Andrew Peller Limited (TSX: ADW.A / ADW.B) (“APL” or the “Company”) announced today results for the three and six months ended September 30, 2023. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

SECOND QUARTER 2024 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sales were $100.2 million, relatively flat compared with $101.8 million in Q2 2023, as a result of the repeal of the previously disclosed excise tax exemption, which reduced sales for Q2 2024 by $1.8 million;
  • Gross Margin increased to $41.3 million, or 41.2%, compared with $39.5 million (38.8% margin) in Q2 2023, resulting from reduced cost of goods sold due to the Wine Sector Support Program (WSSP), as well as the positive impact of cost reductions and operational efficiency initiatives;
  • EBITA up 30% to $15.1 million, from $11.7 million in Q2 2023; and
  • Net income of $5.4 million ($0.13 per Class A Share), up from a loss of $0.1 million (($0.00) per Class A Share) in Q2 2023.

YTD 2024 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Sales year-to-date remained relatively flat at $200.7 million compared to $199.5 million in the prior year. The repeal of the excise tax exemption reduced year-to-date 2024 sales by $4.0 million;
  • Gross margin improved to 40.0% from 38.9% in the prior year;
  • EBITA of $27.8 million, up from $23.6 million in the prior year;
  • Net income of $4.5 million ($0.11 per Class A Share), up from $2.8 million ($0.07 per Class A Share) last year; and
  • Dividend of $0.246 per Class A Share and $0.214 per Class B Share.

“We are encouraged by the increased profitability in fiscal 2024, with second quarter EBITA showing a meaningful increase year-over-year, and we continue to see a path for further improvements as our operational efficiency initiatives accelerate,” commented John Peller, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are also seeing solid sales performance in the majority of our well-established trade channels despite the impact of macroeconomic challenges across the sector.”

“Looking ahead to the longer term, we are optimistic about our future as global markets stabilize and inflationary pressures ease. We expect growth will come from our strong focus on our established trade channels, market share improvements, optimizing our selling prices and trade spending, and increasing our initiatives to enhance sales of our higher margin premium products. We have also strategically positioned ourselves for sustained EBITA growth, through proactive measures, including capitalizing on opportunities in the import of bulk wines, optimizing our freight and logistics costs, establishing cost-effective supply channels, and continuing our proven programs to enhance manufacturing efficiency and reduce overhead costs.”

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 and six months ended September 30, Three Months Six Months
(in $000 )   2023       2022       2023       2022  
Sales   100,175       101,816       200,656       199,515  
Gross margin (1)   41,267       39,480       80,295       77,543  
Gross margin (% of sales)   41.2 %     38.8 %     40.0 %     38.9 %
Selling and administrative expenses   26,157       27,822       52,485       53,914  
EBITA (1)   15,110       11,658       27,810       23,629  
Interest   3,886       6,016       8,170       8,629  
Net unrealized (gain) loss on derivative financial instruments   (1,827 )     112       (1,196 )     (380 )
Loss on debt extinguishment and financing fees   -       -       2,172       -  
Other (income) expenses   (102 )     213       1,115       610  
Net earnings (loss)   5,391       (98 )     4,460       2,765  
Earnings (loss) per share – Class A $ 0.13     $ (0.00 )   $ 0.11     $ 0.07  
Earnings (loss) per share – Class B $ 0.11     $ (0.00 )   $ 0.09     $ 0.06  
Dividend per share – Class A (annual)     $ 0.246     $ 0.246  
Dividend per share – Class B (annual)     $ 0.214     $ 0.214  
Cash provided by operations                  
(after changes in non-cash working capital items)       29,773       19,315  
Shareholders’ equity per share     $ 5.88     $ 5.87  

(1) Please refer to the Company’s MD&A concerning “Non-IFRS Measures”

Financial ReviewSales for the six months ended September 30, 2023 were $200.7 million, consistent with the prior year as the majority of the Company’s well-established trade channels performed well. Sales at estate wineries have moderated compared to recent years as traffic returns to normalized levels after the post pandemic increase and consumers feel the impact of tightening economic conditions. In the first six months of fiscal 2024 there was a $4.0 million reduction in sales resulting from the repeal of the federal excise duty. The Company has implemented price increases to partially offset the excise exemption repeal and inflationary pressures. Sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 were $100.2 million, compared with $101.8 million in the same prior year period due primarily to a $1.8 million reduction in sales from the repeal of the federal excise duty.

