UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|(Mark One)|| |
|☑||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023.
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
|For the transition period from to .|
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(Commission File Number)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)|
1170 Peachtree Street, N.E., Suite 1200, Atlanta, Georgia 30309
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common stock, $0.01 par value per share||AYI||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by checkmark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by checkmark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer||☑||Accelerated Filer||☐||Non-accelerated Filer||☐|
|Smaller Reporting Company||☐||Emerging Growth Company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☑
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b). ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
Based on the closing price of the Registrant’s common stock of $193.96 as quoted on the New York Stock Exchange on February 28, 2023, the aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $4.1 billion.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock, $0.01 par value, was 30,947,789 shares as of October 20, 2023.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
|Location in Form 10-K|| ||Incorporated Document|
|Part II, Item 5; Part III, Items 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14|| ||Proxy Statement for 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders|
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
Table of Contents
Acuity Brands, Inc. (referred to herein as “we,” “our,” “us,” the “Company,” or similar references) is a market-leading industrial technology company. We use technology to solve problems in spaces and light. Through our two business segments, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls (“ABL”) and the Intelligent Spaces Group (“ISG”), we design, manufacture, and bring to market products and services that make a valuable difference in people's lives. We achieve growth through the development of innovative new products and services, including lighting, lighting controls, building management solutions, and location-aware applications.
Our ABL strategy is to increase product vitality, improve service levels, use technology to improve and differentiate both our products and our services, and drive productivity. ABL's portfolio of lighting solutions includes commercial, architectural, and specialty lighting in addition to lighting controls and components that can be combined to create integrated lighting controls systems. We offer devices such as luminaires that predominantly utilize light emitting diode (“LED”) technology designed to optimize energy efficiency and comfort for various indoor and outdoor applications. ABL's portfolio of products includes but is not limited to the following brands: A-LightTM, AculuxTM, American Electric Lighting®, CycloneTM, Dark to Light®, eldoLED®, Eureka®, Gotham®, Healthcare Lighting®, Holophane®, Hydrel®, IndyTM, IOTA®, Juno®, Lithonia Lighting®, Luminaire LEDTM, Luminis®, Mark Architectural LightingTM, nLight®, OPTOTRONIC®, Peerless®, RELOC® Wiring Solutions, and Sensor SwitchTM.
Principal customers of ABL include electrical distributors, retail home improvement centers, electric utilities, national accounts, original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) customers, digital retailers, lighting showrooms, and energy service companies. Our customers are located in North America and select international markets that serve new construction, renovation and retrofit, and maintenance and repair applications. ABL's lighting and lighting controls solutions are sold primarily through a network of independent sales agencies that cover specific geographic areas and market channels, by internal sales representatives, through consumer retail channels, directly to large corporate accounts, and directly to OEM customers. Products are delivered directly from our manufacturing facilities or through a network of distribution centers, regional warehouses, and commercial warehouses using both common carriers and an internally-managed truck fleet.
We market our product portfolio and service capabilities to customers and/or end users in multiple channels through a broad spectrum of marketing and promotional methods, including direct customer contact, trade shows, on-site training, print and digital advertising in industry publications, product brochures, and other literature, as well as through digital marketing and social media. We operate training and education facilities in several locations throughout North America and Europe designed to enhance the lighting knowledge of customers and industry professionals.
Our ISG strategy is to make spaces smarter, safer, and greener by connecting the edge to the cloud. ISG offers building management solutions and building management software. Our building management solutions include products for controlling heating, ventilation, air conditioning (“HVAC”); lighting; shades; refrigeration; and building access that deliver end-to-end optimization of those building systems. Our intelligent building software enhances the occupant experience, improves building system management, and automates labor intensive tasks while delivering operational energy efficiency and cost reductions. Through a connected and converged building system architecture, our software delivers different applications, allows clients to upgrade over time with natural refresh cycles, and deploys new capabilities. Customers of ISG primarily include system integrators as well as retail stores, airports, and enterprise campuses throughout North America and select international locations. ISG products and solutions are marketed under multiple brand names, including but not limited to, Atrius®, Distech Controls®, and KE2 Therm Solutions®.
Manufacturing and Distribution
We operate eighteen manufacturing facilities, including six facilities in the United States, seven facilities in Mexico, two facilities in Europe, and three in Canada. We utilize a blend of internal and outsourced manufacturing processes and capabilities to fulfill a variety of customer needs. Our investment in our production facilities is focused primarily on improving capabilities, product quality, and manufacturing efficiency as well as environmental, health, and safety
compliance. We also utilize contract manufacturing from U.S., Asian, and European sources for certain products. The following table shows the percentage of finished goods manufactured and purchased in fiscal 2023 by significant geographic region.
|United States||15 ||%||7 ||%||22 ||%|
|Mexico||57 ||%||— ||%||57 ||%|
|Asia||— ||%||15 ||%||15 ||%|
|Others||6 ||%||— ||%||6 ||%|
|Total||78 ||%||22 ||%||100 ||%|
We operate seven manufacturing facilities in Mexico, some of which are authorized to operate as Maquiladoras by the Ministry of Economy of Mexico. Maquiladora status allows us to import raw materials into Mexico duty-free, provided that such items, after processing, are exported from Mexico within a stipulated time frame. Maquiladora status, which is renewed periodically, is subject to various restrictions and requirements, including compliance with the terms of the Maquiladora program and other local regulations, which have become stricter in recent years.
During fiscal 2023, net sales initiated outside of the U.S. represented approximately 14% of total net sales. See the Supplemental Disaggregated Information footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding the geographic distribution of net sales, operating profit, and long-lived assets.
Research and Development
Research and development (“R&D”) is defined as the critical investigation aimed at discovery of new knowledge and the conversion of that knowledge into the design of a new product service or significant improvement to an existing product or service. We invest in product vitality, including enhancement of existing offerings, with a focus on improving the performance-to-cost ratio and energy efficiency. We also develop software applications and capabilities to enhance data analytics offerings for building performance, enterprise operations, and personal experiences. R&D expenses consist of compensation, payroll taxes, employee benefits, materials, supplies, and other administrative costs, but the amounts do not include all new product development costs. For fiscal 2023, 2022, and 2021, R&D expenses totaled $97.1 million, $95.1 million, and $88.3 million, respectively.
Our addressable market includes non-portable luminaires as defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association; poles for outdoor lighting; emergency lighting fixtures and lighting equipment; lighting controls; HVAC controls; refrigeration; and building technology controls, software, and systems.
We operate in highly competitive industries that are affected by a number of general business and economic factors, such as, but not limited to, gross domestic product growth, employment levels, credit availability, interest rates and inflation, building costs, freight, construction-related labor availability, building occupancy rates, imports and trade, energy costs, freight costs, tariffs, commodity costs, and commodity availability. Our market is based on non-residential and residential construction, both new as well as renovation and retrofit activity, which may be impacted by these general economic factors. Precise segmentation of the market by new construction and renovation activity is not available, though internal estimates based on third-party data estimate the size of the markets to be about the same. Non-residential construction spending on commercial, institutional, industrial, and infrastructure projects has a material impact on the demand for our lighting and building solutions. Demand for our residential lighting products is highly dependent on economic drivers, such as consumer spending and discretionary income, along with housing construction and home improvement spending.
Our market is influenced by evolving technologies. This evolution includes: the development of new or improved lighting technologies, including solid-state lighting, electronic drivers, embedded lighting controls, and more effective optical designs and lamps; federal, state, and local requirements for updated energy codes; design strategies and technologies addressing sustainability and facilitating intelligent buildings; and incentives by federal, state, and local municipal authorities, as well as utility companies, for using more energy-efficient lighting and building technology solutions. We are a leading provider of integrated lighting and building technology solutions based on these technologies and utilize internally developed, licensed, or acquired intellectual property.
We experience competition based on numerous factors, including product vitality, service capabilities, price, brand name recognition, product quality, product and system design, energy efficiency, and customer relationships. The markets for lighting and building management solutions are competitive and continue to evolve through acquisition and consolidation activities. Existing and new entrants continue to develop capabilities and solutions that are both complementary as well as competitive to those of traditional industry participants. Additionally, the market for artificial intelligence and software solutions is active with a wide range of competitors, from existing large companies to startup organizations. Certain global and more diversified manufacturers may provide a broader product offering utilizing electrical, lighting, and building technology products and services as well as pricing benefits from the bundling of various offerings. In addition, there are competitors, including Asian importers, small startup companies, and global electronics, technology, and software companies, offering competing solutions, sometimes deploying different technologies.
We are subject to various federal, state, and local laws and regulations that impose increasingly complex, stringent and costly compliance activities. These laws and regulations include but are not limited to, the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Clean Water Act; the Safe Harbor data privacy program between the U.S. and European Union; the United States-Mexico-Canada-Free Trade Agreement (“USMCA”); regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency; the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation; California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Connected Device Privacy Act; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state labor and employment laws and regulations; the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”); and the U.K. Bribery Act.
On an ongoing basis, we allocate resources, including investments in capital and operating costs, to comply with laws and regulations. We do not currently believe that the costs of complying with government regulations have a material impact on our financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. However, we may be affected by current or future standards, laws, or regulations, including those imposed in response to energy, substances in or components in or used in the manufacturing of our products, climate change, product functionality, geopolitics, corporate social responsibility, employee health and safety, privacy, or similar concerns. These standards, laws, and regulations may impact our costs of operation, the sourcing of raw materials, and the manufacture and distribution of our products and services. They may also place restrictions and other requirements or impediments on the products and solutions we can sell in certain geographical locations or may impact the willingness of certain investors to own our shares. See Part I. Item 1a. Risk Factors for additional information.
Our production requires raw materials, including certain grades of steel and aluminum, electrical and electronic components, plastics, and other petroleum-based materials and components. We purchase most raw materials and other components on the open market and rely on third parties to provide certain finished goods. While these items are generally available from multiple sources, the cost of products sold may be affected by changes in the market price of materials, freight, tariffs, and duties on certain materials, particularly imports from Asia, as well as disruptions in availability of raw materials, components, and sourced finished goods.
We do not currently engage in significant commodity hedging transactions for raw materials, though we have and will continue to commit to purchase certain materials generally for a period of up to 12 months. We monitor and investigate alternative suppliers and materials based on numerous attributes including, but not limited to, quality, service, and price. We currently source raw materials and components from a number of suppliers, but our ongoing efforts to improve the cost effectiveness, quality, and availability of our products and services may result in a reduction in the number of our suppliers.
We own or have licenses to use various domestic and foreign patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property related to our products, processes, and businesses. These intellectual property rights are important factors for our businesses. We rely on copyright, patent, trade secret, and trademark laws as well as agreements, restrictive covenants, and internal processes and controls to protect these proprietary rights. Despite these protections, unauthorized parties may attempt to infringe on our intellectual property. As of August 31, 2023, we had approximately 1,600 total patent assets including issued United States and foreign patents as well as pending United States and foreign patent applications. While patents and patent applications in the aggregate are important to our competitive position, no single patent or patent application is individually material to us.
Seasonality and Cyclicality
Our business exhibits some seasonality, with net sales being affected by weather and seasonal demand on construction and installation programs, particularly during the winter months, as well as the annual budget cycles of major customers. Historically, with certain exceptions, we have experienced our highest sales in the last two quarters of each fiscal year due to these factors.
Our lighting and building technology solutions are sold to customers in both the new construction as well as renovation and retrofit markets for residential and non-residential applications. The construction market is cyclical in nature and subject to changes in general economic conditions and fiscal policies. Sales volume has a major impact on our profitability. Economic downturns and the potential decline in key construction markets may have a material adverse effect on our net sales, operating income, financial position, and cash flows.
We employed approximately 12,200 associates at August 31, 2023 of which approximately 3,600 were employed in the United States and approximately 7,700 were employed in Mexico. Our remaining associates were employed in other international locations including Europe, Canada, and the Asia/Pacific region. Union recognition and collective bargaining arrangements in place or in process cover approximately 1,300 and 6,500 associates in the United States and Mexico, respectively. Arrangements related to approximately 400 associates in the United States will expire within the next fiscal year. Arrangements for approximately 6,500 associates in Mexico will expire within the next fiscal year, primarily due to annual negotiations of union contracts. We believe that we have strong relationships with both our unionized and non-unionized associates.
