income, net (9.5 )     (1.9 )     (29.3 )     (11.5 )   Earnings before Income Taxes and Equity Method Loss 72.0       90.8       337.2       63.4     Income tax expense 5.4       15.2       86.6       3.5     Equity method loss, net of tax 17.4       8.3       43.9       30.9     Net Earnings Including Noncontrolling Interest 49.2       67.3       206.7       29.0     Less: Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interest 19.3       10.3       40.0       28.2     Net Earnings $ 29.9       $ 57.0       $ 166.7       $ 0.8                     Earnings per Common Share:               Basic $ 0.40       $ 0.85       $ 2.42       $ 0.01     Diluted $ 0.39       $ 0.83       $ 2.38       $ 0.01                     Weighted-Average Common Shares Outstanding:               Basic 63.5       67.3       64.2       68.9     Diluted 64.6       68.4       65.3       70.1                                     CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited)(in millions)     September 30, 2021   September 30, 2020         ASSETS Current Assets       Cash and cash equivalents $ 817.1       $ 1,187.9     Restricted cash 7.1       5.5     Receivables, net 553.9       441.6     Inventories 594.5       599.4     Prepaid expenses and other current assets 113.5       53.4     Total Current Assets 2,086.1       2,287.8             Property, net 1,839.4       1,779.7     Goodwill 4,567.5       4,438.6     Other intangible assets, net 3,147.5       3,197.5     Equity method investments 70.7       114.1     Investments held in trust 345.0       —     Other assets 358.5       329.0     Total Assets $ 12,414.7       $ 12,146.7                     LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY Current Liabilities       Current portion of long-term debt $ 117.4       $ 64.9     Accounts payable 473.7       367.9     Other current liabilities 458.1       541.6     Total Current Liabilities 1,049.2       974.4             Long-term debt 6,922.8       6,959.0     Deferred income taxes 863.9       784.5     Other liabilities 519.6       599.8     Total Liabilities 9,355.5       9,317.7             Redeemable Noncontrolling Interest 305.0       —             Shareholders' Equity       Preferred stock —       —     Common stock 0.9       0.8     Additional paid-in capital 4,253.5       4,182.9     Retained earnings 347.3       208.6     Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) 42.9       (29.3 )   Treasury stock, at cost (1,902.2 )     (1,508.5 )   Total Shareholders' Equity excluding Noncontrolling Interest 2,742.4       2,854.5     Noncontrolling interests 11.8       (25.5 )   Total Shareholders' Equity 2,754.2       2,829.0     Total Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity $ 12,414.7       $ 12,146.7                         SELECTED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOWS INFORMATION (Unaudited)(in millions)   Year Ended September 30,   2021   2020 Cash provided by (used in):       Operating activities $ 588.2       $ 625.6     Investing activities, including capital expenditures of $192.5 and $234.6 (793.6 )     (218.5 )   Financing activities (167.5 )     (272.0 )   Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash 3.7       3.8     Net (decrease) increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash $ (369.2 )     $ 138.9                         SEGMENT INFORMATION (Unaudited)(in millions)   Three Months EndedSeptember 30,   Year Ended September 30,   2021   2020   2021   2020 Net Sales               Post Consumer Brands $ 521.7       $ 471.9       $ 1,915.3       $ 1,949.1     Weetabix 127.2       113.7       477.5       440.4     Foodservice 456.8       320.5       1,615.6       1,361.8     Refrigerated Retail 251.1       223.4       974.5       961.2     BellRing Brands 340.0       282.6       1,247.1       988.3     Eliminations (1.2 )     (0.8 )     (3.3 )     (2.1 )   Total $ 1,695.6       $ 1,411.3       $ 6,226.7       $ 5,698.7     Segment Profit (Loss)               Post Consumer Brands $ 66.5       $ 92.9       $ 316.6       $ 393.5     Weetabix 32.8       28.0       115.4       112.3     Foodservice 14.2       (4.9 )     61.7       25.6     Refrigerated Retail 3.7       27.1       75.9       125.6     BellRing Brands 53.1       49.0       168.0       164.0     Total segment profit 170.3       192.1       737.6       821.0     General corporate expenses and other 23.0       11.3       52.6       109.0     Interest expense, net 92.5       95.3       375.8       388.6     Loss on extinguishment and refinancing of debt, net —       —       94.8       72.9     (Income) expense on swaps, net (17.2 )     (5.3 )     (122.8 )     187.1     Earnings before Income Taxes and Equity Method Loss $ 72.0       $ 90.8       $ 337.2       $ 63.4                                        .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 18th, 2021

Meal Kits Business, Bound For “Tasty” Growth According To Estimates

According to data by Statista, the meal kits business in the U.S. will be worth $11.6 billion by 2022 from $5 billion this year, while it will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 13% by 2028 as per Grand View Research. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Market value predictions and […] According to data by Statista, the meal kits business in the U.S. will be worth $11.6 billion by 2022 from $5 billion this year, while it will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 13% by 2028 as per Grand View Research. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Market value predictions and company moves only go to show how juicy the meal kits industry is at present, driven by pandemic habits and the growing eating preferences of the younger generations. So, what trends are shaping the industry and how is the business panning out for the near future in terms of opportunities and competitive landscape? Why Meals Kit? In the last couple of years, the meal kits market has been on the rise but has flourished during the pandemic and growth is up for grabs. Not only the time-saving convenience of pre-portioned meals but also the sheer level of diet specialization has made this an attractive alternative for people who pursue a less complicated lifestyle. Statistics assert that 80% of Americans believe kit meals are healthier than food prepared in restaurants. According to the Grand View Research report, “The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a significant opportunity to the market as almost all the restaurants, eateries, and hotels were shut down across the globe.” “People are focusing on a healthy diet more than ever to increase their immunity and maintain a balanced diet.” Anne-Véronique Benoist, head of insight in the media division at Kantar, sums up why the meal kits market is at a tipping point: “Meal kits offer the joy of cooking without the hassle of sourcing and shopping.” Generational Matter According to statistics, 29% of millennials and 26% of gen-xers say they have tried a meal kit service, compared to 12% among those aged 45 or older. The truth is, millennials, gen-xers, and boomers are increasingly looking to have full control over their meal ingredients, which is especially important for those who need to avoid allergic reactions. The report states that eating at home is becoming more prevalent over dining out, as consumers are becoming more frugal on the money they spend on food. These generations prefer both cooking and ordering as they are also making fewer visits to restaurants. It is, undoubtedly, a generational subject: “While millennials have surpassed baby boomers in number, boomers remain a large population and their behaviors have a significant influence on the marketplace that caters to cooking at home.” Opportunities Both growth estimates and consumer adoption are backed by some sounding moves in the meal kits industry. According to Reuters, in mid-September, Hellofresh SE (ETR:HFG) announced a $58.9 million investment to hire more than 1,000 tech employees in the U.S., Germany, Australia, and Canada in 12 months, as online orders have nothing but skyrocketed. Further, the company’s revenue more than doubled to $1,66 billion in the first three months of 2021, compared to the same period last year. The meal kits market is at a sizzling stage as companies like Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN), Delivery Hero SE (ETR:DHER), and Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (AMS:TKWY) were able to capitalize on home delivery and online orders during lockdowns. As the market becomes more competitive, meal kits review sites have emerged offering customers the possibility to choose from the best alternatives based on company reputation, plans and meals, delivery and flexibility, and support and usability. In these spaces, meal kits companies are battling for consumer preference as diners can compare scores and prices, access promos, check geographic coverage, and more. Trends As the meal kits business grows, several trends are shaping the industry’s growth. Not only they are intrinsically related to the product itself, but also to how consumers perceive food and home dining and how their habits adjust to the post-Covid reality. According to specialized portal Packaged Facts, “Premium foods suppliers who locally source their ingredients will likely notice early opportunities, as long as meal kits balance high-quality ingredients with price tags customers can stomach.” The key niches among consumers will likely include, Organic, Veggie-centric, Paleo, Specialty Diets, and Farm-to-Table home meal prep. Consumers are also demanding more sustainability commitment from meal kits companies, mainly more environmentally-friendly packaging and insulation materials produced through recycling methods. This, in turn, has put an emphasis on organic ingredients that guarantee water-conscious production and sustainable farming methods that respect biodiversity. The business is also increasingly veering toward more diet specialization, as consumers go for meal kits to be able to follow more strict diets for various reasons –weight loss, veggie, gluten-free products, etc. Consumers’ lifestyles and principles are also strongly shaping the market as, for instance, “Meal kits make it easy to maintain a vegan lifestyle while offering a wide variety of choices. Other lifestyles, such as those that require fast or easy cooking but do not require special foods, or avoiding certain foods, are also met through meal kits.” Business Outlook In terms of market opportunities, some trends are clearly evident. Marjolein Hanssen, analyst of consumer foods at Raboresearch told Fortune, “On the demand side, the bigger you are, the easier it will be to attract consumers, the more meal-kit choices you can offer.” “The whole situation has changed and these bigger players have attracted a lot more consumers and have invested in their local fulfillment centers becoming more efficient.” Further, price will become a crucial element for the meal kits business to grow, as revealed by market research firm Mintel. In a study, 63% of potential customers in the U.S. said that a high price was the main barrier to adoption. In this regard, companies must step up their ability to find their right market, as big players –HelloFresh, Gousto, Mindful Chef– are going to dominate the market, while newcomers will fight for a smaller space trying to find a niche. As lockdowns become a thing of the past –for now, at least– the meal kits demand will dip but the overall trend is pointing to solid growth in the course of the next few years. Updated on Nov 18, 2021, 2:30 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 18th, 2021

Companies like Nestle and Coca-Cola are eager to use more recycled material — here"s why that actually raises concerns over sustainability

Companies want to increase their use of recycled plastic, but higher prices and low collection rates could slow progress. Thanks to several big companies, these bottles are now extra valuable.Rehman Asad/Getty Images Companies are setting ambitious goals for increasing the use of recycled plastic, driving demand. Recycled polyester depends on the collection of plastic bottles, which fell during the pandemic. Supply constraints and higher prices could hurt sustainability pledges and long-term goals. The clothing brand Patagonia was one of the first to start producing recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles back in 1993. The company, known for its industry-leading sustainability policies, has incorporated the recycled material into many of its items and said that 89% of the polyester in its latest season of products was made from recycled polyester.But as companies like Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Adidas actively seek to reduce their use of virgin plastic as part of long-term efforts to be more sustainable and new regulatory policies for post-consumer resin, or PCR, made from plastic soda bottles kick in, demand is expected to exceed the available supply in the US and European Union, causing prices to rise. The issues around recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, highlight many of the business challenges that can accompany ambitious corporate sustainability goals that overlap with other organizations.Companies urgently need to implement alternative processes and materials on a larger scale to reduce carbon emissions and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But implementing these new methods can be much more complicated than expected, even with the resources of a multinational company. A versatile materialRecycled PET, commonly known as rPET, is a type of post-consumer plastic used to make several types of products. These include plastic bottles, food containers, carpets, recycled polyester fabric, industrial straps, construction materials, and furniture.There are challenges to the wider adoption of rPET and criticisms about whether it is actually sustainable or helping greenwash companies like H&M. The environmental benefits of rPET include lower dependence on oil-based virgin plastic, less greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as less pollution. Policies and promises are driving demandFabric and fibers were the primary end use for rPET until last year when the use of the material for bottles (for food, beverages, and other uses) grew by 32%. There was also a 10% increase in end-use consumption of rPET in the US and Canada, according to the most recent report from National Association for PET Container Resources.This shift in use and demand followed announced commitments from several major companies to use less virgin plastic and increase recycling. In 2018, the beverage giant Coca-Cola Co. pledged to use 50% recycled material in its bottles and cans by 2030. The company also said it aimed to collect and recycle the volume of bottles equal to what it produces by the same year. In early 2020, Nestle pledged to increase the amount of rPET used across its brands to 50% by 2025 and make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. The parent company of Nescafe and Purina pet food uses 8% recycled content in its plastic water bottles now, so it will need to source and use a significantly higher amount to meet these goals.Consumer goods and fashion companies like Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and Adidas have also made big promises about recycling and the increased use of recycled plastic. Nike's chief sustainability officer, Noel Kinder, said the company's volume of recycled polyester is already the equivalent of more than a billion plastic bottles a year. The US states of California and Washington have also passed laws requiring certain items to have specific amounts of recycled plastic in their packaging.Insufficient supply puts pressure on pricesSeveral challenges lie ahead for these plans and policies involving rPET. The recycling rate for plastic drink bottles in the US fell from 27.9% in 2019 to 26.6% in 2020, compared to 64% in Europe. NAPCOR's report said this was due to pandemic-related closures of recycling and redemption centers, as well as disruption to curbside recycling programs. To meet the recycling goals of US beverage brands, an estimated 1.1 billion pounds of food-grade rPET will be needed in the next decade — almost three times the amount produced in 2017.Increases in demand also helped push the price of rPET higher than virgin plastic in early 2020, and rPET is now selling at a 20% premium, The Wall Street Journal reported. Higher costs of production due to rising energy costs were also a factor, according to S&P Global Platts.A complicated futureOne converter already expressed concern that some of the large companies will step back their sustainability pledges due to supply constraints, staff shortages, and these higher prices. Items made from recycled polyester will still shed plastic microfibers during washing. And while PET can be recycled at least 10 times, clothes made from rPET most likely won't be recycled, especially if they are from fast-fashion retailers, whose items are often thrown out after only a few uses.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

