Alico, Inc. Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2018 Along With Update on Alico 2.0 Modernization Program

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FORT MYERS, Fla., Dec. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alico, Inc. (“Alico” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq “ALCO”) today announces financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 and an update on the Alico 2.0 Modernization Program.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, the Company recorded net income attributable to Alico common shareholders of $13.1 million and earnings of $1.57 per diluted common share, compared to a net loss attributable to Alico common shareholders of $9.5 million and a loss of $1.14 per diluted common share in the prior fiscal year. Net income attributable to Alico common shareholders for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018 benefited from higher gains from sales of real estate, property and equipment and assets held for sale, insurance proceeds received relating to Hurricane Irma damage, lower operating expenses and a one-time deferred tax benefit of approximately $9.8 million due to the federal corporate tax rate reduction enacted on December 22, 2017. These benefits were offset by lower citrus production due to the impact of Hurricane Irma and a valuation allowance of approximately $5.6 million associated with the expiration of a capital loss carryforward.

When both periods are adjusted for non-recurring items related to transaction costs, separation and consulting arrangements, gains on sale of real estate, property and equipment, assets held for sale, employee stock compensation expense, impairment of inventory and long-lived assets, insurance proceeds received relating to Hurricane Irma, and net deferred tax adjustments, the Company had an adjusted net loss attributable to Alico common shareholders of $1.6 million and adjusted earnings of $(0.19) per diluted common share for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, compared to adjusted net income attributable to Alico common shareholders of $2.0 million and adjusted earnings of $0.24 per diluted common share for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017. Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2018 and 2017 was $21.2 million and $35.7 million, respectively. Adjusted free cash flow for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2018 and 2017 was $(3.5) million and $16.8 million, respectively.

The Company reported the following financial results: (1)

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2018, Alico Citrus harvested approximately 4.8 million boxes of fruit, a decline of 36.4% from the prior fiscal year. The Early and Mid-Season box production decreased by 43.7%, while the Valencia box production decreased by 28.5% as compared to the prior fiscal year. The decrease was a direct result of the impact of Hurricane Irma.

Following Hurricane Irma in September 2017, the Company estimated its fiscal year 2018 box production would decrease by approximately 40-45% compared to fiscal year 2017.  As stated above, based on the final harvest totals, the Company’s box production was down approximately 36.4%. The improvement over the original estimate is the result of the Valencia late season crop experiencing less fruit drop than was anticipated.

To date, the Company has received approximately $9.4 million in property and casualty and crop insurance proceeds relating to the damage incurred from Hurricane Irma. In addition, the Company may be eligible for Hurricane Irma federal relief programs distributed by the Farm Service Agency under the 2017 Wildfires and Hurricane Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP) as well as block grants that will be administered through the State of Florida.  At this time, the Company cannot determine the amount, if any, of federal relief funds which will be received or when any such funds will be disbursed.

Citrus production for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2018 and 2017 is summarized in the following table:

Alico Citrus costs of sales decreased to $46.5 million in fiscal year 2018 compared to $84.9 million in fiscal year 2017. The $38.4 million decrease in costs of sales was due to an inventory casualty loss recorded in fiscal year 2017 after Hurricane Irma caused a loss of unharvested fruit and certain other impairments to long-lived assets and a reduction in costs related to the Alico 2.0 efficiencies.

Operating revenue for the Water Resources and Other Operations division was $3.2 million in fiscal year 2018, compared to $6.4 million in the prior fiscal year, a decrease of $3.2 million. The decrease in revenue is primarily due to the sale of the Company's cattle herd in January 2018. As part of such sales transaction, the Company entered into a long-term leasing arrangement with the purchaser for the grazing rights on the property. In addition, the Company continues to own the property and conduct its long-term water dispersement program and wildlife management programs on such property.

Water Resources and Other Operations financial results also include $1.6 million and $1.8 million of operating costs related to the environmental services project in fiscal years 2018 and 2017, respectively. Funding for the water project was approved in the Florida state budget in 2018, and on September 19, 2018, the South Florida Water Management District ("SFWMD") issued a press release announcing the issuance of an Environmental Resource Permit for Alico. The SFWMD release also stated that (i) the issuance of the permit cleared the path for Alico to deliver a dispersed water storage project in the Caloosahatchee Watershed, (ii) Alico has all necessary state approvals to proceed, and (iii) the project is expected to be operational within one year from the start of construction, which is contingent on Alico securing additional local and federal approvals. These approvals include a compatible use agreement from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, as well as approvals from the local water control districts.

General and administrative expenses increased slightly to $15.1 million in fiscal year 2018 from $15.0 million in fiscal year 2017. The slight increase primarily relates to increases in bonus awards provided to senior executives and managers, an acceleration of stock compensation expense as a result of two senior executives forfeiting a portion of their stock options without any replacement options being granted, costs related to the tender offer which commenced in September 2018 and an increase in rent, as a result of the Company selling its office building in Fort Myers, FL, and leasing back a portion of the space beginning October 30, 2017. These items resulted in an aggregate increase in general and administrative expenses of approximately $2.7 million. These increases were offset by decreases in general and administrative expenses primarily attributable to salary and stock compensation expenses incurred with respect to employment agreements executed for new executives in fiscal year 2017, which did not occur in fiscal year 2018, a reduction of expenses incurred relating to separation and consulting arrangements, and a reduction in bad debt expense and recruiting fees.

