HANOVER, PA.— Fiscal 2020 was a year of contrasts for Utz Brands, Inc. The company started the year as privately held, but finished as publicly traded after combining with Collier Creek Holdings and going public in August 2020. Utz Brands finished fiscal 2020 in a strong fashion as fourth quarter sales rose 22% but incurred a quarterly loss due to expenses related to the acquisition of Truco Enterprises.
“Looking at the numbers in the fourth quarter, our financial results were very strong, with net sales growing over 22% and nearly 7% on a pro forma basis, which excludes the 53rd week in Q4,” said Dylan B. Lissette, chief executive officer, during a March 18 conference call with securities analysts.
From a market share perspective, he said the company gained share across potato chips, tortilla chips and pork rinds during the quarter. The product lines make up more than 65% of the company’s retail sales.
“In potato chips, we drove double-digit growth, which was nearly double the category as we continue to increase distribution of our flagship Utz brand outside of our core regions, and Zapp's remained on its double-digit growth trajectory,” he said.
For the quarter ended Jan. 3, Utz Brands, Inc. recorded a loss of $7.97 million, which was an improvement over the pro forma results from the year prior when the company incurred a loss of $24.7 million.
Quarterly sales were $246 million, up from $202 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.
Pro forma sales in 2020 were $964 million, an increase over 2019 when the company had sales of $768 million.
“In 2020, we saw significant growth in households buying our product with higher dollars per buyer being spent and increasing rates of repurchase,” Mr. Lissette said. “We grew buyers by more than 3 million for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 27, 2020, versus the prior year, which is nearly two-times more than any other salty snack competitor during this period.
“Moreover, our rates of repurchase increased year-over-year to 70%, suggesting stickiness for this increase in the number of households. We've seen the total number of buyers growing throughout 2020, and coupled with increasing repeat rates, we continue to gain confidence about what this means for the company's long-term growth prospects.”
The company is guiding fiscal 2021 sales will be approximately $1.16 billion. Adjusted EBITDA will be in a range between $180 million and $190 million, and adjusted earnings per share will be between 70¢ and 75¢ per share.
“We expect modest organic sales growth year-over-year, even as we lap fiscal '20 organic growth of over 8%,” said Cary D. Devore, chief financial officer. “We began the year with good momentum, with strong retail sales growth through February, and we expect full-year 2021 organic growth, led by incremental distribution, innovation and price/mix, partially offset by the COVID-19-related lap and our continued DSD route conversion to independent operators.”
Since August, the company has made three acquisitions in H.K. Anderson, On the Border tortilla chips, and Vintners. The Vintners acquisition was closed in February, and Mr. Lissette said it will provide Utz Brands with a strong DSD presence with approximately 55 routes.
“Our acquisitions of H.K. Anderson, On the Border tortilla chips and dips, and Vintners will collectively enhance our geographic footprint, enable us to drive increased penetration of our power brands, and enhance our strength in key products of subcategories,” he said.