A Food Industry Reset Can Cut At Least 10% Of Global Emissions

S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production […] S&P Global Ratings’ most recent report has found that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. Food supply disruptions due to the pandemic and extreme weather have further brought this issue into the spotlight. However, if it optimises its food production and supply chain by adopting more efficient systems, the food industry could reduce food waste which would, in turn, help pave the way to a more sustainable future. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Key Takeaways Each year, a staggering one-third of food produced globally--worth almost $1 trillion--is lost or wasted, with unconsumed food contributing up to 10% of global greenhouse gases (GHG) in addition to emissions from farming, processing, and other activities. More efficient food systems will help eliminate food loss and waste while reducing the impact on the environment, especially since about 14% of the world's food is lost before reaching supermarket shelves. With the U.N.'s 2030 target for halving per capita food waste fast approaching, we believe the food industry can create a path to more sustainable food production and supply through closer collaboration and process integration. Companies able and willing to adjust their business models and adopt sustainable agronomic practices can strengthen their resilience to operating setbacks and reduce food-related emissions, while delivering higher margins through value-added product offerings. Studies suggest that the food system is responsible for about one-third of global GHG emissions, including up to 10% from lost or wasted food. This stands out when compared with about 12% from manufacturing and construction and 14% for the transportation sector, according to data from the World Resources Institute (WRI). Food supply disruptions, especially over the past two years due to the pandemic and extreme weather, have brought this issue further into the spotlight. Last year, for example, one of the warmest on record according to the World Meteorological Organization, thunderstorms, wildfires, plagues, and drought destroyed millions of hectares of crops and displaced thousands of people. In addition, COVID-19-related restrictions severely hampered the transport of agricultural commodities over air, land, and sea. This increased the amount of food lost or wasted at the production and retail stages, already vulnerable to storage capacity, freight availability, and political instability among other factors. S&P Global Ratings believes agribusinesses can strengthen the food production and supply chain through closer collaboration at every stage, both downstream and upstream. There are meaningful gains to be had, for example by companies expanding into advanced food ingredient technologies to improve product shelf life, or by integrating transport with processing and sales. Some companies are already rethinking their long-term strategies, putting greater emphasis on managing environmental and social risks. We believe they stand to gain a competitive advantage using this approach. The big question is whether they can do enough to have a visible impact on food-related emissions by 2030. The High Cost Of Food Loss Although limited data is available, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates (2016) show that, excluding retail and households, about 14% of the world's food is lost between the harvest and retail stages. Before and during consumption, the highest food loss and waste per capita occurs in Asia, according to a World Economic Forum report, followed by North America and Europe. The report states that "if food waste were a country, it would rank behind only the U.S. and China for greenhouse gas emissions." The UN Environment Program (UNEP)'s Food Waste Index indicates that, in 2019, 61% of food waste came from households, 26% from food service, and 13% from retail. A large share of food waste stems from consumers, food providers, and retailers in developed markets. In North America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that, in 2010, 31% of the domestic food supply was lost, to the tune of about $161 billion. Seven years later, a report by the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that about 40% of food produced in the U.S. is wasted throughout the supply chain, from farms to households, while 41 million Americans faced food insecurity in 2016. In the U.K., despite considerable progress in this area, estimates show that households and businesses still waste around 9.5 million tonnes (mt) of food per year (70% intended for human consumption) valued at over £19 billion. The edible portion of this food (6.4 mt) would have been enough to feed the entire U.K. population three meals a day for 11 weeks. Food is wasted in many ways. Here are just three of them: Edible fresh produce not meeting certain criteria, for example in terms of shape, size, and color, is dumped during sorting operations. Foods that are close to, at, or beyond the "best before" date are often discarded by retailers and consumers. Large quantities of edible food not eaten by households and restaurants are often thrown away. More Businesses Need To Focus On Sustainability While the world is focusing on the energy transition, the U.N.'s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are keeping the attention on issues such as hunger, poverty, climate action, and sustainable cities and communities. Resolving these clearly also support the reduction of GHG emissions. In particular, SDG 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, including a target (SDG 12.3) to halve--by 2030--per capita food waste at the retail and consumer levels, while reducing food losses during production and supply. Over 190 countries formally agreed to the SDGs, set in 2015, as part of the U.N.'s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yet only 1% of food companies' business models support responsible consumption and production, according to a September 2020 Trucost survey of 3,500 companies representing 85% of global market capitalization. And not much time is left before 2030. The Trucost report also states that about 90% of the companies it examined provide products and services related to food logistics, including taking products from harvest through to consumption. Among the largest global food corporations working with farmers, retailers, and other organizations in support of the SDGs are market leader Cargill, which has launched several initiatives under its Sustainable Supply Chains program (beef, cocoa, corn, and cotton, among others). Similarly, ADM (food and beverage ingredients) has SDG-aligned environmental targets it aims to achieve by 2035, including a 25% drop in GHG emissions. Nestle (more than 2,000 food and beverage brands) has committed to tackling emissions through 100% deforestation-free supply by 2022, 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025, and food loss/waste reduction targets. Bunge (the world's largest oilseed processor) has an ambitious goal that includes a deforestation-free supply chain by 2025. Mondelez (brands include Cadbury, Philadelphia, and Oreo) reports that it's on track with its 2022-2025 sustainable-ingredients targets. Danone (including Activia, Alpro, and Silk) has pledged a 50% reduction of food waste from the 2016 level, plus 100% next-generation, recyclable, biodegradable packaging by 2025. There Are Many Possible Solutions Several global companies plan to effect changes to reduce the environmental impact of their own activities, but this is not enough to transform the entire food production and supply chain. Successful collaboration and consolidation won't be easy, but food companies have several options open to them. Support for farmers and the local salesforce through better data, technology, and training. We believe direct links with farmers and closer relationships with salespeople where crops are grown are increasingly important to limit loss at production. In large crop-producing regions such as the eastern coast of Latin America, South East Asia, and the Black Sea, local currency inflation and volatility often mean that farmers make storage, sale, and process decisions every week, depending on trading data. Such fragmented decision-making means that transport companies operating with long-term contracts might see their freight capacity underutilized if farmers renege on supply contracts. This is a particular risk if the monetary penalty for farmers is small relative to the potential gain of diverting the sale. Value-added products in food processing can help reduce waste further down the line and offer agribusinesses opportunities for profitable growth. Innovative technologies can help reduce waste at consumer level by improving the shelf life and appearance of staple foods. In addition, they can promote more efficient crop use by improving the taste and texture of more environmentally friendly plant-based food. Many companies are investing in this are also looking at new materials, to be used, among other things, in food handling and packaging. Collaboration with retailers is key to cutting distribution inefficiencies and food waste at households. This will enable large agribusinesses and consumer product companies to reap the full benefits of their measures to tackle food waste. Grocers, for instance, can play a huge role in influencing consumers' food choices and attitude toward waste. In recognition of this, leading agribusinesses, consumer products groups, and food retailers have joined the WRI's "10x20x30" initiative since it launched in 2019. The program aims to drive progress on SDG 12.3, using a "whole chain" approach, with participating companies pledging to engage with at least 20 of their suppliers and--together--halve their food loss and waste by 2030. Adoption of the "Target-Measure-Act" strategy can help track sources of waste/loss, find solutions, and record progress. The strategy was launched by U.K. sustainable resources advocate WRAP and the IDG (Institute of Grocery Distribution) in 2018 as part of the country's Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, which is geared toward the U.N.'s SDG 12.3 target. Three years into the program, nearly 200 companies, including top global names like Unilever, Nestle, Mondelez, and PepsiCo have committed to using the Target-Measure-Act method to speed up food loss/waste reduction in their operations, and make the results public. U.K.-based Tesco was the first retailer to use the approach, inviting 27 suppliers to take part in 2017. WRAP has also called on COP26 delegates to adopt to Target-Measure-Act to tackle climate change. The U.K.'s September 2021 Food Waste Reduction Roadmap progress report showed that businesses had lowered food waste by an estimated 17%--worth £365 million--over the previous year. The U.K. is the first nation to create a plan to achieve SDG 12.3's target of reducing food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. Increased use of processed food byproducts and restaurant waste for renewable fuels. Animal fats and meal resulting from meat processing, well as cooking oils from food-service establishments, are increasingly being used to produce renewable fuel, thereby reducing the amount of waste as well as reliance on fossil fuel. Under initiatives such as the U.S. National Renewable Fuel Standard Program, gasoline refiners are required to increase their blend of such biofuels into the gasoline supply, with production mandates for renewable and biofuels expected to increase by more than 20% in 2022 compared with 2020 levels. Continued biofuel demand growth will also increase the economic value of such byproducts for recycling into fuels. In fact, a market for various grease grades (for example yellow grease, choice white grease, and poultry grease) already exists, with prices rising more than 100% year over year in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2021, according to the Jacobson Index. What Food Companies Are Already Doing We see global agri-commodity companies consolidating their agricultural platforms (such as for grain, coffee, and cotton), while pursuing geographic expansion and shifting their product mix toward more sustainable alternatives. Scale and cost efficiencies should enable them to deliver affordable products. However, they are increasingly recognizing that to improve supply chain sustainability, they have to invest upstream as well as downstream to reduce reliance on less sustainable food inputs even though they may be more cost effective. The related investments typically stop short of direct ownership of farmland and crop production, but look at all parts of the food system's infrastructure. This includes partnering with growers and supporting them with new sustainable technologies and processes. Such an approach could entail optimizing drying, storage, and quality controls, land transit, and the high volume of crops passing through port terminals. Article by S&P Global Ratings Updated on Nov 17, 2021, 11:56 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 17th, 2021

16 B Corps making products we love that you can feel good about buying

B Corporations are businesses that get voluntarily graded by the nonprofit B Lab on everything from worker health to environmental impact. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.United by Blue B Corps are businesses graded on their efforts to create an inclusive, sustainable economy. These companies treat "good business" as an idea that includes both profit and purpose.  Below, we rounded up the B Corps we love shopping at most, including Patagonia, Allbirds, and Prose. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAs history can attest, nonprofits aren't enough to single-handedly eradicate poverty and inequality and infuse the workplace with jobs that make workers feel dignified and purposeful.To pitch in, some companies are willing to bet on a different conceptualization of "good business." Perhaps most impressive of this group are B Corps — businesses that nonprofit B Lab grade each year to ensure they're meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Companies awarded B Corp status have committed to using their businesses to work toward a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They strive to reduce inequality; lower poverty levels; and create a healthier environment, stronger communities, and purposeful jobs.They leverage their resources to pay into a better world, creating a definition of success that includes commonwealth and positive impact as necessary aspects of sustainable consumerism. It's not charity; it's better business, and the point is to move the needle on "better practices" further from extra credit and closer to universal compliance.We rounded up 16 companies we love to shop from that also happen to be certified B Corps, helping drive a global movement that uses business as a force for good. Check out 16 B-Corps brands we love to shop from:LeesaLeesaLeesa is best-known for being one of the forerunners in the increasingly crowded direct-to-consumer mattress space. Its Leesa Mattress has over 20,000 five-star reviews, and its Hybrid is one of the picks in our best mattress guide.The company also has a strong social impact: giving one mattress for every ten sold and devoting resources to national and local organizations. Despite the startup's accomplishments in a crowded space, Leesa's Head of Social Impact, Jen-Ai Notman, told Insider the social mission would be likely to still rank as the overwhelming incentive for working at the company.Overall, Leesa has donated more than 37,000 mattresses to those in need and makes a point to provide the opportunity for employees to feel invested in their own backyards with local volunteer opportunities.Shop Leesa here.The Body ShopThe Body Shop/FacebookYou may know The Body Shop from frequent trips to the mall, but the retailer has attracted a dedicated customer base for its social responsibility and wide array of ethically sourced bodycare products. In 2019, the company became a certified B Corp.Since opening its doors in 1976, The Body Shop has launched a series of activism campaigns, even becoming the first international cosmetics brand recognized under the Humane Cosmetics Standard.The Body Shop has also launched a Community Trade partnership with The Tungteiya Women's Association in northern Ghana. Through the partnership, over 640 women help source the high-quality shea butter used in The Body Shop's products, like the shea butter shampoo and conditioner, which is former senior reporter Connie Chen's go-to haircare set.The Coconut Body Butter is one of our favorite bodycare products, and we ranked its Tea Tree Oil as the best tea tree oil we've tried. Shop The Body Shop here.ProseProseProse is a trailblazer for custom haircare and is one of the most personalized beauty brands on the market.Launched in 2017 and added to the B Corp list in 2019, Prose creates complete customized haircare products that cater to the specific needs and goals of each individual's hair and scalp. Prose founders used their experiences in marketing, digital strategy, and R&D roles at consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble and L'Oréal to help define Prose's data-driven and ingredient-centric business model.Because of this technology-driven approach mixed with an apothecary-style concept, Prose's made-to-order products offer the highest quality of clean, sustainably sourced ingredients.Read our entire Prose review here.Shop Prose here.AllbirdsAllbirds/InstagramAllbirds are often referred to as the "world's most comfortable shoes," and we'd be inclined to agree. We also love that each collection seems to get even better at optimizing natural materials without raising prices or diminishing quality.Allbirds' classic sneakers and loungers are made from moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, odor-resistant merino wool that is ZQ-certified (meaning it meets stringent standards for sustainable farming and animal welfare) and uses 60% less energy than synthetics.Their second collection was comprised of sneakers and skippers made from cooling, eco-friendly eucalyptus pulp. Both collections are ultra-comfortable, low-maintenance, made from sustainable materials, and cost $95 for a pair. Shop Allbirds here.PatagoniaPatagoniaPatagonia is a beloved outdoors company for many reasons: its superior products and the environmental efforts that led to it being named a UN Champion of the Earth in 2019, the UN's top environmental honor.You can read more on how Patagonia walks the walk here. A few of our favorite examples include being the first California company to sign up for B certification in 2012; imposing an earth tax on itself; and giving 100% (yes, 100%) of their profits from Black Friday in the past directly to grassroots nonprofits working to protect air, water, and soil quality for future generations. Since 1985, the company has donated over $89 million to environmental work.It also bucks corporate trends by not being afraid to get political. It's led boycotts and sued the United States government after the former Trump administration proposed reducing two national monuments by up to 85%.The company also revised its mission statement from "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis" to the simpler, more urgent "we're in business to save our home planet."Shop Patagonia here.CotopaxiCotopaxiCotopaxi is an outdoors brand with social purpose built into its DNA. Its gear is superior (I count their 35L and 42L travel pack as among my all-time best finds). But, somehow, it's almost more exciting to talk about the work the company is doing outside of its retail line. From its inception, Cotopaxi has been founded upon the idea that the interests of profit and people could not only coexist but should and already do enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.The B Corp values can be found at all levels of operation. Employees spend 10% of their work time in their local communities, adventuring outdoors, or doing service. The company donates 1% of its yearly revenue to ending poverty by funding local organizations working on sustainable solutions. Cotopaxi also puts out a Repurposed Collection of limited-edition gear made out of product scraps. The company has also created a skills-based volunteering initiative that leverages the time and talent of employees to respond to community needs, such as a card-writing program that provides a paid first job for refugees in Salt Lake City. The program provides youth with professional development, work experience, a competitive wage, and the opportunity to practice their English language skills. This is one company whose "Do Good" products actually feel authentic. Shop Cotopaxi here.Frank and OakFrank And OakFrank and Oak is a Canadian apparel company dedicated to making modern, high-quality essentials with sustainable materials and production methods.The company has winter boots made from coffee waste, recycled rubber, and plant-dyed leather, as well as circular denim made from post-consumer waste in a way that uses 79% less energy, 50% fewer chemicals, and 95% less water than the standard.About 50% of the retailer's products are made with minimal-impact processes and materials. Its shipping boxes are 100% recycled and recyclable, and its bags are biodegradable. What's more, its Canadian stores were built with recycled materials. It also keeps a lean supply of products on hand to avoid surplus, which makes nearly every collection limited-edition. Shop Frank and Oak.BombasBombasBombas is another company that was founded with the primary directive of giving back to the community, with its actual product idea coming second. But Bombas are still the best pair of socks we've ever tried.Founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg told Insider the now cult-favorite company began as a way to address the fact that homeless shelters have a great shortage of sock donations. And after noticing that consumers didn't have a great option between high-end niche technical socks and a six-pack at Target, Heath and Goldberg spent two years obsessively re-inventing the wheel.Bombas socks have blister tabs, a reinforced footbed, targeted areas of tension, "stay-up technology," and contoured seaming like a Y-stitched heel to minimize bunching, sliding, and sticking.Since 2013, the company has also donated more than 48,000,000 million items to homeless shelters thanks to its "buy one, give one" model for its socks and tees.And the socks and clothes Bombas does donate have been designed in conjunction with their giving partners to cater specifically to the needs of its recipients, who may not have access to the luxury of putting on clean clothes every day. For instance, the socks come in darker colors to avoid visible wear and tear, added anti-microbial treatment to prevent odor or bacteria if they can't be washed as frequently, and reinforced seams for durability. Shop Bombas here.BeautycounterBeautycounterBeautycounter, a skincare and makeup brand, has become synonymous with the clean beauty movement. Since its founding in 2013, the company has had what it calls The Never List — a laundry list of 1,800 questionable or harmful chemicals that are never used in its products, including the 1,400 banned or restricted by the EU. (The US bans just 30.)It's also involved in advocacy for better, healthier legal regulation in the US and Canada. Its makeup is solid, but it has some of the best skincare products around — and all blessedly sans harmful chemicals.Read our entire Beautycounter review here.Shop Beautycounter here.TentreeTentreeTentree is an outdoor company that essentially thinks of itself as a forestry program that ended up selling clothes. For every product you buy, the company plants 10 trees through thoughtful programs that reforest the earth and help rebuild communities around sustainable local economies. Since its inception, Tentree has planted over 57 million new trees on earth. By 2030, the company's goal is 1 billion. The brand's clothes mostly consist of comfy, unassuming sweatshirts, shirts, leggings, and other basic apparel sold at a reasonable price. It's also fostered a lively online community and lays claim to one of the most-liked Instagram posts of all time.Shop Tentree here.United by BlueUnited By BlueUnited by Blue, an outdoor apparel and accessories brand, was founded first and foremost to preserve and protect the places in which explorers go to play. That means its top-notch gear goes hand-in-hand with conservation work.The company utilizes inventive, sustainable materials and removes 1 pound of trash from the world's oceans and waterways for every product sold. It's working to ban single-use plastic from its business operations. You can also join them in a cleanup. We're particularly big fans of their flannel shirts as well as their jackets and socks that utilize bison down — a surprisingly sustainable material that packs a lot of warmth. Shop United by Blue here.EthiqueEthiqueEthique is helping tackle plastic waste by developing solid bars made for beauty, body, and haircare needs.Founded by a female biologist, the company formulates over 30 solid beauty bars that work as shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, self-tanners, and body washes, and they work well. Every bar is vegan, sustainably sourced, naturally derived, and comes in biodegradable packaging. They also last two to five times longer than bottled options since they're so concentrated (since about 70% of bottled shampoo is water), meaning you save money and contribute a smaller carbon footprint since you're ordering less frequently. To date, the company has prevented the making of more than 11 million plastic bottles.Ethique (French for "ethical") is certified climate-neutral and cruelty-free and donates 20% of its profit to charity.In 2015, the company was recognized as New Zealand's most sustainable business with the Best in B award. In its early stages, the company also attracted the highest number of female investors in PledgeMe history. (PledgeMe is New Zealand's crowdfunding platform.)Shop Ethique here. (Its Amazon orders are fulfilled by Pharmapacks.)AthletaAthletaSan Francisco-based Athleta makes relatively affordable but premium performance clothing designed by women athletes, and it focuses most of its philanthropy on empowering girls and women. Through the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program and Fair Trade U.S.A., the label supports programs impacting the lives of the majority-female workers that create its apparel and has run empowerment-focused campaigns such as "Power of She." The company also offers thousands of free fitness and wellness events each year.  In 2021, it's diverted 74% of shipping waste from landfills, and 71% of its materials are made from sustainable fibers.Shop Athleta here.Uncommon GoodsUncommonGoodsUncommonGoods is a marketplace of creative craft-esque inventions, like long-distance friendship lamps, that make great gifts. The site feels like a clean, navigable Etsy with fewer products and a more distinct thesis: utilitarian but "unique." It's unusual to see a diverse aggregator like UncommonGoods as a B Corp (Etsy gave up the distinction in 2017), but the company has been one since 2007. UncommonGoods works with its artists to use sustainable or recycled materials when possible, chooses environmentally friendlier packing materials, and prints its catalog on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and recycled paper. They also founded "Better to Give," which allows customers to choose a nonprofit partner for the company to donate $1 to with every order. For UncommonGoods, the "business for good" model is working, with the company growing steadily from five employees to over 200 year-round. As part of their approach to business, their lowest-paid hourly seasonal worker makes double the federal minimum wage. They've also advocated for higher minimum wage and paid family leave in New York and other states. The company partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and created the Uncommon Scholars program, which creates internship and scholarship opportunities for students enrolled at historically Black colleges and universities.Shop UncommonGoods here.MPOWERDAmazonNYC-based MPOWERD makes affordable, innovative products that help make clean energy accessible. Its best-known product is the Luci, an inflatable solar light. Particularly well-loved for its versatile applications for campers and hikers, MPOWERD is an increasingly recognizable name in the outdoors genre.Its big sales drive down costs, and those savings are passed on to MPOWERD's clients in developing economies.Through this process and a myriad of others, the company delivers affordable, life-changing solar lights to off-the-grid communities around the world. It has over 700 strategic nonprofit partnerships worldwide, emergency relief sales, and a customer-driven Give Luci program that encourages shoppers to purchase units for their global nonprofit partners. Shop MPOWERD here.Eileen FisherEileen FisherEileen Fisher has been a B-Corp since 2015 and has incorporated conscious practices into most of its supply chain, including "green initiatives" at its headquarters, stores, and distribution centers, along with volunteer work.The company has been involved in some meaningful policy engagement in the past, and it has designed a grant program that supports women involved in environmental justice. Shop Eileen Fisher.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