Growth and Development
A key pillar to attract, develop, and retain top talent is our focus on the growth and development of our associates. In fiscal 2023, we remained focused on development through development plans for associates, training opportunities, and other activities. Our performance management and other processes are intended to align associate aspirations, interests, performance, and experiences with the talent needs that enable the business. Managers and associates conduct periodic check-in discussions to encourage continuous performance feedback and improvement. These discussions also act to hold leaders accountable for creating an associate development culture.
Investing in the development of our associates is part of our operating system and correlates to our preparedness to meet current and future strategic priorities of the business. In fiscal 2023, we continued a management effectiveness series focused on coaching to performance, which we offered through in-person events. We also provide a digital platform with learning content and resources to help associates expand their knowledge, skills, and abilities through self-directed learning initiatives. We provide self-learning resources to help associates expand their lighting, controls, and building management technical knowledge through Acuity Academy and other resources.
Compensation and Benefits
We review our compensation and benefit plans annually to ensure that we are providing competitive, contemporary, and inclusive programs so we can attract and retain the best people and support the health and well-being of our associates and their families. Based on this review, we offer a competitive total rewards package to our associates that includes base compensation, bonuses, profit-sharing plans, stock grants, health benefits, and/or retirement benefits commensurate with an employee's position, skill set, and experience.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are important factors in our ongoing success. Our goal is to ensure that all associates feel valued, respected, and accepted for their contributions regardless of their race, sex, religion, ethnicity, age, gender identity, disabilities, national origin, sexual orientation, or other unique characteristics. To promote diversity in the workplace, we sponsor a diversity, equity, and inclusion council that is responsible for setting our diversity strategy and initiatives, many resulting from associate feedback. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion council consists of members of management as well as key human resource process leaders and leaders from our various employee resource groups. We currently have five employee resource groups: Mind Matters; Minorities Amplifying Growth, Inclusion, and Community (“MAGIC”); People Respecting Identity, Diversity, and Equity (“PRIDE”); the Women’s Network; and the Veterans Network. These groups are designed to embrace, celebrate, and recognize the power of diversity.
Health and Safety
We strive to ensure our associates have a safe and collaborative work environment. Our management practices promote Environmental, Health & Safety (“EHS”) excellence. To achieve this standard, we have instituted an EHS Management System based on the goals and guidelines of the International Standards of Operation for Environmental Management, International Standards for Occupational Health & Safety Management, and our own guiding principles. These guidelines include identifying and controlling hazardous exposures for the prevention of injuries, preventing pollution, and complying with all relevant legal and other requirements. We review each facility’s qualitative and quantitative results, with an emphasis on leading indicators that help avoid violations, accidents, and injuries. A variety of different metrics are averaged to determine a facility’s performance, which is used to find continuous improvement opportunities.
We save energy and help reduce carbon emissions through our lighting, lighting controls, and building management solutions by replacing older technologies, and we drive innovation and performance across our business to minimize our impact on the environment. We also seek to use raw materials more efficiently and to operate our own facilities in a more intelligent, environmentally-friendly manner. We have extended the capabilities of our energy data management software to help enable users to track and report their full carbon footprint. We regularly communicate progress on our environmental commitments as part of our EarthLIGHT sustainability program.
Information Concerning Acuity Brands
Acuity Brands, Inc. was incorporated in 2001 under the laws of the State of Delaware. We make our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K (and all amendments to these reports) and proxy statements, together with all reports filed pursuant to Section 16 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by our officers, directors, and beneficial owners of 10% or more of our common stock, available free of charge through the “SEC Filings” link under the “Financials” heading within the “For Investors” section on our website, located at www.acuitybrands.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Information included on our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our reports are also available on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website at www.sec.gov.
Additionally, we have adopted a written Code of Ethics and Business Conduct that applies to all of our directors, officers, and employees, including our principal executive officer and senior financial officers. The Code of Ethics and Business Conduct as well as our Corporate Governance Guidelines are available free of charge through the “Committee Charters and Governance Documents” link under the “Governance” heading within the “For Investors” section on our website. Any amendments to, or waivers of, the Code of Ethics and Business Conduct for our principal executive officer and senior financial officers will be disclosed on our website promptly following the date of such amendment or waiver. Additionally, the charters for our Audit Committee, Compensation and Management Development Committee, and Governance Committee are available free of charge through the “Committee Charters and Governance Documents” link under the “Governance” heading within the "For Investors" section on our website. The Code of Ethics and Business Conduct, the Corporate Governance Guidelines, and the committee charters are available in print to any of our stockholders that request such document by contacting our Investor Relations department.
Item 1a.Risk Factors.
This filing contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. A variety of risks and uncertainties could cause our actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results or other expectations expressed in our forward-looking statements. See Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information included in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. These risks could adversely impact our financial position, results of operations, cash flows, and financial expectations and could cause the market price of our securities to decrease. Such risks include the following, without limitation.
Risks Related to Our Strategy
Our business and results have been and may be adversely affected by fluctuations in the cost or availability of raw materials, components, purchased finished goods, or services.
We utilize a variety of raw materials and components in our production process including steel, aluminum, lamps, certain rare earth materials, microchips, light emitting diodes (“LED”), LED drivers, ballasts, wire, electronic components, power supplies, petroleum-based byproducts, natural gas, and copper. We also source certain finished goods externally. During early fiscal 2023, supply chain disruptions for certain components, including, notably, microchips and electronics, have resulted in higher prices for significant commodities, including oil and steel, as well as increased warehousing, freight, and container costs, which have negatively impacted our business. Although these disruptions have subsided from their peaks, future disruptions in the supply chain and shortages could affect our ability to procure components for our products on a timely basis, or at all, or could require us to commit to increased purchases and provide longer lead times to secure critical components by entering into longer term guaranteed supply agreements. Alternatively, supply chain disruptions and shortages could require us to rely on relatively high-cost spot market purchases for certain materials or products.
Future increases in our costs could negatively impact our profitability as there can be no assurance that future price increases will be successfully passed through to customers. Disruptions in the supply chain could also negatively impact us. We generally source our goods from a number of suppliers. However, there are a limited number of suppliers for certain components and certain purchased finished goods, which on a limited basis, results in sole-source supplier situations.
Our competitors supply certain of those items, and those competitors may, for various strategic reasons, choose to cease selling to us. In addition, our ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness of our supply chain could result in a reduction in the number of our suppliers, and in turn, increased risk associated with reliance on a single or a limited number of suppliers. Furthermore, volatility in certain commodities, such as oil, impacts all suppliers and, therefore, may result in additional price increases from time to time regardless of the number and availability of suppliers. Profitability and volume could be negatively impacted by limitations inherent within the supply chain of certain of these component parts, including competitive, governmental, and legal limitations, natural disasters, and other events that could impact both supply and price. Additionally, we are dependent on certain service providers for key operational functions. While there are a number of suppliers of these services, the cost to change service providers and set up new processes could be significant.
In addition, the labor market for skilled manufacturing remains tight, and our labor costs have increased as a result, particularly in the U.S. and Mexico.
Our results may be adversely affected by market and competitive pricing.
Aggressive pricing actions by competitors may affect our ability to manage the price/cost relationship to achieve desired revenue growth and profitability levels. Potential decreased demand for our products resulting from factors including uncertainty in the global economy, the current inflationary environment, rising interest rates, and a potential global recession may influence competitor pricing. Additionally, dynamic pricing models may not cover our rising costs. Even if we were able to increase prices to cover our costs, competitive pricing pressures may not allow us to pass on any more than the cost increases. Alternatively, if costs were to decline, the marketplace may not allow us to hold prices at their current levels.
Innovations of new products and services may not yield desired returns.
Continual introductions of new products and solutions, services, and technologies, enhancement of existing products and services, and effective servicing of customers are key to our competitive strategy. The success of new product and solution introductions depends on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, timely and successful product development, product quality, market acceptance, our ability to manage the risks associated with product life cycles, such as additional inventory obsolescence risk as product life cycles begin to shorten, new products and production capabilities, effective management of purchase commitments and inventory levels to support anticipated product manufacturing and demand, availability of products in appropriate quantities and costs to meet anticipated demand, and risk that new products may have quality or other defects in the early stages of introduction. Accordingly, we cannot fully predict the ultimate effect of new product introductions on our business. Additionally, new products and solutions may not achieve the same profit margins as expected or as compared to our historic products and solutions. Furthermore, other market participants, such as well-established competitors, could develop alternative platforms for monetizing products, solutions, and services that result in a paradigm shift in our industry, particularly with respect to new and developing technologies.
We may not be able to identify, finance, and complete suitable acquisitions, alliances, or investments, and we may pursue future growth through acquisitions, alliances, or investments, which may not yield anticipated benefits.
We have strengthened our business through acquisitions, alliances, and investments and may continue to do so as opportunities arise in the future. Such investments have been and may be in startup or development-stage entities. We will benefit from such activity only to the extent that we can effectively identify suitable acquisition and alliance candidates and leverage and integrate the assets or capabilities of the acquired businesses and alliances, including, but not limited to, personnel, technology, and operating processes. It may be difficult for us to integrate acquired businesses efficiently into our business operations. Any acquisitions, alliances, or investments may not be successful or realize the intended benefits. Moreover, unanticipated events, negative revisions to valuation assumptions and estimates, diversion of resources and management's attention from other business concerns, and difficulties in attaining synergies, among other factors, could adversely affect our ability to recover initial and subsequent investments, particularly those related to acquired goodwill and intangible assets or non-controlling interests. In addition, such investment transactions may limit our ability to invest in other activities, which could be more profitable or advantageous.
We may experience difficulties in streamlining activities, which could impact shipments to customers, product quality, and the realization of expected savings from streamlining actions.
We expect to benefit from potential programs to streamline operations, including the consolidation of certain facilities and the reduction of overhead costs. Such benefits will only be realized to the extent that we can effectively leverage assets, personnel, and operating processes in the transition of production between manufacturing facilities. Uncertainty is inherent within the facility consolidation process, and unforeseen circumstances could offset the anticipated benefits, disrupt service to customers, and impact product quality.
General business, political, and economic conditions, including the strength of the construction and renovation market, political events, or other factors may affect demand for our products and services.
We compete based on numerous factors, including product vitality and service levels, as well as features and benefits, brand name recognition, product quality, product and system design, energy efficiency, customer relationships, service capabilities, and price. In addition, we operate in a highly competitive environment that is influenced by a number of general business and economic factors, such as economic vitality, employment levels, credit availability, interest rates, trends in vacancy rates and rent values, energy costs, and commodity costs. Sales of lighting, lighting controls, and building technology solutions depend significantly on the level of activity in new construction and renovation/retrofits. Declines in general economic activity, appropriations, and regulations, including tax and trade policy and other political uncertainties, may negatively impact new construction and renovation projects, which in turn may impact demand for our product and service offerings.
Decreased construction and renovation spending and consumer demand for our products and services, along with rising commodity costs may materially affect our future access to our sources of liquidity, particularly our cash flows from operations, financial condition, capitalization, and capital investments. Additionally, current uncertain economic conditions, including economic slowdowns, supply chain disruptions, and a potential global recession, could adversely affect our ability to access the capital and other financial markets, and may require us to consider alternative sources of funding for some of our operations and for working capital, which may increase our cost of, as well as adversely impact our access to, capital. These uncertain economic conditions may also result in the inability
of our customers and other counter-parties to make payments to us, on a timely basis or at all.
Risks Related to Our Operations
Technological developments and increased competition could affect our operating profit margins and sales volume.
We compete in an industry and markets where technology and innovation play major roles in the competitive landscape. We are highly engaged in the investigation, development, and implementation of new technologies and services. Securing employee talent, key partnerships, and alliances, including having access to technologies, services, and solutions developed by others, as well as obtaining appropriate patents and the right to utilize patents of other parties all play a significant role in protecting our freedom to operate. Additionally, the continual development of new technologies by existing and new source suppliers — including non-traditional competitors with significant resources — looking for either direct market access or partnerships with competing large manufacturers, coupled with significant associated exclusivity and/or patent activity, could adversely affect our ability to sustain operating profit margins and desirable levels of sales volume.
In addition, there are new competitors, including small startup companies and global electronics, technology, and software companies, offering competing solutions, sometimes deploying different technologies. These competitors may vertically integrate and begin offering total solution packages that directly compete with our offerings. Certain global and more diversified electrical manufacturers as well as certain global technology and building solution providers may be able to obtain a competitive advantage, either through internal development or acquisitions, over us by offering broader and more integrated solutions utilizing electrical, lighting, controls, building automation solutions, and data analytics, and small startup companies may offer more localized product sales and support services within individual regions.
