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Hain Celestial reports quarterly loss of $69.9 million

Hain Celestial's headquarters at 111 Marcus Ave. in

Hain Celestial's headquarters at 111 Marcus Ave. in Lake Success. Credit: Barry Sloan

Hain Celestial Group, an organic and natural products company, reported a net loss of $69.9 million for the quarter ended June 30 after reporting a profit in the same quarter a year earlier.

The Lake Success-based company attributed the quarterly loss to discontinued operations such as its Hain Pure Protein product line, an organic poultry business that the company plans to sell during the first half of next year. Contributing to the loss in Hain Pure Protein was a $78.5 million impairment charge.

Hain reported net income of $313,000 in the same quarter last year.

The company's loss in the second quarter from continuing operations, a measure that excludes Hain Pure Protein, was $4.6 million.

Net sales for the quarter, buoyed by growth in the firm's international markets, rose to $619.6 million, up from $602.9 million a year ago.

 "Our top priorities in fiscal year 2019 are to return our United States business to growth and to generate increased profitability," Irwin D. Simon, president and chief executive of Hain Celestial, said in a statement Tuesday. 

Hain announced in June that Simon, who founded the company 25 years ago, would be stepping down. During a conference call with analysts Tuesday morning, company executives said they were "highly pleased" with the quality of chief executive candidates they're considering, but Simon did not definitively say if Tuesday's conference call would be his last as CEO. 

After his replacement is hired, Simon will become nonexecutive chairman of the board, Hain said in June. The title refers to a chairman who is not an employee of the company.

Zain Akbari, an equity analyst at Morningstar in Chicago, said the company's quarterly earnings represent a host of longtime issues that have challenged the company. 

"The firm has struggled for quite some time,” Akbari said. While the natural, organic food products have been "very much on trend" in recent years, the company's growth through aqcuistions — combined with what he called management missteps and a more competitive industry — left the company less streamlined and integrated across its various product offerings, he said. 

The company is now refocusing on its best-sellling offerings. 

"The bigger issue is finding a new management team and getting a new leader in place," Akbari said. "I don’t think this is a turnaround that will happen overnight.”

For the full fiscal year, the company reported net sales of $2.5 billion, up from $2.3 billion last year. Net income for the year fell dramatically to $9.7 million from $67.4 million in 2017.

The company’s products, sold in more than 70 countries, include Celestial Seasonings Tea, Earth's Best baby food and Terra chips.

Shares of Hain closed at $26.77, down $1.84 Tuesday. A year ago the shares were trading at $40.61.

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