Heidelberg records half-year profit and high order backlog

Half-year incoming orders up 44 percent on previous year at €1,245 million and sales climb by 22 percent to €983 million Order backlog of €886 million exceeds pre-crisis level EBITDA of €75 million – significant operational improvement Free cash flow reaches €74 million – net financial debt completely eliminated Continued high demand in China and Central Europe Wallbox capacities expanded as a result of dynamic growth Growing supply chain challenges Outlook for financial year 2021/2022 unchanged HEIDELBERG, Germany, Nov. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- During the second quarter of financial year 2021/2022 (July 1 to September 30, 2021), Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has built on the encouraging developments of the first three months. The market recovery continued in virtually all regions compared with the previous year and, as already announced, the Group's transformation is making a big contribution to improving the operating result. The Group's half-year sales increased by 22 percent to €983 million (previous year: €805 million). The EBITDA figure of €75 million was also up on the previous year (€67 million), even though the first half of the previous year was positively influenced by earnings from the restructuring of retirement provision amounting to €73 million, the sale of a subsidiary (€8 million), and the widespread use of short-time working. During the current reporting period, Heidelberg benefited from rising sales, far better cost-efficiency, and earnings of over €20 million from the sale of docufy GmbH, which does not form part of the company's core business operations. The international logistics bottlenecks throughout the industry were already making themselves felt during the first half of the year in the form of delivery delays. Material supplies were also subject to the familiar pressures. However, close collaboration with suppliers and the approval of alternative components prevented more serious negative effects during this period. "The highly positive developments in our growth areas and our improved cost-efficiency underline that Heidelberg is doing very well. We also see great potential for the future thanks to our leading position in China and in the areas of digital business models, e-mobility, and packaging printing. In addition to all this, our break-even point will continue to fall. Despite the clearly evident problems in the supply chain at present, we are therefore confident about this year and the years to come," comments Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. Continuing progress in the four growth areas The encouraging developments during the first half-year are based on further improved cost-efficiency and also on continuing progress in the Group's growth areas, that is to say packaging printing, digital business models, China, and new technology applications, especially in e-mobility. Heidelberg is benefiting from continued high growth in its largest single market – China – partly due to the company's well-established local production operations. ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 10th, 2021

Atotech Reports Third Quarter 2021 Results and Narrows 2021 Full-Year Guidance Range

Generates third quarter revenue of $383 million, an increase of 18% over the prior-year period, including chemistry organic revenue growth of 6% Reports net income of $19 million, an increase of 75% compared to Q3 2020 Delivers Adjusted EBITDA of $112 million, a 10% increase over the prior-year period Net leverage decreased to 3.1x Confirms guidance for full year 2021 organic revenue growth, which is expected to be in the range of 13% to 14%, including full year chemistry organic revenue growth of approximately 10% Narrows guidance for full year 2021 Adjusted EBITDA1, which is anticipated to be in the range of $440 million to $450 million. BERLIN, Germany, Nov. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --  Atotech (NYSE:ATC), a leading specialty chemicals technology company and a market leader in advanced electroplating solutions, today reported financial results for the third quarter of 2021. The company maintained its revenue guidance and narrowed the Adjusted EBITDA guidance range for the full year 2021. Chemistry organic revenue growth, a key performance indicator for the Company, increased 6% over the third quarter of 2020. Chemistry organic revenue growth reflects chemistry revenue growth excluding the impact of foreign exchange translation ("FX") and palladium pass-through ("palladium"). Management Commentary Geoff Wild, Atotech's Chief Executive Officer said, "We are pleased by our strong third quarter performance. Atotech delivered results fully in-line with our expectations and our nine-months results are at record levels, despite the continuing disruption of global supply chains. The strength of demand and the resilience of our business model enables us to feel comfortable reiterating our full-year guidance. "This quarter, we saw strong demand in our Electronics segment for our semiconductor-related businesses as well as IC-substrates. In our GMF segment, we experienced good demand for construction-related products, partially offset by a slowdown in demand from the automotive OEMs, which was primarily felt towards the end of the quarter. We also observed increasing demand for our sustainability-related products. "As expected, in Q3 we saw freight costs decline from the first half; however, this improvement was counter-balanced by broad-based inflationary pressure, including raw material price increases. As a result, we have implemented price increases to our customers to mitigate those effects and will be rolling those price increases out over the coming months." Third-quarter 2021 Results Total revenue was $383 million for the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 18% over the prior-year period. Total organic revenue, which reflects total revenue excluding the impact of FX and palladium, increased 10%. Over the quarter, FX provided a 4% tailwind and palladium increased total revenue by a further 4%. These results were supported by organic growth in chemistry revenue of 6%. Adjusted EBITDA was $112 million for the third quarter of 2021, a 10% increase over the prior-year period, reflecting the chemistry organic volume growth and FX tailwinds, partially offset by increased costs associated with higher raw-material, freight and energy costs. Diluted earnings per share was $0.10 for the period ended September 30, 2021, and Adjusted EPS was $0.27. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 29% for the third quarter of 2021. The decline reflects the margin dilution from higher palladium prices as well as broad-based inflation in raw material costs. Third-quarter 2021 Segment Highlights Electronics: Revenue for the third quarter of 2021 in our Electronics segment was $254 million, an increase of 23% over the prior-year period. Total organic revenue grew 13%, consisting of 7% chemistry organic growth and a 60% increase in equipment organic revenue. Palladium pass-through increased revenue by 6% and FX was a 4% tailwind for the quarter. The Electronics organic revenue increase was driven by continued demand for the Company's advanced semiconductor packaging and IC-substrate solutions. End-market demand for computing applications and automobile electrification continued to gain momentum, but the overall slowdown in the Automobile sector for Electronics was also noticeable. As in prior quarters this year, the global build-out of production capacity for PCBs and semiconductors translated into strong demand for our equipment. Adjusted EBITDA for our Electronics segment was $84 million for the third quarter of 2021, an 18% increase over the prior-year period, primarily driven by chemistry volume growth. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 33%, a decline of 135 basis points, driven by dilution from higher palladium prices and the product-mix effect from lower gross- margin equipment revenue. General Metal Finishing: Revenue for the third quarter of 2021 in our GMF segment was $129 million, an increase of 9% over the prior-year period. Total organic GMF revenue increased 5%, consisting of 6% chemistry organic revenue growth and a 29% decline in organic revenue for equipment. Palladium and FX added 1% and 3% to revenue for the quarter, respectively. Chemistry organic revenue growth was primarily a function of continued recovery from the pandemic-depressed markets of 2020, supported by continued strength in sanitary and construction end-markets as well as sustainability projects. Automotive end-market demand slowed towards the end of the quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for our GMF segment was $28 million, an 8% decline compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting broad-based inflation in raw materials. Full Year 2021 Guidance Regarding the Company's 2021 outlook, Peter Frauenknecht, Atotech's Chief Financial Officer said, "As a result of our solid third quarter, we reiterate our revenue guidance. We continue to expect full year 2021 total organic revenue growth to be in the range of 13% to 14%, including full year organic growth in chemistry revenue of approximately 10%, which excludes the impact of FX and palladium pass-through. Additionally, we now expect full year 2021 adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $440 million to $450 million, which represents a $2.5 million improvement over our prior guidance, at the mid-point." MKS Transaction On July 1, 2021, MKS Instruments, Inc. ("MKS"), a global provider of technologies that enable advanced processes and improve productivity, and Atotech Limited announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which MKS will acquire Atotech for $16.20 in cash and 0.0552 of a share of MKS common stock for each Atotech common share (the "MKS Transaction"). The MKS Transaction is to be effected by means of a scheme of arrangement under Article 125 of the Companies (Jersey) Law 1991 (as amended). The MKS Transaction has been unanimously approved by the MKS and Atotech boards of directors and each of the resolutions put to the Company's shareholders at the court meeting and the general meeting convened in connection with the MKS Transaction, which were each held on November 3, 2021, were passed by the requisite majority of votes. The closing of the MKS Transaction remains subject to the approval of the Royal Court of Jersey, regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2021. Conference Call In light of the pending transaction with MKS, the Company will not host a conference call today. Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This communication contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. In this context, forward-looking statements often address expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "seek," "see," "will," "would," "target," and similar expressions and variations or negatives of these words. These forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions about us, may include projections of our future financial performance, our anticipated growth strategies, and anticipated trends in our business. These statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and projections about future events. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, and such differences could be material. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. More information on potential factors that could affect Atotech's financial results is available in "Forward-Looking Statements", the "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" within Atotech's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F, and in other documents that we have filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), and such factors include, but are not limited to: the uncertainty of the magnitude, duration, geographic reach, impact on the global economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the current and potential travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and other economic restrictions implemented to address it; uncertainty, downturns, and changes in our target markets; foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; reduced market acceptance and inability to keep pace with evolving technology and trends; loss of customers; increases in costs or reductions in the supplies of raw materials that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations; our ability to provide products and services in light of changing environmental, health and safety, product liability, financial, and other legislation and regulation; our failure to compete successfully in product development; our ability to successfully execute our growth initiatives, business strategies, and operating plans; whether the secular trends we expect to drive growth in our business materialize to the degree we expect them to, or at all; material costs relating to environmental and health-and-safety requirements or liabilities; underfunded defined benefit pension plans; risk that the insurance we maintain may not fully cover all potential exposures; failure to comply with the anti-corruption laws of the United States and various international jurisdictions; tariffs, border adjustment taxes, or other adverse trade restrictions and impacts on our customers' value chains; political, economic, and legal uncertainties in China, the Chinese government's control of currency conversion and expatriation of funds, and the Chinese government's policy on foreign investment in China; regulations around the production and use of chemical substances that affect our products; the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union; weak intellectual property rights in jurisdictions outside the United States; intellectual property infringement and product liability claims; our substantial indebtedness; our ability to obtain additional capital on commercially reasonable terms may be limited; risks related to our derivative instruments; our ability to attract, motivate, and retain senior management and qualified employees; increased risks to our global operations including, but not limited to, political instability, acts of terrorism, taxation, and unexpected regulatory and economic sanctions changes, among other things; natural disasters that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations; the inherently hazardous nature of chemical manufacturing that could result in accidents that disrupt our operations and expose us to losses or liabilities; damage to our brand reputation; Carlyle's ability to control our common shares; risks relating to the proposed MKS Transaction, including that such transaction may not be consummated, any statements of belief and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing; and other factors beyond our control. Additional Information and Where to Find It Shareholders may obtain a free copy of the scheme document published by Atotech on September 28, 2021 in relation to the MKS Transaction (the "Scheme Document") and other documents Atotech files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. The Scheme Document is also available free of charge on Atotech's investor relations website at investors.atotech.com together with copies of materials it files with, or furnishes to, the SEC. No Offer or Solicitation This communication is for information purposes only and is not intended to and does not constitute, or form part of, an offer, invitation or the solicitation of an offer or invitation to purchase, otherwise acquire, subscribe for, sell or otherwise dispose of any securities, or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction, pursuant to the proposed MKS Transaction or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. The proposed MKS Transaction will be implemented solely pursuant to the scheme of arrangement, subject to the terms and conditions of the definitive agreement between MKS and Atotech, dated July 1, 2021, which contains the full terms and conditions of the proposed MKS Transaction. Non-IFRS Financial Measures This communication contains certain non-IFRS financial measures designed to complement the financial information presented in accordance with IFRS because management believes such measures are useful to investors. However, our use of these non-IFRS financial measures may vary from that of others in our industry. Our non-IFRS metrics have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation or as alternatives to consolidated net income (loss) or other performance measures derived in accordance with IFRS as measures of operating performance, operating cash flows or liquidity. The Company believes that these measures are important and supplement discussions and analysis of its results of operations and enhances an understanding of its operating performance. See the Appendix for a reconciliation of the non-IFRS financial measures. About Atotech Atotech is a leading specialty chemicals technology company and a market leader in advanced electroplating solutions. Atotech delivers chemistry, equipment, software, and services for innovative technology applications through an integrated systems-and-solutions approach. Atotech solutions are used in a wide variety of end-markets, including smartphones and other consumer electronics, communications infrastructure, and computing, as well as in numerous industrial and consumer applications such as automotive, heavy machinery, and household appliances. Atotech, headquartered in Berlin, Germany, is a team of 4,000 experts in over 40 countries generating annual revenues of $1.2 billion (2020). Atotech has manufacturing operations across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. With its well-established innovative strength and industry-leading global TechCenter network, Atotech delivers pioneering solutions combined with unparalleled on-site support for over 9,000 customers worldwide. For more information about Atotech, please visit us at atotech.com. Financial Statement Tables ATOTECH LIMITED Income Statement   Three months ended(unaudited) ($ in millions), except earnings per share Sept 30, 2021 Sept 30, 2020 Revenue $ 383.0   $ 325.4   Cost of sales, excluding depreciation and amortization   (193.2 )   (142.9 ) Depreciation and amortization   (44.0 )   (44.3 ) Selling, general and administrative expenses   (72.2 )   (71.3 ) Research and development expenses   (14.2 )   (13.2 ) Restructuring benefit (expenses)   (0.1 )   (0.1 ) Operating profit (loss)   59.3     53.7   Interest expense   (14.5 )   (36.2 ) Other income (expense), net   (2.1 )   10.8   Income (loss) before income taxes   42.7     28.3   Income tax expense   (23.3 )   (17.3 ) Consolidated net income (loss) $ 19.4   $ 11.1   Earnings per share     Basic earnings (loss) per share   0.10     (0.25 ) Diluted earnings (loss) per share   0.10     (0.25 )   Three months ended(unaudited) ($ in millions) Sept 30, 2021 Sept 30, 2020 Consolidated net income (loss) $ 19.4   $ 11.1   Other comprehensive income (loss)     Actuarial gains and losses   1.5     (4.7 ) Tax effect   (0.5 )   1.4   Items not potentially reclassifiable to statement of income   1.1     (3.3 ) Currency translation adjustment   (35.2 )   65.5   Hedge reserve   (0.1 )   (3.6 ) Thereof: Income (cost) of Hedging (OCI II)   0.3     3.7   Items potentially reclassifiable to statement of income (loss), net of tax   (35.3 )   61.9   Total other comprehensive income (loss), net amount.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 9th, 2021

