Coty Inc. (COTY - Free Report) released fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results, with earnings meeting the Zacks Consensus Estimate and revenues lagging the same. Further, the bottom line improved year over year, while the top line fell from the year-ago quarter’s figure.
The quarter’s performance was adversely impacted by weakness in the Consumer Beauty and Professional Beauty categories. Nevertheless, the Luxury segment performed well.
Quarter in Detail
Adjusted earnings of 16 cents per share improved 14.3% from the year-ago quarter’s figure and were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Coty generated revenues of $2,115.4 million, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,128 million. Moreover, the top line fell 8% year over year. Organic (LFL basis) revenues slipped 4.1% due to declines in the Consumer Beauty and Professional Beauty categories.
Coty Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Adjusted gross margin expanded 20 basis points (bps) to reach 62.1%, courtesy of margin gains from the Luxury division. Markedly, the luxury unit constituted a greater proportion in the revenue mix.
Additionally, adjusted operating income came in at $257.1 million, up nearly 12% year on year. This was partially countered by negative currency impacts of 5%. Further, adjusted operating margin came in at 12.2%, up 220 bps from the year-ago quarter’s level.
Luxury: Net revenues in the segment inched up 1.7% to $754.7 million, while LFL revenues increased 5.8%. The unit’s performance was driven by growth in ALMEA and Travel Retail as well as advancements in China. Additionally, brands like Burberry, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein performed well. Adjusted operating income in the category came in at $106.6 million, up 36% on the back of revenue growth and fixed-cost reductions.
Consumer Beauty: Consumer Beauty revenues dropped 15.2% to $902.4 million while LFL sales declined 11.5%. Results were hurt by persistent sluggishness in Younique, while trends in the core Consumer Beauty segments were stable. Adjusted operating income came in at $94.3 million, up about 1% from the prior-year quarter’s tally.
Professional Beauty: Net revenues in the segment amounted to $458.3 million, down 7% year over year and 3.1% on LFL basis. The unit’s performance was hurt by headwinds at Coty’s North American operations, arising out of de-stocking of key accounts. Adjusted operating income in the category was $57.2 million, remained stable year-on-year.
On a regional basis, net revenues in North America declined 14% (also on LFL basis) year on year and totaled $657.7 million. Sales in Europe fell 10% (down 4% LFL) to reach $866.1 million. Sales in the ALMEA region rose 2% (up 8% on LFL) to $591.6 million.
Other Financial Updates
Coty ended fiscal 2019 with cash and cash equivalents of $340.4 million and net long-term debt of $7,469.9 million.
During the fourth quarter, the company provided $188.2 million of net cash from operating activities and free cash flow of $92.5 million.
Further, the company announced a dividend of 12.5 cents a share, payable on Sep 30 to shareholders of record as of Sep 9.
On Jul 1, the company announced plans to improve operations in the Consumer Beauty unit, while enhancing performance in the Professional Beauty and the Luxury units. In doing so, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is focused on bringing underperforming units back on growth trajectory as well as establishing efficient leadership and culture. These are likely to drive revenues and margins.
In a separate release, the company announced the decision to end its partnership with Younique, based on mutual agreement. The terms related to this exit have not been disclosed. We note that Coty has been struggling with this brand for a while. Hence, exiting from the partnership is worthwhile. This is likely to help the company in concentrating on other lucrative business areas. Well, the company is on track with strategies for unlocking core value of its business.
For fiscal 2020, management expects net LFL revenues to remain stable to slightly lower from fiscal 2019 level. Further, it expects adjusted operating income (at constant currency) to decline 5-10% year on year, after considering investments for brand growth. Adjusted earnings are likely to depict mid-single digit growth. Free cash flow is likely to improve moderately year on year.
Coty’s shares have declined 30.2% in the past three months against the industry’s growth of 12.7%.
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