We may be unable to sustain significant customer and/or channel partner relationships.
Relationships with customers are directly impacted by our ability to deliver quality products and services. Although no individual customer exceeded 10% of net sales during fiscal 2023, the loss of or a substantial decrease in the volume of purchases by certain larger customers could harm our business in a meaningful manner. We have relationships with channel partners such as electrical distributors, home improvement retailers, independent sales agencies, system integrators, and value-added resellers. While we maintain positive, and in many cases long-term, relationships with these channel partners, the sudden or unplanned loss of a number of these channel partners or a substantial decrease in the volume of purchases from a major channel partner or a group of channel partners could adversely affect our business.
We could be adversely affected by external disruptions to our operations.
The breakdown of equipment or other events, including, but not limited to, labor disputes, strikes, workplace violence, public health crises, pandemics and epidemics (such as the recent COVID-19, or similar or related, pandemics or endemics), climate change, brown outs and other power outages, earthquakes, fires, explosions, terrorism, adverse weather conditions, water scarcity, cyber-attacks, civil disruptions, or catastrophic events such as war or natural disasters, leading to production interruptions in our or one or more of our suppliers’ facilities could adversely affect us. Approximately 57% of our finished products are manufactured in Mexico, a country that periodically experiences heightened civil unrest or may experience trade disputes with the U.S., both of which could cause a disruption of the supply of products to or from these facilities. Further, because many of our customers are to varying degrees dependent on planned deliveries from our facilities, those customers that have to reschedule their own production or delay opening a facility due to our missed deliveries as a result of these disruptions could pursue financial claims against us. We may incur costs to correct any of these problems in addition to facing claims from customers. Further, our reputation among actual and potential customers may be harmed and result in a loss of business. Further, these types of events may negatively impact residential, commercial, and industrial spending, including construction and renovation spending as well as consumer spending on our products, in impacted regions or, depending on the severity, globally. As a result, any of such events could adversely impact us. While we have developed business continuity plans, including alternative capacity, to support responses to such events or disruptions and maintain insurance policies covering, among other things, physical damage and business interruptions, these policies may not cover all losses. We could incur uninsured losses and liabilities arising from such events, including damage to our reputation, loss of customers, and substantial losses in operational capacity.
Current global conflicts, such as the those between Russia and Ukraine as well as within the Middle East, have created substantial uncertainty in the global economy, including sanctions and penalties imposed on certain
countries from several governments. While we do not have operations in these locations and do not have significant direct exposure to customers and vendors in those countries, we are unable to predict the impact that these actions will have on the global economy or on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows as of the date of these financial statements.
Company operating systems, information systems, or devices have experienced, and may experience in the future, a failure, a compromise of security, or a violation of data privacy laws or regulations, which could adversely impact our operations as well as the effectiveness of internal controls over operations and financial reporting.
We are highly dependent on various software and automated systems to record and process operational and financial transactions. We have experienced, and could experience in the future, a failure of one or more of these software and automated systems or could fail to complete all necessary data reconciliation or other conversion controls when implementing a new software system.
We have also experienced compromises of our security, and could experience in the future, a compromise of our security due to many reasons, including technical system flaws, clerical, data input or record-keeping errors, or tampering or manipulation of our systems by employees or unauthorized third parties, including viruses, malware, or phishing. Information security risks also exist with respect to the use of portable electronic devices, such as laptops and smartphones, which are particularly vulnerable to loss and theft. We may also be subject to disruptions of any of these systems arising from events that are wholly or partially beyond our control (for example, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, cyber-attacks, including but not limited to hacking, malware, ransomware attacks, denial-of-service attacks, social engineering, exploitation of internet-connected devises, and other attacks, epidemics, computer viruses, and electrical/telecommunications outages). While prior compromises of our security have not had, in the aggregate, a material impact on the Company’s operations and financial condition, the Company expects events of this nature to continue as cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, and the techniques used in such attacks change rapidly. The Company monitors its data, information technology and personnel usage of Company systems to reduce these risks and continues to do so on an ongoing basis for any current or potential threats.
If any of our hardware, software, or automated systems are compromised, fail, or have other significant shortcomings, it could disrupt our business, require us to incur substantial additional expenses, or result in potential liability or reputational damage. There can be no assurance that our efforts to protect our data and information technology will prevent such compromises of security.
We also provide and maintain technology to enable lighting controls and building technology systems. In addition to the risks noted above, there are other risks associated with these customer offerings. For example, a customer may depend on integral information from, or functionality of, our technology to support that customer’s other systems, such that a failure of our technology could impact those systems, including by loss or destruction of data. Likewise, a customer’s failure to properly configure, update, segregate, or upgrade its own network and integrations with our technology are outside of our control and could result in a failure in functionality or security of our technology.
We and certain of our third-party vendors may receive and store personal information in connection with human resources operations, customer offerings, and other aspects of the business. A material network breach in the security of these systems could include the theft of intellectual property, trade secrets, the unauthorized release, gathering, monitoring, misuse, loss, change, or destruction of our or our customers', suppliers', or other third-party's confidential, proprietary and other information (including personal identifying information of individuals), or otherwise disrupt our or our clients' or other third parties' business operations. To the extent that any disruption or security breach results in a loss or damage to our data, or an inappropriate disclosure of confidential or customer or employee information, it could cause significant damage to our reputation, affect relationships with our customers, employees, and other counterparties, lead to claims against us, which may result in the payment of fines, penalties, and costs, and ultimately harm our business. In addition, we may be required to incur significant costs, or regulatory fines, penalties, or intervention, to protect against damage caused by these disruptions or security breaches in the future.
We are also subject to an increasing number of data privacy and security laws and regulations that impose requirements on us and our technology prior to certain use or transfer, storing, use, processing, disclosure, and protection of data and prior to sale or use of certain technologies. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations could result in the imposition of fines, penalties and other costs. The legal and regulatory data privacy framework is evolving and uncertain.
System failures, ineffective system implementation or disruptions, failure to comply with data privacy and security laws or regulations, or the compromise of security with respect to internal or external systems or portable electronic devices could damage our systems or infrastructure, subject us to liability claims, or regulatory fines, penalties, or intervention, harm our reputation, interrupt our operations, disrupt customer operations, and adversely affect our internal control over financial reporting, business, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.
Changes in our relationship with employees, changes in U.S. or international employment regulations, an inability to attract and retain talented employees, or a loss of key employees could adversely impact the effectiveness of our operations.
We employed approximately 12,200 people as of August 31, 2023, approximately 8,600 of whom are employed in international locations. As such, we have significant exposure to changes in domestic and foreign laws governing relationships with employees, including wage and hour laws and regulations, fair labor standards, minimum wage requirements, overtime pay, unemployment tax rates, workers' compensation rates, citizenship requirements, and payroll taxes, which likely would have a direct impact on our operating costs. Union recognition and collective bargaining agreements are in place or in process covering approximately 65% of our workforce. Collective bargaining agreements representing approximately 57% of our workforce will expire within one year, primarily due to annual negotiations with unions in Mexico. While we believe that we have good relationships with both our unionized and non-unionized employees, we may become vulnerable to a strike, work stoppage, or other labor action by these employees.
Our success is also dependent upon our ability to attract, retain, and motivate a qualified and diverse workforce, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to do so, particularly during times of increased labor costs or labor shortages. We rely upon the knowledge and experience of employees involved in functions throughout the organization that require technical expertise and knowledge of the industry. We have experienced intense competition for qualified and capable personnel in key markets and with key skills, and we cannot provide assurance that we will be able to retain our key employees or that we will be successful in attracting, assimilating, and retaining personnel in the future. In addition, our growth may be constrained by resource limitations as competitors and customers compete for increasingly scarce human capital resources. The demand for skilled workers is currently high. We face an increasingly competitive labor market due to sustained labor shortages in part and are subject to inflationary pressures on employee wages and salaries, which may increase labor costs. Our competitors may be able to offer a work environment with higher compensation or more opportunities than we can. An inability to attract and retain a sufficient number of employees could adversely impact our ability to execute key operational functions.
There are inherent risks in our solutions and services businesses.
Risks inherent in the sale of solutions and services include assuming greater responsibility for successfully delivering projects that meet a particular customer specification, including: defining and controlling contract scope and timing, efficiently executing projects, and managing the performance and quality of subcontractors and suppliers and our own systems. As we expand our service and solutions offerings, reliance on the technical infrastructure to provide services to customers will increase. If we fail to appropriately manage and secure the technical infrastructure required, customers could experience service outages or delays in implementation of services. If we are unable to manage and mitigate these risks, we could incur liabilities and other losses.
We may be subject to risk in connection with third-party relationships necessary to operate our business.
We utilize strategic partners and third-party relationships in order to operate and grow our business. For instance, we utilize third parties to contract manufacturing of certain products, subcontract installation and commissioning, as well as perform certain selling, distribution, and administrative functions. We cannot control the actions or performance, including product quality, of these third parties and therefore, cannot be certain that we or our end-users will be satisfied. Any future actions of or any failure to act by any third party on which our business relies could cause us to incur losses or interruptions in our operations. In addition, we act as a general contractor in certain relationships with third-parties, and as such are subject to risks applicable to general contractors.
We are subject to risks related to operations and suppliers outside the United States.
We have substantial activities outside of the United States, including sourcing of products, materials, components, and contract manufactured finished goods, as well as manufacturing and distribution activities. Our operations, as well as those of key vendors, are therefore subject to regulatory, economic, political, military, and other events in countries where these operations are located. In addition to the risks that are common to both our domestic and
international operations, we face risks specifically related to our foreign operations and sourcing activities, including but not limited to: foreign currency fluctuations; unstable political, social, regulatory, economic, financial, and market conditions; laws that prohibit shipments to certain countries or restricted parties and that prohibit improper payments to government officials such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.K. Bribery Act; potential for privatization and other confiscatory actions; trade restrictions and disruption; shipping delays or disruptions; criminal activities; increases in tariffs and taxes; corruption; terrorist action; nationalization and expropriation; limitations on repatriation of earnings or other capital requirements; and other changes in regulation in international jurisdictions that could result in substantial additional legal or compliance obligations for us.
We source certain components and approximately 15% of our finished goods from Asia, a significant portion of which are subject to import tariffs. These tariffs could increase in future periods resulting in higher costs and/or lower demand. We could be adversely affected to the extent we are unable to mitigate the impacts of the tariffs.
We operate seven manufacturing facilities in Mexico, some of which are authorized to operate as Maquiladoras by the Ministry of Economy of Mexico. Maquiladora status allows us to import raw materials into Mexico duty-free, provided that such items, after processing, are exported from Mexico within a stipulated time frame. Maquiladora status, which is renewed periodically, is subject to various restrictions and requirements, including compliance with the terms of the Maquiladora program and other local regulations, which have become stricter in recent years. In addition, if our Mexican facilities cease to qualify for Maquiladora status or if the Mexican government adopts additional adverse changes to the program, including nationalization, our manufacturing costs in Mexico would increase.
We are also subject to certain other laws and regulations affecting our international operations, including laws and regulations such as the United States, Mexico, Canada Free Trade Agreement (“USMCA”) which, among other things, provide certain beneficial duties and tariffs for qualifying imports and exports, subject to compliance with the applicable classification and other requirements. A majority of our sales are subject to USMCA. In addition, the US government has initiated or is considering imposing tariffs on certain foreign goods, including steel and aluminum. Related to this action, certain foreign governments, including China, have instituted or are considering imposing tariffs on certain U.S. goods. It remains unclear what the U.S. Administration or foreign governments will or will not do with respect to tariffs, the USMCA, or other international trade agreements and policies. A trade war or other governmental action related to tariffs or international trade agreements or policies has the potential to adversely impact demand for our products, costs, customers, suppliers, and/or the US economy or certain sectors thereof and, thus, to adversely impact our business.
The evolution of our products, complexity of our supply chain, and reliance on third-party vendors such as customs brokers and freight vendors, which may not have effective processes and controls to enable us to fully and accurately comply with such requirements, could subject us to liabilities for past, present, or future periods. Such liabilities could adversely impact our business.
We continue to monitor conditions affecting our international locations, including potential changes in income from a strengthening or weakening in foreign exchange rates in relation to the U.S. dollar. Some of these risks, including but not limited to foreign exchange rates, violations of laws, and higher costs associated with changes in regulation, could adversely impact our business.
