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   Non-TechLifeway Foods, Inc. (LWAY)


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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (311)2/29/2016 1:13:10 PM
From: richardred
   of 331
 
I bought back into LWAY today. I saw them stock Pro-Bugs into the local Walmart for the first time. I also see Hain Celestial Group is also selling Kefir .

Danone profit rallies on low milk costs, fresh dairy turnaround
By Carolyn Heneghan | February 23, 2016 print


Dive Brief:
  • Danone reported a fourth quarter sales bump of 2.2% to 5.38 billion euros ($5.98 billion) Tuesday, despite the impact of currency fluctuations.
  • That sales boost combined with reduced costs increased 2015 profits to 1.28 billion euros (~$1.41 billion), up from 1.12 billion euros.
  • Fresh dairy sales, which make up half of the company's revenue, saw a 0.6% uptick for the year, and the segment's profitability jumped to 10% from 9.3%. Quarterly revenue increased by 2.6% on a comparable basis, signaling a turnaround for the segment.
Dive Insight: Like the rest of its competitors, particularly in Europe, Danone is bracing itself for continued global market volatility. Last week, Nestle reported a six-year low for its rate of annual sales increase in 2015 as the company struggled to raise prices. Unilever, which saw 1.5% sales growth in its food business for 2015, also said it expects a tougher market going into this year. Back in the U.S., companies are struggling with the strength of the dollar, and those revenue hits aren't slowing.

As Dean Foods reported with its recent earnings, lower milk costs are a boon to dairy manufacturers. Since milk prices are falling in Europe in addition to the U.S., Danone was a beneficiary of that market trend. Danone anticipates these costs to remain low, judging by its prediction for "solid" margin growth in the coming year, the company said in a statement.

Margin growth will also receive a boost from the continued improvement in fresh dairy that Danone forecasted for 2016. Overhauling that unit was central to Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber's plan to return the company to growth when he took over the company in October 2014. The overhaul has included facility reorganization, with the company closing several plants in Europe, including Italy, Germany, and Hungary.

After stepping down from CEO to usher in Faber in 2014, chairman Franck Riboud had assumed extra duties during the transition period that followed. But the company said it will relieve him of his expanded strategic role during 2017 so he can serve as a traditional non-executive chairman.

fooddive.com

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To: richardred who wrote (312)2/29/2016 9:15:25 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 331
 
A good entry point. I think that the 50% correction is a bit excessive.

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From: Glenn Petersen3/18/2016 6:42:48 PM
   of 331
 
Fourth quarter and year end results (press release): finance.yahoo.com

Form 10-K: sec.gov

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From: Glenn Petersen5/23/2016 5:13:57 PM
   of 331
 
Friday Afternoon Links

Mark J. Perry

American Enterprise Institute
May 20, 2016 6:19 pm



1. Chart of the Day (above). The retail price for a gallon of whole milk fell to $3.15 in April, which is the lowest inflation-adjusted price (in 2016 dollars) in more than 20 years, going back to at least July 1995 when the BLS started tracking monthly milk prices (see chart above). That’s great news for consumers, who are also starting to benefit from falling cheese prices as well. The drop in retail milk prices to historically low levels, like low oil prices, reflects — what else? — a record supply of milk, see a Bloomberg news report here and an NPR report here. In addition to falling milk and cheese prices, you can also expect lower prices for beef, pork, eggs, airfares, gas, and weed, according to Money’s list of “ 10 Things That Will Be Cheaper During the Summer of 2016.”

<snip>

aei.org

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (315)5/24/2016 11:28:10 AM
From: Ahda
   of 331
 
I guess multiple births (triplets quints etc.) here in the US are not enough to offset the lack of births in mature nations of Europe.

