Herbalife Ltd., today reported first quarter 2009 net sales of $521.7 million, a decrease of 13.7 percent compared to the same period of 2008, primarily reflecting the unfavorable impact of currency fluctuations. Excluding the impact from currency fluctuations, local currency year-over-year net sales declined 0.9 percent. For the quarter ended March 31, 2009, the company reported net income of $41.5 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, compared to $62.4 million, or $0.93 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2008, reflecting lower net sales attributable to unfavorable currency fluctuations, coupled with a higher effective tax rate reflecting country mix, partially offset by accretion from the company's share repurchase program. Excluding the impact from adjusting items in the first quarter (1), adjusted net income was $41.9 million, or $0.68 in adjusted diluted earnings per share, reflecting a decrease of 32.7 percent and 26.9 percent, respectively, compared to the same period in 2008.
In the first quarter, the company produced cash flow from operations of $86.0 million, paid a quarterly dividend of $12.3 million and invested $14.4 million in capital expenditures, primarily relating to its global roll-out of Oracle. The company's net debt balance (1) at the end of the quarter was $150.7 million, reflecting an improvement of $50.0 million from December 2008.
"During these challenging economic times and unprecedented fluctuations in currency rates, we continue to focus on areas of the business that we can control to improve our cash generation and cash allocation," said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Johnson. "I am very pleased that in these unprecedented economic times, excluding currency fluctuations, our net sales are off less than one percent from a year ago. This is a reflection of the outstanding commitment of our Distributors and the resilience of our business model. We are in a unique position to succeed during economic downturns because we offer an opportunity for part-time or full-time income, and healthy nutrition and weight management products in the midst of a global obesity epidemic. Our message to our distributors is straightforward - have confidence in yourself and our company because there has never been a better time to introduce someone to Herbalife."
During the first quarter 2009 we added 40,259 new Sales Leaders (2), which is 17.5 percent lower than the same period in the prior year. Additionally, total Sales Leaders (2) decreased 3.1 percent to 340,714 in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, which reflects a slight reduction in retention, 40.3 percent as of the requalification period in 2009 versus 41.0 percent in the 2008 requalification period, coupled with fewer new sales leaders in 2009. During the first quarter 2009, the company's President's Team membership increased 9.1 percent to 1,197 members versus the first quarter of 2008 and our prestigious Chairman's Club and China Brand Ambassador membership increased 5.7 percent to 37 members, versus the first quarter of 2008.
The company hosted three Extravaganzas during the first quarter, in Chile, Colombia and Panama, which were attended by over 18,300 distributors. Additionally the company hosted its annual Honors event in Los Angeles, where 1,500 distributor leaders shared great ideas, trained each other on new business methods, discussed strategies to grow their businesses and participated in the Mark Hughes Bonus awards totaling $36.4 million.
The company presented a "Why Herbalife, Why Now?" tour featuring our chairman and CEO, who traveled to seven U.S. cities during January and four cities in Mexico during March, meeting with more than 30,000 attendees. During the quarter, the company also hosted a "Doctor's Tour" featuring Dr. Luigi Gratton who traveled to 11 cities and met with close to 10,000 distributors. In addition, our regional management teams and distributor leaders have met with thousands more distributors and potential distributors throughout our Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mexico, South and Central America, Asia Pacific, and China regions.
The North America region reported volume points of 186.5 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting an increase of 4.7 percent versus the same period of 2008. Volume point growth in the U.S., the largest country in the region, increased 5.2 percent compared to 2008, reflecting an increase in the Latin and general markets of eight percent and one percent, respectively. New Sales Leaders in the region were 7,893 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a decrease of 12.4 percent versus the same period last year. Total Sales Leaders in the region decreased 1.0 percent to 67,097 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
The Asia Pacific region reported volume points of 145.0 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting an increase of 36.4 percent over the same period of 2008. Top markets in this region were Taiwan, with volume point growth of 61.2 percent; Korea, with volume point growth of 57.9 percent; and Malaysia with volume point growth of 58.8 percent, all compared to the same period in 2008. New Sales Leaders in the region were 10,737 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, an increase of 22.3 percent versus the same period last year. Total Sales Leaders increased 7.0 percent to 64,417 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region reported volume points of 124.1 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting a decrease of 9.5 percent versus the same period of 2008. Top markets in this region were Italy, with volume point growth of 9.4 percent and Russia with volume point growth of 1.6 percent, both compared to the same period in 2008. New Sales Leaders in the region were 5,236 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a decrease of 19.9 percent versus the same period last year. Total Sales Leaders in the region decreased 10.3 percent to 55,461 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
The Mexico region reported volume points of 120.4 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting a decrease of 18.7 percent versus the same period of 2008. During the third quarter of 2008, the company began collecting a Value Added Tax (VAT) from our Mexican distributors that has had a negative impact on our financial results. Distributors in Mexico previously paid zero percent VAT on their purchases for most of our nutrition products. This effective price increase, which impacts approximately 60 percent of our volume points in the Mexican market, adversely affected sales in Nutrition Clubs, which are retail price-sensitive, and as a result has caused volumes to decline from pre-VAT levels. We are in the process of challenging this assessment on several fronts; however, as the products continue to be subject to this VAT, we expect year-over-year volume growth to be constrained. New Sales Leaders in the Mexico region were 4,351 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, or 40.8 percent lower than the same period last year. Total Sales Leaders in the region decreased 17.6 percent to 52,136 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
The South and Central American region reported volume points of 102.6 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting a decrease of 13.7 percent versus the same period of 2008. The top markets in this region were Brazil, with volume point growth of 13.8 percent and Venezuela, with a volume point decline of 40.8 percent, both compared to the same period in 2008. New Sales Leaders in the region were 7,715 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, or 39.6 percent lower than the same period last year. Total Sales Leaders in the region decreased 1.9 percent to 70,532 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
The China region reported volume points of 20.8 million in the first quarter of 2009, reflecting an increase of 0.5 percent over the same period of 2008. The company is currently licensed for direct sales in six provinces and has submitted applications for five additional provinces. New Sales Employees in China were 4,327 during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, a decrease of 0.5 percent versus the same period last year. Total Sales Employees increased 17.2 percent to 31,071 as of March 31, 2009 versus March 31, 2008.