Robinson-Patman Act: A federal law aimed at leveling the playing field between small and large businesses

The Robinson-Patman Act is intended to stop producers of products from engaging in price discrimination. The Robinson-Patman Act prevents distributors from giving large retailers preferential pricing over smaller ones. RUNSTUDIO/Getty The Robinson-Patman Act prohibits price discrimination against small business. It was enacted to overcome ambiguity in the Sherman Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. The principal criticism of Robinson-Patman is that it protects competitors instead of encouraging and maintaining competition. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. The Robinson-Patman Act was enacted in 1936 to protect small retailers from unfair competition by larger retailers, mostly through volume discounts from manufacturers. For this reason it's sometimes called the "Anti Chain Store Act."The Act applies only to physical items of the same quality and prevents large retailers from gaining an advantage over independent stores buying the same products. Wholesalers supported enactment of the Robinson-Patman Act since it prevented large retailers from buying directly from manufacturers at deep discounts, a move that cut wholesalers out completely. The legislation's main purpose was to overcome ambiguous language in antitrust law at the time, specifically the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914.What does the Robinson-Patman Act do? In simple terms, the Robinson-Patman Act says manufacturers (sellers) must charge retailers (buyers) the same prices when selling identical products at the same time in the same geographic area. There are exceptions, and the law is complicated - so complicated that some critics, including the Federal Antitrust Modernization Commission, have called for its repeal.Note: In his book, "The Antitrust Paradox," former Solicitor General, Robert Bork argues that the Robinson-Patman actually protects less-efficient competitors rather than consumers.Legal testsTo be considered price discrimination under the Robinson Patman Act the claim must meet specific legal tests:The claim must refer to commodities, not services, and to purchases, not leases.The goods must be of "like grade and quality."There must be likely injury to competition.The sales must involve interstate (across a state line) commerce.Types of injuryEnforceable Robinson-Patman violations resulting in competitive injury may happen in one of two ways:Primary line injury. This type of competitive injury occurs when one manufacturer reduces its prices in a specific geographic market and causes injury to its competitors in the same market. Secondary line injury. This type of injury happens when favored customers (retailers) of a supplier (manufacturer) are given a price advantage over competing customers.Criminal penaltiesSection 3 of the Robinson-Patman Act authorizes the government to seek criminal penalties against any entity that knowingly discriminates against a competitor of a purchaser or charges "unreasonably low prices" or different prices in a different part of the United States "for the purpose of destroying competition or eliminating a competitor."EnforcementEnforcement of Robinson-Patman is the responsibility of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). That said, most successful lawsuits today are between private parties.Note: Enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act is rare.Enforcement can happen through any of the following:FTC Proceedings. The FTC can conduct administrative proceedings and, if warranted, levy injunctive relief and civil penalties.Treble Damages. In a private action, a plaintiff can seek treble (triple) damages and attorney's fees based on lost profits.Attorney's Fees. If successful, the plaintiff (retailer) can recover attorney's fees but if the defendant prevails, they cannot recover their attorney's fees from the plaintiff unless the lawsuit is judged "frivolous."Criminal prosecution. In rare cases, the Justice Department can, theoretically at least, prosecute criminal claims for price discrimination. A prosecution of this type has never been successful in US courts.Who created the Robinson-Patman Act? The Robinson-Patman Act is named for its co-sponsors, Senator Joseph T. Robinson of Arkansas and Representative Wright Patman of Texas, both Democrats. The legislation was meant to be a correction and amplification of sparse anti-price discrimination language in Section 2 of the Clayton Act of 1914. Robinson, Patman, and other proponents saw the sheer size of chain stores like A&P and Sears, Roebuck as giving them too much of an edge over smaller stores because their scale enabled them to negotiate lower prices for goods along with rebates and other types of pricing concessions. The legislation's supporters believed the sparse language in the Clayton Act was not sufficient to combat what they saw as these unfair advantages enjoyed by chains.Key provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act: The main focus of the Act is to protect small businesses by requiring suppliers to sell to them for the same price they charge larger companies.A comparison of the provisions of both the Clayton and Robinson-Patman Acts shows how the Robinson-Patman Act expands on the Clayton Act:Clayton Antitrust ActRobinson-Patman ActBans price discrimination.Prohibits price discrimination against buyers.Bans tying (requiring buyers to purchase additional goods) and exclusive dealing.Allows sellers an affirmative defense based on competitive pricing. (See below)Expands the power of private parties to sue and seek treble (triple) damages.Prohibits sellers from paying commission and buyers from accepting the same.Declares strikes, boycotts, and labor unions legal.Prohibits sellers from paying buyers for services or facilities.Bans anti-competitive mergers.Prohibits sellers from discriminating against buyers on items bought for resale. Prohibits sellers and buyers from knowingly offering or receiving a discriminatory price. Prohibits discrimination in rebates, discounts, or advertising service charges or underselling in particular localities. Allows cooperative associations to return net earnings to members, producers, or consumers. Allows pending litigation prior to enactment of the Robinson-Patman Act to proceed.The affirmative defense noted above has four parts. A charge of price discrimination cannot be enforced against a seller if:Volume discounts are attributable solely to lower per-unit production and shipping costs - that is, if it is cheaper per unit for the manufacturer to make and send 100 widgets than just 20 widgets to a retailer.Price differences are the result of a response to changing conditions affecting the market for or marketability of the goods concerned, such as if demand has decreased significantly.The discriminatory pricing is offered "in good faith to meet an equally low price of a competitor."The advantageous price was practically or functionally available to the disfavored buyer.Note: Exemptions to the provisions of the Robinson-Patman Act include some sales involving the government, non-profits, or cooperative associations.Notable cases involving the Robinson-Patman Act In 2010, Spartan Concrete, which operated on St. Croix, one of the US Virgin Islands, tried to displace a competitor, Heavy Materials, as the sole provider of ready-mix concrete on St. Thomas Island. Both companies dealt with the same wholesale concrete distributor, Argos. After an unsuccessful three-year price war, Spartan agreed to leave St. Thomas. Shortly thereafter it sued Argos, complaining the wholesaler gave Heavy Metals a 10% discount but refused to extend the same discount to Spartan."Although the case actually went to a bench trial, the trial court still granted a directed verdict in the defendant's favor based on the plaintiff's failure to prove antitrust injury," says Henry Su, a partner at the law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, who notes that most Robinson-Patman cases never make it as far as a trial. "The case illustrates how difficult it has been for Robinson-Patman plaintiffs to link the challenged business practices to some harm to competition."Although seldom enforced today, in part due to the problems illustrated by the case above, there have been notable Robinson-Patman actions over the years:FTC v. Morton SaltIn 1948, the Supreme Court upheld the FTC's enforcement of the Act finding that Morton Salt violated Robinson-Patman when it sold its finest "Blue Label" salt on a supposedly standard discount that was available only to five national chains. The court ruled that Morton Salt was in violation and issued a cease and desist order.Lewis v. TexacoIn 1976, a dozen Texaco retailers in Spokane, Washington sued Texaco and won damages of $449,000, which were tripled under provisions of Robinson-Patman. The suit charged that Texaco made a practice of selling gasoline at one price to retailers and a lower price to wholesalers. When those wholesalers went into the retail business, they obtained gasoline for their retail stations at the wholesaler discount, a violation of the Act.American Booksellers v. Houghton MifflinIn 1994, the American Booksellers Association and independent bookstores suedpublishers including Houghton Mifflin Company and Penguin USA, claiming they violated Robinson-Patman by offering "more advantageous promotional allowances and price discounts" to "certain large national chains and buying clubs." The publishers agreed to offer the same prices and discounts to all bookstores as a result of the lawsuit.The financial takeawayDespite the fact that the Robinson-Patman Act is rarely enforced, it remains law and most recently has been the focus of a group known as the Main Street Competition Coalition which has urged the FTC to bring Robinson-Patman action against large chains and business entities.In a letter to the FTC the coalition says: "As a result of unprecedented levels of concentration, small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly subject to discriminatory terms and conditions, including less favorable pricing and price terms, less favorable supply, less favorable retail packaging, and sometimes an inability to access products in short supply that are available to their competitors."Su is skeptical, saying: "In my view, the only way this can and will change is if a complainant presents the FTC with the rudiments of a potential Robinson-Patman Act case against a large retailer for further investigation and possible enforcement. Simply generally calling for the agency to use its enforcement authority, which it has always had, is not going to shift the considerable momentum that has developed over the past several decades favoring industry guidance over enforcement."The Federal Trade Commission Act sets the guidelines underpinning the FTC's consumer-protection enforcementWhat is economic surplus and how does it work?Understanding fiscal policy: The use of government spending and taxation to manage the economyPurchase power is a measure of what your money can buy - here's how it can impact your financesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 4th, 2021

Santa"s Revenge: Everyone Front-Running My Rally, You Get Nothing

Santa's Revenge: Everyone Front-Running My Rally, You Get Nothing Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Santa is generally a jolly fellow, but that doesn't mean he doesn't take pleasure in meting out well-deserved punishment to the greedy. Nothing is more predictable than a stock market rally starting in early November and running into mid-January--Santa's rally. And since it's so predictable, why not front-run the rally by loading up on stocks in October? Here's the problem: Santa doesn't take kindly to punters front-running his rally. It's like opening your presents in October, and that's the equivalent of sucker-punching Santa. Santa's revenge will be served cold: no rally for you, front-runners. And nothing in your stocking or under your tree, either. Rather than give front-runners a lump of coal (that's been bought up by China), Santa will deliver trillions of dollars in losses, much to the surprise of the front-runners counting on glorious gains galore. A funny thing happened on the way to Santa's 2021 rally: a disintegrator beam swept through the entire global supply chain. Everything is now scarce except euphoric confidence in more stock market gains and more central bank stimulus, NFTs, quadrillions in cryptos, and users who hate Meta, which I'm guessing is an acronym for me eat the addicts. What's absolutely out of stock are 1) stability and 2) the means to restore global supply chains to their previous working order. Unbeknownst to the vast herds consuming the goodies stuffed in those 8,000 containers per ship, the entire supply chain has been optimized to function within a very narrow band. Once it veers out of than band, it unravels very quickly and cannot be restored to its previous optimization. There are a number of reasons for this inability to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again. 1. Everything that's needed to restore stability has been stripped out by optimizing profits. Redundancy, excess capacity, stockpiles, multiple sources, domestic sources--all those cost money and are therefore the mortal enemies of increasing profits, so they've all been stripped out of the system long ago. 2. There is just enough of everything to function in the optimized band, and adding more capacity quickly is impossible. There are just enough gasoline/diesel tankers to make the optimal deliveries, and no surplus tankers to add to the network. And even if there were super-costly tanker-trucks gathering dust in a lot, there wouldn't be any surplus drivers with the credentials and experience to drive them. When a solvent runs out because one of the only two producers goes down for any reason, everything that depends on that solvent shuts down. As for adding capacity to produce more solvent, forget it: the machinery is specialized and has to be ordered with lead times measured in months, the means to transport more petrochemical feedstocks to the plant don't exist and cannot be conjured out of thin air, workers who know how to operate the plant are scarce, and so on. These multitudes of intermediaries generate long dependency chains which break if even one link goes down. Every intermediary is a potential disruptor, and the more intermediaries there are, the more opportunities for one link in the chain to snap. With excess capacity kept near-zero to maximize profits, there's no slack, no pool of expertise to tap, no production capacity that can be turned on with a flick of a switch. 3. The instinctive human response to scarcity is to stockpile what's scarce or even threatening to become scarce. For wholesalers and enterprises, this means over-ordering to insure enough inventory to maintain production / sales. This quickly exacerbates shortages as the fortunate few grab far more of the dwindling supply than they need, starving everyone else down the chain. Consumers also buy more and stuff it safely in closets, pantries, garages, etc. Stockpiling is not only rational when faced with scarcities, it's also rational when price increases are guaranteed: better to buy more now before the price goes up. But since the global system is optimized for narrow ranges of supply and demand, this panic-buying strips the system of what little wiggle-room it had. Consider gasoline and diesel supply systems. They're optimized for average drivers to maintain less than half a tank of fuel. So when everyone starts topping off their tank every time they see an open gas station, the modest excess supply is quickly drained and shortages start cascading through a system with near-zero excess capacity, storage, personnel, tanker-trucks, etc. Count the intermediaries between the source of the stuff you need and your house and you'll have a decent grasp of your vulnerability to global supply chain breakdowns. Very few of us know enough to count the intermediaries, and we might reckon there's a few dozen at most. In many cases, the true number is in the hundreds once we count the components, specialty materials, glues, solvents, packaging, delivery, etc. in every part of the production and shipping chain. If you make your own Christmas presents with materials you have on hand, there are no intermediaries between the giver and the recipient. That's a secure system. Depending on hundreds of intermediaries to all function perfectly as the entire chain disintegrates, that's considerably less secure. Santa is generally a jolly fellow, but that doesn't mean he doesn't take pleasure in meting our well-deserved punishment to the greedy. All gains are guaranteed by the Federal Reserve until the magical belief in the Fed's hocus-pocus encounters the disintegration beam. Oops, sorry about your Santa rally. You got greedy with the wrong guy. *  *  * If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. My recent books: A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF). Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World (Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF). Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF). The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF) Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF). Tyler Durden Fri, 10/29/2021 - 10:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

H&M is partnering with a building materials company to achieve its sustainability goals. Here"s a look at how they work together.

Biomason's cement-like tiles have the lowest carbon footprint on the market, and H&M Group is aiming to get them into its stores by 2022. Insider H&M aims to be climate positive by 2040. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images H&M group is aiming to use 100% sustainable materials by 2030 and be climate positive by 2040. To get there, it's partnering with Biomason, a company that uses biology to grow cement tiles. The tiles are being tested in offices and projected to be in public locations by 2022. This article is part of a series called "Partners for a Sustainable Future," profiling innovative alliances that are driving real progress in sustainability. For all the environmental flack that fast fashion gets, H&M Group has set some aggressive sustainability goals for its family of brands. These include using 100% recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and having a climate-positive supply chain - one that creates an overall positive impact on the climate - by 2040. Mattias Bodin, the lead of H&M Group's Circular Innovation Lab. Courtesy of H&M Group "That includes not only the materials and products that we sell to customers but also all the material that we use to facilitate our businesses, such as store interiors, packaging, etc.," Mattias Bodin, the lead of H&M Group's Circular Innovation Lab, told Insider.The challenge? Many of the solutions they're going to need don't exist yet or haven't scaled to the commercial level a major retailer would need. That's why, among other strategies, H&M Group is doubling down on partnerships with innovative companies around the world to develop a portfolio of more sustainable materials. A snapshot of H&M Group's sustainability strategy. Courtesy of H&M Group "We want to lead the industry toward a systemic change - a new way to produce and enjoy fashion - and that's not really something that one company can achieve on its own, so we need to work in partnerships," Bodin said.One such agreement is with North Carolina-based company Biomason, which uses biology to grow cement bricks and tiles. Traditional cement production releases carbon as a byproduct and accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, Biomason's first commercially available product, bioLITH tiles, has the lowest carbon footprint on the market while exceeding the performance of traditional materials. Their work could have a massive impact in constructing buildings in a more sustainable way.Stakeholders from both companies shared how other companies can negotiate partnerships that benefit each other - and the world at large.Align on where you are and where you want to be Biomason's bioLITH tiles. Biomason H&M Group first learned about Biomason at a sustainable materials conference back in 2019. They were immediately impressed by how much the bioLITH tiles looked like the existing materials used in H&M Group stores. Ginger Dosier, Biomason's CEO and president. Courtesy of Biomason It was clear that they were aesthetically aligned, but Biomason's CEO and president Ginger Krieg Dosier said in order to figure out whether they would be good partners, it was critical to ensure they were also aligned on their vision for the technology.For instance, H&M Group was interested in creating tiles that were larger and thinner than Biomason's original prototype. "It's important to be really direct about what they're asking for and be able to quickly suss out whether that's possible. And then the next meetings are really about how you can partner together to develop this in a tandem way," Dosier said.She also suggested not over-promising what you'll be able to achieve. "It's critical to be transparent about where you are in the technology development based on what they're asking so that you're enabling them to join you on that journey of figuring this out," Dosier said. "That to me is what a true partner is. It's different from a customer relationship."Test and develop together Biomason's bioLITH tile installed in H&M Group's headquarters for testing. Biomason Even though both parties were excited about the potential partnership, the larger deal wasn't inked immediately. Instead, H&M Group opted to run several tests of the product, first in the workshop of their Circular Innovation Lab and then on the floors of their headquarters. "This step-by-step approach helps us gain momentum and gain knowledge," Bodin said, allowing them to see how the material performed against needs like durability and stain resistance.This process also helped Biomason better understand what their products need to deliver in practice, rather than doing R&D in a vacuum. "These products have to perform beyond sustainability and beyond aesthetics: They need to perform in an environment where they have heavy use. Working with H&M in this way - sending them prototypes and getting iterative feedback - accelerates our ability to make that happen," Dosier said. Even now that the joint development partnership is official, the teams are continuing to refine and iterate together before hopefully starting to test the tiles in public locations in 2022.All in all, these kinds of partnerships are an exciting way for innovative companies to see other potential applications for their technology and find opportunities to push the boundaries of what they can do. "We're always looking for partners who look beyond where we are today to join us in developing the next use case," Dosier said. Make the relationship two-sided"One of the missions with our Circular Innovation Lab is to find new materials and startups, but also to support those startups and entrepreneurs in moving toward commercialization. It's a two-way street: We need them, they need us," Bodin said.Part of that means providing benefits outside of money alone. "It's really important to look into what you can really offer each other. There's a piece of cofunding, surely, but there might be many other things that we can offer that perhaps we take for granted but could really add value for the partner," Bodin said. Bodin pointed out how H&M Group's supply-chain connections, publicity, and marketing power can really benefit the smaller companies they're partnering with.Another major - and perhaps surprising - term that H&M Group believes in is not asking for any exclusivity in their partnership agreements. Even if these partners were to work with H&M's competitors, Bodin isn't worried: "We might be competing on one level, but when it comes to creating a sustainable future, that's not really where we're competing."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2021

