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MGP Ingredients Inc (MGPI) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribers - May 5, 2021 at 12:31PM

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MGPI earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2021.

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MGP Ingredients Inc (MGPI 0.58%)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 5, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET


  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Good day, and welcome to the MGP Ingredients First Quarter 2021 Financial Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mike Houston. Please go ahead.

Mike Houston -- Investor Relations, Lambert and Company

Thank you. I'm Mike Houston with Lambert and Company, MGP's Investor Relations firm. And joining me today are members of their management team, including Dave Colo, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Brandon Gall, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer. We will begin the call with management's prepared remarks and then open the call up to questions. However, before we begin today's call, it is my responsibility to inform you that this call may involve certain forward-looking statements such as projections of sales, operating income, gross margin and effective tax rate as well as statements on the plans and objectives of the Company's business.

The Company's actual results could differ materially from any forward-looking statements made today due to a number of factors, including the risk factors described in the Company's most recent annual and quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made during the call. If anyone does not already have a copy of the press release issued by MGP today, you can access it at the Company's website,

At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to MGP's President and Chief Executive Officer, Dave Colo. Dave?

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Thank you, Mike, and thank you all for joining us. On this call, we will provide an overview of our results for the quarter, updates on key financial performance metrics and the discussion of progress against our strategy. Then we will take your questions.

We are very pleased with our continued momentum this quarter, which has again yielded record consolidated results. Sales of premium beverage alcohol increased 31.1%, primarily due to higher aged whiskey and new distillate sales. As expected during the quarter, we experienced temporary softness in our Ingredient Solutions segment, primarily due to a natural gas curtailment that impacted approximately two weeks of production in February.

However, we anticipate improved results in the second quarter as we have cycle past the weather related events in the first quarter. Consolidated sales for the quarter increased 9.3%, while gross profit increased 39.2% to a record $32.3 million, representing 29.8% of consolidated sales. Reported operating income increased 49.6%, while adjusted operating income increased 56.7%.

Looking at each segment individually. In our Distillery Products segment sales increased 11.5%, primarily driven by sales and brown goods, which increased 49.3% from the prior year period. Strong aged whiskey and new distillate sales led to these results. Aged whiskey sales also served as the primary driver to the increase in gross margins for the period. Our objective to optimize brown goods profit by increasing volume share at market based pricing continue to benefit both the segment and consolidated results for the quarter.

The macro consumer trend supporting the ongoing growth of the American whiskey category remain solid, which is confirmed by the demand we're experiencing from new and existing brown goods customers. We also experienced strong aged whiskey demand from craft distillers as a percent of our overall aged sales mix during the quarter, which was more comparable to pre-COVID levels in relation to our national and multinational customers. While consumer demand for American whiskey remains robust and our diverse customer mix has positioned us well, we anticipate our growth rates will begin to normalize and come more in line with overall category growth.

Continuing on to other areas of the segment. Sales of premium beverage white goods declined 0.3% for the quarter, while sales of industrial alcohol decreased 19.8% with improved pricing and margins. As mentioned in our last call, the decline in industrial alcohol sales was primarily attributed to reduce to third-party sales of industrial alcohol produced by ICP, our former joint venture partner.

Going forward, ICP will market and sell these products and we anticipate these services will be substantially complete by the end of the second quarter of 2021, with sales for the year totaling approximately $4 million. For reference, in 2020, we sold approximately $24 million of product for ICP reflected as industrial alcohol revenue within our Distillery Products segment at low-single digit gross margins. Excluding the impact of this third-party agreement industrial alcohol sales would have increased 6% from the prior year period.

We are pleased with the improved pricing and margins, following contract negotiations that occurred during the fourth quarter of last year, but anticipate spot market margins will normalize and return to historical levels as demand moderates and additional supply enters the market over the next several quarters. Sales of our distillers grains byproduct decreased 28.9% for the quarter, primarily due to the need to convert from selling dry distillers grains byproducts to wet distillers grains byproduct due to the drier incident in Q4 of last year.

We expect continued comparative declines in revenue for our distillers grains this year until the dryer system installation is complete, which we anticipate occurring in the fourth quarter of this year. Revenue from warehouse services increased 5.1% for the quarter, reflecting in part growth in the number of customer barrels aging in our whiskey warehouses and other services we provide.

Turning to Ingredients Solutions. Sales for the quarter grew 0.3%, while gross profit decreased to $4 million, representing 20.7% of segment sales. As expected, this quarter's results do not properly reflect the solid demand we continue to experience in the Ingredient Solutions segment. In addition to the temporary natural gas curtailments, which resulted in loss production in February of this year and reduced margins by more than 400 basis points in the quarter. We also experienced issues with backlogs at various ports as well as shortages for shipping containers needed to deliver our products abroad.

