Youngevity to Pursue Stock Uplisting in Strategic Growth Push

Photo: Youngevity distributors on board a company incentive cruise.

Youngevity International (YGYI—OTCQX) is pursuing a strategic growth plan that includes a capital raise and possible uplisting of the company’s stock.

In Youngevity’s first-quarter earnings call, management announced its intent to secure a listing on either the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ, a move aimed at increasing visibility and driving liquidity for the California-based company. Youngevity is a direct seller of nutrition and lifestyle products, and a vertically-integrated producer of gourmet coffees sold through commercial, retail and direct sales channels.

During the call, President and CFO Dave Briskie told analysts, “Based on the current sales trajectory of our direct selling division, our acquisition pipeline, the evident sales growth occurring in our global markets—especially in Mexico and Canada—and the coffee contracts currently in hand for the back half of this year, we anticipate revenue guidance of $175 million to $190 million for 2016.”

In the first quarter of 2016, Youngevity logged revenue of $38.2 million, up 3.8 percent from $36.8 million a year earlier. The company cleared a profit of $151,000, in the black following its year-ago loss of $369,000. Management also reported increases in gross profit, up 15 percent to $23.4 million, and operating income, up 211 percent to $1.2 million.

In the CLR Roasters coffee segment, Youngevity reported deals with three new major distribution partners for its Cafe La Rica and Josie’s Java House brands. Monthly green coffee orders climbed as high as 18.5 million pounds in February, and in May Youngevity announced that its Siles Family Plantation Group in Nicaragua was recertified as Fair Trade Organic for 2016, as well as Rainforest and Bird Friendly.

Management believes the coffee model, with its potential for retail expansion, a growing family of direct selling brands, and extensive infrastructure improvements underway at the company, make Youngevity an attractive proposition for investors. “Our [strategic growth] plan is ambitious; however, with strong product sales, over 1000 products available, organic growth and the stepped up activities of our distributors, we believe we are well positioned for the future,” said Briskie.


Wellness Brand Immunotec Launches New Skincare Collection

Immunotec is expanding its product portfolio with Elasense skincare, unveiled this month at the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

The new collection launched with five products, all containing Immunotec’s exclusive SynerG4 antioxidant complex, made up of the antioxidant glutathione and extracts of green tea, acai berry and cactus. Elasense offers a complete skincare regimen consisting of three Daily Basics and two anti-aging formulations. Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec collaborated with a prominent dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Prussick, MD, FRCP(C), to develop the line.

“Our company has a rich history of research, science and natural products—this is true for our nutritional supplements, and is now true for our skincare line,” Immunotec’s Vice President of Research and Development, John Molson, said in a statement. “With the incorporation of glutathione in our Elasense skincare collection, Immunotec proudly offers products addressing both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of health, aging and beauty.”

Apart from the new skincare collection, Immunotec sells a range of wellness products targeting health, weight management, energy and physical performance. The company’s flagship product is Immunocal, a patented natural protein clinically demonstrated to help maintain the immune system. Currently, Immunocal products are sold in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Dominican Republic, the U.K. and Ireland.

Growing US Business Drives Record Q4 at Immunotec

Record fourth-quarter revenue crowned a year of healthy growth at Immunotec, the nutrition company said in its annual earnings report.

Quebec, Canada-based Immunotec closed out the fourth quarter with revenue of CAN$24.8 million (US$17.8 million), up 6.4 percent from a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA rose 8.4 percent to US$1.5 million, with net profit totaling US$1.2 million.

“We ended fiscal 2015 with the strongest quarter in company history in terms of revenues, adjusted EBITDA and net profit,” CEO Charles L. Orr said in a statement. “This year was marked by solid progress in the U.S. market, as we continue to expand our capabilities in the United States.”

A strengthening U.S. dollar combined with a growing salesforce in the market helped Immunotec achieve annual revenue of US$60.8 million, a 4.9 percent increase from 2014. For the 12 months ended Oct. 31, 2015, adjusted EBITDA came to US$4.4 million. The company’s bottom line was US$2.9 million, compared to a loss of US$1.9 million a year ago. On a per share basis, earnings for the year were 4 cents.

Management reported a growing number of independent consultants and customers across the U.S. and Canada, where numbers were up 36.7 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. In Mexico, where the company instituted a 16 percent value-added tax in October 2014, sponsoring fell 13.2 percent in 2015.

Swedish Brand Zinzino Expands into Canada

After crossing the pond to enter the U.S. in 2014, Swedish health firm Zinzino AB is opening for business in Canada.

In North America, the company markets omega-3 nutrition products, including a best-selling Balance Test that measures the body’s fatty acid profile. In markets across northern Europe, Zinzino also offers ethically produced coffee, along with coffee makers and accessories. The company has established operations in 13 markets since its founding in 2005.