Our business could be negatively impacted by social impact and sustainability matters.
There has been, and may continue to be, an increasing focus from U.S. and foreign government agencies, certain investors, customers, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders concerning environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters. Some investors may use ESG criteria to guide their investment strategies and, in some cases, may choose not to invest in us if they believe our policies relating to corporate responsibilities do not align with their ESG criteria. In addition, different stakeholder groups have divergent views on ESG matters, which increases the risk that any action or lack thereof with respect to ESG matters will be perceived negatively by at least some stakeholders and could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial performance, and growth.
We may, from time to time, communicate certain initiatives, targets, and goals, regarding environmental matters, diversity, responsible sourcing and social investments and other ESG matters. These initiatives, targets, and goals could be difficult and expensive to implement, and we could be criticized for the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of the disclosure thereof. Further, statements about our ESG initiatives, targets, and goals, and progress against those targets and goals, may be based on standards for measuring progress that are still developing, internal controls and processes that continue to evolve, as well as assumptions, estimates and climate scenarios that are subject to change in the future. In addition, we could be criticized or subject to litigation for the scope or nature of such initiatives, targets, or goals, or for any revisions to such targets or goals. If our ESG-related data, processes, and reporting are incomplete or inaccurate, or if we fail, or are perceived to fail, to achieve
progress with respect to our ESG targets or goals on a timely basis, or at all, our reputation, business, financial performance, and growth could be adversely affected.
We have begun to incorporate artificial intelligence capabilities in our product offerings, and challenges with properly managing the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning could result in reputational harm, competitive harm, and legal liability, and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, and/or cash flows.
We have begun incorporating artificial intelligence (“AI”) capabilities into certain product offerings. These features may become important in our operations over time. Our competitors or other third parties may incorporate AI into their products more quickly or more successfully than us, which could impair our ability to compete effectively and adversely affect our results of operations. Additionally, if the content, analyses, or recommendations that AI applications assist in producing are or are alleged to be deficient, inaccurate, or biased, we could be subject to competitive risks, potential legal liability, and reputational harm, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected. The use of AI capabilities may also result in cybersecurity incidents. Any such cybersecurity incidents related to our use of AI capabilities could adversely affect our business.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters
Failure to comply with the broad range of standards, laws, and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we operate may result in exposure to substantial disruptions, costs, and liabilities.
We are subject to various foreign and domestic federal, state, and local laws and regulations that include but are not limited to, the Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Clean Water Act; the Safe Harbor data privacy program between the U.S. and European Union; the United States-Mexico-Canada-Free Trade Agreement (“USMCA”); regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration agency; the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation; California’s Consumer Privacy Act and Connected Device Privacy Act; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal and state labor and employment laws and regulations; the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”); and the U.K. Bribery Act. The laws and regulations impacting us impose increasingly complex, stringent, and costly compliance activities.
Concerns regarding climate change may also lead to significant legislative and regulatory responses, including efforts to limit greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has implemented regulations that require reporting of GHG emissions or that limit emissions of GHGs from certain mobile or stationary sources. In addition, the U.S. Congress and federal and state regulatory agencies have considered other legislation and regulatory proposals to reduce emissions of GHGs, and many states and other jurisdictions have already taken legal measures to reduce emissions of GHGs, primarily through the development of GHG inventories, GHG permitting, and/or regional GHG cap-and-trade programs. It is uncertain whether, when, and in what form a federal mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reduction program, or other state programs, may be adopted. Similarly, certain countries have adopted the Kyoto Protocol, and in February 2021, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Agreement.
In addition, permits and environmental controls are required for certain of our operations to limit air and water pollution, and these permits are subject to modification, renewal, and revocation by issuing authorities. Some environmental laws, such as Superfund, the Clean Water Act, and comparable laws in U.S. states and other jurisdictions worldwide, impose joint and several liability for the cost of environmental remediation, natural resource damages, third-party claims, and other expenses, without regard to the fault or the legality of the original conduct, on those persons who contributed to the release of a hazardous substance into the environment. Environmental laws and regulations have generally become stricter in recent years, and certain federal, state, and local governments domestically and internationally, have enacted, or are considering enacting, new laws and regulations, including those governing raw material composition, carbon dioxide and other air emissions, end-of-life product dispositions, energy efficiency, and certain additional disclosure obligations related to the above.
We may be affected by those or other future standards, laws, or regulations, including those imposed in response to energy, climate change, our carbon footprint, product functionality, geopolitical, corporate social responsibility, or similar concerns. As customers become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases, if we fail to keep up with changing regulations or innovate or operate in ways that minimize the energy use of or other impacts of our products or operations, customers may choose more energy efficient or sustainable alternatives. These standards, laws, or regulations may also impact our costs of operation, the sourcing of raw materials, and the manufacture and distribution of our products and may place restrictions and other requirements or impediments on the products and solutions we can sell in certain geographical locations or on the willingness of certain investors to own our shares. In addition, we may be subject to consumer lawsuits or enforcement actions by
governmental authorities if our ESG claims relating to product marketing are inaccurate. At the same time, certain actions that we may take in our efforts to address ESG concerns may be challenged as being inconsistent or prohibited by various federal, state or local laws and regulations. It is uncertain what laws, rules or regulations may be enacted, or how courts may interpret them in the future, and therefore we cannot predict the potential impact such laws or regulations may have on our future financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. The laws and regulations regarding ESG disclosures and requirements are also rapidly evolving and could have an adverse effect on our operations and the costs of compliance with, and the other burdens imposed by, these and other laws or regulatory actions may increase our operational costs.
It is uncertain what laws will be enacted, and therefore we cannot predict the potential impact of such laws on our future financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. The laws and regulations regarding ESG disclosures and requirements are also rapidly evolving and could have an adverse effect on our operations and the costs of compliance with, and the other burdens imposed by, these and other laws or regulatory actions may increase our operational costs.
We may develop unexpected legal contingencies or matters that exceed insurance coverage.
We are subject to and in the future may be subject to various claims, including legal claims arising in the normal course of business. Such claims may include without limitation employment claims, product recall, personal injury, network security, data privacy, or property damage claims resulting from the use of our products, services, or solutions, as well as exposure to hazardous materials, contract disputes, or intellectual property disputes. We are insured up to specified limits for certain types of losses with a self-insurance retention per occurrence, including product or professional liability, and cyber liability, including network security and data privacy claims, and are fully self-insured for certain other types of losses, including environmental, product recall, warranties, commercial disputes, and patent infringement. We establish accruals for legal claims when the costs associated with the claims become probable and can be reasonably estimated. The actual costs of resolving legal claims may be substantially higher or lower than the level of insurance coverage we hold and/or the amounts accrued for such claims. In the event of unexpected future developments, it is possible that the ultimate resolutions of such matters could be unfavorable. Our insurance coverage is negotiated on an annual basis, and insurance policies in the future may have coverage exclusions that could cause claim-related costs to rise.
If our products are improperly designed, manufactured, packaged, or labeled, or are otherwise alleged to cause harm or injury, we may need to recall those items, may have increased warranty costs, and could be the target of product liability claims.
We may need to recall products if they are improperly designed, manufactured, packaged, or labeled, and we do not maintain insurance for such recall events. Many of our products and solutions have become more complex in recent years and include more sophisticated and sensitive electronic components. A problem or issue relating to any individual component could have the effect of creating a compounded problem for an integrated solution, which could result in significant costs and losses. We have increasingly manufactured certain of those components and products in our own facilities. We have previously initiated product recalls as a result of potentially faulty components, assembly, installation, design, and packaging of our products. Widespread product recalls could result in significant losses due to the costs of a recall, the destruction of product inventory, penalties, and lost sales due to the unavailability of a product for a period of time. In addition, products we developed that incorporate technologies, such as LED, generally provide for more extensive warranty protection, which may result in higher costs if warranty claims on these products are higher than historical amounts. We may also be liable if the use or failure of any of our products cause harm, whether from fire, shock, harmful materials or components, alleged adverse health impacts from exposure to light emitted by our products, or any other personal injury or property damage, and we could suffer losses from a significant product liability judgment against us in excess of our insurance limits. We may not be able to obtain indemnity or reimbursement from our suppliers or other third parties for the warranty costs or liabilities associated with our products, even if such costs or liabilities are covered under supplier warranty obligations. A significant product recall, warranty claim, or product liability case could also result in adverse publicity, damage to our reputation, and a loss of consumer confidence in our products.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property and could be the target of intellectual property claims.
We own certain patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and other intellectual property. In addition, we continue to file patent applications, when appropriate. We cannot be certain that others have not and will not infringe on our intellectual property rights; however, we seek to establish and protect those rights, which could result in significant legal expenses and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Over the last several years, we and others in the industry have received an increased number of allegations of patent infringement from competitors and from non-practicing entity patent holders, often coupled with offers to license such patents for our use. Such offers typically relate to various technologies including electronics, power systems, controls, and software, as well as the use of visible light to communicate data, the use of certain wireless networking methods, and the design of specific products. We believe that we do not need or will be able to invalidate or access such patents through licensing, cross-licensing, or other mutually beneficial arrangements, although to the extent we are required but unable to enter into such arrangements on acceptable economic terms, it could adversely impact us.
We are exposed to certain regulatory, financial and other risks related to climate change and other sustainability matters.
The scientific consensus indicates that emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHG”) continue to alter the composition of Earth’s atmosphere in ways that are affecting, and are expected to continue to affect, the global climate. The potential impacts of climate change on our customers, product offerings, operations, facilities, and suppliers are accelerating and uncertain, as they will be particular to local and customer-specific circumstances.
Concerns regarding climate change may lead to significant legislative and regulatory responses, including efforts to limit GHG emissions. The EPA has implemented regulations that require reporting of GHG emissions or that limit emissions of GHGs from certain mobile or stationary sources. In addition, the U.S. Congress and federal and state regulatory agencies have considered other legislation and regulatory proposals to reduce emissions of GHGs, and many states have already taken legal measures to reduce emissions of GHGs, primarily through the development of GHG inventories, GHG permitting, and/or regional GHG cap-and-trade programs. It is uncertain whether, when, and in what form a federal mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reduction program, or other state programs, may be adopted. Similarly, certain countries have adopted the Kyoto Protocol, and in February 2021, the U.S. rejoined the Paris Accord. These and other existing or potential international initiatives and regulations could affect our international operations. As customers become increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases, if we fail to keep up with changing regulations or innovate or operate in ways that minimize the energy use of our products or operations, customers may choose more energy efficient or sustainable alternatives. These actions could also increase costs associated with our operations, including costs for raw materials and transportation. We may also be subject to consumer lawsuits or enforcement actions by governmental authorities if our ESG claims relating to product marketing are inaccurate. It is uncertain what laws will be enacted, and therefore we cannot predict the potential impact of such laws on our future financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
In addition, investors and stakeholders are increasingly focused on ESG matters, and as stakeholder ESG expectations and standards evolve, our failure to sufficiently respond to these evolving standards and expectations may cause us to suffer from reputational damage, and our business or financial condition could be adversely affected. The laws and regulations regarding ESG disclosures and requirements are also rapidly evolving and could have an adverse effect on our operations and the costs of compliance with, and the other burdens imposed by, these and other laws or regulatory actions may increase our operational costs.
Tax liabilities due in the jurisdictions in which we operate may exceed anticipated amounts.
Our operations are subject to income tax, sales tax, value-added tax (“VAT”), excise tax, property tax, and other taxes and assessments at federal, state, local, and international levels. Our consolidated tax obligation is driven largely by our corporate structure as well as domestic and international intercompany arrangements. We operate in several jurisdictions, including but not limited to, the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Certain jurisdictions may aggressively interpret their laws, regulations, and policies in an effort to raise additional tax revenue, and international tax authorities may seek to assert extraterritorial taxing rights on our transactions or operations.
We have previously been subject to domestic and international tax audits by taxing authorities of the jurisdictions which we operate, and we may be subject to additional such audits in the future. While our previous audits resulted in no significant findings, and we believe we continue to be in compliance with relevant tax laws, tax authorities may challenge or disagree with certain positions or methodologies in calculating our tax positions An unfavorable interpretation or outcome could increase our worldwide effective tax rate, result in additional tax obligations owed, impact the amount of recoverable VAT, and/or increase excise taxes owed, which could have an adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations, and/or cash flows.
