Andrew Peller Limited (ADW.A / ADW.B) (“APL” or the “Company”) announced today results for the three months and year ended March 31, 2023.

FISCAL 2023 HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Sales increased 2.2% year over year due to growth across majority of trade channels and price increases;
  • Gross margin of 37.1% consistent with the prior year;
  • EBITA of $38.0 million compared to $39.2 million in the prior year;
  • One-time overhead restructuring costs of $2.8 million incurred in fourth quarter; and
  • Net loss of $3.4 million ($0.08 per Class A Share).

“We were pleased with our sales growth in fiscal 2023 as we overcame significant supply constraints and performed well across the majority of our well-established trade channels,” commented John Peller, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our supply chain has normalized and while we are still feeling the impact of inflation, our component costs have begun to decline and we expect this trend to continue. Looking ahead, we anticipate a return to more normal profitability levels over the next few years as our strategies to grow higher margin product sales, introduce new products and extend existing product lines, leverage the strength of our national wine club membership, and focus on cost reduction and profit improvement initiatives take effect.”

Sales for the year ended March 31, 2023 increased 2.2% over the prior year, and decreased 1.4% for the fourth quarter primarily due to a $1.4 million reduction in sales resulting from the repeal of a federal excise duty exemption. The majority of the Company’s well-established trade channels performed well with solid growth generated in markets closed for a portion of fiscal 2022 due to the pandemic, including at the Company’s ten estate wineries, sales to restaurants and hospitality locations, and through its export business. The growth in these channels was partially offset by a decrease in personal winemaking revenue due to softer post-pandemic demand and distribution. Additionally, the Company implemented price increases through fiscal 2023 to partially offset inflationary pressures, further contributing to an increase in sales compared to the prior year.

Gross margin as a percentage of sales was 37.1% for the year ended March 31, 2023, consistent with the prior year. The Company’s cost of goods sold in fiscal 2023 included a reduction of $10.3 million related to a Wine Sector Support Program (“WSSP”) grant provided by Agriculture Canada as it relates to historical inventory sold during the year. The Company continues to experience inflationary cost pressures, with the cost of imported wine, glass bottles, packaging materials, and international freight and shipping charges remaining above historical levels. In response to these margin pressures, the Company has implemented price increases and is targeting increasing sales of higher margin VQA products. In addition, the Company is executing numerous production efficiency and cost savings programs aimed at enhancing operating margins including rationalizing stock keeping units (SKUs) and evaluating alternate sourcing for imported wine and glass bottles. Gross margin for the three months ended March 31, 2023 was 28.4% compared to 29.2% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.

As a percentage of sales, selling and administrative expenses rose to 27.2% in fiscal 2023 from 26.7% in prior year. Selling and administration expenses in fiscal 2023 include the increase in Ontario’s minimum wage when compared to prior year and a return to full operations at the Company.

Earnings before interest, amortization, gain on sale of assets held for sale, net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, other (income) expenses, and income taxes (“EBITA”) were $38.0 million for the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to $39.2 million in the prior year. For the three months ended March 31, 2023 EBITA was a loss of $1.3 million compared to a loss of $0.6 million in the same quarter last year.

Interest expense for the year ended March 31, 2023 has increased compared to prior year due to higher average debt levels when compared to prior year and increases in interest rates.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2022 the Company completed the sale of its Port Coquitlam, British Columbia property and related assets for total proceeds of approximately $8.8 million, net of transaction costs, generating a realized gain on sale of $7.5 million or $0.21 per Class A share.

Other expenses increased in fiscal 2023 compared to the prior year due primarily to one-time $2.8 million overhead restructuring initiative completed in the fourth quarter of the year.

The Company incurred a net loss of $3.4 million ($0.08 per Class A Share) for the year ended March 31, 2023 compared to net income of $12.5 million ($0.29 per Class A Share) in the prior year. The net loss in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 was $10.0 million ($0.24 per Class A Share) compared to a net loss of $7.0 million ($0.17 per Class A Share) in the prior year.

Long-term debt increased to $208.1 million at March 31, 2023 from $192.1 million at March 31, 2022. For the year ended March 31, 2023, the Company generated cash from operating activities, after changes in non-cash working capital items, of $13.8 million compared to $15.6 million in the prior year. As at March 31, 2023, the Company had unutilized debt capacity in the amount of $141.9 million on its credit facility.

On June 13, 2023, the Company entered into a $275 million Asset Backed Lending credit facility to reduce the cost of borrowing. The new facility replaces the Company’s existing credit facility entered into on December 8, 2020, and will be used to fund working capital needs, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes.

