10-K 1 syy-20140628x10k.htm 10-K 884201b17da24d9

 

 

UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

________________

Form 10-K

 

 

(Mark One)

 

 

Picture 1

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

 

 

For the fiscal year ended June 28, 2014

 

 

OR

 

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Commission File Number 1-6544

________________

Untitled.jpg

Sysco Corporation

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

74-1648137

(State or other jurisdiction of

(IRS employer

incorporation or organization)

identification number)

1390 Enclave Parkway

77077-2099

Houston, Texas

(Zip Code)

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code:

(281) 584-1390

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

Title of Each Class

Name of each exchange on

which registered

Common Stock, $1.00 par value

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 and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). 

Yes   No

 

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company.  See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

 

 

Large Accelerated Filer 

Accelerated Filer 

Non-accelerated Filer      (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Smaller Reporting Company  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes     No

 

The aggregate market value of the voting stock of the registrant held by stockholders who were not affiliates (as defined by regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission) of the registrant was approximately $20,952,930,000 as of December 28, 2013 (based on the closing sales price on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape on December 27, 2013, as reported by The Wall Street Journal (Southwest Edition)).  As of August 13, 2014, the registrant had issued and outstanding an aggregate of 586,765,938 shares of its common stock.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:

Portions of the company’s 2014 Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this Form 10-K are incorporated by reference into Part III.

 

 

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page No.

 

PART I

Item 1.

Business

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

14 

Item 2.

Properties

15 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

16 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

16 

 

PART II

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Repurchases of Equity Securities

16 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

19 

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

20 

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

49 

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

53 

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

103 

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

103 

Item 9B.

Other Information

103 

 

PART III

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

103 

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

103 

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

103 

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

103 

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

104 

 

PART IV

 

Item 15.

Exhibits

104 

Signatures

105 

 

 

 


 

PART I

 

 

Item 1.  Business

 

Unless this Form 10-K indicates otherwise or the context otherwise requires, the terms “we,” “our,” “us,” “Sysco,” or “the company” as used in this Form 10-K refer to Sysco Corporation together with its consolidated subsidiaries and divisions. 

 

Overview

 

Sysco Corporation, acting through its subsidiaries and divisions, is the largest North American distributor of food and related products primarily to the foodservice or food-away-from-home industry.  We provide products and related services to approximately 425,000 customers, including restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other foodservice customers.

 

Founded in 1969, Sysco commenced operations as a public company in March 1970 when the stockholders of nine companies exchanged their stock for Sysco common stock.  Since our formation, we have grown from $115.0 million to $46.5 billion in annual sales, both through internal expansion of existing operations and through acquisitions.

 

Sysco’s fiscal year ends on the Saturday nearest to June 30th.  This resulted in a 52-week year ending June 28, 2014 for fiscal 2014, June 29, 2013 for fiscal 2013 and June 30, 2012 for fiscal 2012.

 

Sysco Corporation is organized under the laws of Delaware.  The address and telephone number of our executive offices are 1390 Enclave Parkway, Houston, Texas 77077-2099, (281) 584-1390.  This annual report on Form 10-K, as well as all other reports filed or furnished by Sysco pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, are available free of charge on Sysco’s website at www.sysco.com as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Proposed Merger with US Foods

 

In the second quarter of fiscal 2014, Sysco announced an agreement to merge with US Foods, Inc. (US Foods).  US Foods is a leading foodservice distributor in the United States (U.S.) that markets and distributes fresh, frozen and dry food and non-food products to more than 200,000 foodservice customers including independently owned single location restaurants, regional and national chain restaurants, healthcare and educational institutions, hotels and motels, government and military organizations and retail locations.  Following the completion of the proposed merger, the combined company will continue to be named Sysco and headquartered in Houston, Texas. 

 

As of the time the merger agreement was announced in December 2013, Sysco agreed to pay approximately $3.5 billion for the equity of US Foods, comprised of $3 billion of Sysco common stock and $500 million of cash.  As part of the transaction, Sysco will also assume or refinance US Foods’ net debt, which was approximately $4.7 billion as of September 28, 2013, bringing the total enterprise value to $8.2 billion at the time of the merger announcement.  As of August 13, 2014, the merger consideration is estimated as follows:  approximately $3.7 billion for the equity of US Foods, comprised of $3.2 billion of Sysco common stock valued using the seven day average through August 13, 2014, and $500 million of cash.  US Foods' net debt to be assumed or refinanced was approximately $4.8 billion as of June 28, 2014, bringing the total enterprise value to $8.5 billion as of August 13, 2014.  The value of Sysco’s common stock and the amount of US Foods’ net debt will fluctuate.  As such, the components of the transaction and total enterprise value noted above will not be finalized until the merger is consummated. 