Further, tax laws and regulations in domestic and international jurisdictions are often extremely complex and subject to varying interpretations and may require us to make judgments and estimates about our provisions, including with
respect to certain transactions where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe that our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded, which could have a material impact on our financial position, results of operations, and/or cash flows.
Additionally, our future income tax obligations could be adversely affected by changes in, or interpretations of, tax laws, regulations, policies, or decisions in the United States or in the other jurisdictions in which we operate.
Risks Related to Financial Matters
The market price and trading volume of our shares may be volatile.
The market price of our common shares could fluctuate significantly for many reasons, including reasons unrelated to our specific performance, such as reports by industry analysts, investor perceptions, or negative announcements by customers, competitors, or suppliers regarding their own performance, as well as general global economic, industry, and political conditions. Our performance could be different than analyst expectations or issued guidance, causing a decline in our stock price. To the extent that other large companies within our industry experience declines in share price, our share price may decline as well. In addition, we may discontinue or reduce dividend payments and may discontinue or suspend our share repurchase program based on several factors, including our cash balances and potential future capital requirements for strategic transactions, including acquisitions, results of operations, financial condition and other factors that our Board of Directors may deem relevant. Any modification or suspension of dividends and any suspension or termination of our share repurchase program could cause our stock price to decline.
When the market price of a company’s shares drops significantly, shareholders could institute securities class action lawsuits against us or otherwise engage in activism, which could cause us to incur substantial costs and could divert the time and attention of our management and other resources.
Risks related to our defined benefit retirement plans may adversely impact results of operations and cash flows.
Significant changes in actual investment returns on defined benefit plan assets, discount rates, and other factors could adversely affect our comprehensive income and the amount of contributions we are required to make to the defined benefit plans in future periods. As our defined benefit plan assets and liabilities are marked-to-market on an annual basis, large non-cash gains or losses could be recorded in the fourth quarter of each fiscal year. In accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles, the income or expense for the plans is calculated using actuarial valuations. These valuations reflect assumptions about financial markets and interest rates, which may change based on economic conditions. Funding requirements for the defined benefit plans are dependent upon, among other things, interest rates, underlying asset returns, and the impact of legislative or regulatory changes related to defined benefit funding obligations. Unfavorable changes in these factors could adversely affect our results.
Our business and operations are subject to interest rate risks, and changes in interest rates can reduce demand for our products and increase borrowing costs.
Rising interest rates could have a negative effect on overall economic activity, and could impair the ability of real estate developers, property owners, and contractors to obtain reasonable costs of capital on borrowed funds, resulting in depressed levels of construction and renovation projects and a resulting decrease in demand for our products and services. Rising interest rates could also impair our customers’ ability to repay obligations to us. Additionally, rising interest rates may increase our cost of capital, which could have material adverse effects on our financial condition and cash flows.
The instability of certain financial institutions may have adverse impacts on certain of our vendors and customers and/or on our ability to access our cash deposits, which could negatively impact our cash flows, results of operations, and financial condition.
During fiscal 2023, there have been public reports of instability at certain financial institutions. Although we do not hold material deposits or investments at these financial institutions, and despite the steps taken to date by U.S. and foreign agencies and institutions to protect depositors, the follow-on effects of the events surrounding recent bank failures and pressure on other financial institutions are unknown, could include failures of other financial institutions to which we face direct or indirect exposure, and may lead to significant disruptions to the cash flows, operations and financial condition of our vendors, customers, and/or us. Additionally, tight credit conditions could impair the ability of real estate developers, property owners, and contractors to effectively access capital markets or obtain
reasonable costs of capital on borrowed funds, resulting in depressed levels of construction and renovation projects. The inability of these constituents to borrow money to fund construction and renovation projects may reduce the demand for the Company’s products and services.
Item 1b.Unresolved Staff Comments.
Our general corporate offices are located in Atlanta, Georgia. Because of the diverse nature of operations and the large number of individual locations, it is neither practical nor meaningful to describe each of our operating facilities owned or leased. The following listing summarizes the significant facility categories by which reportable segment, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls (“ABL”) or the Intelligent Spaces Group (“ISG”), the facility primarily benefits as of August 31, 2023:
|Nature of Facilities||Owned||Leased||Owned||Leased||Leased||Owned||Leased|
|Manufacturing facilities||10 ||5 ||2 ||1 ||— ||12 ||6 |
|Warehouses||— ||1 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||1 |
|Distribution centers||2 ||6 ||— ||— ||— ||2 ||6 |
|Offices||5 ||10 ||— ||3 ||1 ||5 ||14 |
|Total||17 ||22 ||2 ||4 ||1 ||19 ||27 |
The following table provides additional geographic information related to our manufacturing facilities as of August 31, 2023:
|Owned||4 ||5 ||1 ||— ||10 |
|Leased||1 ||2 ||— ||2 ||5 |
|Total||5 ||7 ||1 ||2 ||15 |
|Owned||— ||— ||1 ||1 ||2 |
|Leased||1 ||— ||— ||— ||1 |
|Total||1 ||— ||1 ||1 ||3 |
We believe that our properties are well maintained and in good operating condition and that our properties are suitable and adequate for our present needs. Initiatives related to enhancing global operations may result in the future consolidation of certain facilities.
Item 3.Legal Proceedings.
See the Commitments and Contingencies footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding our legal proceedings.
Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures.
Item 5.Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AYI.” At October 20, 2023, there were 1,785 stockholders of record.
The timing, declaration, and payment of future dividends to holders of our common stock will depend upon many factors, including our cash balances and potential future capital requirements for strategic transactions, including acquisitions, results of operations, financial condition, and other factors that our Board of Directors may deem relevant.
The information required by this item with respect to equity compensation plans is included under the caption Equity Compensation Plans in our proxy statement for the annual meeting of stockholders to be held January 24, 2024, which we will file with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A. The proxy statement is incorporated herein by reference.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On March 31, 2022, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) authorized the repurchase of up to five million shares of our common stock. Under the current share repurchase authorization, we may repurchase shares of our common stock from time to time at prevailing market prices, depending on market conditions, through open market or privately negotiated transactions. No date has been established for the completion of the share repurchase program, and we are not obligated to repurchase any shares. Subject to applicable corporate securities laws, repurchases may be made at such times and in such amounts as management deems appropriate. Repurchases under the program can be discontinued at any time management feels additional repurchases are not warranted. As of August 31, 2023, the maximum number of shares that may yet be repurchased under the share repurchase program authorized by the Board equaled 1.2 million shares. The following table summarizes share repurchase activity by month for the quarter ended August 31, 2023:
|Period||Total Number of Shares Purchased||Average Price Paid per Share||Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs||Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs|
|6/1/2023 through 6/30/2023||129,774 ||$||163.44 ||129,774 ||1,406,752 |
|7/1/2023 through 7/31/2023||75,027 ||$||167.12 ||75,027 ||1,331,725 |
|8/1/2023 through 8/31/2023||101,935 ||$||164.33 ||101,935 ||1,229,790 |
|Total||306,736 ||$||164.64 ||306,736 ||1,229,790 |
Company Stock Performance
The following information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is not deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C under the Exchange Act or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, and it will not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act, except to the extent specifically incorporated by reference into such filing.
The following graph compares the cumulative total return to shareholders on our outstanding stock during the five years ended August 31, 2023, with the cumulative total returns of the Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) Midcap 400 Index, the Dow Jones U.S. Electrical Components & Equipment Index, and the Dow Jones U.S. Building Materials & Fixtures Index. We are a component of both the S&P Midcap 400 Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Building Materials & Fixtures Index. The Dow Jones U.S. Electrical Components & Equipment Index is included in the following graph as the parent companies of several major lighting companies are included in the index.
COMPARISON OF FIVE-YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN*
Among Acuity Brands, Inc., the S&P Midcap 400 Index,
the Dow Jones U.S. Electrical Components & Equipment Index,
and the Dow Jones U.S. Building Materials & Fixtures Index
*Assumes $100 invested on August 31, 2018 in stock or index, including reinvestment of dividends.
|Acuity Brands, Inc.||$||100 ||$||82 ||$||72 ||$||122 ||$||109 ||$||108 |
|S&P Midcap 400 Index||100 ||94 ||98 ||141 ||127 ||140 |
|Dow Jones U.S. Electrical Components & Equipment Index||100 ||90 ||104 ||150 ||133 ||161 |
|Dow Jones U.S. Building Materials & Fixtures Index||100 ||111 ||130 ||206 ||162 ||205 |
Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
The purpose of this discussion and analysis is to enhance the understanding and evaluation of the results of operations, financial position, cash flows, indebtedness, and other key financial information of Acuity Brands, Inc. (referred to herein as “we,” “our,” “us,” the “Company,” or similar references) and its subsidiaries for the fiscal years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included within this report.
A discussion of the year ended August 31, 2022 compared to the year ended August 31, 2021 can be found within Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis within our fiscal 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 26, 2022.
We are a market-leading industrial technology company. We use technology to solve problems in spaces and light. Through our two business segments, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls (“ABL”) and the Intelligent Spaces Group (“ISG”), we design, manufacture, and bring to market products and services that make a valuable difference in people's lives. We achieve growth through the development of innovative new products and services, including lighting, lighting controls, building management solutions, and location-aware applications.
Financial Condition, Capital Resources, and Liquidity
We have numerous sources of capital, including cash on hand and cash flows generated from operations, as well as various sources of financing. Our ability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations or to access certain capital markets, including banks, is necessary to meet our capital allocation priorities, which are to invest in our current business for growth, to invest in mergers and acquisitions, to maintain our dividend, and to make share repurchases. Sufficient cash flow generation is also critical to fund our operations in the short and long terms and to maintain compliance with covenants contained in our financing agreements.
Our significant contractual cash requirements as of August 31, 2023 primarily include principal and interest on our unsecured notes, accounts payable, accrued employee compensation, and operating lease liabilities. We had no borrowings outstanding under our credit agreement as of August 31, 2023. Further details on our borrowings and operating lease liabilities are outlined in the Debt and Lines of Credit and Leases footnotes of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, respectively, within this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Additionally, we incur purchase obligations in the ordinary course of business that are enforceable and legally binding. Contractual purchase obligations subsequent to August 31, 2023 include $302.6 million in fiscal 2024. Contractual purchase obligations beyond fiscal 2024 are not significant.
We believe that we will be able to meet our liquidity needs over the next 12 months based on our cash on hand, current projections of cash flows from operations, and borrowing availability under financing arrangements. Additionally, we believe that our cash flows from operations and sources of funding, including, but not limited to, future borrowings and borrowing capacity, will sufficiently support our long-term liquidity needs. In the event of a sustained market deterioration, we may need additional capital, which would require us to evaluate available alternatives and take appropriate actions.
Our cash position at August 31, 2023 was $397.9 million, an increase of $174.7 million from August 31, 2022. Cash generated from operating activities and cash on hand were used during the current year to fund our capital allocation priorities as discussed below.
We generated $578.1 million of cash flows from operating activities during fiscal 2023 compared with $316.3 million in the prior-year period, an increase of $261.8 million. This increase was due primarily to increased cash collections from customers and fewer inventory purchases during the current period, partially offset by the timing of payments for purchases on account.
See the Debt and Lines of Credit footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements within this Annual Report on Form 10-K for discussion of the terms of our various financing arrangements, including the $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of 2.150% senior unsecured notes due December 15, 2030 (the “Unsecured Notes”) as well as the terms of our $600.0 million five-year unsecured revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”).
At August 31, 2023, our outstanding debt balance was $495.6 million, which consisted solely of our Unsecured Notes, compared to our cash position of $397.9 million. We were in compliance with all covenants under our financing arrangements as of August 31, 2023.
At August 31, 2023, we had additional borrowing capacity under the Revolving Credit Facility of $596.2 million under the most restrictive covenant in effect at the time, which represents the full amount of the facility less the outstanding letters of credit of $3.8 million issued under the facility. As of August 31, 2023, our cash on hand combined with the additional borrowing capacity under the revolving credit facility totaled approximately $994.1 million.
