The North West Company Inc. Announces First Quarter Earnings and a Quarterly Dividend
Winnipeg, June 14, 2017 (TSX: NWC): The North West Company Inc. (the “Company” or “North West”) today reported its unaudited financial results for the first quarter ended April 30, 2017. It also announced that the Board of Directors have declared a dividend of $0.32 per share to shareholders of record on June 30, 2017, to be paid on July 17, 2017.
“The quarter was a very strong one in northern Canada as we continued to build sales and expense management momentum”, commented North West President & CEO Edward Kennedy. “Our acquisition in the BVI was also a solid contributor to our results, which were very positive after adjusting for non-operating and one-time costs. The next quarters will give us upside in our other store banners as we cycle through challenging economic and competitive conditions that began last year”.
Sales increased 8.6% to $476.8 million compared to $439.0 million in the first quarter last year due to the acquisition of Roadtown Wholesale Trading Ltd. (“RTW”) in the British Virgin Islands and same store sales gains. New stores sales growth in Canadian Operations was also a factor. These factors more than offset the impact of the extra day of operations last year as a result of February 29. Excluding the foreign exchange impact, consolidated sales increased 7.5% and were up 2.0%1 on a same store basis. Food sales1 increased 8.6% and were up 2.1% on a same store basis. General merchandise sales1 increased 2.3% and were up 1.9% on a same store basis led by sales growth in Canadian Operations.
Earnings from operations decreased 34.6% to $16.7 million compared to $25.6 million in the first quarter last year. Gross profit dollars were up 10.9% driven by the acquisition of RTW, sales growth and a 60 basis point increase in the gross profit rate compared to last year. The increase in the gross profit rate is mainly due to product sales blend changes. Selling, operating and administrative expenses increased 22.5% and were up 292 basis points as a percentage to sales. This increase was primarily due to the new stores acquired as part of the RTW acquisition, one-time acquisition related expenses, higher share-based compensation costs and new stores in Canadian Operations. Acquisition expenses of $5.8 million were largely related to stamp duties paid to the Government of the British Virgin Islands. The increase in share-based compensation costs was largely due to option expense of $4.3 million compared to a recovery of $1.3 million last year. A substantial portion of the options granted are accounted for as a liability. These options are remeasured based on the share price at each quarterly reporting date. The higher option expense this quarter was due to a 10% increase in the share price in the quarter this year compared to a decrease in the share price in the first quarter last year.
Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA2) decreased 20.0% to $30.1 million due to the RTW acquisition expenses and higher share-based compensation as noted above. Excluding the impact of the RTW acquisition expenses and share-based compensation option expense, adjusted EBITDA2 was up 10.5% compared to last year and as a percentage to sales was 8.4% compared to 8.3% last year.
Net earnings decreased $8.7 million or 49.0% to $9.1 million and diluted earnings per share were $0.17 per share compared to $0.36 per share last year due to the factors noted above. Excluding the impact of the RTW acquisition related expenses and share-based compensation option expense, adjusted net earnings2 increased 15.9%.
- Excluding the foreign exchange impact
- See Non-GAAP Measures Section of Management’s Discussion & Analysis
Further information on the financial results is available in the Company’s 2017 first quarter Report to Shareholders, Management’s Discussion and Analysis and unaudited interim period condensed consolidated financial statements which can be found in the investor section of the Company’s website at www.northwest.ca.
Annual General and Special Meeting
The North West Company Inc. will hold its annual general and special meeting of shareholders on Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. (Central Time) (the “Meeting”) in the Muriel Richardson Auditorium at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, 300 Memorial Boulevard, Winnipeg, Manitoba. Shareholders of North West are invited to attend the Meeting, where there will be an opportunity to ask questions and meet management and North West’s Directors.
North West will also host a webcast of the Meeting. To access the Meeting, log onto http://www.gowebcasting.com/8480. Shareholders viewing the webcast will not be permitted to vote through the webcast, but will be permitted to ask questions of management. The webcast will be archived and available at www.northwest.ca.
First Quarter Conference Call
North West is also hosting a conference call for its first quarter results on June 14, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. (Central Time). To access the call, please dial 416-641-6104 or 800-898-3989 with a pass code of 9490540. The conference call will be archived and can be accessed by dialing 905-694-9451 or 800-408-3053 with a pass code of 5834401 until July 31, 2017.
The North West Company Inc., through its subsidiaries, is a leading retailer of food and everyday products and services to rural communities and urban neighbourhoods in Canada, Alaska, the South Pacific and the Caribbean. North West operates 241 stores under the trading names Northern, NorthMart, Giant Tiger, AC Value Center, Cost-U-Less and RiteWay Food Markets and has annualized sales of approximately CDN$1.8 billion.
The common shares of North West trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NWC.
For more information contact:
Edward Kennedy, President and Chief Executive Officer, The North West Company Inc.
Phone 204-934-1482; fax 204-934-1317; email email@example.com
John King, Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, The North West Company Inc.
Phone 204-934-1397; fax 204-934-1317; email firstname.lastname@example.org