Initiatives From The Franchise Industry To Prioritize Sustainability

Even in a year that was commandeered by a global pandemic, sustainability efforts have grown exponentially in their frequency and scope to apply to a much wider array of environmental and social issues. New industries are finding they cannot avoid this responsibility any longer as increased transparency places them under a greater level of scrutiny. […] Even in a year that was commandeered by a global pandemic, sustainability efforts have grown exponentially in their frequency and scope to apply to a much wider array of environmental and social issues. New industries are finding they cannot avoid this responsibility any longer as increased transparency places them under a greater level of scrutiny. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Political leaders have reiterated a sense of urgency for businesses within many industries to improve their sustainability practices. However, many companies are moving too slowly, with an incremental approach to a problem that requires a radical reshaping rather than a slight adjustment. That is why it is hopeful to see the efforts of companies within the franchise industry, such as McDonalds and Pure Green Franchise, as it wakes up their competitors to the fact that sustainability should not only be interesting because it could be financially beneficial for them, but because it is necessary for us all to engage in such practices if we wish to enjoy sensible and safe exploitation of resources. According to Statista, the following are the largest sustainability initiatives: Global leading sustainable corporation: Schneider Electric SE (NASDAQ:SBGSY) Leading U.S. green power consuming company: Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Leading U.S. retailer by green power: Walmart (NASDAQ:WMT) Growth of Sustainability Efforts What Is Sustainability? Sustainability is an invaluable metric for the global and local strategies of all major businesses designed to protect the environment and human survival from processes that are detrimental to both. Sustainability is often alluded to with efforts such as the protection of ecosystems and renewable resource use, which is part of the picture, but also leaves out the important aspects of economic development and social equity. Put simply, there are three pillars to sustainability: environmental, economic and social. This understanding of the word gained eminence after the United Nations 1987 Brundtland Commission Report that coalesced the ideas of economic development and the protection of social and environmental balance. Given that the environment is usually the price of economic growth and the world’s resources are finite, they must utilize sustainably if we are to continue to support our population’s resources. Sustainability as a concept aids regulators in adapting strategies that are conducive for economic growth without the exploitation of natural resources. In 2015, the United Nations created the Agenda for Sustainable Development, which contained 17 sustainable goals for its member states to adopt and commit themselves to. These goals outlined the challenges humans face around the world and hoped to achieve a sustainable future for all. Popularity of Sustainable Consumerism As consumers become increasingly conscious of how they spend their money and aim to use it in a manner that is reflective of their ecological beliefs, sustainability is a quality that will be progressively demanded of companies across all industries. Whilst sustainability is only picking up mainstream attention now, it’s the future of how the world must do business. There is expected to be an upcoming ‘sustainable revolution’ that will be of a similar scale to the digital revolution that occurred before it. The scale of the task is disconcerting, and yet companies today are, for the most part, responding inadequately. Hiring an expert in sustainability to merely guide them through the process will not cut it; sustainability demands a full reshape of how businesses conduct themselves. The popularity of sustainability will only increase from its current position. Since consumer preferences will directly influence the products that succeed (and are thus produced) in the long-run through the invisible hand of the market, businesses will find that they can either accept sustainability into their processes or be left behind. Moreover, a positive feedback loop will be established that will further increase the prominence of sustainability. Since two of the top three reasons for not adopting a sustainable lifestyle by consumers are the idea that it is too expensive and misinformation, these will both resolve themselves as more businesses accept sustainability. This is because businesses will respond to consumer interest in sustainability, leading to an increase in supply of sustainable goods, and thus a reduction in their cost and further adoption by consumers, leading again to greater production by businesses, and so on and so forth. Sustainability Initiatives in the Franchise Industry McDonalds McDonald's Corp (NYSE:MCD) is one of the largest franchises to take a stand for sustainability, especially in the holistic, complete reshaping manner that was referred to earlier as being required. It has done this with a multi-frontal approach towards sustainability; with plans for climate action, packaging and waste, agriculture and beef, forest conservation and water protection. They were the first global company to set a target to reduce emissions in their supply chain based on a science-based target. The franchise hopes to have prevented around 150 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; this equates to about 32 million passengers cars not driving for an entire year. Their investments throughout 2019 into renewable energy will prevent 700,000 tons of carbon emissions per year in the US, which is comparable to planting 11 million new trees and unveiled the first restaurant ever capable of creating enough renewable energy on-site to cover all its energy needs. McDonalds is also testing new solutions for packaging and recycling around the globe that incorporate more sustainable materials and make recycling easier for customers. They estimate that they are over 78% of the way towards their goal of sourcing packaging from purely certified renewable sources, and are partnering to make sure these changes take place at scale. Such as with NextGen Consortium and Loop for cups. The Chief Supply Chain and Sustainability Officer of McDonald’s, Francesca DeBiase, stated that whilst “their size and reach give [them] a platform for change, meaningful progress really comes down to teamwork … [within] the McDonald’s supply chain - and the broader marketplace”. Pure Green Pure Green is another major company with large-scale initiatives for sustainability. It is a juice bar franchise that has been growing rapidly over the course of the last ten years whose growth has only been accelerated by COVID-19. One of their key sustainability initiatives is centered on reducing their carbon footprint by partnering with local farmers and suppliers not only to connect their guests with real, wholesale and freshly sourced superfoods, but also to streamline production as well as to limit greenhouse gas emission. In order to remain consistent with its mission of inspiring healthier communities, Pure Green builds out their stores using sustainable materials. Pure Green uses Baltic Birch wood as a core material in their standard build. Birch plywood is a sustainable, long term choice that has little impact on the global environment. Birch trees are an abundant and fast-growing species that causes little devastation or destruction of biodiversity when cut down. Another initiative of theirs is using imperfect products for their cold pressed juice and shots. According to Ross Franklin, Founder and CEO of Pure Green Franklin: “More than one third of the fruit and vegetables we used for our products include imperfect produce. The shift saved over one million pounds of produce that may have ended up in a landfill. Our practices for sustainability and completely in alignment with our mission of building healthier communities around the globe.” Pret a Manger Pret has been very vocal about the value it places on ‘doing the right thing’, so much so that the company is almost synonymous with sustainability. It’s no surprise that the seriousness with which they take sustainability extends from their recipes and packaging to their shops and supply chain. They have many initiatives and are at the forefront of this movement. Since setting up their ‘Pret Coffee Fund’ in 2014, Pret has worked directly with Cenfrocafe Cooperative in Peru to curate a course tailored to teach, inspire and help the next generation of coffee farmers to build a sustainable business through coffee. A group of 65 young farmers from across the region are inducted on to this course a year. Over its year-long duration, the course educates these farmers on new approaches, ideas and practical training to improve yield and quality, as well as how to grow a business. So far, 326 students have completed the course, and 60 are enrolled for the sixth year. 94% remained in coffee farming, 50 of which went on to secure additional employment within the sector. Youth membership at Cenfrocafe increased twofold, from 181 at the course’s inception in 2014 to 405 young members in 2019. Yields on the plots owned by young farmers enrolled on the course now sit at 32.77qq/ha, which is far above the region’s average of 188qq/ha. Pret’s CEO, Pano Christou, lamented that “while 2020 will sadly be remembered for the impact of the pandemic, [they] are nonetheless determined to make sure Pret emerges a stronger, better, and more sustainable business in the future … that continues to challenge [themselves], innovating and collaborating with others”. Final Comments However franchises may feel about it, sustainability is the certain future of how the world must do business. Whilst COVID-19 has accelerated the scope of sustainable business to almost all industries, many are not treating it with the urgency it deserves and are thus implementing these processes far too slowly. That being said, sustainable is growing ever more popular, which creates a positive feedback loop that cyclically nudges businesses to implement sustainable policies into their corporation in order to profit. This, in turn, lowers the cost of sustainable goods (as they are more common), which leads to their increased approval by consumers and an even greater presence of sustainability measures in business. This can be seen taking place at the moment with industry leaders such as Pure Green Franchise and Pret a Manger spearheading this movement of sustainability in business with their sustainability initiative and Pret Coffee Funds respectively. This represents the tip of the iceberg and is only the beginning. Updated on Oct 20, 2021, 1:43 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 20th, 2021