The Unsecured Notes were issued by Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acuity Brands, Inc. The Unsecured Notes are fully and unconditionally guaranteed on a senior unsecured basis by Acuity Brands, Inc. and ABL IP Holding LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acuity Brands, Inc. The following tables present summarized financial information for Acuity Brands, Inc., Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc., and ABL IP Holding LLC on a combined basis after the elimination of all intercompany balances and transactions between the combined group as well as any investments in non-guarantors as of the dates and during the period presented (in millions):
|Summarized Balance Sheet Information||August 31, 2023||August 31, 2022|
|Current assets||$||995.7 ||$||1,056.6 |
|Current assets due from non-guarantor affiliates||326.4 ||280.2 |
|Non-current assets||1,377.9 ||1,414.3 |
|Current liabilities||464.2 ||620.4 |
|Non-current liabilities||785.4 ||821.0 |
|Summarized Income Statement Information||Year Ended August 31, 2023|
|Net sales||$||3,310.4 |
|Gross profit||1,417.2 |
|Net income||329.7 |
Capital Allocation Priorities
Our capital allocation priorities are to invest in our current business for growth, to invest in mergers and acquisitions, to maintain our dividend, and to make share repurchases.
Investments in Current Business for Growth
We invested $66.7 million and $56.5 million in property, plant, and equipment in fiscal 2023 and 2022, respectively. We invested more in fiscal 2023 primarily on new and enhanced equipment, facility improvements, and information technology.
Strategic Acquisitions, Investments, and Divestitures
We seek opportunities to strategically expand and enhance our portfolio of solutions. On May 15, 2023, using cash on hand, we acquired all of the equity interests of KE2 Therm Solutions, Inc. (“KE2 Therm”). KE2 Therm develops and provides intelligent refrigeration control solutions that deliver the precision of digital controls to promote safety, efficiency, and reliability, while delivering cost savings to the customer. This acquisition is intended to expand ISG's technology and controls product portfolio and reach new customers.
We sold our Sunoptics prismatic skylights business in November 2022. We recognized a pre-tax loss of $11.2 million on the sale of this business.
There were no acquisitions or divestitures during fiscal 2022. The $12.9 million of cash outflows in fiscal 2022 reflected in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows primarily relate to working capital settlements for fiscal 2021 acquisitions.
Please refer to the Acquisitions and Divestitures footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information.
We paid dividends on our common stock of $16.8 million ($0.52 per share) in fiscal 2023 and $18.1 million ($0.52 per share) in fiscal 2022, indicating a quarterly dividend rate of $0.13 per share. All decisions regarding the declaration and payment of dividends are at the discretion of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) and are evaluated regularly in light of our financial condition, earnings, growth prospects, funding requirements, applicable law, and any other factors the Board deems relevant.
During fiscal 2023, we repurchased 1.6 million shares of our outstanding common stock for $269.3 million. Total cash outflows for share repurchases during fiscal 2023 were $266.6 million. We expect to repurchase shares on an opportunistic basis subject to various factors including stock price, Company performance, market conditions, and other possible uses of cash. As of August 31, 2023, the maximum number of shares that may yet be repurchased under the share repurchase program authorized by the Board equaled 1.2 million shares.
Results of Operations
The following is a discussion of our results of operations in fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022. A discussion of our fiscal 2022 results of operations compared to fiscal 2021 can be found within Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis within our fiscal 2022 Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 26, 2022.
The following table sets forth information comparing the components of net income for the year ended August 31, 2023 with the year ended August 31, 2022 (in millions except per share data):
|Year Ended August 31,||Increase||Percent|
| ||2023||2022||(Decrease)|| ||Change|
|Net sales||$||3,952.2 ||$||4,006.1 ||$||(53.9)||(1.3)||%|
|Cost of products sold||2,239.0 ||2,333.4 ||(94.4)||(4.0)||%|
|Gross profit||1,713.2 ||1,672.7 ||40.5 ||2.4 ||%|
|Percent of net sales||43.3 ||%||41.8 ||%||150 ||bps|| |
|Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses||1,212.9 ||1,163.0 ||49.9 || ||4.3 ||%|
|Special charges||26.9 ||— ||26.9 ||NM|
|Operating profit||473.4 ||509.7 ||(36.3)|| ||(7.1)||%|
|Percent of net sales||12.0 ||%||12.7 ||%||(70)||bps|| |
|Other expense:|| || || || || |
|Interest expense, net||18.9 ||24.9 ||(6.0)|| ||(24.1)||%|
|Miscellaneous expense (income), net||7.8 ||(9.1)||16.9 || ||NM|
|Total other expense||26.7 ||15.8 ||10.9 || ||NM|
|Income before income taxes||446.7 ||493.9 ||(47.2)||(9.6)||%|
|Percent of net sales||11.3 ||%||12.3 ||%||(100)||bps|| |
|Income tax expense||100.7 ||109.9 ||(9.2)||(8.4)||%|
|Effective tax rate||22.5 ||%||22.3 ||%|| || || |
|Net income||$||346.0 ||$||384.0 ||$||(38.0)||(9.9)||%|
|Diluted earnings per share||$||10.76 ||$||11.08 ||$||(0.32)||(2.9)||%|
|NM - not meaningful|
Net sales of $3.95 billion for the year ended August 31, 2023 decreased by $53.9 million, or 1.3%, compared with the prior-year period due to declines in sales within our ABL segment, partially offset by higher sales within our ISG segment. The divestiture from our Sunoptics prismatic skylight business, the acquisition of KE2 Therm, and changes in foreign currency rates did not have a meaningful impact on net sales for the year ended August 31, 2023.
Gross profit for the year ended August 31, 2023 increased $40.5 million, or 2.4%, to $1.71 billion compared with $1.67 billion for the prior year, and gross profit margin increased 150 basis points to 43.3% for fiscal 2023 compared with 41.8% in the prior-year period. Our gross profit increased compared with the prior year on lower sales as we strategically managed price. This increase was partially offset by higher labor costs as well as the recognition of a $13.0 million charge resulting from the collectability of a supplier warranty obligation owed to us for components we used in products manufactured and sold between 2017 and 2019.
Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses of $1.21 billion for the year ended August 31, 2023 increased $49.9 million, or 4.3%, compared with the prior year. This increase was due primarily to higher employee-related costs and higher commissions.
We also recognized special charges of $26.9 million during fiscal year 2023. Please refer to the Special Charges footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements within this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details.
Operating profit for fiscal 2023 was $473.4 million compared with $509.7 million reported for the prior-year period, a decrease of $36.3 million, or 7.1%. The decrease in operating profit for fiscal 2023 compared with fiscal 2022 was due to the recognition of special charges in fiscal 2023 as well as increased operating expenses, partially offset by an increase in gross profit.
Interest Expense, net
Interest expense, net, was $18.9 million and $24.9 million for the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The decrease in net interest expense was due to increased investing rates on our interest-bearing cash cash equivalents. compared to the prior year, partially offset by changes in average short-term borrowings outstanding.
Miscellaneous Expense (Income), net
Miscellaneous expense (income), net consists of non-service related components of net periodic pension cost, gains and losses associated with foreign currency-related transactions, and non-operating gains and losses.
We reported net miscellaneous expense of $7.8 million in fiscal 2023 compared with net miscellaneous income of $9.1 million in fiscal 2022. This year-over-year change was due primarily to the recognition of an $11.2 million loss on the sale of our Sunoptics prismatic skylights business in fiscal 2023 and an impairment charge of $2.5 million for one unconsolidated equity investment, as well as higher pension cost. These amounts were partially offset by higher gains on foreign currency-related items compared to the prior year.
The details of the Sunoptics sale are described in the Acquisitions and Divestitures footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements. The details of the equity investment impairment charge are included in the Fair Value Measurements footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Income Taxes and Net Income
Our effective income tax rate was 22.5% and 22.3% for the years ended August 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. Further details regarding income taxes are included in the Income Taxes footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Net income for fiscal 2023 decreased $38.0 million, or 9.9%, to $346.0 million from $384.0 million reported for the prior year. The decrease in net income resulted primarily from a decrease in operating profit compared to the prior-year period.
Diluted earnings per share for fiscal 2023 was $10.76 compared with $11.08 for the prior-year period, a decrease of $0.32, or 2.9%. This decrease reflects lower net income, partially offset by lower outstanding diluted shares.
The following tables set forth information comparing the operating results of our segments, ABL and ISG, for the year ended August 31, 2023 with the year ended August 31, 2022 (in millions):
|Year Ended August 31,|
|2023||2022||Increase (Decrease)||Percent Change|
|Net sales||$||3,722.8 ||$||3,810.1 ||$||(87.3)||(2.3)||%|
|Operating profit||509.5 ||545.6 ||(36.1)||(6.6)||%|
|Operating profit margin||13.7 ||%||14.3 ||%||(60)||bps|
|Net sales||$||252.7 ||$||216.1 ||$||36.6 ||16.9 ||%|
|Operating profit||32.1 ||22.7 ||$||9.4 ||41.4 ||%|
|Operating profit margin||12.7 ||%||10.5 ||%||220 ||bps|
ABL net sales for the year ended August 31, 2023 decreased 2.3% compared with the prior-year period due primarily to lower net sales within original equipment manufacturer ("OEM") and other, independent sales network, and corporate accounts channels, partially offset by higher net sales in direct sales network and retail sales channels.
Operating profit for ABL was $509.5 million (13.7% of ABL net sales) for the year ended August 31, 2023 compared to $545.6 million (14.3% of ABL net sales) in the prior-year period, a decrease of $36.1 million. The decrease in operating profit was due primarily to special charges of $25.0 million, the recognition of a $13.0 million charge related to the collectability of a supplier receivable, and lower net sales. These declines were partially offset by our strategic management of price.
ISG net sales for the year ended August 31, 2023 increased 16.9% compared with the prior-year period driven primarily by strong demand for building and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls as well as price increases. ISG operating profit was $32.1 million (12.7% of ISG net sales) for the year ended August 31, 2023 compared with $22.7 million (10.5% of ISG net sales) in the prior-year period, an increase of $9.4 million. This increase was due primarily to contributions from higher sales, partially offset by increased employee costs.
Accounting Standards Adopted in Fiscal 2023 and Accounting Standards Yet to Be Adopted
See the New Accounting Pronouncements footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information on recently adopted and upcoming standards.
Critical Accounting Estimates
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations addresses the financial condition and results of operations as reflected in our Consolidated Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”). As discussed in the Description of Business and Basis of Presentation footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, the preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements as well as reported amounts of revenue and expense during the reporting period. On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our estimates and judgments. We base our estimates and judgments on our substantial historical experience and/or other relevant factors, such as projections of future performance, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results could differ from those estimates. We discuss the development of accounting estimates with our Audit Committee of the Board of Directors on a recurring basis. See the Significant Accounting Policies footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of our accounting policies.
We believe the following accounting topics represent our critical accounting estimates.
We recognize revenue when we transfer control of goods and services to our customers. Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for goods and services. In the period of revenue recognition, we estimate and record provisions for certain rebates, sales incentives, product returns, and discounts to customers, in most instances, as reductions of revenue. We also maintain one-time or on-going marketing and trade-promotion programs with certain customers that require us to estimate and accrue the expected costs of such programs. Generally, these items are estimated based on customer agreements, historical trends, and expected demand. For sales with multiple deliverables, significant judgment may be required to determine which performance obligations are distinct and should be accounted for separately. We allocate the expected consideration to be collected to each distinct performance obligation based on its standalone selling price. Standalone selling price is generally estimated using a cost plus margin valuation when no observable input is available.
Actual results could differ from estimates, which would require adjustments to recorded amounts. Please refer to the Revenue Recognition footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding estimates related to revenue recognition.
Inventories include materials, direct labor, inbound freight, customs, duties, tariffs, and related manufacturing overhead. Inventories are stated on a first-in, first-out basis at the lower of cost and net realizable value. We review inventory quantities on hand and record a provision for excess or obsolete inventory primarily based on estimated future demand and current market conditions. A significant change in customer demand, market conditions, or technology could render certain inventory obsolete and thus could have a material adverse impact on our operating results in the period the change occurs.
Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
Indefinite-lived intangible assets consist of trade names acquired through multiple acquisitions that are expected to generate cash flows indefinitely. Significant estimates and assumptions were used to both identify and determine the initial fair value of these acquired intangible assets, often with the assistance of third-party valuation specialists. These assumptions include, but are not limited to, estimated future net sales and profitability, customer attrition rates, royalty rates, and discount rates. Goodwill is calculated as the residual value of an acquisition's purchase price less the value of the identifiable net assets and is thus dependent on the appropriate identification and valuation of the net assets obtained in an acquisition.