Despite the impact these issues had on product mix, we finished the quarter with strong sales and margins in March and anticipate improved results in the second quarter, as we have cycle past the weather related events that occurred in the first quarter. We believe our diverse customer base, and optimal product mix continue to be aligned with strong consumer trends. We are very pleased with the revenue and profit results this quarter.

Overall, both of our business segments continue to benefit from favorable consumer trends and our strategic plan has us well positioned to fully capture the potential these trends offer. This concludes my initial remarks.

Let me now turn things over to Brandon Gall for a review of the key metrics and numbers. Brandon?

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Dave. For the quarter, consolidated sales increased 9.3% to $108.3 million as a result of double-digit growth in premium beverage alcohol within the Distillery Products segment. Gross profit increased 39.2% to $32.3 million due to improved gross profits in the Distillery Products segment. Gross margin increased by 640 basis points to 29.8%.

As noted in our last earnings call, we experienced a fire at the Atchison facility during the fourth quarter which damaged feed drying equipment and caused a temporary loss of production time. During the first quarter, we recorded a $3.6 million partial settlement from our insurance carrier, we are working to construct a replacement drying system that is anticipated to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year. Until the replacement system is operational, however, we anticipate this will continue to affect gross profit results.

However, we expect a portion, if not all, of these losses will be offset by our business interruption insurance coverage, similar to the past two quarters. Please note, however, the timing of any insurance recovery despite best efforts is outside of our control and may not occur in the same period as the recognized loss. Corporate selling, general and administrative expenses for the quarter increased $2.3 million to $11.8 million as compared to the first quarter 2020, primarily due to business acquisition costs related to the Luxco transaction. We will incur additional transaction related costs, the majority of which will occur in the second quarter of 2021. We anticipate fully transitioning our legacy MGP brands into the Luxco sales and marketing organization during the second quarter, which will be reflected in our quarterly results, and reported under the newly established Branded Spirits segment going forward.

Operating income for the first quarter increased 49.6% to $20.5 million, primarily due to strong brown goods sales within the Distillery Products segment. Non-GAAP operating income increased 56.7% to $22.4 million, exclusive of business acquisition costs related to the Luxco transaction. Our corporate effective tax rate for the quarter was 23% compared with 24.7% a year ago, primarily due to additional tax credits recognized as a result of the new drying system investment.

Net income for the first quarter increased 56.7% to $15.4 million, and earnings per share increased to $0.90 from $0.57 per share, primarily due to higher operating income. Non-GAAP EPS for the quarter increased to $1.01 per share from $0.61 per share, exclusive of business acquisition costs related to the Luxco transaction. Cash flow from operations was $17 million in the first quarter, which is up from approximately $500,000 in the first quarter of 2020, reflecting the strong cash generating capability of our business.

In addition to improved operating results, our operating cash flows were also driven by the combination of record aged sales, and reduced put away for aging whiskey inventory. MGP's balance sheet and access to capital remains strong, allowing us to continue to invest to grow, and drive long-term shareholder value. We remain well capitalized with debt totaling $39.9 million and a strong cash position of $22.6 million. Our capital allocation strategy continues to provide sustainable growth opportunities that are consistent with our long-term strategy, and strengthen our position in growing markets.

Our investment in inventory of aging whiskey decreased by $6.7 million to $98.7 million at cost, at the end of the first quarter. This net decrease was driven by strong sales of aged whiskey, and reduced put-away of whiskey for aging during the quarter. We are pleased with the continued execution of this critical component of our long-term strategy. MGP is offering the following guidance for fiscal 2021, excluding Luxco's financial results and acquisition-related costs.

2021 adjusted sales growth is projected in the 0% to 2% range versus 2020, reflecting reduced sales of third-party industrial alcohol, and reduced average sales prices resulting from the selling of wet versus dry distillers grains byproduct. The company's estimate of growth in adjusted operating income in 2021 is 7% to 12%, which is exclusive of Luxco acquisition costs. Adjusted earnings per share are forecasted to be in the $2.05 to $2.15 range, with shares outstanding is expected to be approximately $22 million at year-end.

Full year adjusted EPS guidance includes the impact of 5 million shares issued in connection with the Luxco acquisition, while first quarter EPS results were calculated based on 17 million shares outstanding prior to the transaction's close. We anticipate providing 2021 consolidated guidance, inclusive of Luxco during our second quarter earnings call, at which point we will have completed the finance and accounting requirements associated with the transaction. In light of our strategy to pursue growth through investing in our business, and recent closing of the Luxco acquisition, the Board authorized a quarterly dividend in the amount $0.12 per share, which is payable on June 4th to stockholders of record as of May 21st. The Board continues to view dividend as an important way to share the success of the company with shareholders.