The 5 best bed sheets in 2021 for every sleeper

We tested 19 sets to find the best sheets for your bed in 2021. Our picks include L.L.Bean, Pinzon, Sijo, Frette, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Connie Chen/Insider Good sheets are essential to good sleep, which is why you need a set that's comfortable and durable. The L.L.Bean Percale Sheet Set is our top pick for most people because they're crisp and breathable. It's made from soft, durable, extra-long-staple cotton and is affordably priced for the quality. Read more about how Insider Reviews tests home products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyI've spent four years trying out more than three dozen sets of sheets, and I can tell you - even if you have the perfect mattress and pillow, bedtime is incomplete without soft and comfortable sheets. For this guide, I put 19 sets of sheets through rigorous testing to determine the top five for a variety of preferences and budgets. L.L.Bean's Percale Sheet Set is the best option for most people.I spoke to hospitality experts and a textiles scientist to learn more about thread count, materials and fiber types, and fabric care. The FAQs section contains more info on why thread count is less important than you think, why you should look for 100% long-staple cotton as a sheeting material, and how to prevent wrinkles in your fresh sheets. The majority of our picks are made from cotton, which offers the best balance of comfort, durability, and affordability. But we've also included options like flannel and linen, which hold heat differently and may be more appropriate for specific seasons or those who tend to sleep cold or hot. Here are the best sheets for your bed in 2021Best sheets overall: L.L.Bean Percale Sheet SetBest cooling sheets for summer: Sijo Linen Sheet SetBest flannel sheets for winter: Pinzon Flannel Sheet SetBest hotel sheets: H by Frette Classic Sheet SetBest sheets on a budget: Threshold Solid Performance Sheet Set Best sheets overall Connie Chen/Insider The L.L.Bean percale sheets feel amazing on your skin — simultaneously light, crisp, and soft — and prove that quality materials are more important than thread count.Material: 100% Pima cotton, percale weave Thread count: 280 Sizes available: Twin, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions:  Machine wash in warm water with like colors. Use only non-chlorine bleach if needed. Tumble dry on low and remove promptly. Pros: High-quality construction, very soft and comfortable, fitted sheet is labeled, accessible priceCons: Lack of prints and patterns, fitted sheet may be loose on thinner mattressesOf all the percale cotton sheets I tested, L.L.Bean's set stood out for its ultra-softness and comfort. It's our overall best pick because it boasts a bit of everything that most shoppers are looking for: lightweight, breathable, and cool fabric; crisp yet soft feel; and strong construction that can reliably stand up to multiple washes. The sheets are made from pima cotton, which is a high-quality, extra-long-staple cotton. Karen Leonas, a professor of textile sciences at the Wilson College of Textiles, NC State University, told us extra-long-staple cotton is even stronger and more resistant to abrasion than long-staple cotton. That's likely why the L.L.Bean sheets are extra soft and durable, even though the 280-thread count is on the lower end of the spectrum. Even after many washes, they also had a great feel and experienced no loose threads or shrinkage in the last three months.The fitted sheet fit well and never slipped off, but there was a little excess (it fits up to 15-inch mattresses) on my IKEA Haugesund mattress. I loved that the long and short sides were labeled, a thoughtful touch that always sped up the annoying task of putting on my sheets. (When you're constantly trying and washing different sheets, you notice and appreciate these things.) The sheets are available in a handful of light colors, and they have hemstitched detailing (decorative threading at the edges). If you prefer a simple look that fits into pretty much any room style, the L.L.Bean sheets won't disappoint. If you like fun prints and patterns, try Brooklinen's sheets. They came in a close second to L.L.Bean for comfort and durability and are also reasonably priced.  There's nothing gimmicky or "special" about these L.L.Bean sheets, and that's what makes them so great. They're simply well-made, extremely comfortable, and dependable — the best you could want out of something you're sleeping on every night. Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best flannel sheets for winter Connie Chen/Insider It's hard to imagine snuggling in anything but Pinzon's thick flannel sheets on a cold winter night. They'll keep you warm and cozy without causing you to overheat.Material: 100% brushed cottonThread count: Doesn't apply; 170 GSMSizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Plush and cozy feel, heavyweight, breathable, affordable Cons: Lots of dryer lint, only available in solid colors, may be too warm for hot sleepersImagine you're nestled in a cabin in the woods, far, far away from the people and bustle of regular life. There's a fire crackling nearby, and you have a book in one hand and a mug of tea in the other. That's what it feels like sleeping in these flannel sheets, even if the reality is that you're laying your head to rest in a modern city high-rise. There's no better fabric than flannel to bundle your body in during fall and winter (and even beyond, if you don't sleep hot). Pinzon's flannel is thick, soft, and cozy from the very first use and the comforting feeling only gets better over time. They're velvety and a little fuzzy but were never itchy and uncomfortable. Though the sheets are very warm, they never felt stifling or unbreathable, despite the fact that I sometimes sleep warm. However, if you regularly sleep hot, the flannel sheets may be too stifling.These sheets make it dangerously tempting to take midday naps curled up like a cat or to sleep in every day as if it were a Sunday free of commitments and appointments. I consistently felt like I slept better and deeper because of how warm and comfortable these sheets are. Fortunately, there's been no shrinkage or pilling to get in the way of that comfort.Still, there are a few small inconveniences. Out of the package, they have a slight chemical odor, so you'll need to wash them before the first use. Also, be prepared to empty out a thick layer of fuzz from your dryer lint trap every time you wash them. If you have thicker or high-loft pillows, the pillowcases may be a tight fit. I used them on my Casper and Leesa pillows (both moderately-sized pillows), and the pillowcases were a bit difficult to pull on.Cotton Flannel Bed Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best hotel sheets Connie Chen/Insider When you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars a night to sleep at a luxury hotel, H by Frette's smooth and luxurious sateen sheets will take you there instead.Material: 100% extra-long-staple cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 300Sizes available: Twin, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in hot water. Tumble dry on low. If desired, remove before completely dry and iron to remove wrinkles.Pros: Luxury hotel-approved, quality materials, washes well, the brand has a long manufacturing historyCons: Only available in whiteRitz-Carlton, St. Regis, and Kimpton hotels worldwide turn to this iconic name for their bedding needs. We're talking about none other than Italian luxury brand Frette, once the official maker of linens for the Italian royal family. Sleeping in Frette's soft and smooth sateen sheets, you'll certainly feel like royalty. H by Frette is Frette's consumer line of linens and whisks you away into the sumptuous hotel bed of your dreams. But rather than paying for just a single night in a high-end hotel, you're dropping $300 for years of hotel luxury in your own room. The sheets are, of course, only available in white, and you can get them in sateen or percale, depending on your preference. The resulting bed looks simple, clean, and fresh. While housekeeping staff isn't included with your purchase, you'll probably feel motivated anyway to maintain the signature hotel style yourself because of how sleek and composed the all-white look is.Frette uses 100% extra-long-staple cotton, so even though the set doesn't have the extraordinarily high thread count (300) you might expect from hotel sheets, it feels very soft. Extra long-staple cotton is also very durable — important for hotels where housekeeping teams are washing each room's sheets constantly and important for you as a consumer if you want to be sure your investment goes a long way. Sateen sheets can be too warm for me sometimes, but Frette's felt perfect and cooler than other sateen sets I've tried. The sheets have a subtle gloss and a silky feel, and they remain comfortable after every wash. You'll find less expensive and equally comfortable sheets in the rest of this guide, but if you specifically want the sheets used in and approved by hundreds of hotels, then you'll be very happy with Frette's. Whenever I rotate through my sheets, I look forward to this set because I know it'll feel like a treat.Pro tip: "When recreating this [hotel] experience at home, think about using high lofting pillows, quality sheets, and a plush duvet with a duvet cover for the ultimate luxury experience," says Chan.Sateen Classic Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best sheets on a budget Connie Chen/Insider Threshold's sheets are popular among Target shoppers because they're comfortable, thoughtfully designed, and, best of all, affordable.Material: 100% cotton, sateen weaveThread count: 400Sizes available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low. Pros: Affordable, great fit Cons: May trap body oils more, smell terrible out of the packageIt's the price tag that'll catch your eye first, then the great fit and soft feel that'll sell you completely on these budget-friendly sheets from Target brand Threshold. Of all the sets I tested, Threshold's fitted sheet was the easiest to put on and fit my mattress the best, despite being designed for mattresses up to 18-inch deep. The extra stretch in the corners of the sheet made a big difference and helped the sheet cling to my mattress without showing excess material on top. It also has a top and bottom label to speed up the fitting process. Once on, the sateen sheets are smooth and silky. They're made from 100% cotton and have a 400-thread count on the higher end of all the sets I tried.After some use, however, I noticed that they seem to trap body oils more readily and feel greasier than other sets, making them less pleasant to sleep on. I wondered if this was because Target uses a short-staple cotton, or if they applied some kind of treatment over the sheets to give them their "performance" qualities (wrinkle-resistant, bleach friendly), but the brand didn't respond to my requests for additional clarification. The problem does seem to go away if I wash the sheets more often.Either way, I had a comfortable experience overall; they just weren't the best of all the sheets I tried. And though they're touted as "performance sheets," most notably as being wrinkle-free, they certainly wrinkle. The best way to get rid of the wrinkles, as with all cotton sheets, is to iron them. Be warned — the sheets have a strong sour and chemical smell when you first take them out of their packaging. The smell lingers even after the sheets are aired out for a couple of days, so you'll definitely want to wash them first.If you're on a budget, a college student, or a frequent host looking to outfit a guest bed, these sheets are a smart decision. We're continuing to test and wash them to look for any durability issues, but so far, we haven't run into any. Performance Sheet Set (Queen) (button) Best cooling sheets for summer Connie Chen/Insider The cool, airy, and beautiful linen sheets from Sijo will be your summer favorite, or if you regularly sleep hot, a durable yearlong standby.Material: 100% French flaxThread count: Doesn't applySizes available: Full, queen, king, California kingCare instructions: Machine wash in cold water on the gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. Remove from dryer when slightly damp and hang or lie flat. They can also be hand washed or dry cleaned. Pros: Stays dry and cool, casually wrinkled style, flexible flat sheet option Cons: Doesn't come in as many colors and sizes as competitors, may experience some sheddingLinen is a contentious textile. It wrinkles very easily, feels a bit rough, and is notoriously expensive. On the other hand, some prefer the casual, lived-in look, and it does get softer with time and use. Most importantly, because it's made from hollow flax fibers, which absorb moisture and let air pass through, linen is breathable and stays dry even on the warmest, stuffiest nights. Sijo sheets are the best linen sheets I've tried because they strike the right balance of comfort, coolness, durability, and price. After a couple of months of testing, they knock out our former best pick, MagicLinen, because of how downright soft and comfortable they are, even while having the signature grainy texture of linen. And they get softer and better after multiple washes.If your preconception of linen is that it's too scratchy to enjoy, Sijo's sheets will change your mind. They're also airy and light, keeping me cool on California spring-nights-that-already-feel-like-summer (we recently had temps in the high 80s in late March). I loved the wrinkled look, especially combined with the soothing Blush color. I'm also a fan of Sky, a dusky blue. The color and overall construction have held up well so far, and the fabric continues to feel both substantial and lightweight. You should expect some shedding in the first few washes — it's a natural part of the process but a little annoying to pick off your bed.Unlike with MagicLinen, I didn't have any sizing issues with Sijo's sheets. All the sets have a 15-inch depth. You can also opt in or out of a flat sheet, which provides great flexibility and can bring the price of your purchase down.Linen Sheet Set (Queen) (button) What else we tested Connie Chen/Insider What else we recommend and why Brooklinen (sateen): As I mentioned earlier, it was a tight race between Brooklinen and L.L.Bean. We still highly recommend Brooklinen because the brand offers incredible value for long-lasting, comfortable, and beautiful sheets. But the set we tested (Brooklinen's most popular) may be too warm for some people because of the sateen weave, which is why we ultimately picked L.L.Bean's cooler percale. Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.Brooklinen (linen): Brooklinen's sateen sheets usually get all the love, but we were also interested in its other fabrics. Each set of its cozy made-in-Portugal linen sheets is individually garment-dyed, so you'll feel like you have a unique piece of bedding. Our top pick is softer, but Brooklinen's are still pretty comfortable and come at the best price. Boll & Branch: Boll & Branch uses cotton that's both GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified, so if you live an organic lifestyle or are trying to incorporate more organic products into your cart, you'll love these ethically and sustainably made sheets. The sheets are comfortable and durable but keep in mind that the manufacturing process and certifications do come at a cost. Read our full review of Boll & Branch sheets here.MagicLinen: MagicLinen recently lost its spot as our top linen pick because it wasn't as comfortable or affordable as Sijo. There are a few reasons you might still want to buy MagicLinen, though: it comes in a lot more colors and sizes, including twin and deep-depth. If you're willing to pay a bit more to find a specific style and fit, MagicLinen's a good place to shop durable and airy linen sheets. Read our full review of MagicLinen sheets here. Riley: Riley's percale sheets are softer than other percale sheets, but not more so than L.L.Bean's. They felt cool and held up to all our washes well. I also appreciated the fair price point and the flexibility of opting for the add-on flat sheet, instead of being stuck with one you don't want. Parachute: Parachute's name often comes up along with fellow direct-to-consumer brands Brooklinen and Boll & Branch, all of which launched around the same time. We loved the smooth feel of its sateen sheets, which were softer than Brooklinen's. The one downside is they come in limited colors, and many sizes are currently sold out. Snowe: The crisp percale sheets from Snowe have both the feel and sensibility of a light button-down shirt. They're sophisticated and sleek, though not quite as soft as other percale options we've tried. I slept with them during the dead of summer, and they kept me cool and comfortable. Casper: Casper's newest bedding offering is the Hyperlite Sheet Set, made from Tencel lyocell, which comes from sustainably sourced wood. The material is indeed incredibly lightweight and soft, with a thin, gauzy construction — so thin that it's a bit see-through. They've held up really well after many washes. Bed Threads: This is another brand we love for fairly priced linen sheets. Bed Threads offers extended sizing and an assortment of beautiful colors to spruce up your bedroom. (I sampled the lilac.)What we do not recommend and why Crane & Canopy: We liked the comfortable feel and embroidery of these extra-long-staple, 400-thread count cotton sheets. Like L.L.Bean and Brooklinen, they're made from high-quality cotton and have a mid-tier thread count — but they're a lot more expensive. Since there are no other distinct features to set Crane & Canopy apart, we prefer L.L.Bean and Brooklinen for their better value.Serena & Lily: The home brand has many pretty and composed sheet options, like this Classic Ring Sheet Set, which has a percale weave and a 310-thread count. The feel is crisp and cool, but it's a bit pricey for what you get, and our other sheet picks offer better value. We also noticed after the first wash that there were already some loose threads on the pillowcases. Italic: Long-staple cotton percale sheets made by the same manufacturer of Frette, Four Seasons, and St. Regis sheets for $85? The Slumber Cotton set is enticing for this reason, and it's comfortable to sleep in. However, Italic has a $100/year membership model, so buying this set only makes sense if you plan on purchasing other goods from the site. We recommend first browsing the rest of the online shop to see if you're interested in the other home products, clothing, and accessories. Otherwise, you'll be paying $185, which isn't any more competitive than our picks above. Ettitude: Ettitude's claim to fame is using bamboo lyocell for its sheets. They're made from 100% organic bamboo with a water-efficient manufacturing process, and the result is uniquely soft, silky, and cool. However, we noticed they're more delicate than other fabrics, and the sheets showed more pilling and abrasion after we washed them.Bespoke Post: A defining characteristic of percale is that it's crisp and airy, like your favorite button-down shirt. The problem I experienced with Bespoke Post's new percale sheets is that they're too crisp and can rustle loudly if you move in your sleep (which is probably most of us). It also held onto and showed body oils easily, and you'd need to wash the set frequently.  Our testing methodology Connie Chen/Insider Here's how we tested the sheets over nine months. We'll continue to follow these steps in the upcoming months and note any changes.Washed and dried each set according to its respective instructions at least five times. Usually, we washed the sheets in a cold cycle with gentle detergent and dried them on a low tumble cycle. Put the fitted sheet on a 10-inch-thick mattress and noted slipping, sliding, post-wash shrinkage, and stretchiness of elastic. Slept on each set for at least one week and noted texture, overall comfort, breathability, and coolness. What we're testing next West Elm/Instagram Lilysilk: One category we'd like to add to our guide in the future is "best silk sheets." The luxurious Lilysilk sheets are made of mulberry silk and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. We like that Lilysilk lets you customize what pieces are included in your sheet set. THX Silk: The THX Silk 19 momme silk sheet could have the same description as the Lilysilk sheets. They're made from OEKO-TEX certified mulberry silk, but they "only" cost $410. We're curious to see if these luxury sheets live up to their price.West Elm: West Elm's Fair Trade-certified linen sheets are popular among linen lovers. They come in around the same price as MagicLinen's and are also available in many beautiful colors, so we'll mainly be comparing their comfort and durability. Kassatex: These long-staple cotton, 300-thread count sateen sheets seem promising, especially considering a Queen set is only $100. We look forward to putting these inexpensive sheets through all our tests to see how they stand up over time and how they compare to our current picks.  FAQs Connie Chen/Insider Does thread count matter?Yes, to a certain extent. However, don't use it as your sole determining factor because its definition can be manipulated, and after a certain number, the difference in feel and durability is negligible. Thread count is the number of yarns per inch, horizontally and vertically. Leonas tells us that a ply yarn (two single yarns twisted together) has traditionally been considered one yarn, but in recent years, some brands have been using total ply yarn count as the thread count, resulting in an artificially high number. Remember that thread count only applies to cotton sheets and single yarn weaves. All of our best cotton sheets fall in the 300-500 range, and you likely won't need anything beyond that."When finding sheets that will last and provide comfort and a relaxing night's sleep, take a look at the material first and thread count second," said Ave Bradley, senior vice president of design and creative director at Kimpton Hotels. Kimpton uses 200-300 thread count cotton sheets from Frette in its rooms. Though bedding brands are often quick to show off high thread counts, they're less important than you might think. The type of fiber and weave also help determine the sheet's texture, breathability, and durability. Percale and sateen, for example, are both made of cotton but have different weave structures, resulting in different feels.What are the different types of sheets?The quality and type of material do matter. Below, we define, compare, and contrast different materials, fabrics, and terms you'll often run into while shopping for sheets. Drape: The fluidity or rigidity of a fabric. A fabric with a high or fluid drape, such as silk, is flowy and clings more to the object. A fabric with a low drape is stiffer and holds its shape more. Long-staple cotton: Cotton with longer-staple fibers that result in smoother and stronger yarn. This is compared to short-staple cotton, which has fiber ends that stick out and cause the sheets to be rougher and less abrasion-resistant. Brands will generally call out when they use long-staple cotton; otherwise, you can probably assume it's short-staple. Leonas says the industry definition of long-staple cotton is a fiber length of 1.15-1.22 inches.Egyptian cotton: Cotton grown in Egypt. It's often assumed that Egyptian cotton is long-staple, but it could also be lower-quality, short-staple cotton that just happens to be from Egypt, so be careful of this labeling and look specifically for "long-staple cotton." Pima cotton: Also known by its trademark name, Supima cotton. Extra long-staple cotton that is grown only in the US and has a fiber length of at least 1.5 inches. Extra long-staple cotton is even smoother, more flexible, and more resistant to pilling than long-staple cotton.Percale: A type of cotton weave where one thread is woven with another thread into a tight, grid pattern. It has a matte, crisp feel. It's airy and more breathable. Sateen: A type of cotton weave where three or four threads are woven over one thread into a looser grid pattern. It has a smooth, silky feel and a slight sheen to it. Compared to percale, it's less breathable and may not be suitable for sleepers who run hot. According to Leonas, sateen tends to snag more easily and show dirt more readily due to its unique "float" weave. If you enjoy the feel and look of sateen, keep in mind that sheets made using this weave require a little more care and maintenance. Polyester: A type of synthetic fiber that may be blended with cotton or used to make microfiber. It's less breathable and traps moisture more easily, and it may not be suitable for people with sensitive skin. Microfiber: A type of synthetic material made with very fine polyester fibers. It's very soft and drapeable but doesn't breathe well. Lyocell: Also known as Tencel. A type of fiber made from wood (often eucalyptus) pulp. It's soft, silky, and breathable. Linen: A type of fiber made from flax plants. It's slightly rigid, with a rougher texture, and it feels cool and breathable. It wrinkles easily. Flannel: A type of fabric made with thickly woven wool or cotton. It's brushed to give it a slightly soft and fuzzy texture, and it feels warm.What kind of sheets do hotels use?Dennis Chan, director of retail product at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said his team looks at the fabric drape (the way the fabric hangs), hand feel, and construction of weave when sourcing bedding for hotels worldwide. Four Seasons produces its own line of bedding in its Four Seasons at Home collection, featuring 350-thread count sateen weave cotton sheets. Top hotel brands like Four Seasons and Kimpton outfit their rooms in 100% long-staple cotton sheets because they're soft, breathable, and durable, resulting in luxurious and memorable sleep experiences for their guests. Long-staple cotton has longer fibers, so it's stronger and softer than shorter-staple cotton, which is why we also generally recommend 100% long-staple cotton in our best picks. What are the different sheet certifications?You may notice that some of our best picks have a Standard 100 by Oeko Tex certification. This label means the final sheet product has been independently tested for more than 100 harmful chemical substances and is safe for human use. While it's not the only certification out there, it's widely used and known in the textiles industry.Our experts say you should look for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification for basic safety, but if you also care about manufacturing, look for STeP by Oeko Tex. It checks for environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and safe practices all along the production process.The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is another certification used specifically for organic textiles. GOTS-certified sheets contain at least 95% certified organic fibers and meet environmental and social standards at every stage of processing and manufacturing.What's the best way to care for your sheets?According to various bedding brands, you should wash your sheets every one to two weeks and have alternate sets to preserve their quality. We recommend following the specific care instructions that come with the sheet set you buy. Based on our experience, brands generally advise washing the sheets in a cold or warm cycle with gentle detergent, then drying in a low tumble cycle. Hot water can make colors bleed, cause shrinkage, and weaken fibers. Drying at high heat can also weaken fibers and cause pilling.What's the best way to prevent wrinkles?For all its great properties, cotton naturally wrinkles, and that's thanks to its molecular structure. Leonas explained that wrinkles happen when hydrogen bonds form as your sheets bump around in the dryer. "The only way to get rid of those bonds is to flip some water on it or apply high heat. That's why we use a lot of steam when we press things," she says. If you want to get rid of wrinkles, the best way is to iron them before fitting them onto your bed or remove them from your dryer a little before the cycle ends and fitting them onto your bed while slightly damp.Are alternative fibers any good? Alternative fibers like bamboo lyocell or microfiber are appealing because they're often very comfortable and affordable. However, in our testing experience, their durability doesn't match up to that of cotton or linen. They're more prone to pilling, abrasion, and shrinkage. Plus, the production and care of these alternative fibers can be murky and bad for the environment. The shedding of microfiber, for example, is polluting the ocean. What kind of duvet cover do you pair with your sheets? It's best to choose a duvet cover with the same fabrication as your sheet set — if you like how your sheets feel below you, you'll like how the same type of fabric feels on top of you. Most of the brands we recommend in our guide also sell matching duvet covers. If you want to mix and match bedding pieces, we'll soon be overhauling our guide to the best duvet covers.  Check out our other great bedding guides Jen Gushue/Insider The best pillowsThe best pillowcasesThe best duvet coversThe best mattressesThe best weighted blanketThe best cotton sheetsThe best flannel sheetsThe best sheets for kids  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Oil-Dri Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2021 Results