Second Quarter 2009 and Full Year 2009 Guidance
The company's second quarter 2009 diluted earnings per share guidance range is $0.69 to $0.73 (3) (4) (5) (6) on a volume point decline of 7 percent to 9 percent and a net sales decline of 14 percent to 16 percent compared to the same period in 2008, respectively, and an effective tax rate range of 31 percent to 32 percent (4). Assuming constant currency levels from the second quarter of 2008, the company's net sales growth range would be a decline of 2 percent to 4 percent and its diluted earnings per share range would be $1.00 to $1.04. Our second quarter 2009 capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $15 to $20 million.
Despite the stronger than expected volume points and earnings in the first quarter, the company is maintaining a cautious outlook for 2009 volume point growth, assuming spot foreign currency rates as of April 20, 2009 for the balance of the year and a higher effective tax rate due to country mix. Therefore, the company is reiterating its full year diluted earnings per share guidance of $2.90 to $3.10 (3) (4) (5) (6) on volume point growth of zero to one percent and net sales decline of 7 percent to 9 percent compared to 2008, respectively, along with an effective tax rate range of 31 to 32 percent (4). Assuming constant currency levels from 2008, the company's net sales growth range would be 1 percent to 3 percent and its diluted earnings per share range would be $3.67 to $3.87. Full year 2009 capital expenditures are expected in the range of $55 million to $60 million.
First Quarter Earnings Conference Call
Herbalife's senior management team will host an investor conference call to discuss its first quarter 2009 financial results and provide an update on current business trends on Tuesday, May 5, at 8 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT).
The dial-in number for this conference call for domestic callers is 866-219-5268 and 703-639-1120 for international callers. Live audio of the conference call will be simultaneously webcast in the Investor Relations section of the company's Web site at http://ir.herbalife.com.
An audio replay will be available following the completion of the conference call in MP3 format or by dialing 866-837-8032 (domestic callers) and 703-925-2474 (international callers) and entering access code 336024. The webcast of the teleconference will be archived and available on Herbalife's Web site. The webcast of the teleconference will be archived and available on Herbalife's Web site.
About Herbalife Ltd.
Herbalife Ltd., is a global network marketing company that sells weight-management, nutrition, and personal care products intended to support a healthy lifestyle. Herbalife products are sold in 70 countries through a network of over 1.9 million independent distributors. The company supports the Herbalife Family Foundation and its Casa Herbalife program to bring good nutrition to children. Please visit Herbalife Investor Relations for additional financial information.
Disclosure Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this press release are "forward-looking statements." All statements other than statements of historical fact are "forward-looking statements" for purposes of federal and state securities laws, including any projections of earnings, revenue or other financial items; any statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations; any statements concerning proposed new services or developments; any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance; any statements of belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Forward-looking statements may include the words, "may," "will," "estimate," "intend," "continue," "believe," "expect," or "anticipate" and any other similar words.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in any of our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements. Our future financial condition and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and to inherent risks and uncertainties, such as those disclosed or incorporated by reference in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Important factors that could cause our actual results, performance and achievements, or industry results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements include, among others, the following:
-- our relationship with, and our ability to influence the actions of, our distributors;
-- adverse publicity associated with our products or network marketing organization;
-- uncertainties relating to interpretation and enforcement of recently enacted legislation in China governing direct selling;
-- our inability to obtain the necessary licenses to expand our direct selling business in China;
-- adverse changes in the Chinese economy, Chinese legal system or Chinese governmental policies;
-- improper action by our employees or international distributors in violation of applicable law;
-- changing consumer preferences and demands;
-- loss or departure of any member of our senior management team which could negatively impact our distributor relations and operating results;
-- the competitive nature of our business;
-- regulatory matters governing our products, including potential governmental or regulatory actions concerning the safety or efficacy of our products, and network marketing program including the direct selling market in which we operate;
-- risks associated with operating internationally, including foreign exchange and devaluation risks;
-- our dependence on increased penetration of existing markets;
-- contractual limitations on our ability to expand our business;
-- our reliance on our information technology infrastructure and outside manufacturers;
-- the sufficiency of trademarks and other intellectual property rights;
-- product concentration;
-- our reliance on our management team;
-- uncertainties relating to the application of transfer pricing, duties, value added taxes and other tax regulations, and changes thereto;
-- taxation relating to our distributors;
-- product liability claims;
-- any collateral impact resulting from the ongoing worldwide financial "crisis", including the availability of liquidity to us, our customers and our suppliers or the willingness of our customers to purchase products in a recessionary economic environment; and
-- whether we will purchase any of our shares in the open markets or otherwise.
(1) See Schedule D - "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures" for more detail
(2) See Schedule titled "New Sales Leaders by Region" and "Total Sales Leaders by Region" for more detail
(3 )Excludes the potential impact of expenses relating to the company's December 2008 restructuring
(4 )Excludes the potential impact of a second quarter tax settlement with a foreign government.
(5 )Excludes the accretion/dilution impact should the company elect to repurchase shares under its share repurchase program.
(6 )Excludes the potential impact of repatriating dollars from Venezuela at an exchange rate which differs from the official exchange rate