Hain Celestial reports 13% growth in Q1, vibrancy in global market

Hain Celestial Group's Q1 2012 earnings show increased U.S. consumption of natural & organic foods and new opportunities in Europe and beyond. What is the company focusing on in the coming year?

In early November, Hain Celestial Group posted its first-quarter earnings for fiscal 2012, reporting double-digit gains in both revenue and profit. Sales jumped 13 percent over the previous year’s first quarter to reach $292.4 million, and net income climbed 29 percent to $11.7 million.

Hain CEO Irwin Simon attributed the growth to strong performances from core brands like Earth’s Best, Sensible Portions and Greek Gods, while its recent acquisitions—including Europe’s Best in Canada and the Daniels Group in the UK—prime the company for solid international growth.

“Consumption trends improved year-over-year,” Simon said in a Nov. 1 press release, “driven by consumers seeking out our natural and organic products.” In a year when many multinational corporations experienced strong international growth but weak U.S. performance, Hain reported 12 percent growth in U.S. sales for the quarter.

Hain’s solid Q1 2012 performance rides momentum from an outstanding fiscal 2011. Full year sales were $1.1 billion, up 23 from 2010, a down year. The company attributed the improved performance to renewed growth in natural personal care and core food brands, as well as increased distribution in club and big box retailers.

NBJ Bottom Line

Hain is big and uses its weight to its advantage. The company has adopted a keen international acquisition strategy; in the past year, Hain has acquired Danival in France, GG UniqueFiber in Norway, Europe’s Best in Canada and Daniels Group in the UK. Despite recent inflationary pressures from rising food prices, Hain’s size and productivity allow it to absorb some inflation and stay competitive in both the natural and mass markets.

Last year, Hain’s Irwin Simon spoke to Nutrition Business Journal about shifting the company’s focus from natural channels to mainstream retailers during the height of the recession. According to NBJ data, the mass market grew natural & organic food sales slightly faster that natural & specialty stores in 2010. The company focused more on increasing distribution of existing brands, but as Hain’s organic growth picked up, its acquisition strategy gathered steam. Simon told NBJ he is “always” on the lookout for new acquisitions.

Currently the company is focused on the rollup of its new international properties, and on moving several of its successful U.S. brands through newly opened sales and distribution channels. NBJ will take a closer look at Hain’s global strategy in its upcoming 2011 Global Nutrition Industry issue, publishing this December.

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