“We have a high geographical expansion rate, which is in line with our expansion strategy,” Zinzino CEO Dag Bergheim Pettersen said in a statement. “We have developed a model that allows us to quickly get started in the markets that we decide to enter.”

Last year the company streamlined its operations with the acquisition of Zinzino Pharma AS and BioActive Foods AS. The transactions brought the entire chain of production under the Zinzino umbrella. The company then closed out the year with the announcement of its listing on the Nasdaq First North exchange.

Nerium Achieves Sales of $1B in Less Than Four Years

Nerium International today announced it has surpassed $1 billion in cumulative revenue in under four years of business. According to Direct Selling News research, the anti-aging company is one of the industry’s fastest ever to reach the billion-dollar milestone.

The announcement comes on the heels of Nerium’s ranking as the No. 1 consumer products and services company and the No. 12 company overall on this year’s Inc. 500, a list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

“When we started this company almost four years ago, we knew we had something very special,” Jeff Olson, Nerium Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “That we’ve sold over $1 billion of product in four short years is a testament to the incredible products and opportunities Nerium has to offer. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished—we’ve changed thousands of lives for the better.”

Dallas-based Nerium launched in August 2011 with just one product in its portfolio. After topping sales of $100 million in its first year, the company began expanding its line of anti-aging products and opening international markets. Nerium now operates in Canada, Mexico and South Korea; however, 95 percent of total sales have come from the U.S.

“Nerium has been on the fast-track for growth since its launch,” said Direct Selling News Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Lauren Lawley Head. “The company is one of the youngest ever to break into the Top 40 of the DSNGlobal 100 list of the world’s largest direct selling companies, was among the fastest-growing of the Global 100 companies last year, with a net sales increase of 84 percent, and was one of only 16 companies to grow by $100 million or more.”

View the full release from Nerium.

Q&A: Younique Opens for Business in Germany

Younique, the fast-growing beauty brand known for its virtual parties, is opening this month in Germany, its second European market. Outside the U.S., the company also operates in the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Founded in September 2012, Younique identifies as a mission-first beauty company dedicated to uplifting, empowering and validating women through its products and business opportunity. The Utah-based brand currently has more than 265,000 Presenters marketing its wares via social media. Younique’s Director of International Market Development, Jordan Meyer, spoke to DSN about bringing the virtual business to a new market.

DSN: What does launching a new market on social media look like? How do you get the momentum going?

JM: We have an army of women who are on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. When we launch a new market, they’ve all got their various strategies, and they don’t let the barrier of a new country stop them from their business activities. Social media platforms are really conducive to cross-border growth.

DSN: What makes Germany a good fit for Younique?

JM: When we select markets, we choose places where our Presenters can be successful, where consumers in those markets use the same social media platforms our current Presenters use. We look at a variety of metrics, such as social media footprint, makeup market size, direct selling makeup market size, and especially how much e-commerce happens in the country. We also look for markets where our current presenters have relationships and business ties.

DSN: When it comes to international expansions, what is the most significant challenge you’ve encountered so far?

JM: International expansion is just hard. It’s hard when you’re talking about new languages, and as a company this year we’re entering Mexico and Germany. The whole organization has to adapt when we’re using a new language, and because we don’t know the language we feel like we lose some control. To sum it up in one word, localization is a big challenge.

DSN: Younique is in a pre-launch phase in Mexico, where you’ll officially open in October. Are there any other expansions on the horizon?

JM: Yes! At our recent convention, we announced that we will be opening in France next year. We’re looking at the first half of 2016.

Nerium Sets Sights on Asia Pacific with Upcoming Expansion

Nerium International is targeting an up-and-coming anti-aging market for its next international expansion. The fast-growing skincare company has announced plans to launch its business in South Korea this June.

The 4-year-old brand first ventured beyond the U.S. last year with expansions into Canada and Mexico. In the same year, revenue increased 80 percent to $403 million, making Nerium the No. 40 direct selling company in the world and the No. 21 company in North America.

With its South Korea launch Nerium will introduce a patented new ingredient into its Optimera skincare line, which consists of just three anti-aging products.

“While every international expansion is significant, this launch is especially unique as we are introducing Optimera with the new SIG-1273 ingredient, offering advanced scientifically based products to our South Korean customers,” Nerium Founder and CEO Jeff Olson said of the company’s revamped formula. The patented SIG-1273 molecule, an antioxidant that mimics the skin’s natural age-fighting mechanism, is the product of 20 years of research by Princeton University biochemist Dr. Jeffry Stock.