Other income (expense), net was $2.7 million for fiscal year 2018 compared to $(7.2) million for fiscal year 2017. The increase of $9.9 million is primarily attributable to an $8.9 million increase in gain on sale of real estate, property and equipment and assets held for sale and a decrease in interest expense by $0.6 million as certain balances on term loans have been reduced as a result of principal payments.

The Company paid a fourth quarter cash dividend of $0.06 per share on its outstanding common stock on October 12, 2018 to shareholders of record at September 28, 2018.  Dividends for the year totaled $0.24 per share.

The Company ended the year with long-term debt, net of cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash, of $144.8 million.

In October 2018, the Company completed a tender offer of 752,234 shares at a price of $34.00 per share. This transaction was accretive to both Earnings Per Share and Return on Capital Employed and resulted in a new fully diluted share count of approximately 7.4 million. 734 Investors, LLC, Alico’s largest shareholder since 2013, participated in the tender offer and sold a small percentage of its holdings to satisfy a debt obligation. Members of neither the management team nor the Board of Directors sold any shares directly into the tender offer.

On November 16, 2017, Alico announced the Alico 2.0 Modernization Program (“Alico 2.0”). This program was initiated to transform three legacy businesses (Alico, Orange Co., and Silver Nip) into a single efficient enterprise, Alico Citrus, so it would remain the leader in the U.S. citrus industry.  As part of Alico 2.0, Alico Citrus is reducing expenses through better purchasing, more precise application of selected fertilizers and chemicals, by outsourcing work such as harvesting, hauling, and certain caretaking tasks, and by streamlining grove management. Alico Citrus has also deployed a more efficient labor model that is consistent and uniform for field staffing and grove operating programs and aligns with the geographical footprint of the citrus groves.

The Company previously provided guidance on November 17, 2017, after assessing the impact of Hurricane Irma.  That guidance described the expected improvements of Alico 2.0 once citrus production returned to pre-hurricane production levels of approximately 7.9 million boxes annually. Today, the Company still believes this production level is potentially achievable in fiscal year 2020.

This season, falling in fiscal year 2019, is the second season since Hurricane Irma, whose impact is still being felt by the Company. For this fiscal year, the Company expects production in the range of 6.3-6.6 million boxes, which would represent a 31-37% increase from fiscal year 2018 production of approximately 4.8 million boxes.

Our restructuring and cost-cutting programs are substantially complete, and the Company is working to maintain operational efficiencies and deploy its resources to solidify the Company's position as a leader in the recovering citrus industry.

As previously announced, Alico Water Resources received a conditional Environmental Resource Permit from the South Florida Water Management District in September 2018. The Company has been working diligently with other federal, state and local agencies to secure final approvals for the Alico Dispersed Water Project. If the Company is not successful in receiving full permitting for the water project, it plans to explore alternative uses of the 35,000 acre property, including complete disposition.

The Company continues to conduct its divestiture program for low returning assets.

Alico, Inc. primarily operates two divisions: Alico Citrus, one of the nation’s largest citrus producers, and Alico Water Resources and Other Operations, a leading water storage and environmental services division. Learn more about Alico (Nasdaq "ALCO") at .

Alico utilizes the non-GAAP measures EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Earnings (Loss) per Diluted Common Share, Adjusted Free Cash Flow and Return on Capital Employed among other measures, to evaluate the performance of its business. Due to significant depreciable assets associated with the nature of our operations and, to a lesser extent, interest costs associated with our capital structure and other factors, management believes that EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Earnings (Loss) per Diluted Common Share, Adjusted Free Cash Flow and Return on Capital Employed are important measures to evaluate our results of operations between periods on a more comparable basis and to help investors analyze underlying trends in our business, evaluate the performance of our business both on an absolute basis and relative to our peers and the broader market, provide useful information to both management and investors by excluding certain items that may not be indicative of our core operating results and operational strength of our business and help investors evaluate our ability to service our debt.  Such measurements are not prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”) and should not be construed as an alternative to reported results determined in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The non-GAAP information provided is unique to Alico and may not be consistent with methodologies used by other companies. EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) before interest expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) before interest expense, provision (benefit) for income taxes, depreciation and amortization and adjustments for non-recurring transactions or transactions that are not indicative of our core operating results such as gains or losses on sales of real estate, property and equipment and assets held for sale. Adjusted Earnings (Loss) per Diluted Common Share is defined as earnings adjusted for non-recurring transactions divided by diluted common shares. Adjusted Free Cash Flow is defined as cash provided by (used in) operating activities adjusted for non-recurring transactions less capital expenditures. The Company uses Adjusted Free Cash Flow to evaluate its business and this measure is considered an important indicator of the Company's liquidity, including its ability to reduce net debt, make strategic investments, and pay dividends to common stockholders. The Company’s definition of Adjusted Free Cash Flow does not represent residual cash flows available for discretionary spending.  Return on Capital Employed is defined as earnings before interest and taxes divided by total capital with total capital defined as debt plus stockholders equity.

 

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Globe Newswire: 21:20 GMT Thursday 6th December 2018

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