CHICAGO, Oct. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oil-Dri Corporation of America (NYSE:ODC), producer and marketer of sorbent mineral products, today announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021.   Fourth Quarter Year to Date (in thousands, except per share amounts) Ended July 31 Ended July 31   2021   2020   Change 2021 2020 Change Consolidated Results             Net Sales $78,129 $64,844   20  % $304,981 $283,227 8  % Net Income Attributable to Oil-Dri $603 $5,886   (90 )% $11,113 $18,900 (41 )% Earnings per Common Diluted Share $0.08 $0.83   (90 )% $1.57 $2.65 (41 )% Business to Business             Net Sales $30,022 $26,628   13  % $110,120 $104,260 6  % Segment Operating Income* $3,791 $6,255   (39 )% $25,086 $26,882 (7 )% Retail and Wholesale             Net Sales $48,107 $38,216   26  % $194,861 $178,967 9  % Segment Operating Income (Loss)* $3,283 ($825 ) 498  % $11,916 $13,079 (9 )% *Segment operating income (loss) for fiscal year 2020 has been adjusted. See Note 1 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in our Annual Report on form 10-K for the year ended July 31, 2021. Daniel S. Jaffee, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "Our performance in the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 was disappointing despite tremendous top-line growth with record high consolidated net sales for both periods. Our profitability was greatly reduced due to significant cost inflation across all input channels. Not only did the price of resin used in our jugs and pails spike, but higher lumber costs for pallets also contributed to the considerable increase in our overall packaging expenses. Dramatic increases in freight, natural gas and other material costs also negatively impacted our margins. In response to these rising costs, we implemented price increases across our product portfolio. However, it is clear we did not keep up with the rapid pace of inflation. Additionally, our supply chain was challenged as a result of trucking and ocean carrier capacity constraints combined with a nationwide labor shortage. Despite these headwinds, we achieved many of our strategic goals and delivered increased dividends to our shareholders during the fiscal year. We continue to push forward with our two biggest growth opportunities: mineral-based antibiotic alternative feed additives and lightweight cat litter. I am excited to report that our animal health products are currently in several trials across the globe. In addition, consumer demand for our lightweight cat litter remains strong, and our branded and private label products continue to surpass category growth. Our new Cat's Pride UltraClean and Cat's Pride Flushable items were recently launched, and we are convinced consumers will enjoy the products' unique benefits. As we begin fiscal year 2022, we will continue to focus on developing our value-added businesses and enhancing profitability." Full Year ResultsConsolidated net sales for fiscal year 2021 reached an all-time record high of $305 million, reflecting an 8% increase over the prior year. This was primarily due to higher demand of our cat litter and agricultural products which increased 9% and 19%, respectively, in fiscal year 2021 compared to the prior year. Revenues from our fluid purification products were 3% greater than last year, while sales of animal health and nutrition products were essentially flat. Industrial and sports business revenues grew 9% year over year, and we experienced steady sales gains of 2% from our co-packaging coarse cat litter business. Annual consolidated gross profit decreased by $3.5 million, as margins were reduced to 21% in fiscal 2021 from 24% in the prior year. Severe inflationary pressures caused domestic cost of goods sold per manufacturing ton to increase approximately 8% in the twelve month period compared to the prior year. Domestic freight, packaging and natural gas per manufactured ton rose 13%, 19%, and 15%, respectively over the prior year. U.S. non-fuel manufacturing costs per ton increased approximately 3%, primarily driven by higher costs of purchased materials. Included in fiscal year 2020's results, was the one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million in connection with an intellectual property license agreement which occurred in the fourth quarter of the same year. Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses for fiscal year 2021 decreased 8% from the prior year primarily due to lower advertising spending, estimated annual incentive bonus accrual and pension expense. Fiscal 2020 SG&A expenses included a legal contingency offset by a curtailment gain related to our Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan. In addition, a change in the allocation of expenses from SG&A to cost of goods sold affected quarterly segment operating income in both fiscal years 2021 and 2020 by $5.3 million and $7.1 million, respectively. This reclassification did not affect consolidated operating or net income. Consolidated annual operating income was $13 million, reflecting a 47% decrease from the prior year. Excluding the aforementioned one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million in fiscal 2020, operating income for fiscal 2021 was 10% greater than last year. Other income (expense), net in fiscal year 2021 included approximately $600,000 of settlement costs under our pension plan, compared to $2 million in fiscal year 2020. Full year net income attributed to Oil-Dri was $11.1 million, reflecting a 41% decrease from the prior year. Cash and Cash Equivalents decreased to $24.6 million in fiscal 2021 from $41 million in fiscal 2020, as a result of higher cost of goods sold and a significant fiscal 2020 bonus payout which was paid in fiscal 2021. Debt decreased to $9 million in fiscal 2021 from $10 million in the prior year. Fourth Quarter ResultsConsolidated net sales in the fourth quarter reached an all-time quarterly high of $78 million, or a 20% increase over the prior year. Sales from our cat litter, industrial and sports, and agricultural businesses drove the majority of this growth. Demand for fluids purification products and co-packaged coarse cat litter also increased in the fourth quarter over the prior year, while revenues from our animal health and nutrition products were essentially flat. Fourth quarter consolidated gross profit decreased by approximately $1.5 million, while margin was reduced to 19% in fiscal 2021 from 21% in fiscal 2020. Although revenues grew significantly in the quarter, these gains were offset by a 7% increase in domestic cost of goods sold per manufactured ton compared to the prior year. Trucking capacity constraints and high fuel costs resulted in a 7% increase in domestic freight per manufactured ton compared to the same period last year. Due to extreme inflation on resin and lumber prices, domestic packaging costs per manufactured ton increased 40%. Further contributing to the reduction in margin was higher domestic natural gas per manufactured ton which increased 67% in the fourth quarter over the prior year. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, consolidated operating income was $1.7 million compared to $9.1 million in fiscal 2020. Revenue increases and a $4 million, or 24%, reduction in SG&A expenses were partially offset by significantly higher cost of goods sold. Also, impacting the quarterly results comparison was the one-time pre-tax receipt of $13 million resulting from an intellectual property license agreement which occurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. Last year's results included a legal contingency as well as an accrual which was no longer deemed necessary in fiscal year 2021. In addition, a change in the allocation of expenses from SG&A to cost of goods sold affected quarterly segment operating income in both fiscal years 2021 and 2020 by $755,000 and $2.2 million, respectively. This reclassification did not affect consolidated operating or net income. Fourth quarter consolidated net income attributed to Oil-Dri was $603,000 in fiscal 2021 compared to $5.9 million in fiscal 2020. Product Group ReviewThe Business to Business Products ("B2B") Group's fourth quarter revenues reached a record $30 million, a 13% gain over the prior year. This increase was primarily driven by strong revenue growth from the agricultural and fluid purification businesses. Sales of agricultural products increased by 37% over the prior year, as demand from one of our largest customers rose in the quarter. The B2B Products Group also benefited from a 7% increase in revenues within the fluids purification business. Sales of bleaching clay products were strong in North America and Latin America, while softer revenues were experienced in Europe and Asia. COVID-19 continued to limit our ability to conduct and participate in product tests at edible oil plants, thus resulting in lower than expected sales growth. The ongoing pandemic also negatively impacted our jet fuel business in regions such as Europe and Asia where air travel is still at low levels. Our co-packaging coarse cat litter experienced sales gains of 16% in the fourth quarter compared to the prior year, primarily due to increased pricing. Fourth quarter revenues of animal health products remained flat compared to the same period last year. African Swine Fever and the ongoing pandemic created challenges for the global animal protein production market, including feed additives. Despite this, we achieved sales increases of 66% in China during the fourth quarter compared to the prior year, as well as top line growth in Asia, Latin America, and North America. However, these increases were offset by lower revenues in Mexico, as fiscal 2020 included the sale of animal health related equipment that did not recur this year. Operating income for the B2B Products Group was $3.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 compared to $6.3 million in fiscal 2020. The prior year's results reflect the reallocation of $943,000 between SG&A expenses and cost of goods sold. Higher sales were offset by inflationary headwinds and an 11% increase in SG&A expenses over the previous fourth quarter. These elevated SG&A costs were a result of increased compensation and travel expenses, reflecting investments in our animal health business through additional sales personnel and leadership. The Retail and Wholesale ("R&W") Products Group's fourth quarter revenues were $48 million, a 26% increase over the prior year. This was driven by a 25% increase in domestic cat litter sales due to strong demand for our branded and private label products. We exceeded category sales growth of 12.1% for the 12-week period ended July 17, 2021, according to third-party market research data for retail sales1. Demand for our branded and private label lightweight litter products continued to rise as demonstrated by the 43% increase in fourth quarter sales over the prior year. Our e-commerce business experienced double-digit revenue gains for the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year. As more consumers have broadened their online purchases since the onset of the pandemic, e-commerce retailers have increased their Cat's Pride product offerings, including some of our newly launched products. Revenues from our Canadian subsidiary demonstrated strong top line growth due to higher demand of cat litter and industrial absorbent products. Our domestic industrial and sports products business also contributed to the R&W Products Group's revenue improvement in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 with sales increasing 36% over the prior year. This gain can be attributed to the return of pre-pandemic industrial product purchasing levels and the reopening of sports fields across the United States. Operating income for the R&W Products Group was $3.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 compared to ($825,000) in the prior year. Prior year's results reflect the reallocation of $1.3 million between SG&A expenses and cost of goods sold. SG&A expenses for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 declined by 10% from last year. This was primarily due to a reduction in advertising spending as a result of a shift in timing of our marketing campaign from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2022. We expect advertising costs for the upcoming fiscal 2022 to be higher than fiscal 2021. The Company will host its fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 earnings teleconference on Friday, October 15, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Participation details are available on our website's Events page. 1Based in part on data reported by NielsenIQ through its Scantrack Service for the Cat Litter Category in the 12-week period ended July 17, 2021, for the U.S. xAOC+Pet Supers market. Copyright © 2021 Nielsen. Oil-Dri Corporation of America is a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialty sorbent products for the pet care, animal health and nutrition, fluids purification, agricultural ingredients, sports field, industrial and automotive markets. Oil-Dri is vertically integrated which enables the company to efficiently oversee every step of the process from research and development to supply chain to marketing and sales. With 80 years of experience, the company continues to fulfill its mission to Create Value from Sorbent Minerals. "Oil-Dri" and "Cat's Pride" are registered trademarks of Oil-Dri Corporation of America. Certain statements in this press release may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about our future performance, our business, our beliefs, and our management's assumptions. In addition, we, or others on our behalf, may make forward-looking statements in other press releases or written statements, or in our communications and discussions with investors and analysts in the normal course of business through meetings, webcasts, phone calls, and conference calls. Words such as "expect," "outlook," "forecast," "would," "could," "should," "project," "intend," "plan," "continue," "believe," "seek," "estimate," "anticipate," "may," "assume," or variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially including, but not limited to, the dependence of our future growth and financial performance on successful new product introductions, intense competition in our markets, volatility of our quarterly results, risks associated with acquisitions, our dependence on a limited number of customers for a large portion of our net sales and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, intended, expected, believed, estimated, projected or planned. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except to the extent required by law, we do not have any intention or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements after the distribution of this press release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions, or otherwise. Category: Earnings Contact:Leslie A. GarberManager of Investor RelationsOil-Dri Corporation of AmericaInvestorRelations@oildri.com(312) 321-1515 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME   (in thousands, except per share amounts)   (unaudited)   Fourth Quarter Ended July 31     2021   % of Sales   2020   % of Sales Net Sales   $ 78,129     100.0  %   $ 64,844     100.0  % Cost of Sales (1)   (63,323 )   (81.0 )%   (51,521 )   (79.5 )% Gross Profit   14,806     19.0  %   13,323     20.5  % Other Operating Income (2) —     —  %   13,000     20.0  % Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (1)(3) (13,122 )   (16.8 )%   (17,190 )   (26.5 )% Operating Income 1,684     2.2  %   9,133     14.1  % Interest Expense (180.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 13th, 2021