Let me now turn things back over to Dave for concluding remarks.

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Thanks, Brandon. We remain committed to the execution of our long-term growth strategy, further building on the momentum from last year. We recently achieved a significant milestone in our strategic plan, with the completion of the Luxco acquisition in April, and have begun the integration and synergy work streams necessary to optimize our combined business, while setting ourselves on a path for anticipated future growth. The newly combined company will greatly expand our portfolio of higher value-added branded spirits from coast to coast. We now have three business segments that are uniquely aligned with strong consumer trends, which we believe will create long-term and sustainable shareholder value.

I wanted to provide additional context around the guidance Brandon shared, as it relates to the legacy parts of our business for the full year. While we are off to a strong start to the year, we remain mindful of the market factors associated with our overall business, in particular, the market factors associated with our aging brown goods products. We have learned the past several years that there can be significant variability in our customer demand patterns for these products based on a number of factors, including the lack of forward visibility to customer demand, as most of this product continues to be sold on a spot versus contract basis.

As we stated earlier, although, we experienced significant growth in aged brown goods revenue, and gross profit in the quarter, well ahead of the historical growth for the broader American whiskey category, we anticipate our growth rates will moderate over time, and be more in line with the overall category growth. This is factored into our guidance for the full year, as we continue to execute our long-term strategic plan.

Inventory of aging whiskey at quarter-end declined $6.7 million from the fourth quarter to $98.7 million at cost, reflecting strong sales of aged whiskey, and reduced put-away of whiskey for aging. We are very pleased with the continued execution of this critical component of our long-term strategy, and we believe, we have reached a point of equilibrium, recognizing that this is a dynamic versus static state. We will continue to evaluate our aged whiskey inventory and put-away levels on an ongoing basis, with the objective of carrying adequate inventory levels of various ages and mash bills, to meet projected customer demand, and the demand of our Branded Spirits segment.

Our library of various mash bills and vintages has truly enabled MGP to provide additional value to customers, while contributing significant levels of profit and cash flow for the company. Although, we delivered strong results for the quarter, we continue to experience two primary headwinds for 2021.

The first headwind relates to increased commodity costs. As you may be aware, during the past several months, there have been significant increases in corn commodity exports from the U.S., as well as downward revisions to 2020 corn crop yields and stocks, resulting in higher corn and wheat costs. As a reminder, we employ an extensive risk management program that includes purchasing the corresponding grain at the same time we contract volume and pricing for our products. However, for various reasons, we do not contract 100% of our sales. And as a result, we cannot provide assurance that we will always be able to price through increases in commodity costs to our customers in the open market.

Second, like many other businesses, we are experiencing disruptions in our supply chain. We continue to experience transportation availability issues both domestically, and with backlogs, at various ports as well as shortages for shipping containers needed to deliver our products abroad. While these logistical issues are likely the result of the global supply chain disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear how long these delays and issues will persist. However, demand for our products remains robust, and we believe, our business continues to be well-positioned to mitigate these challenges through the balance of the year.

Our focus on continually refining the effectiveness of our tactical execution, accelerating the pace of our strategic implementation, and leveraging the strong foundation we have built has positioned MGP for sustainable, long-term growth.

That concludes our prepared remarks. Operator, we are ready to begin the question-and-answer portion of the call.

Questions and Answers:


[Operator Instructions] Our first question today will come from Alex Fuhrman with Craig-Hallum. Please go ahead.

Alex Fuhrman -- Craig-Hallum -- Analyst

Great, thanks very much for taking my question. Wanted to ask about the implications of the Luxco acquisition to the numbers. I know it's tough from where you're sitting right now to really give a firm projection for 2021, including Luxco, but could you kind of help us out, just given that it's going to have a really significant impact on the numbers, what would it have added in the last three quarters of 2020? Just any sort of kind of base case or historical framing off of what Luxco has done in terms of top-line and EBITDA contribution would be really helpful as we think about our models?

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Alex, this is Brandon. First of all, thanks for the question and happy to provide some clarity right hand. So the thing I point back toward is the investor presentation we released in January when we announced the Luxco transaction. Yeah, there are some financials shared at the time on a adjusted unaudited basis for 2019, but also on an LTM basis as of October 2020, that should be pretty directionally, I think for what you're trying to accomplish. I will share also that as -- we're now more than a month into integration of Luxco. We are still running the traps on the numbers, as we mentioned already. But there have been no surprises and things are progressing along very nicely on that front.