We review goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment on an annual basis in the fiscal fourth quarter and on an interim basis if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not indicate that the fair value of the goodwill or an indefinite-lived asset is below its carrying value. An impairment loss for goodwill or an indefinite-lived intangible asset would be recognized based on the difference between the carrying value of the asset and its estimated fair value, which would be determined based on either discounted future cash flows or another appropriate fair value method. The evaluation of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangibles for impairment requires management to use significant judgments and estimates in accordance with U.S. GAAP including, but not limited to, economic, industry, and Company-specific qualitative factors, projected future net sales, operating results, and cash flows.
We currently believe that the estimates used in the evaluation of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangibles are reasonable, including our calculations of fiscal 2023 trade name impairment charges described below. However, future differences between actual and expected net sales, operating results, and cash flows and/or changes in the discount rates or theoretical royalty rates used could require us to record additional non-cash impairment charges to earnings for the write-down in the value of such assets. Such charges could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position but not our cash flows from operations.
We performed our annual goodwill impairment analyses on the first day of our fiscal fourth quarter (June 1) for each period presented. Goodwill was tested for impairment at the reporting unit level using a combination of discounted future cash flows and relevant market multiples. Our discounted cash flow analyses required significant assumptions about discount rates, short and long-term growth rates, and future profitability. For the tests performed as of June 1, 2023, we utilized estimated discount rates ranging from 11% to 13%. These rates were based on the
Capital Asset Pricing Model, which considers a risk-free interest rate, beta, market risk premium, and size premium to determine an appropriate discount rate for a reporting unit. Short-term growth rates were based on management’s forecasted financial results, which consider key business drivers such as specific revenue growth initiatives, market share changes, growth in our addressable market, and general economic factors such as macroeconomic conditions, credit availability, and interest rates. We calculated the discounted cash flows attributable to our reporting units for a 10-year discrete period with a terminal value and compared this calculation to the discounted cash flows generated over a 40-year period to corroborate the reasonableness of assumptions used. The long-term growth rate used in determining terminal value was estimated at 2.5% and was primarily based on our understanding of projections for expected long-term growth in our addressable market and historical long-term performance.
We corroborate the values determined from our discounted cash flow models using a relevant market multiple, generally published earnings and/or revenue multiples. We also reconcile the sum of the fair values for each reporting unit to our market capitalization at the testing date, including consideration of a control premium.
Any reasonably likely change in the assumptions used in these analyses, including revenue growth rates, discount rates, long-term growth rates, or relevant multiples would not cause the carrying value of any reporting unit to exceed its estimated fair value as determined under the goodwill impairment analysis. See the Significant Accounting Policies footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further details.
Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
We performed our annual indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment analyses on the first day of our fiscal fourth quarter (June 1) for each period presented. As of June 1, 2023, the current fiscal year testing date, we held 13 indefinite-lived intangible assets with an aggregate carrying value of $173.4 million. We utilized significant assumptions to estimate the fair value of these indefinite-lived trade names using a fair value model based on discounted future cash flows (“fair value model”) in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 820, Fair Value Measurement (“ASC 820”). Future cash flows associated with each of our indefinite-lived trade names are calculated by multiplying a theoretical royalty rate a willing third party would pay for use of the particular trade name by estimated future net sales attributable to the relevant trade name. The present value of the resulting after-tax cash flows is our current estimate of the fair value of each trade name. This fair value model requires us to make several significant assumptions, including specific estimated future net sales (including short and long-term growth rates), a royalty rate, and a discount rate for each trade name.
Our fiscal 2023 analyses resulted in impairment charges and the determination that certain assets no longer had indefinite lives. As of August 31, 2023, we held eight indefinite-lived intangible assets with an aggregate carrying value of $135.6 million. See the Significant Accounting Policies and Fair Value Measurement footnotes of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further details regarding the assumptions used and results of our annual impairment tests for the periods presented.
Share-based Payment Expense
We recognize compensation cost for share-based payment transactions in the financial statements under the provisions of ASC Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”). Restricted stock awards, performance stock awards, stock options, and director stock units representing certain deferrals into the Nonemployee Director Deferred Compensation Plan (the “Director Plan”) are valued based on their estimated grant date fair values. Depending on the nature of the grant, an award's fair value is based on the fair value of our common stock on the grant date, a Black-Scholes model, or a Monte Carlo simulation.
We generally recognize compensation cost for share-based payment transactions on a straight-line basis over an award's requisite service period, derived service period, or expected performance period. In certain circumstances, such as when a performance award is subject to graded vesting, we apply the accelerated attribution method to recognize compensation cost related to our share-based payment awards. When the actual number of awards earned is based on future performance, we recognize expense when it becomes probable that the performance metric will be satisfied.
Additionally, we estimate forfeitures of all share-based awards at the time of grant. We adjust forfeiture estimates for awards through their vesting dates to recognize compensation cost only for awards that actually vest. Forfeitures are estimated based on historical experience. If factors change causing different assumptions to be made in future periods, estimated compensation expense may differ significantly from that recorded in the current period.
See the Share-based Payments footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further information on these awards, including assumptions used in estimating the fair value of our awards.
Product Warranty and Recall Costs
Our products generally have a standard warranty term of five years. We accrue for the estimated amount of future warranty costs when the related revenue is recognized. Estimated future warranty costs are primarily based on historical experience of identified warranty claims. Estimated costs related to product warranty and recall costs outside of our historical experience, which could include significant product recalls or formal campaigns soliciting repair or return of a product, are accrued when they are deemed to be probable and can be reasonably estimated. Any estimated or actual loss recoveries that offset our costs and payments are reflected as assets based on the timing of receipt of recovery net of any amounts deemed uncollectible.
We are fully self-insured for product warranty costs. Although we expect that historical activity will continue to be the best indicator of future warranty costs, there can be no assurance that future warranty costs will not exceed historical amounts. If actual future warranty or recall costs exceed recorded amounts, additional accruals may be required, which could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and cash flow.
We also sell certain service-type warranties that extend coverages for products beyond their base warranties. We account for service-type warranties as distinct performance obligations, allocate an appropriate amount of transaction price to these transactions, and recognize revenue for these contracts ratably over the life of the additional warranty period. We allocate transaction price to our service-type warranties largely based on expectations of cost plus margin based on our estimate of future claims. These estimates are subject to a higher level of estimation uncertainty than other estimates, as we have less experience in costs in the extended warranty period. Claims related to service-type warranties are expensed as incurred.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Information
This filing contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Act”). Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements that describe or relate to the Company’s plans, initiatives, projections, vision, goals, targets, commitments, expectations, objectives, prospects, strategies, or financial outlook, and the assumptions underlying or relating thereto. In some cases, we may use words such as “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “indicate,” “project,” “predict,” “plan,” “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “potential,” and words of similar meaning, as well as other words or expressions referencing future events, conditions, or circumstances, to identify forward-looking statements. We intend these forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Act. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Our forward-looking statements are based on our current beliefs, expectations, and assumptions, which may not prove to be accurate, and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of our control. These risks and uncertainties could cause actual events or results to differ materially from our historical experience and management’s present expectations or projections. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including this annual report on Form 10-K (including, but not limited to, Part I, Item 1a. Risk Factors), quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and current reports on Form 8-K. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect any events or circumstances after the date of this quarterly report or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Item 7a.Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.
We are exposed to worldwide market risks that may impact our Consolidated Balance Sheets, Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income, Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows, and Consolidated Statements of Stockholders' Equity due primarily to changing interest and foreign exchange rates. We do not currently engage in significant commodity hedging transactions for raw materials. The following discussion provides additional information regarding our market risks.
Interest rate fluctuations expose variable-rate debt of the organization to changes in interest expense and cash flows. As of August 31, 2023, our long-term debt consisted primarily of fixed-rate senior unsecured notes. A fluctuation in interest rates would not affect interest expense or cash flows related to the Company’s fixed-rate debt.
However, a 10% increase in market interest rates at August 31, 2023 would have decreased the estimated fair value of our senior unsecured notes by approximately $14.2 million. As of August 31, 2023, we had no borrowings outstanding on our credit facility. Interest incurred on these borrowings is not significant to our overall results of operations or cash flows. See the Debt and Lines of Credit footnote of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements contained in this Form 10-K for additional information.
Foreign Exchange Rates
The majority of our net sales, expense, and capital purchases are transacted in U.S. dollars. However, exposure with respect to foreign exchange rate fluctuation exists due to our operations in Mexico and Canada, where a significant portion of products sold are produced or sourced from the United States, and, to a lesser extent, in Europe. Based on fiscal 2023 performance, a hypothetical depreciation of 10% in the value of the Canadian dollar in relation to the U.S. dollar would negatively impact operating profit by approximately $11.9 million, while a hypothetical 10% appreciation in the value of the Canadian dollar in relation to the U.S. dollar would favorably impact operating profit by approximately $14.5 million. In addition to products and services sold in Mexico, a significant portion of the goods sold in the United States are manufactured in Mexico. A hypothetical 10% decrease in the value of the Mexican peso in relation to the U.S. dollar would favorably impact operating profit by approximately $19.4 million, while a hypothetical 10% increase in the value of the Mexican peso in relation to the U.S. dollar would negatively impact operating profit by approximately $23.7 million. The individual impacts to the operating profit of hypothetical currency fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso have been calculated in isolation from any potential responses to address such exchange rate changes in our foreign markets.
Our exposure to foreign currency risk related to our operations in Europe is immaterial and has been excluded from this analysis.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
MANAGEMENT’S REPORT ON INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
The management of Acuity Brands, Inc. is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Internal control over financial reporting is defined in Rule 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
The Company’s management assessed the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2023. In making this assessment, the Company’s management used the criteria set forth by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (“COSO”) in Internal Control-Integrated Framework (2013 Framework). Based on this assessment, management believes that, as of August 31, 2023, the Company’s internal control over financial reporting is effective.
Management’s assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting did not include the internal controls of the acquired business of KE2 Therm Solutions, Inc., (“KE2 Therm”), which is included in the Company’s consolidated financial statements as of August 31, 2023 and for the period from the acquisition date of May 15, 2023 through August 31, 2023. As of August 31, 2023, KE2 Therm constituted less than 2% of both the Company’s consolidated assets and stockholders' equity. For the year ended August 31, 2023, KE2 Therm constituted less than 1% of both the Company's net sales and pre-tax income.
Ernst & Young LLP (PCAOB ID: 42), the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm, has issued an audit report on its audit of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. This report dated October 26, 2023 is included within this Form 10-K.
|/s/ NEIL M. ASHE|| ||/s/ KAREN J. HOLCOM|
|Neil M. Ashe|
Chairman, President and
Chief Executive Officer
| ||Karen J. Holcom|
Senior Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Acuity Brands, Inc.
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Acuity Brands, Inc. (the Company) as of August 31, 2023 and 2022, the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, cash flows and stockholders’ equity for each of the three years in the period ended August 31, 2023, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at August 31, 2023 and 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended August 31, 2023, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control-Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework), and our report dated October 26, 2023 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that: (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective or complex judgments. The communication of the critical audit matter does not alter in any way our opinion on the consolidated financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the account or disclosures to which it relates.
Valuation of Indefinite-Lived Trade Names
|Description of the Matter|
As explained in Notes 2 and 5 to the consolidated financial statements, the Company tests indefinite-lived trade names for impairment on an annual basis or more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not indicate that the fair value of the indefinite-lived trade name is below its carrying amount. The Company’s indefinite-lived intangible assets consisted of thirteen trade names with an aggregate carrying value of approximately $173.4 million as of June 1, 2023, the Company’s annual indefinite-lived trade name testing date. If the carrying amount exceeds the estimated fair value, an impairment loss would be recorded in the amount equal to the excess. As described in Notes 2 and 5, the Company recognized an impairment charge of approximately $14.0 million for six of these trade names.
Auditing the Company’s impairment tests for indefinite-lived trade names was especially complex due to the judgmental nature of the significant assumptions used in the determination of estimated fair values for trade names. The Company estimates the fair values of trade names using a fair value model based on discounted future cash flows. Significant assumptions used to estimate the value of the trade names included estimated future net sales (including short- and long-term growth rates), discount rates and royalty rates, all of which are forward-looking and could be materially affected by economic, industry and company-specific qualitative factors.
How We Addressed the Matter in Our Audit
We obtained an understanding, evaluated the design and tested the operating effectiveness of controls over the Company’s annual impairment process. This included testing controls over management’s review of the discounted cash flow model, including the significant assumptions described above.
