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Amazon, Whole Foods merger will be good for Hain, exec says

Irwin Simon, chief executive of Hain Celestial Group,

Irwin Simon, chief executive of Hain Celestial Group, at the company's Lake Success headquarters. Credit: Uli Seit

Hain Celestial Group will benefit from Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, the Lake Success-based natural food company’s chief executive said this week.

Hain’s Arrowhead Mills brand was cited in the Whole Foods global newsletter as “one of the top food trends” for next year, and the retail grocery chain recently placed a “full 6-foot display of our flours and other Hain products” in its stores, CEO Irwin Simon said on a conference call with investors.

“I continue to believe there are a lot of positives from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, and we’re seeing the benefits already,” Simon said.

Hain’s international net sales rose by 4 percent year-over-year to $708.3 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, driven by “double-digit growth” from Earth’s Best, Spectrum, Alba Botanica, JASONs, Avalon Organics and Arrowhead Mills, among other brands, Simon said.

Hain’s net income grew year-over-year by 131 percent to $19.8 million, the company reported this week. Earnings per diluted share were 19 cents for the quarter, compared with 8 cents a year earlier.

The maker of organic foods announced in September it was adding six new directors to its board, under an agreement with activist hedge fund Engaged Capital LLC of Newport Beach, California.

The addition temporarily increases the board to 14 directors. The agreement specifies that three incumbents will not stand for reelection at the annual meeting, scheduled for Nov. 16, trimming the board to 11 directors.

The new directors include Engaged Capital founder Glenn Welling. In June the hedge fund disclosed a 9.9 percent stake in Hain and said it would seek changes at the company, including the sale of its units or the company as a whole.

Hain’s shares rose $1.27, or 3.7 percent, to close at $35.68 on Friday. They are up about 3.8 percent in the past 12 months.

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