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.


Oriflame CEO Talks Potential Expansion into U.S., Brazil

Expansion into the United States and Brazil could come in the not-too-distant future for Oriflame, the Swedish cosmetics maker that currently counts Russia as its largest market.

The Swiss company’s CEO, Magnus Brannstrom, who will keynote the DSN Global 100 Celebration in April, told Reuters that Oriflame is looking to enter the two major markets within a few years. In 2014, Brazil was the fifth-largest market for direct sales, according to the latest data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The market accounted for 7 percent of global revenue, trailing only the U.S. and Asia-Pacific powerhouses China, Japan and Korea.

The focus on new markets comes as Oriflame seeks to recover from turmoil in Russia and Ukraine, another key market. Brannstrom said he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2016, after the company’s mid-February report that local currency sales in the first quarter were up 9 percent from a year earlier. Management last month released fourth-quarter profits that beat expectations and discussed bringing back a dividend in the fourth quarter, after cutting the payout for the past two years.

As the company eyes the U.S. and Brazil, emerging markets will continue to drive growth in the long term, with China or India likely surpassing Russia as Oriflame’s biggest market, said Brannstrom. Turkey and Mexico also are top markets for the company, which sells its beauty products through more than 3 million Consultants worldwide.

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.

LifeVantage Slated to Enter Europe in Early 2016

LifeVantage is setting its sights on the European Union, with plans to open its first markets in the region early next year. Initially, the company will offer its wellness, skincare and pet care products in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, LifeVantage said Wednesday.

“The United Kingdom represents one of the fastest growing markets within direct selling, and their distributors are product-oriented business builders who leverage technology to drive their organizations,” CEO Darren Jensen said in a statement. “The Netherlands represents nearly $150 million in retail sales with more than 48,000 distributors in the country.”

As a whole, the EU accounted for nearly $33 billion in retail sales last year, according to industry research by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). LifeVantage plans to leverage its business in the U.K. and the Netherlands as a gateway to additional EU countries, with the Netherlands serving as its logistics hub in the region. The company will begin holding business meetings in the two markets in February 2016.

Utah-based LifeVantage currently operates across North America and Mexico, as well as select markets in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. The company generated revenue of $208 million in 2014, placing it at No. 67 on this year’s DSN Global 100 ranking.

Amway Opens $13 Million Botanical Research Center in China

Photo: The Amway Botanical Research Center in Wuxi, China.

To facilitate the study of plants integral to Amway’s best-selling Nutrilite supplement line, the company has opened the Amway Botanical Research Center in Wuxi, China.

The $13 million site, which Amway developed over the past two years, comprises a laboratory and large greenhouse built on 84 acres of farmland. In a statement, the Michigan-based company said it will use the site to research soil nutrients, plant physiology, extract quality standards and processes.

Chinese herbal medicines, which use plants and botanicals to promote optimal health and natural balance, were a source of inspiration for Carl Rehnborg, the creator of Amway’s Nutrilite brand of vitamins and dietary supplements.

“The new ABRC is our effort to research and understand botanicals to a greater extent—using the most advanced technology and scientific practices—and integrate the findings into our products,” George Calvert, Chief Supply Chain and R&D Officer, said in a statement.

Amway has acquired 6,400 acres of certified-organic farmland across Brazil, Mexico and the U.S., in addition to its newest site in China. The company spent three years inspecting various sites before selecting the Wuxi location on account of its optimal growing conditions.

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.

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.

Hy Cite: The Recipe for Growth

by Barbara Seale

Click here to order the February 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Company Profile

  • Founded: 1959
  • Headquarters: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Executive: Chairman and CEO Erik Johnson
  • Products: Cookware, air and water filtration systems, juice extractors, dinnerware, cutlery

Family-owned direct seller Hy Cite Corp. is a master chef when it comes to cooking up growth. They do it by actively and enthusiastically embracing a community that many direct selling companies seek to engage: the Latino community.

Peter O. Johnson, Founder

Peter O. Johnson, Founder

Erik Johnson, Chairman & CEO

Erik Johnson, Chairman & CEO

Hy Cite’s engagement constitutes far more than simply speaking Spanish. Some 90 percent of its market and distributors are Hispanic. This demographic grew from three Hispanic distributors—two on one coast and one on the other—who were extremely successful in the early 1990s. Their legacy plus the commitment of Hy Cite managers to listen closely to the needs of distributors and consumers has resulted in a company that has grown by more than 15 percent average annual growth since the year 2000. In fact, except for the two toughest years in that economic period, growth has been closer to 20 percent.

Hy Cite was founded in 1959 as the Hope Chest Club (HCC) by Dave Johnson, but it was Peter O. Johnson, an unrelated college student, who carried the company into the future. Peter paid his college expenses by selling the company’s products to young women who collected its cookware, china and flatware as they anticipated their marriages. After college Peter worked for another cookware company for a short time to learn more about the cookware business. He was a fast learner, and he rejoined HCC as a partner in 1961. Dave eventually left the business, but Peter carried on. He grew the business and evolved it as the country’s culture changed and the “hope chest” market shrank. He expanded the original vision, and with that expansion came a name change.