To test the fair values of the Company’s indefinite-lived trade names, our audit procedures included, among others, evaluating the Company’s use of the discounted cash flow model, the completeness and accuracy of the underlying data and the significant assumptions described above. We compared the significant assumptions to current industry, market and economic trends, and the Company’s historical results. For the six trade names that were impaired, we involved our valuation specialists to assist in evaluating the Company’s discounted cash flow model and certain assumptions including the discount rates and royalty rates. In addition, we considered the accuracy of the Company’s historical projections of net sales compared to actual net sales. We also performed a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the potential change in the fair values of the trade names resulting from changes in the significant assumptions.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2002.
October 26, 2023
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Acuity Brands, Inc.
Opinion on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
We have audited Acuity Brands, Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2023, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (2013 framework) (the COSO criteria). In our opinion, Acuity Brands, Inc. (the Company) maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of August 31, 2023, based on the COSO criteria.
As indicated in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting, management’s assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting did not include the internal controls of the acquired business of KE2 Therm Solutions, Inc. (KE2 Therm), which is included in the 2023 consolidated financial statements of the Company and constituted less than 2% of both the Company’s consolidated assets and stockholders’ equity, as of August 31, 2023 and less than 1% of both net sales and pre-tax income, for the year then ended. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting of the Company also did not include an evaluation of the internal control over financial reporting of KE2 Therm.
We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated balance sheets of the Company as of August 31, 2023 and 2022, the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income, cash flows and stockholders’ equity for each of the three years in the period ended August 31, 2023, and the related notes and our report dated October 26, 2023 expressed an unqualified opinion thereon.
Basis for Opinion
The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.
Our audit included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.
Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
October 26, 2023
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In millions, except share data)
| ||August 31,|
|Current assets:|| || |
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||397.9 ||$||223.2 |
Accounts receivable, less reserve for doubtful accounts of $1.3 and $1.2, respectively
|555.3 ||665.9 |
|Inventories||368.5 ||485.7 |
|Prepayments and other current assets||73.5 ||91.2 |
|Total current assets||1,395.2 ||1,466.0 |
|Property, plant, and equipment, net||297.6 ||276.5 |
|Operating lease right-of-use assets||84.1 ||74.9 |
|Goodwill||1,097.9 ||1,084.3 |
|Intangible assets, net||481.2 ||529.2 |
|Deferred income taxes||3.0 ||1.3 |
|Other long-term assets||49.5 ||48.0 |
|Total assets||$||3,408.5 ||$||3,480.2 |
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY|
|Current liabilities:|| || |
|Accounts payable||$||285.7 ||$||397.8 |
|Current maturities of debt||— ||18.0 |
|Current operating lease liabilities||19.7 ||15.7 |
|Accrued compensation||103.3 ||88.0 |
|Other accrued liabilities||186.7 ||214.1 |
|Total current liabilities||595.4 ||733.6 |
|Long-term debt||495.6 ||495.0 |
|Long-term operating lease liabilities||75.5 ||67.4 |
|Accrued pension liabilities||38.4 ||41.4 |
|Deferred income taxes||59.0 ||102.1 |
|Other long-term liabilities||129.2 ||128.9 |
|Total liabilities||1,393.1 ||1,568.4 |
Commitments and contingencies (see Commitments and Contingencies footnote)
|Stockholders’ equity:|| || |
Preferred stock, $0.01 par value; 50,000,000 shares authorized; none issued
|— ||— |
Common stock, $0.01 par value; 500,000,000 shares authorized; 54,411,186 and 54,241,069 issued, respectively
|0.5 ||0.5 |
|Paid-in capital||1,066.8 ||1,036.3 |
|Retained earnings||3,505.4 ||3,176.2 |
|Accumulated other comprehensive loss||(112.6)||(125.8)|
Treasury stock, at cost — 23,362,196 and 21,753,820 shares, respectively
|Total stockholders’ equity||2,015.4 ||1,911.8 |
|Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity||$||3,408.5 ||$||3,480.2 |
The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(In millions, except per-share data)
| ||Year Ended August 31,|
|Net sales||$||3,952.2 ||$||4,006.1 ||$||3,461.0 |
|Cost of products sold||2,239.0 ||2,333.4 ||1,986.0 |
|Gross profit||1,713.2 ||1,672.7 ||1,475.0 |
|Selling, distribution, and administrative expenses||1,212.9 ||1,163.0 ||1,044.1 |
|Special charges||26.9 ||— ||3.3 |
|Operating profit||473.4 ||509.7 ||427.6 |
|Other expense:|| || || |
|Interest expense, net||18.9 ||24.9 ||23.2 |
|Miscellaneous expense (income), net||7.8 ||(9.1)||8.2 |
|Total other expense||26.7 ||15.8 ||31.4 |
|Income before income taxes||446.7 ||493.9 ||396.2 |
|Income tax expense||100.7 ||109.9 ||89.9 |
|Net income||$||346.0 ||$||384.0 ||$||306.3 |
Earnings per share(1):
| || || |
|Basic earnings per share||$||10.88 ||$||11.23 ||$||8.44 |
|Basic weighted average number of shares outstanding||31.806 ||34.182 ||36.284 |
|Diluted earnings per share||$||10.76 ||$||11.08 ||$||8.38 |
|Diluted weighted average number of shares outstanding||32.164 ||34.645 ||36.554 |
|Dividends declared per share||$||0.52 ||$||0.52 ||$||0.52 |
|Net income||$||346.0 ||$||384.0 ||$||306.3 |
|Other comprehensive income (loss) items, net of tax:|
|Foreign currency translation adjustments||8.5 ||(33.3)||13.3 |
|Defined benefit plans||4.7 ||5.7 ||21.2 |
|Other comprehensive income (loss) items, net of tax||13.2 ||(27.6)||34.5 |
|Comprehensive income||$||359.2 ||$||356.4 ||$||340.8 |
(1) Earnings per share is calculated using unrounded numbers. Amounts in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding.
The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
| ||Year Ended August 31,|
|Cash flows from operating activities:|| || || |
|Net income||$||346.0 ||$||384.0 ||$||306.3 |
|Adjustments to reconcile net income to cash flows from operating activities:|| || || |
|Depreciation and amortization||93.2 ||94.8 ||100.1 |
|Share-based payment expense||42.0 ||37.4 ||32.5 |
|Gain on the sale or disposal of property, plant, and equipment||— ||(2.3)||(0.1)|
|Asset impairments||20.8 ||1.7 ||6.0 |
|Loss on sale of a business||11.2 ||— ||— |
|Deferred income taxes||(47.8)||0.6 ||(2.7)|
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of acquisitions|
|Accounts receivable||114.6 ||(99.7)||(68.7)|
|Prepayments and other current assets||21.4 ||(17.6)||(18.2)|
|Accounts payable||(110.5)||2.6 ||65.5 |
|Net cash provided by operating activities||578.1 ||316.3 ||408.7 |
|Cash flows from investing activities:|| || || |
|Purchases of property, plant, and equipment||(66.7)||(56.5)||(43.8)|
|Proceeds from sale of property, plant, and equipment||— ||8.9 ||4.7 |
|Acquisitions of businesses, net of cash acquired||(35.5)||(12.9)||(75.3)|
|Other investing activities||11.5 ||(1.7)||(3.5)|
|Net cash used for investing activities||(90.7)||(62.2)||(117.9)|
|Cash flows from financing activities:|| || || |
|Borrowings on credit facility, net of repayments||(18.0)||18.0 ||— |
|Issuances of long-term debt||— ||— ||493.8 |
|Repayments of long-term debt||— ||— ||(401.1)|
|Repurchases of common stock||(266.6)||(514.8)||(434.9)|
|Proceeds from stock option exercises and other||2.7 ||12.5 ||3.2 |
|Payments of taxes withheld on net settlement of equity awards||(14.2)||(8.6)||(4.5)|
|Other financing activities||— ||(1.4)||— |
|Net cash used for financing activities||(312.9)||(512.4)||(362.6)|
|Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents||0.2 ||(9.8)||2.4 |
|Net change in cash and cash equivalents||174.7 ||(268.1)||(69.4)|
|Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year||223.2 ||491.3 ||560.7 |
|Cash and cash equivalents at end of year||$||397.9 ||$||223.2 ||$||491.3 |
|Supplemental cash flow information:|| || || |
|Income taxes paid||$||147.2 ||$||109.4 ||$||86.4 |
|Interest paid||$||27.9 ||$||26.1 ||$||22.2 |
The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
ACUITY BRANDS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
|Common Stock Outstanding|
Stock, at cost
|Balance, August 31, 2020||38.9 ||$||0.5 ||$||963.6 ||$||2,523.3 ||$||(132.7)||$||(1,227.2)||$||2,127.5 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||306.3 ||— ||— ||306.3 |
|Other comprehensive income, net of tax||— ||— ||— ||— ||34.5 ||— ||34.5 |
|Share-based payment amortization, issuances, and cancellations||0.1 ||— ||28.8 ||— ||— ||— ||28.8 |
|Employee stock purchase plan issuances||— ||— ||1.0 ||— ||— ||— ||1.0 |
Cash dividends of $0.52 per share paid on common stock
|— ||— ||— ||(19.1)||— ||— ||(19.1)|
|Stock options exercised||— ||— ||2.2 ||— ||— ||— ||2.2 |
|— ||— ||— ||(0.2)||— ||— ||(0.2)|
|Repurchases of common stock||(3.8)||— ||— ||— ||— ||(436.5)||(436.5)|
|Balance, August 31, 2021||35.2 ||0.5 ||995.6 ||2,810.3 ||(98.2)||(1,663.7)||2,044.5 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||384.0 ||— ||— ||384.0 |
|Other comprehensive loss, net of tax||— ||— ||— ||— ||(27.6)||— ||(27.6)|
|Share-based payment amortization, issuances, and cancellations||0.1 ||— ||28.2 ||— ||— ||— ||28.2 |
|Employee stock purchase plan issuances||— ||— ||1.8 ||— ||— ||— ||1.8 |
Cash dividends of $0.52 per share paid on common stock
|— ||— ||— ||(18.1)||— ||— ||(18.1)|
|Stock options exercised||0.1 ||— ||10.7 ||— ||— ||— ||10.7 |
|Repurchases of common stock||(2.9)||— ||— ||— ||— ||(511.7)||(511.7)|
|Balance, August 31, 2022||32.5 ||0.5 ||1,036.3 ||3,176.2 ||(125.8)||(2,175.4)||1,911.8 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||346.0 ||— ||— ||346.0 |
|Other comprehensive income, net of tax||— ||— ||— ||— ||13.2 ||— ||13.2 |
|Share-based payment amortization, issuances, and cancellations||0.2 ||— ||27.8 ||— ||— ||— ||27.8 |
|Employee stock purchase plan issuances||— ||— ||1.5 ||— ||— ||— ||1.5 |
Cash dividends of $0.52 per share paid on common stock
|— ||— ||— ||(16.8)||— ||— ||(16.8)|
|Stock options exercised||— ||— ||1.2 ||— ||— ||— ||1.2 |
|Repurchases of common stock||(1.6)||— ||— ||— ||— ||(269.3)||(269.3)|
|Balance, August 31, 2023||31.1 ||$||0.5 ||$||1,066.8 ||$||3,505.4 ||$||(112.6)||$||(2,444.7)||$||2,015.4 |
(1) Share activity and balances above calculated using rounded numbers.
The accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
|ACUITY BRANDS, INC.|
|NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS|
Note 1 — Description of Business and Basis of Presentation
Acuity Brands, Inc. (referred to herein as “we,” “our,” “us,” the “Company,” or similar references) is a market-leading industrial technology company. We use technology to solve problems in spaces and light. Through our two business segments, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls (“ABL”) and the Intelligent Spaces Group (“ISG”), we design, manufacture, and bring to market products and services that make a valuable difference in people's lives. We achieve growth through the development of innovative new products and services, including lighting, lighting controls, building management systems, and location-aware applications.
Our ABL strategy is to increase product vitality, improve service levels, use technology to improve and differentiate both our products and our services, and drive productivity. ABL's portfolio of lighting solutions includes commercial, architectural, and specialty lighting in addition to lighting controls and components that can be combined to create integrated lighting controls systems. We offer devices such as luminaires that predominantly utilize light emitting diode (“LED”) technology designed to optimize energy efficiency and comfort for various indoor and outdoor applications. ABL's portfolio of products includes but is not limited to the following brands: A-LightTM, AculuxTM, American Electric Lighting