Alex Fuhrman -- Craig-Hallum -- Analyst

Great, that's really helpful. And then just as we think about the sales of aged whiskey and this is really now three quarters in a row that you've had good success in selling the aged whiskey. And you mentioned that it's hard to really forecast what that demand is going to look like in the future. I mean, is there a sense that -- given that the demand is strong right now that we could continue to see strong sales of it this year as long as the demand is there. Just anything you can kind of tell us about your current and I know there's not so much visibility multi-year, but at least looking out over the next couple of months is that that kind of what you've been seeing? Any direction there would be helpful.

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Hey, Alex, this is Dave. Yeah, we have experienced really strong demand for our aged whiskey as we mentioned the last three to four quarters, Q1 as well, obviously a very strong quarter. We -- the best indication that we have that we keep trying to guide to is the fact that we think over time, our growth rate should be pretty much in line with the overall American whiskey category growth rates. We recognize the quarter-to-quarter, our growth could be above or below that, as evidenced by what we've seen here in Q1.

But as we look forward, that's kind of the guide post we reference is, overall we think that as the American whiskey category grows, that's where we would expect our growth rates to be in line with. Also if you look at our inventory position and we spoke to this in the prepared remarks, we feel like we've pulled down our inventory levels of our aged -- put away the last year. We feel the level that we're at now is a pretty good level, and I would say it's kind of at level of equilibrium meeting on a go-forward basis, we would look to put away the amount of whiskey based on what we think our forecasted demand is going to be within that given year. So, we feel good about that. We think our inventory positions are much more balanced today than they were a year ago. And we'll continue to put away whiskey again based on what we think our projected demand going forward will be.

Alex Fuhrman -- Craig-Hallum -- Analyst

Sure, that makes sense. Thank you. And then my last question, the Ingredient Solution side of the business, I mean that's been a really top performing segment for a while now, and it sounds like from your prepared remarks that the demand from your customers for your offerings remain very strong. And there were some reasons why we didn't quite see that in the numbers this quarter. Can you talk a little bit more about that? And when we should start to see reported results start to match what you're seeing in terms of customer demand?

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Sure. Yeah, I think in Q1 we kind of gave a forecast of this in our Q4 call. We had the -- in the month of February, we lost about two weeks of production in our Ingredients business due to the cold weather that came through the Midwest. Our natural gas supply was curtailed, which resulted in us needing to shut down operations through that period. As we restarted operations and got into March, we had a very strong March, both from a top-line and the gross margin performance more in line with what historically we've printed on that business last year.

And as we go into Q2 and the balance of the year, we still are having very strong demand and we would expect the business to have similar gross margins to what we've been reporting in the prior year. So, we're still very confident in that business. We have cycle past the weather related events in Q1 and feel like we're back on track for the balance of the year.

Alex Fuhrman -- Craig-Hallum -- Analyst

That's great, thanks very much.

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

You bet.


Our next question will come from Bill Chappell with Truist Securities. Please go ahead.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning.

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Good morning, Bill.

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Morning, Bill.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Hey, just -- I guess first kind of question on the guidance and especially on the Distillery business and your kind of commentary of it growing in line with the category. I guess, one, can you kind of quantify how much the -- and you might have already done this, the white goods issue -- I mean, the switchover how much that impacted on this year? And then two, I'm just trying to kind of, more importantly, couple the statements because you would think if you're selling aged inventory on a regular basis, which has a significantly higher price point and transaction value than new distillate, that your sales should grow faster than the category until you're kind of out of product or cycle through that. So, help me understand why you would only grow in line with that if you're still selling aged for the foreseeable future?

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Bill, good morning. This is Brandon. Thanks for the questions. First of all on the switchover, the total sales to ICP, which is a third-party contractor that we set the partnership with last year was around $24 million in total and that hits our industrial alcohol product line. This year, we expect to be finished selling by the second quarter of this year and we expect the total to be somewhere around $4 million in total sales for 2021.

As it relates to your brown question, which is a really good one, as Dave mentioned, there is variability within brown even within the mix there is pricing as you correctly pointed out for aged is much greater than new distillate. And then as we sell one, two, three and four-year-old, there's different pricing for each of those as well. So, as we cycle over quarters we may sell a lot of aged one quarter that even more than we did the prior comparative quarter, but it is a different vintages, we're selling more one-year old versus four year old, it may not have, what would you think would be the desired result from selling that much more volume. So, it's not that straightforward. What we do know is that we've seen four or five straight quarters now of extreme demand for our brown goods specifically for aged and there are underlying trends that would indicate that that can continue. But as we know there can also be -- as we've experienced some variability to that business is due to the customer buying patterns that we've discussed.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

So just to follow-up that. So is your guidance for the remainder of the year, just assuming there is no further aged sales and that would just be upside or that -- or are you thinking that the aged sales are front end loaded this year and you'll see kind of a lesser amount as we move through the year?