20 Asian-American food and drink brands to try today, from fiery chili crisp to toasted rice ice cream

The Asian-American experience is reflected uniquely in each of these 20 AAPI-owned food brands, including Bokksu, Copper Cow, and Sanzo. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Fila Manila You should add these 20 food and drink brands from Asian American founders to your pantry. They draw upon traditional and cultural backgrounds but may also add new twists and flavors. See also: From Here: Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Heritage As the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country, Asian-Americans have a large influence on what we all consume in culture, from music and film to food and drink. In the realm of food and drink, we've been really excited about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) founders who are drawing upon their cultural heritage to create new snacks, sauces, delivery services, and beverages that both celebrate where they come from and introduce familiar (to them) flavors to new audiences. These brands often represent an intersection of the traditional and modern and can be found in classic Asian grocery stores and millennial-branded online storefronts alike. Another thing that distinguishes them as a uniquely millennial brand is their commitment to sustainable and ethical values, from paying family farms fair, above-market wages to using natural and organic ingredients. As an Asian-American woman, it's exciting for me to see all the ways fellow members of the AAPI community are shedding light on, celebrating, and innovating upon the amazing foods and drinks that I grew up on - and we hope you're just as excited to eat and drink all of them, too. These are the 20 Asian-American food and drink brands you should try: Omsom Omsom Shop Asian starter kits at Omsom Created by Vanessa and Kim Pham, the daughters of Vietnamese refugees, Omsom celebrates authentic east Asian and southeast Asian flavors through its convenient meal starters. The packets include fully prepared sauces for iconic dishes like Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, Korean Spicy Bulgogi, and Filipino Sisig. All you have to do is add the suggested proteins and veggies on the included recipe cards or improv with your own ingredients to create your own delicious meal. Omsom partnered with Asian chefs, like Amelie Kang of Mala Project, on a number of the products, further strengthening ties with the AAPI food community.  Eat this:The Try 'Em All Set (medium)Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki 3-Pack (medium) Bokksu Bokksu Shop Japanese snacks at BokksuAfter Danny Taing lived in Japan for four years and returned to the US, he was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy the same unique snacks found in Japan. It's this passion for Japanese snacks that prompted him to start Bokksu, a monthly subscription box that curates treats and tea from local Japanese businesses. Each month revolves around a different theme and includes a culture guide. You can also shop your favorite individual snacks and groceries on the site, with options like mochi cheese puffs, persimmon candy, and spicy tantan instant ramen. Eat this:Monthly Snack Subscription (medium) Sanzo Sanzo Shop sparkling water at SanzoSeeing and drinking the same seltzer flavors gets old, fast. Sandro Roco wanted to drink sparkling waters with flavors that he and many other Asian-Americans grew up with (read: calamansi, lychee, and alphonso mango) and created Sanzo. The drinks are light, crisp, and refreshing and can be found in stores, a number of Asian restaurants in NYC, and online. In summer of 2021, Sanzo released limited-edition printed cans with characters from Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" — we're looking forward to cool future collaborations like this. Drink this:Sampler 12-Pack (medium) Fly by Jing Fly by Jing/Instagram Shop Chinese sauces and spices at Fly by Jing Fly by Jing — a name that combines the concept of fly restaurants in Chengdu ("hole-in-the-wall eateries so good they attract people like flies") and founder Jing Gao's name — sells the crunchy, oily, spicy Sichuan chili crisp that everyone on the internet wants to try. And once you do try it, you'll want to put it on everything to give it an extra kick, from fried eggs to sandwiches to congee. The brand has now sold over 1 million jars of sauce and also makes dumpling sauce, mala spice mix, and a hot pot base. Eat this: Sichuan Chili Crisp (medium)Zhong Sauce (medium) Brightland Brightland  Shop oils, vinegar, and honey at BrightlandNot all olive oils are created equal, and when Brightland founder Aishwarya Iyer looked deeper into the industry, she discovered it was rife with lack of production and ingredient transparency. Brightland's olive oils, vinegars, and honey are never made with preservatives or fillers, and you'll know exactly when its ingredients were harvested. The results are pantry staples that taste fresh, bright, and pure. Brightland's beautiful packaging and giftable sets make it even more enticing to use its products every day.  Eat this: The Mini Essentials (medium)The Couplet Honey (medium) Nguyen Coffee Supply Nguyen Coffee Supply/Instagram Shop coffee at Nguyen Coffee SupplyAs the first Vietnamese specialty coffee company in the US, Nguyen Coffee Supply is changing the way we think about specialty coffee. With every cup, founder Sahra Nguyen wants to remind people of the influence of Vietnam on the coffee industry — after all, it is the world's largest producer of robusta beans and second largest producer of all coffee. In addition to a variety of delicious beans, you can get phin filters, which are like a cross between pour over and a French press. Drink this: Vietnamese Coffee Lover's Bundle (medium)Truegrit Coffee (medium) Partake Foods Partake Foods Shop allergen-free snacks at Partake FoodsBuying food when you suffer from major food allergies can feel like navigating a minefield. Partake Foods, founded by Black and Korean entrepreneur Denise Woodard, lets people snack on cookies, brownies, and pizza without worrying about the risks to their health. Though they're free from the top eight allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, milk, soy, fish, shellfish), they still taste delicious. Partake is the first food startup led by a woman of color to raise over $1 million in funding and is continuing to expand its product offerings and footprint in physical retail stores. Eat this: Crunchy Cookie Variety Pack (medium)Pizza Crust Baking Mix (medium) Diaspora Co. Diaspora Co./Instagram Shop spices at Diaspora CoIf you want fresh single-origin spices, look no further than Diaspora Co, founded by Sana Javeri Kadri. The company launched in 2017 with one spice, Pragati Turmeric, and now sources 30 single-origin spices — including cinnamon, coriander, two types of cardamom, saffron, and kashmiri chili — from 150 farms in India and Sri Lanka. To keep your spices fresh and organized, you'll also want to pick up a masala dabba, a spice box filled with katoris (small bowls). At Diaspora Co, when you build your own masala dabba, you also get access to a quarterly virtual cooking club where you can learn how to make the most of your spices. Eat this:Build Your Own Masala Dabba (medium)Spice Spoon (medium) Umamicart Umamicart/Instagram Shop Asian groceries at UmamicartUmamicart is an online grocer designed with the Asian-American experience in mind by carrying traditional foods and brands that immigrants and their children ate as well as new brands created by Asian-American founders. Founder Andrea Xu, born in Spain to Chinese parents, wanted to build a site that reflected the unique evolving identities of Asian Americans and gave them a convenient, user-friendly place to shop all their favorite foods. At Umamicart, you can shop longan and Korean pears alongside Yakult drinks, Calbee chips, and some of the very brands mentioned in this article. There's free shipping on orders over $49. Eat this:Gochujang Shrimp Crackers (medium)Wonton Wrappers (medium) Brooklyn Delhi Brooklyn Delhi Shop condiments and sauces at Brooklyn DelhiWhenever she came back from visiting family in India, chef and cookbook author Chitra Agrawal always filled her suitcase with achaar, a sweet, sour, and spicy condiment also known as Indian pickle. Unsatisfied with the achaar sold in the US, she began making her own and now sells a variety of achaar at Brooklyn Delhi. It goes great with traditional pairings like rice, daal, and curry, as well as eggs, sandwiches, and pasta. You can also buy various simmer sauces (coconut cashew korma, tomato curry) and hot sauces, all of which are handcrafted in small batches right in NYC. Eat this: Roasted Garlic Achaar (medium)Curry Ketchup (medium) Fila Manila Fila Manila Shop simmer sauces from Fila ManilaThough Filipino Americans are the country's second-largest Asian ancestry group, Filipino food and flavors are still underrepresented in grocery store aisles. Jake Deleon, founder of Fila Manila (a spin on "FilAm," which is short for Filipino American), said "we want to show you the world of Filipino cuisine" in an interview with Food Business News and is starting off with three versatile and flavorful simmer sauces: adobo (tamari soy and garlic), kare kare (peanut), and caldereta (tomato). Expect snacks, desserts, and prepared meals down the line to add even more variety to your pantry. Eat this:Variety Pack (medium) Lunar Lunar/Instagram Shop hard seltzer at LunarSanzo's party counterpart is Lunar, a craft hard seltzer inspired by a night out with founders Sean Ro and Kevin Wong. When the only drink options alongside their late night Korean fried chicken were Heineken and Budweiser, they began brewing ideas for a new generation of Asian alcohol and flavor-testing in their own kitchens. Its flavor lineup currently comprises yuzu, lychee, Korean plum, and makrut lime. But, it's the limited-edition flavors like tamarind rice paddy herb and pineapple cake are where the brand really shines. Drink this: Variety 12-Pack (medium) Copper Cow Coffee Copper Cow Coffee Shop portable pourover coffee packs at Copper Cow CoffeeDebbie Wei Mullin's Vietnamese coffee comes in a highly portable and convenient form: just hang the pre-filled coffee filter over your mug, pour in boiling water, and add as much of the included creamer packet to your liking. In addition to black and classic lattes, the brand offers creative flavors like churro and lavender, blending Mullin's Vietnamese heritage with her Californian upbringing. Copper Cow works directly with farmers in Vietnam, paying them twice the market rate for the flavorful coffee you enjoy every morning. Drink this: Classic Latte Pack (medium)Best Brews Latte Sampler Pack (medium) Dang Foods Dang Foods/Instagram Shop snacks at Dang FoodsDang is named after the mother of Thai-American brothers and founders Vincent and Andrew Kitirattragarn. She's the one who taught them how to make the signature crunchy, slightly sweet coconut chips that we all love snacking on. Dang, a certified B Corp that works directly with family farms in Thailand, has since expanded its delicious, 100% plant-based and non-GMO snack portfolio to include rice cakes (with mouthwatering flavors like toasted sesame, sriracha spice, and aged cheddar) and low carb snack bars. Eat this:Original Coconut Chips (12-count) (medium)Sriracha Thai Rice Chips (12-count) (medium) Noona's Ice Cream Noona’s Ice Cream/Instagram Shop ice cream at Noona's Ice CreamNoona, an ice cream brand whose name means "big sister" in Korean, is the brainchild of pastry chef Hannah Bae. In 2016, her toasted rice flavor won the annual ice cream contest at an NYC street fair, inspiring her to make more flavors using Asian ingredients. In addition to formulating original flavors like golden sesame, turmeric honeycomb, and toasty mochi, Noona collaborates with artists and influencers like singer Japanese Breakfast to make fun ice creams like persimmon jubilee. The brand is also thoughtful about sourcing, working with collective farms to get hormone- and antibiotic-free dairy, and using only whole foods and non-GMO ingredients in all its products.Eat this:Vegan Black Sesame Ice Cream (medium)Toasted Rice Ice Cream (medium) Us Two Tea Us Two Tea Shop tea at Us Two TeaTea, central to many Asian cultures, has always provided an opportunity to gather with friends and family. Us Two Tea, founded by Maggie Xue, specializes in Taiwanese tea and works directly with family-owned farms. Through Us Two, you can expand your horizons past black and jasmine tea and try Baozhong tea and oolong tea in both non-toxic and biodegradable tea sachet or loose leaf varieties. You'll also receive education about how best to enjoy your tea and what kinds of food to pair it with. Drink this:Loose Leaf Tea Set (medium)Baozhong Tea (medium) Makku Makku/Instagram Shop makgeolli at MakkuKorea's oldest drink makgeolli dates all the way back to the 10th century and is still enjoyed today for its smooth, slightly sweet, slightly tart taste. Bringing together her background at ZX Ventures, the innovation and investment group for Anheuser-Busch InBev, and her own love for makgeolli, founder Carol Pak thought it was the perfect time to introduce the Korean beer to American consumers. Makku comes in cans in a variety of flavors that you can enjoy by itself or as part of a cocktail. Drink this:Variety Pack (16-pack) (medium)Lychee (16-pack) (medium) Tea Drops Tea Drops/Instagram Shop tea at Tea DropsThe tea from Tea Drops, founded by Sashee Chandran, immediately stands out from all the other tea you've had because it's neither bagged nor loose leaf — instead, it's made from ground-up organic tea leaves that are packed into fun shapes like hearts and flowers. Add boiling water and the drop dissolves to give you a hot cup of delicious tea. All the tea is kosher-certified and the brand supports fair trade, organic harvesting practices, and female-driven supply chains. And, for every box sold, Tea Drops donates a year's supply of clean water through The Thirst Project. Drink this:Ultimate Tea Sampler (medium)Thai Tea Kit (medium) Mama O's Mama O's/Instagram Shop kimchi at Mama O'sAs with many entrepreneurial ventures, Mama O's, a kimchi brand created by Kheedim Oh, was never intended to be a brand. Oh simply wanted kimchi that tasted as good as his mom's and none of the Asian stores near him could satisfy him. The kimchi that his mom taught him how to make was such a hit among friends and strangers that he eventually launched Mama O's, which today sells kimchi, kimchi paste, "kimchili," and kimchi kits. There's even a vegan variety. Eat this: Super Spicy Kimchi Paste (medium)Premium Homemade Kimchi Kit (medium) Kasama Kasama Shop rum at KasamaRum is often associated with the Caribbean but the Philippines is also one of the top rum producers in the world. Alexandra Dorda is the Polish-Filipino founder behind the small-batch rum Kasama, which means "together" in Tagalog. Aged in American oak barrels, the classic spirit tastes like pineapple with a hint of vanilla and sea salt. Kasama's site also has plenty of creative Filipino-inspired cocktail recipes, from the Pandan Pleaser to the Pinay Colada. Drink this:Rum (medium) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Labor Strikes Target Big Food As Workers Seize On Industry Turmoil

Labor Strikes Target Big Food As Workers Seize On Industry Turmoil By Chris Casey of Food Dive, At food plants around the country this year, workers have been making themselves heard about the state of wages, working hours and conditions. Just this week, roughly 1,400 Kellogg workers at ready-to-eat cereal plants in four states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee — went on strike after their contract expired. In a statement, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) said its goal is to "obtain a fair contract that provides a living wage and good benefits." Anthony Shelton, BCTGM's president, said Kellogg workers "have been working long, hard hours, day in and day out, to produce Kellogg ready-to-eat cereals for American families" but that the company has responded by cutting benefits and threatening to send jobs to Mexico if employees don't accept the company's proposals. "Kellogg is making these demands as they rake in record profits, without regard for the well-being of the hardworking men and women who make the products that have created the company’s massive profits," Shelton said in a statement.  Just a couple weeks earlier, more than a thousand workers returned to their jobs at Mondelēz Nabisco factories in five states after a walkout that lasted nearly six weeks. It also was led by BCTGM. The workers were protesting what they considered unfair changes in overtime rules and shift lengths. This came a few months after hundreds of Frito-Lay employees in Topeka, Kansas, were on strike in July for 19 days, demanding better hours and higher pay. That same month, dozens of Teamster truck drivers gathered to strike against Coca-Cola in West Virginia, rejecting a contract that would reportedly have made them pay more for health insurance and give them less commission. Some of these strikes, including those at Mondelēz and Frito-Lay plants, have reached their conclusion after the manufacturers came to terms with workers and their unions. And some, like the strike affecting Kellogg plants, are only ratcheting up. The turmoil reflects a unique set of conditions — a labor shortage, growing demand and supply chain disruptions in the midst of a pandemic — that has given labor unions extra leverage, and food manufacturers a greater incentive to meet their demands.  CPGs are currently hobbled by a massive labor shortage. There are now 4.9 million more people who are either not working or not looking for work compared to pre-pandemic times, The Washington Post recently reported. At the same time, demand for food has skyrocketed, rising 8.7% in the second quarter of this year alone, as people spend more time at home, the Consumer Brands Association reported. This has left CPG manufacturers scrambling to increase production with fewer workers and a shaky, fragile supply chain — all while dealing with continued uncertainty over the outlook for COVID-19. The leverage that workers and labor advocates currently enjoy is a recent change in fortunes. The power of unions, specifically in the food manufacturing sector, had deteriorated during the past four decades as companies avoided meeting worker demands by moving many jobs overseas, according to Bryant Simon, labor scholar and history professor at Temple University. But the COVID crisis, Simon believes, has provided a unique opportunity for American factory workers to reassess their pivotal role in the food industry. "Workers are like, ‘Look, I’m not going to work on these terms anymore, and you’ve given me a chance to explore some other options,' " Simon said. Uncertain outcomes The Mondelēz strike demonstrates how all of these factors can come into play. The dispute began in May when workers were offered a new contract that would increase hourly shifts from eight hours to 12, without additional overtime pay for the first five days of the week. A Mondelēz spokesperson told CBS News at the time that the changes were intended to “promote the right behaviors” among workers.  Meanwhile, some Mondelēz employees at its Chicago factory told The New York Times they had worked 16-hour shifts during the pandemic to keep up with the increased demand for the snack giant’s most popular products, such as Oreos. Workers were also worried that their jobs would be sent to Mexico, similiar to what happened in 2016, when Mondelēz cut nearly 1,000 jobs at plants in Chicago and Philadelphia.  Mondelēz International spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati told Food Dive in August that the contract negotiations were “not about'' moving jobs to Mexico and that the company was committed to keeping its U.S workforce.  Workers in Portland, Ore., launched the first walkout on Aug. 10, with signs reading “No contract, no snacks,” “Weekends are family time” and “Spit out that Oreo” populating the picket line. As the strikes spread to other states — Illinois, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia — they quickly made national headlines. Actor Danny DeVito and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders came out in support of the workers.  The snacks giant told Food Dive that it began negotiating with the union “as soon as the action took place in Portland.” In its last quarterly earnings call on Sept. 9, Mondelēz’s CEO Dirk Van De Put said that after the company requested contract changes to increase capacity at its plants as well as product inventory, it “foresaw that it would not be an easy conversation." He said Mondelēz was making a new offer to the union, which included increased wages, a higher 401(k) match and more flexible hours. The company was not willing to reinstate its pension plan.  The new terms sealed the deal. In a statement after its members voted to approve the new four-year contract, BCTGM said that they "made enormous sacrifices" to reach a deal "that preserves our Union’s high standards for wages, hours and benefits for current and future Nabisco workers." BCTGM did not respond to multiple requests for comment by Food Dive. The Kellogg strikes, meanwhile, may not be coming to a quick, amicable conclusion any time soon. BCTGM called for a strike a month after Kellogg announced plans to invest $45 million in restructuring its ready-to-eat cereal supply chain, which includes cutting more than 200 jobs at its Battle Creek factory. The company said it is shifting production to more efficient production lines, even as it struggled with shortages of factory line workers and truck drivers at many of its plants. BCTGM representatives said last week that Kellogg did not provide workers with a “comprehensive offer” during contract negotiations like it had stated. In a statement to Food Dive, Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said the company is "disappointed by the union’s decision to strike," and that its proposed new contract provides wage and benefits increases "while helping us meet the challenges of the changing cereal business." Bahner said the company hopes to reach an agreement with the union soon.  Raising the stakes of negotiations even further: Kellogg filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against BCTGM in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, saying that it "seeks to recover damages for ongoing breaches of a labor agreement." The cereal giant said the union's "improper actions" have the intention of inflicting “significant economic harm” to the company before a contract agreement is able to be met. What’s next for labor Despite this test of wills between labor and food manufacturers, the “ultimate leverage” for workers in 2021 is their ability to create negative publicity for their parent company through strikes to make them appear “union-busting” in hopes of spurring a consumer boycott of their products, said Erik Loomis, a labor expert and University of Rhode Island professor. Loomis said this can bring about more immediate benefits to unions compared to legal frameworks, which are often not on the side of workers and could take months or years to result in better contracts. The use of social media to spread organization efforts and make the public aware of working conditions makes today’s strikes different to those of the past, according to Simon with Temple University. In the case of Mondelēz, calls for a boycott of Nabisco snacks like Oreos and Wheat Thins gained traction on social media during the strikes, with users uploading photos of shelves stocked with unsold Oreos and Chips Ahoy! cookies at grocery stores. However, relying on public support to dictate change has its drawbacks. Simon said wage increases for food manufacturing workers is a larger “ideological hurdle” because many consumers ultimately may not be willing to pay more for food products to support higher wages. This is despite the fact that the annual mean salary of a food factory employee is under $33,000, significantly lower than the roughly $56,000 national average for all jobs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Food prices have also been rising during the pandemic as manufacturers pass along higher costs for ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and transportation.  Loomis expects strikes to continue due to the supply chain crisis, and as workers see more examples of successful organizing taking place. Meanwhile, under the Biden administration, the political climate is also friendlier to unions. The PRO Act (Protecting the Right to Organize), which passed Congress in March with five Republicans joining, is supported by The White House. One of its biggest elements — monetary punishments for companies that infringe on workers’ union-based rights — was added as part of the budget reconciliation bill package currently being debated in the Senate. “You’re going to see more strikes within the legal sense,” Loomis said. “Even outside of that, workers will take matters into their own hands when they feel it is necessary to do so." Tyler Durden Thu, 10/07/2021 - 18:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 7th, 2021