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From: Glenn Petersen8/22/2016 4:22:53 PM
   of 331
 
The second quarter press release: finance.yahoo.com

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From: Glenn Petersen4/17/2017 3:54:47 PM
   of 331
 
LWAY's fourth quarter press release: globenewswire.com

Form 10-K: sec.gov

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From: Glenn Petersen8/29/2017 10:28:20 AM
   of 331
 
Second quarter results: finance.yahoo.com

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To: richardred who wrote (275)1/20/2018 6:23:28 PM
From: richardred
   of 331
 
I've been looking a lot at LWAY lately FWIW because of the low price. . Lifeway seems stalled. Maybe Dannon take some steps up with Keifer to mainstream it?


Generation NEXT Franchise Brands Announces Strategic Partnership With Leading Frozen Yogurt Producer Dannon YoCream For Reis & Irvy’s Frozen Yogurt Robots Jan 15, 2018 Source: Generation NEXT Franchise

The global leader in frozen yogurt production will supply premium frozen yogurt to the revolutionary Froyo Robots, Generation NEXT’s flagship franchise concept


San Diego, California, Jan. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. (OTCB: VEND) has announced today that they have entered into a partnership agreement with global leading frozen yogurt maker Dannon YoCream™, in which Dannon will provide a premium frozen yogurt consumable to Generation NEXT’s franchise concept, Reis & Irvy’s®. The fully-automated robotic vending machines will operate in a variety of high-traffic locations across North America, serving customers seven different flavors of frozen yogurt, a selection of six custom toppings, all at the point of sale and within 60 seconds. Reis & Irvy’s plans to have approximately 500 locations operating through pre-sold franchise agreements in the first half of 2018. Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, who recently announced strategic partnerships with both global manufacturer, Flex, Ltd., and worldwide logistics leader, Pitney Bowes, now adds Dannon YoCream to the growing development team, ensuring that its revolutionary Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robots not only deliver premium performance, but premium product as well.

Through the agreement:

    Dannon YoCream will be a primary supplier of all frozen dessert available within the Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robots including a wide assortment of frozen yogurts, sorbets and gelatos. The current Reis & Irvy’s franchise network, which includes more than 200 operators both nationally and internationally, will have access to Dannon Cream’s extensive distribution channels. Dannon YoCream frozen yogurts are carefully crafted with real yogurt to contain live and active yogurt cultures, allowing for a higher quality finished product, and bearing the Live and Active Culture Seal from the National Yogurt Association. All Dannon YoCream products are OU-D Kosher certified – the word’s most recognized and most trusted Kosher symbol.
“Dannon has decades of experience, premium quality and an assortment of consumables that allow us to offer a diverse range of products to our Reis & Irvy’s customers,” said Nick Yates, Chairman of Generation Next Franchise Brands. “For over 40 years Dannon has been at the forefront of innovation and on-trend flavor profiles crafted to create memorable customer experiences which is exactly what our robots plan on achieving. We are thrilled to partner with Dannon.”

Dannon YoCream is equally thrilled to be part of the next revolution of the frozen yogurt industry; frozen yogurt from a vending robot.

“Our goal in frozen yogurt is to create a better-for-you indulgence alternative, as part of our mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible,” said Nicolas De Valencia, Senior National Sales Director, Dannon & YoCream Frozen Yogurt, a part of DanoneWave. “With this collaboration, we are excited to spur continued growth and development of the frozen yogurt market by making froyo even more available and engaging.”


For more information on the revolutionary Froyo Robots or to learn more about how you can own your own Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robot franchise, visit the Reis & Irvy’s website at www.reisandirvys.com. To learn more about Generation NEXT Franchise Brands or their family of brands, including Reis & Irvy’s, please visit www.gennextbrands.com or call toll free 888-902-7558.

This information is not intended as an offer to sell, or the solicitation of an offer to buy, a franchise. It is for information purposes only. No Reis & Irvy's franchises will be sold to any resident of any state until the offering has been exempted from the requirements of, or duly registered in and declared effective by, such state and the required FDD (if any) has been delivered to the prospective franchisee before the sale in compliance with applicable law. Currently, the following states in the United States regulate the offer and sale of franchises: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. If you reside in one of these states, or even if you reside elsewhere, you may have certain rights under applicable franchise laws or regulations.

About Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc.

Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc., based in San Diego, California, is a publicly traded company on the OTC Markets trading under the symbol: VEND. Generation NEXT Franchise Brands is parent company to Fresh Healthy Vending LLC, the market’s leading healthy-choice vending machine franchise, Reis and Irvy's, Inc., the world’s first robotic frozen yogurt vending kiosk, 19 Degrees, a corporate-focused frozen yogurt robot brand and Generation NEXT Vending Robots, our newly established owner/operator model. The Company has sold over 600 franchises throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, and continually looks to partner with like-minded entrepreneurs who share its vision.

About Reis & Irvy’s, Inc.

Reis & Irvy’s, Inc., is a subsidiary franchise concept of Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. (OTCB: VEND). Launched in early 2016, the revolutionary Reis & Irvy’s Froyo Robot vending machine serves seven different flavors of frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbets and gelato’s, a choice of up to six custom toppings and to customers within 60 seconds or less at the point of sale. The unique franchise opportunity has since established itself as a high-demand product and currently showcases a franchise network both domestically as well as internationally.

vendingmarketwatch.com

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To: richardred who wrote (320)12/28/2018 12:19:42 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 331
 
Lifeway seems stalled.

Worse than stalled.

What's going on at Lifeway Foods?

Even as the kefir company's sales have flatlined and earnings disappeared, Smolyansky family members are taking home salaries in the millions.

Brigid Sweeney
Crain's Chicago Business
August 24, 2018



Getty Images
_______________________-

Lifeway Foods makes kefir, a fermented dairy drink.

Julie Smolyansky is proud of what she's accomplished as a young female CEO of a publicly traded company: Since taking over her family's kefir company, Lifeway Foods, in 2002, it has grown from a $12 million business to a nearly $120 million one. Investors, however, are no longer impressed.

Even as Americans pay increasing attention to the importance of a healthy gut microbiome—something that the probiotic strains in kefir, a tart, tangy cultured milk smoothie, have been shown to promote—Lifeway's sales have flatlined for four years. More troubling, to some at least, are the salaries Smolyansky family members take home. Julie, her mother, Ludmila, and brother, Edward, received $6.3 million combined in compensation last year, even as Lifeway posted a loss.

"This company is being run like a personal piggy bank," says Paul McConnell, co-founder of Board Advisory, an Orlando, Fla.-based executive compensation consulting firm.

Lifeway's annual revenue has hovered around the $120 million mark since 2014; last year, sales dipped 4 percent to $118.9 million. Earnings, meanwhile, have evaporated. Lifeway swung to a $346,000 loss in 2017 from a $3.5 million profit the year before. And the company's stock has plummeted to around $3.70, the lowest it's been since 1997.

Smolyansky, a voluble advocate on social issues ranging from women's and immigrants' rights to mental health, says McConnell's conclusions "are demonstrably false." She also rails against what she considers the stock market's myopic obsession with short-term results and says the company is still positioned for long-term growth.

"Our product is a 2,000-year-old product that was considered a gift from the gods and is still very much in its infancy" in American market penetration, Smolyansky says of the fermented dairy drink her Ukrainian immigrant parents introduced to the United States in 1986.

At the same time, she acknowledges the kefir category is being rocked by several headwinds: first, the disruption in the traditional grocery sector as people shift to online ordering, which upends the store-based marketing strategies on which Lifeway and other food companies have long relied; second, what she calls an anti-dairy movement based on the notion that milk, cheese and other products can increase inflammation; and third, the proliferation of probiotic supplements that are elbowing into kefir's healthy-gut territory.