Some 90 percent of Hy Cite’s market and distributors are Hispanic.

“As folklore has it, we realized we needed a different name, but we had a lot of letterhead that said HCC,” explains Hy Cite’s Chairman and CEO Erik Johnson, Peter’s son. “Things were tight right then, but the top managers had ‘high sights’ for the future. So they had a meeting and came up with a name that would let them maintain the corporate brand: HCC—Hy Cite Corporation.”

Erik wasn’t in that meeting in 1974. He hadn’t even had his first of many part-time jobs at the company: working in the warehouse during the summer at age 12. Throughout high school and college he continued to work in most departments, but, like his father, he went to work at another company after college. He spent five years at Procter & Gamble. Then he returned to his family business in 1995 as a project manager focused on improving its business systems. When Peter retired in 2000 Erik was named Chairman and CEO. He and his brother Peter, Hy Cite’s President and COO, continue to run the company.

Andrea Legarreta, a well-known TV personality in the Hispanic market, is the Brand Ambassador for the Royal Prestige® line of cookware.Andrea Legarreta, a well-known TV personality in the Hispanic market, is the Brand Ambassador for the Royal Prestige® line of cookware. Founded in 1959, Hy Cite has expanded into 20 countries over the last two decades.Founded in 1959, Hy Cite has expanded into 20 countries over the last two decades.

Erik says that much of the company’s success is product-based. It has three brands of cookware—Royal Prestige, its first and biggest brand of top-quality products, especially in the Hispanic market; NutraEase, a high-quality stainless steel line sold at in-home dinner parties; and its latest, Kitchen Charm, which was introduced in early 2014 and is focused on the bridal market. Each includes supporting products, such as water filtration units, juice extractors and air purifiers, but the core product in each line is cookware. Both distributors and consumers know the company by its cookware brands, rather than by the corporate name. Distributors focus on … Click here to read the entire at Direct Selling News.


Executive Connection with Erik Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Hy Cite

Strategic Synergy: Creating Qivana’s Sustainable Future

by Beth Douglass Silcox

Company Profile

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Provo, Utah
  • Founders: Derek Hall, Founder and CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder and Chief Financial Officer; Justin Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer; Craig Johanson, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer
  • Products: Skincare and health and wellness


In the decade after the millennium, the exploding market for an ever-healthier beverage sent network marketing companies clamoring for exotic, antioxidant rich fruits, most often found in remote island paradises. The most successful companies—marketing a large variety of antioxidant packed juices, health and wellness, and beauty products—invested millions in researchers trudging through remote jungles, in controlled labs, and in scientists who became jacks-of-all-trades and in-house product formulation teams.

It was within this space that a group of men, those who would eventually form Qivana, decided that they would not be in the product development business at all.

It seemed unlikely to this group of network marketing professionals that breakthrough products would emerge from an in-house team focused on a variety of formulations. So they opted for different path—one that has led Qivana to market four cutting-edge product lines, currently consisting of 21 products within the direct selling spaces of health and nutrition, as well as beauty and anti-aging.

Qivana owners (L to R): Justin Banner, Founder & CSO; Craig Johanson, Founder & CMO; Derek Hall, Founder & CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder & CFO

Qivana owners (L to R): Justin Banner, Founder & CSO; Craig Johanson, Founder & CMO; Derek Hall, Founder & CEO; Devin Glazier, Founder & CFO


Everyone Doing What They Do Best

Qivana’s product strategy focused on partnerships with published scientists and university researchers with 10, 20, maybe 30 years invested in health and wellness solutions. They reckoned that true breakthrough products were born in these labs and saw no need to put their own scientific “fingerprints” on any product. “Let the scientists and the universities and the researchers do what they do best, which is develop, formulate and research. Then allow us to do what we do best,” says Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Craig Johanson.Qivana products

Qivana would bring products into the direct selling channel, giving these scientists, researchers and formulators an effective avenue to reach consumers with their breakthrough products. Then, Johanson says, the company would “turn that product over to our field. Then we let them do what they do so well, which is put that product in front of people and share that message.”

Derek Hall, Devin Glazier, Justin Banner and Johanson sat around that planning table in 2008. Hall, once president and CEO for another nutritional company, found synergy with a former director of finance, Glazier, as well as other industry alums Banner and Johanson. Strategy and development was Banner’s forte, while marketing was Johanson’s focus.

By 2009 they had launched a new company they called Qivana.

Built to Last

“We have a really strong corporate team, made up of great leaders in the industry and some of the best athletes in the world,” says Banner, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “We brought on a top-notch scientist as our Chief Science Officer [Dr. Donald Layman] and brought product lines that we believe are some of the best in the world in their categories. We are confident in our products and our team, and we believe it’s a winning combination that plays out perfectly.”

But, perhaps, Qivana’s founders drafted their own success story when they methodically planned for long-term sustainability. Qivana’s focus is not on next month or next year, but rather decision-making to build a … Click here to read the full story at Direct Selling News.