Gross margin as a percentage of sales improved to 40.0% for the six months ended September 30, 2023, from 38.9% in the prior year. The Company continues to experience inflationary cost pressures in imported wine, glass bottles, packaging materials, and international freight and shipping charges. However, these cost pressures are stabilizing and should continue to improve going forward. In response to these margin pressures, the Company has implemented price increases and is executing numerous production efficiency and cost savings programs aimed at enhancing operating margins, including renegotiating freight rates for imported wine and evaluating alternate sourcing for glass bottles and other components. The Company’s cost of goods sold in the first six months of fiscal 2024 included a reduction of $8.7 million related to a WSSP grant provided by Agriculture Canada. In the second quarter of fiscal 2024, gross margin improved to 41.2%, from 38.8% in the same prior year quarter, including a $4.1 million reduction related to the WSSP.

As a percentage of sales, selling and administrative expenses improved to 26.2% in the first six months of fiscal 2024 compared to 27.0% in the prior year due primarily to restructuring initiatives implemented in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, continued compensation optimization and rationalizing marketing costs given current market conditions. For the second quarter of fiscal 2024 selling and administrative expenses were 26.1% of sales, improved from 27.3% in the same prior year period.

Earnings before interest, amortization, loss on debt extinguishment and financing fees net unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments, other (income) expenses, and income taxes (“EBITA”) were $27.8 million for the six months ended September 30, 2023 compared to $23.6 million in the prior year. EBITA in the second quarter of fiscal 2024 was $15.1 million, up from $11.7 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2023.

Interest expense for the six months ended June 30, 2023 decreased compared to the prior year. Management believes its new credit facility and corresponding interest rate swap will continue to contribute to reductions in the cost of borrowing going forward.

On June 13, 2023, the Company amended and restated its credit facility. These amendments were determined to constitute an extinguishment of long-term debt, which resulted in the de-recognition of the carrying amount of the original credit facility and the recognition of the restated facility and fair market value. As a result, the company recorded a loss on extinguishment of $1.0 million and financing fees of $1.2 million were expensed in the first quarter of fiscal 2024. The Company’s new asset-backed lending facility is an interest-only facility with principal repayment due upon maturity and is to be used to fund day-to-day operations, distributions, capital expenditures and acquisitions. In connection with the closing June 13, 2023, the Company also entered into an interest rate swap agreement on $65 million. From June 30, 2023 to June 13, 2027, the interest rate on this portion of the facility is fixed at 4.46%, plus the applicable margin, which at September 30, 2023 was 2.50%. The interest rate on the balance of the facility has a variable interest rate of CDOR, plus the applicable margin.

The Company generated net income of $4.5 million ($0.11 per Class A Share) for the six months ended September 30, 2023 compared to net income of $2.8 million ($0.07 per Class A Share) in the prior year. For the second quarter of fiscal 2024 net income was $5.4 million ($0.13 per Class A Share) compared to a net loss of $0.1 million (($0.00) per Class A Share) in the same prior year period.

Long-term debt was $206.3 million at September 30, 2023 compared to $208.1 million at March 31, 2023. For the six months ended June 30, 2023, the Company generated cash from operating activities, after changes in non-cash working capital items, of $29.8 million compared to $19.3 million in the prior year. As at September 30, 2023 the Company had unutilized debt capacity in the amount of $68.7 million on its credit facility.

Leadership Continuity and Transition Plan John Peller announced his intention to retire as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company within the next year. The APL board of directors (the “Board”) is engaged in a process, together with its outside organizational consultants and a leading executive search firm, to find a suitable successor for the CEO position.

For almost 30 years, John Peller has led APL as Chief Executive Officer and been the driving force behind the Company’s growth and success. The Board is seeking to identify and attract a CEO who will respect APL’s core values and will continue the rich traditions that have been ingrained in the Company due to the contributions, efforts and commitment of the Peller family.

In addition, the Company’s independent directors, Perry Miele, Shauneen Bruder, François Vimard and David Mongeau, have announced that they will be retiring effective immediately, to support a proactive refreshment of the Board. The Company intends to add independent directors to the Board within the next few weeks. The identity and details regarding the new Board members will be announced at that time.

John Peller commented: “I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to Perry, Shauneen, François and David. Their service to Andrew Peller Limited has been exemplary. They have strongly supported the senior management team and all our employees.”

Mr. Peller continued: “I am committed to providing leadership and support, together with the other members of the Board and the Peller family, as we enter the next chapter of APL’s evolution.”

Investor Conference CallAn investor conference call hosted by John Peller, President and CEO and Paul Dubkowski, CFO will be held Friday November 10, 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/48OPXFL 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 41462481. 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, loss on debt extinguishment and financing fees, 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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