As an example, she points to the fact that Lifeway used to sell part of its children's ProBugs line at now-bankrupt Toys R Us. "When stores have a hard time, there are fewer points of distribution for me."

Smolyansky, who vehemently disagrees with the idea that dairy causes inflammation (a point backed up by randomized, controlled scientific studies), can't overcome Americans' interest in vegan and dairy-free diets. "At the macro level, dairy is seeing a dip and is expected to continue seeing that dip in the future," says Thomas Davenport, a director at Sikich Investment Banking in Chicago, who specializes in manufacturing and distribution.

MOVING INTO DAIRY-FREE

And so Morton Grove-based Lifeway will soon launch a pea-milk drink called Plantiful; flavors will include vanilla chai and others Smolyansky says taste markedly better than many of the "barely drinkable" milk alternatives on the market. Her retail customers are so eager for more palatable nondairy options, she says, that they placed orders without tasting it.

Beyond the foray into dairy-free beverages, Smolyansky gives other reasons she believes her company has plenty of runway: It just gained entry into 2,200 Rite Aid stores, as well as 108 Sam's Clubs.

More important, she says, Lifeway's stagnation isn't due to cresting interest in kefir but to the company's tapped-out production facilities in Morton Grove and Philadelphia. An additional facility in Waukesha, Wis., will solve that and allow Lifeway to fulfill its new customers' orders. "We only recently turned on the machines in Wisconsin," she says. "Now I have the capacity to go to $500 million (in sales). I 100 percent promise we will get there. It's just a matter of when."



Julie Smolyansky
_______________________---

But why has Lifeway, which acquired the former Golden Guernsey dairy plant in Waukesha in May 2013 and began producing kefir there in August 2015, taken so long to get the new facility up to speed—especially as production at the other locations stalled? "Turning on a machine does not equal fully operating," Smolyansky says. "The product that was coming out was garbage. It's taken at least a year to produce better product."

Smolyansky, 43, was a baby when her parents emigrated from the Soviet Union; they landed in a roach-filled Rogers Park apartment with $116, per family lore. Ludmila Smolyansky taught herself English by watching "General Hospital" and opened a Russian deli that evolved into a national importer and distributor of Eastern European foods. She encouraged her husband to produce and sell the kefir he missed from home.

Ludmila Smolyansky's presence remains strong at Lifeway. At 68, she is the company's nonexecutive chairman and a consultant focusing on international expansion. For that work, as well as for lending her likeness to Lifeway packaging, she earned $1.6 million in 2017. Her daughter and her son, Edward, Lifeway's chief operating officer, each received almost $2.4 million, including base salaries of $1 million and $575,000 apiece in stock awards. That brings the family's total comp to $6.3 million.

Julie Smolyansky says her mother is being appropriately compensated for a lifetime of intellectual property contributions and hard work. Corporate governance experts disagree.

COMPARING COMP

McConnell, the compensation expert, compared Lifeway's executive pay to that of 15 food companies with median sales of $136 million. The median total compensation for these CEOs, including a median salary of $433,000 and long-term awards, was $845,000, or roughly a third of Julie Smolyansky's latest compensation. Given that the family already owns more than 50 percent of Lifeway's stock, the additional stock awards are "absurd," McConnell says. Lifeway's pay structure is particularly egregious, he says, given its recent performance and current market cap of just $60 million. "This is the kind of pay practice that gives executive compensation a black eye," he says.

Smolyansky pushes back, saying the peer companies and data McConnell invokes are "badly skewed" and include three companies that have revenues of $30 million or less—far under Lifeway's numbers. Furthermore, she says, "regardless of a named executive's equity stake in a company, equity awards are a feature of virtually every publicly traded company."

Smolyansky says money is not her main objective, in any case. "It's not about money, it's about healing people," she says. "I could have sold this company a long time ago and ridden blissfully off into the sunset. I want to bring the bacteria and cultures to as many stomachs as I can because it literally changes people's lives."

chicagobusiness.com

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