Financial Highlights(Financial Statements and the Company’s Management Discussion and Analysis for the period can be obtained on the Company’s web site at ir.andrewpeller.com)

For the three months and year ended March 31, Three Months Year
(in $000)   2023     2022     2023     2022  
Sales $ 77,712     78,838   $382,140     373,944  
Gross margin   22,059     23,029     141,892     138,992  
Gross margin (% of sales)   28.4%     29.2%     37.1%     37.2%  
Selling and administrative expenses   23,306     23,659     103,880     99,804  
EBITA   (1,247)     (630)     38,012     39,188  
Interest   2,663     2,162     16,565     9,337  
Net unrealized gain on derivative financial instruments   -     (485)     (380)     (2,269)  
Gain on sale of land and property   -     -     -     (7,518)  
Other expenses   3,030     946     3,547     1,210  
Net earnings (loss)   (10,009)     (7,019)     (3,352)     12,468  
Earnings (loss) per share – Class A $(0.24)   $(0.17)   $(0.08)   $0.29  
Earnings (loss) per share – Class B $(0.21)   $(0.14)   $(0.07)   $0.26  
Dividend per share – Class A (annual)     $0.246   $0.246  
Dividend per share – Class B (annual)     $0.214   $0.214  
Cash provided by operations       13,754     15,592  
(after changes in non-cash working capital items)                
Shareholders’ equity per share     $5.87   $6.15  
             

Investor Conference CallAn investor conference call hosted by John Peller, President and CEO and Paul Dubkowski, CFO will be held Thursday June 15, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. ET. To join the conference call please register within one hour of the start time by accessing https://emportal.ink/41phHg6 to receive an instant automated call back. You will need to enter your name, company, and your phone number to receive the call back. You can also dial one of the following numbers to connect through an operator. If connecting with an operator we advise calling ten to fifteen minutes prior to the start time: Local/International: (416) 764-8659, North American Toll Free: (888) 664-6392. The confirmation number for the call is 91277815. The call will be archived on the Company’s website at ir.andrewpeller.com.

About Andrew Peller LimitedAndrew Peller Limited is one of Canada’s leading producers and marketers of quality wines and craft beverage alcohol products. The Company’s award-winning premium and ultra-premium Vintners’ Quality Alliance brands include Peller Estates, Trius, Thirty Bench, Wayne Gretzky, Sandhill, Red Rooster, Black Hills Estate Winery, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards, Gray Monk Estate Winery, Raven Conspiracy, and Conviction. Complementing these premium brands are a number of popularly priced varietal offerings, wine-based liqueurs, craft ciders, and craft spirits. The Company owns and operates 101 well-positioned independent retail locations in Ontario under The Wine Shop, Wine Country Vintners, and Wine Country Merchants store names. The Company also operates Andrew Peller Import Agency and The Small Winemaker’s Collection Inc., importers and marketing agents of premium wines from around the world. With a focus on serving the needs of all wine consumers, the Company produces and markets premium personal winemaking products through its wholly owned subsidiary, Global Vintners Inc., the recognized leader in personal winemaking products. More information about the Company can be found at www.ir.andrewpeller.com.

The Company utilizes EBITA (defined as earnings before interest, amortization, gain on sale of assets held for sale, net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, other (income) expenses, and income taxes) to measure its financial performance. EBITA is not a recognized measure under IFRS. Management believes that EBITA is a useful supplemental measure to net earnings, as it provides readers with an indication of earnings available for investment prior to debt service, capital expenditures, and income taxes, as well as provides an indication of recurring earnings compared to prior periods. Readers are cautioned that EBITA should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings determined in accordance with IFRS as indicators of the Company’s performance or to cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities as a measure of liquidity and cash flows. The Company also utilizes gross margin (defined as sales less cost of goods sold, excluding amortization). The Company’s method of calculating EBITA and gross margin may differ from the methods used by other companies and, accordingly, may not be comparable to measures used by other companies.

Andrew Peller Limited common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbols ADW.A and ADW.B).

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATIONCertain statements in this news release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities laws including the “safe harbour provisions” of the Securities Act (Ontario) with respect to APL and its subsidiaries. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the growth of the business; its launch of new premium wines and craft beverage alcohol products; sales trends in foreign markets; its supply of domestically grown grapes; and current economic conditions. These statements are subject to certain risks, assumptions, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in the forward-looking statements. The words “believe”, “plan”, “intend”, “estimate”, “expect”, or “anticipate”, and similar expressions, as well as future or conditional verbs such as “will”, “should”, “would”, “could”, and similar verbs often identify forward-looking statements. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current views with respect to future events and financial performance. With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this news release, the Company has made assumptions and applied certain factors regarding, among other things: future grape, glass bottle, and wine and spirit prices; its ability to obtain grapes, imported wine, glass, and other raw materials; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; its ability to market products successfully to its anticipated customers; the trade balance within the domestic Canadian and international wine markets; market trends; reliance on key personnel; protection of its intellectual property rights; the economic environment; the regulatory requirements regarding producing, marketing, advertising, and labelling of its products; the regulation of liquor distribution and retailing in Ontario; the application of federal and provincial environmental laws; and the impact of increasing competition.

These forward-looking statements are also subject to the risks and uncertainties discussed in this news release, in the “Risks and Uncertainties” section and elsewhere in the Company’s MD&A and other risks detailed from time to time in the publicly filed disclosure documents of Andrew Peller Limited which are available at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions which could cause actual results to differ materially from those conclusions, forecasts, or projections anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Because of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The Company’s forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this news release, and except as required by applicable law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.

For more information, please contact:        Mr. Paul Dubkowski, CFO and Executive Vice-President, IT(905) 643-4131

Source: Andrew Peller Limited

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