Nerium President Roy Truett said that a receptive culture and high demand for anti-aging products influenced the company’s decision to enter South Korea. According to a recent report by Transparency Market Research, the global anti-aging market is poised to grow at a compound annual rate of 7.8 percent through 2019. The report indicates that South Korea and a handful of other markets in the Asia Pacific region will soon lead the world in sales of anti-aging products and devices.

Industry veteran BJ Choi will head up Nerium’s key new market as Country Manager of South Korea. Choi has accumulated more than 20 years of experience with various direct selling companies in the region.

Origami Owl Takes First Step into International Markets

Origami Owl is bringing its popular jewelry to the Canadian market with its first international expansion, the Phoenix-area company announced on Tuesday.

As a result of the expansion, Origami Owl’s 60,000+ U.S. distributors, called Independent Designers, will be able to sell the brand’s customizable jewelry to Canadian consumers, and vice versa. Origami Owl has brought on Marcia Cota, National Sales Director for Canada, to head up its new market.

“Like our Designers here in the U.S., our Canadian teams are sophisticated and hard-working. I have no doubt that with the combination of Origami Owl’s mission and this new opportunity, lives will be changed for the better,” Founder & Co-President Chrissy Weems said in the company’s release. “This is simply the next step in fulfilling our mission of being a global force for good.”

Founded in 2010 by then 14-year-old Bella Weems, Origami Owl adopted a direct selling model two years later. The brand debuted at No. 50 on the 2014 DSN Global 100, an annual ranking of the industry’s top revenue-generating companies. Origami Owl also earned DSN’s Bravo Growth Award for industry-leading growth of 870 percent in 2013.

Youngevity Closes out 2014 with Record Revenue

Photo: Youngevity distributors kick off the year with an incentive cruise.

Youngevity International (OTCQX: YGYI) continued its double-digit growth streak in 2014 by more than doubling revenue, the company reported this week. The San Diego-area firm is setting its sights on international markets as it continues to expand its portfolio of nutrition and lifestyle products.

Youngevity reported 2014 revenue of $134.0 million, a 56.5 percent increase versus 2013. Revenue derived from acquisitions was $14.5 million. Net income increased to $5.4 million, up from $2.7 million in the prior year, largely due to a $4.7 million tax benefit from adjustments to deferred taxes.

“If I had to put a label on 2014, I would call it the year of refinement because we successfully refined nearly every key component of the company,” President Bill Andreoli told investors during the company’s earnings call. Throughout the year, Youngevity made improvements to its product warehousing and logistics system, website and online shopping experience, field training and recognition systems, and both its acquisition and organic growth strategies.

The company’s ongoing acquisition strategy has positioned it across the Health and Wellness, Beauty and Care, Food and Beverage, and Home and Family categories. This year Youngevity added energy services, including renewable energy options, through a partnership with Energy Professionals. In addition to its direct sales segment, Youngevity operates CLR Roasters, a vertically integrated gourmet coffee business.

Youngevity’s direct selling revenue grew 51 percent for the year, totaling $161.3 million, while the commercial coffee business grew 101 percent to $17.7 million. At year-end, total assets were $55.7 million, compared to $34.9 million at the close of 2013.

The company’s leadership says that in 2015 and beyond it will focus on establishing the brand across international markets, which accounted for just 8 percent of 2014 sales. Youngevity reports significant growth in Canada, its largest international market, as well as Australia and New Zealand, where it recently obtained a facility three times the size of the existing one to support demand in the region.

Recent expansions include Russia, where Youngevity has opened a Moscow office, and Singapore, where it hopes to build distribution within the Asian marketplace. Youngevity is also building a presence in Mexico with an eye toward additional Latin American countries.

Thirty-One Hits the Gas on Two-Year Expansion into Canada

Following its February 2015 expansion into Alberta, Canada, Thirty-One Gifts has announced plans to launch its business in seven additional Canadian provinces next month.

Columbus, Ohio-based Thirty-One has operated in Canada since 2012, when the company launched in Ontario. The forthcoming expansion, scheduled for April 7, will bring Thirty-One’s line of totes and accessories—including its recently acquired Jewell and JK by Thirty-One brands—to customers in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

“We’re expanding further into Canada thanks to the amazing growth and success we’ve experienced so far in Ontario and Alberta,” Thirty-One Founder, President and CEO Cindy Monroe said in a statement. The company has signed on 3,050 independent consultants in the country, currently its only market outside the U.S., where Thirty-One operates through a network of 99,509 consultants.

In its statement, the company said it has taken a “cautious” approach to expansion, initially setting up shop in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, to gauge interest in the products and business opportunity. Thirty-One is looking to draw from its existing leadership and relationships in the country as it moves into nine of Canada’s 10 provinces.