Utah’s Usana Health Sciences reports record results
Earnings • Supplements company says increase driven by personalized products.
Published: October 23, 2012 08:28PM
Updated: February 7, 2013 11:32PM
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Usana stock rises on strong earnings The value of Usana Health Science’s stock increased on Tuesday and has gained 29 percent over the past six months.

The Utah-based nutritional supplements company Usana Health Sciences Inc. on Tuesday reported record quarterly revenue and earnings.

Usana, one of the state’s largest publicly traded companies, said third quarter net revenue increased 15.1 percent, to $165.2 million, compared with $143.5 million in the same period last year, for its best quarter ever.

Net earnings increased to $17.5 million, a leap of 41.2 percent over the same quarter of 2011. Those results were related primarily to higher sales, lower incentive expenses for its independent distributors and a lower effective tax rate, the company said.

Earnings per share increased by 45.7 percent, to $1.18, compared with 81 cents in the third quarter of last year.

The results were announced after the close of the stock market. The company’s shares finished the regular trading day at $46.80, up 89 cents, or 1.9 percent, on the Nasdaq exchange. In after-hours trading it hit $49.

Kevin Guest, Usana president for the Americas and Europe, said the numbers were driven by the success of its personalized supplement packages, called MyHealthPak, and by the company’s rebranding effort this past summer.

“MyHealthPak has dramatically increased as a percentage of sales,” he said. “We’re seeing that as a differentiator in a market that is continually being more and more saturated by competitors.”

Dan Macuga, chief communications officer, said revenue also has been helped by improvements made to Usana’s health quiz, which is provided to potential and existing customers to more closely match their needs with Usana products.

“It’s kind of addressing the health concerns that ‘I’ want to focus on,” he said.

The company earlier this year had reported record earnings in the second quarter. On Tuesday, it updated its financial outlook for 2012, forecasting sales of $645 million, compared with its earlier estimate of $630 million to $640 million. Earnings per share were projected at $4.35 to $4.40, versus the previous $4.10 to $4.20.

In August, the company unveiled a branding initiative that emphasizes the personalization of Usana products, including a new logo and slogan.

Usana is a multilevel marketer, with more than two-thirds of its revenue coming from its independent distributors, who can earn commissions by recruiting others to join the company.

Usana’s shares have seen their ups and downs this year. On April 24, the stock closed at $36.72 after a prominent hedge fund manager questioned the multilevel marketing business model of another company and the shocks rippled across the industry . Shares closed at a six-month high of $49.25 on Sept. 24 and before Tuesday had declined slightly.

But the company also has seen 3.1 million of its shares involved in short sales (when investors bet a stock’s value will decline), or 52.6 percent of those available for public trading. Several prominent short sellers have raised questions about the company, including a Tweet on Twitter by Citron Research trying to link Usana to regulatory troubles in China.

The company says it is fully compliant with Chinese laws through its BabyCare subsidiary that it bought in 2010.

tharvey@sltrib.com

Twitter: @TomHarveySltrib