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, it's probably more of the latter, Bill. So, our -- as we put together the guidance at this early on in the year, especially if we're coming off a strong quarter and a strong few quarters for aged if you -- actually, if we go back and look at the last three quarters, it is a little bit more front loaded. But for the full year, we do have our total brown sales growing closer in line with the category.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Got it. And then, second question, can you give us any update on at least top-line trends for Luxco for the first quarter? I mean, they continue to grow, have there been any issues, anything we should be thinking about.

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Can't share a lot on the first quarter at this point. And believe me though, it's not because I don't want to, we've been working on this for a long time. We're really excited about the deal. We can't wait to share more with you in Q2. What I will share is, what I even shared a little bit to, Alex, is that, we have not seen any surprises since January, and that would make us feel differently about the numbers we shared at that point in time, which again, are still -- should be still on our website available. But we do have to finish running the traps, and put together the required accounting that's necessary to really provide more informed guidance. We hate to -- want to be a little bit ahead of ourselves now, only that slightly, or provide that at all a quarter from now. We just want to be prudent in our approach, and be as clear as possible with you and with the investors when the time is right.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Got it. And then last two questions, sorry. One going back to just brown spirits, it seems that the kind of conversion over the past year of how you're viewing the aged has been from creating an asset that you can sell for top dollar to creating a library for your customers to shop whenever they want. And I didn't know if that's having a negative impact on kind of new distillate, because now your customers can say like, look, we can buy on consignment, and just buy it in three, four years, we don't need to buy it upfront. If that's having an adverse effect near-term, or expected to, on your kind of new distillate business?

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Yeah. I think our -- we still sell a lot of new distillate, and a lot of those customers are on a contract basis, I think, through the last, I'd say three to four quarters in the -- as a result of COVID, I think, what we've seen is on brown goods, in particular, on aged in the last two to three quarters, we've seen the craft distillers kind of come back into the aged market in a pretty significant way. And now they're back in line with kind of their historical buying patterns, if you will, Bill.

So, I think, long-term, we still view the -- kind of the balance between aged and new distillate to be in line with what we've seen over the last three to four years. That's something that we evaluate literally quarter-to-quarter. And obviously, it also influences how much MGP owned inventory we put away. But at this point, we still sell a lot of new distillate. We expect that to continue, and we also expect to see some pretty good growth patterns in the aged side of the business as well.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Got it. Last question for me, just the insurance settlement in the quarter. Didn't know whether that -- I think, that's included in the numbers and in your full-year guidance. I could be wrong, and just didn't know where that -- is that still in gross margin or is that still in SG&A, just any clarity there would be helpful.

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks for giving me opportunity to clarify that, Bill. Yeah. So, we did recognize a partial insurance settlement of around $3.5 million, $3.7 million in the quarter. That is treated as a reduction to cost of goods sold. So it will hit the gross margin. The actual receipt was closer to $8.5 million. The difference we have on our balance sheet, until we -- because a portion of that going to go toward different areas, whether it's more of business interruption or whether it's to the dryer replacing itself. So until we get more clarity and get closer to the end if not, or even complete the replacement dryer system, we are going to keep that on our balance sheet, just to be conservative, and then recognize it when we have more visibility and clarity.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

But the $3.7 million is in the non-GAAP EPS for the quarter, and then, in your full-year guidance of $2 to $2.15 for the year, is that correct?

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. It's actually -- yeah, it's in the GAAP reported for the quarter, because we were -- we did receive and recover it in the quarter. And yes, we are factoring that for the year. We are going to offset the majority, if not all, of our business interruption impacts with insurance.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Okay. Great. Perfect.

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, thanks.

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

Thank you.


Ladies and gentlemen, this will conclude our question-and-answer session. I'd like to turn the conference back over to Dave Colo for any closing remarks.

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Thank you for your interest in our company, and for joining us today for our first quarter call. We look forward to talking with you again after the second quarter. Thank you.


[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 35 minutes

Call participants:

Mike Houston -- Investor Relations, Lambert and Company

David J. Colo -- President and Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer & Director

Brandon M. Gall -- Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer

Alex Fuhrman -- Craig-Hallum -- Analyst

Bill Chappell -- Truist Securities -- Analyst

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