 

We have secured a fully committed bridge financing and expect to issue longer-term financing prior to closing.  After completion of the transaction, the equity holders of US Foods will own approximately 87 million shares, or roughly 13%, of Sysco.  A representative from each of US Foods’ two majority shareholders will join Sysco’s Board of Directors upon closing.  This merger is currently pending a regulatory review process by the Federal Trade Commission.  We expect the transaction to close by the end of the third quarter or in the fourth quarter of calendar 2014.  Under certain conditions, including lack of regulatory approval, Sysco would be obligated to pay $300 million to the owners of US Foods if the merger were cancelled, which would be recognized as an expense.

 

Operating Segments

 

Sysco provides food and related products to the foodservice or food-away-from-home industry.  Under the accounting provisions related to disclosures about segments of an enterprise, we have aggregated our operating companies into a number of segments, of which only Broadline and SYGMA are reportable segments as defined by accounting standards.  Broadline operating companies distribute a full line of food products and a wide variety of non-food products to their customers.  SYGMA operating companies distribute a full line of food products and a wide variety of non-food products to chain restaurant customer locations.  Our other segments include our specialty produce and lodging industry products segments, a company that distributes specialty imported products, a company that distributes to international customers and the company’s Sysco Ventures platform, a suite of technology

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solutions that help support the business needs of Sysco’s customers.  Specialty produce companies distribute fresh produce and, on a limited basis, other foodservice products.  Our lodging industry products company distributes personal care guest amenities, equipment, housekeeping supplies, room accessories and textiles to the lodging industry.  Selected financial data for each of our reportable segments, as well as financial information concerning geographic areas, can be found in Note 21, “Business Segment Information,” in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8.

 

Customers and Products

 

Sysco’s customers in the foodservice industry include restaurants, hospitals and nursing homes, schools and colleges, hotels and motels, industrial caterers and other similar venues where foodservice products are served.  Services to our customers are supported by similar physical facilities, vehicles, material handling equipment and techniques, and administrative and operating staffs.

 

The products we distribute include:

 

·

a full line of frozen foods, such as meats, seafood, fully prepared entrees, fruits, vegetables and desserts;

·

a full line of canned and dry foods;

·

fresh meats and seafood;

·

dairy products;

·

beverage products;

·

imported specialties; and

·

fresh produce.

 

We also supply a wide variety of non-food items, including:

 

·

paper products such as disposable napkins, plates and cups;

·

tableware such as china and silverware;

·

cookware such as pots, pans and utensils;

·

restaurant and kitchen equipment and supplies; and

·

cleaning supplies.

 

A comparison of the sales mix in the principal product categories during the last three years is presented below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Fresh and frozen meats

19 

%

 

19 

%

 

19 

%

Canned and dry products

18 

 

 

19 

 

 

19 

 

Frozen fruits, vegetables, bakery and other

13 

 

 

14 

 

 

14 

 

Dairy products

11 

 

 

10 

 

 

10 

 

Poultry

10 

 

 

10 

 

 

10 

 

Fresh produce

 

 

 

 

 

Paper and disposables

 

 

 

 

 

Seafood

 

 

 

 

 

Beverage products

 

 

 

 

 

Janitorial products

 

 

 

 

 

Equipment and smallwares

 

 

 

 

 

Medical supplies (1)

 

 

 -

 

 

 -

 

 

100 

%

 

100 

%

 

100 

%

 

(1) Sales are less than 1% of total for years shown with a “-“.

 

Our distribution centers, which we refer to as operating companies, distribute nationally-branded merchandise, as well as products packaged under our private brands.  Products packaged under our private brands have been manufactured for Sysco according to specifications that have been developed by our quality assurance team.  In addition, our quality assurance team certifies the manufacturing and processing plants where these products are packaged, enforces our quality control standards and identifies supply sources that satisfy our requirements.

 

We believe that prompt and accurate delivery of orders, competitive pricing, close contact with customers and the ability to provide a full array of products and services to assist customers in their foodservice operations are of primary importance in the marketing and distribution of foodservice products to our customers.  Our operating companies offer daily delivery to certain customer locations and have the capability of delivering special orders on short notice.  Through our approximately 12,800 sales and marketing representatives and support staff of Sysco and our operating companies, we stay informed of the needs of our customers and acquaint them with new products and services.  Our operating companies also provide ancillary services relating to foodservice distribution,

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such as providing customers with product usage reports and other data, menu-planning advice, food safety training and assistance in inventory control, as well as access to various third party services designed to add value to our customers’ businesses.

 

No single customer accounted for 10% or more of Sysco’s total sales for the fiscal year ended June 28, 2014.

 

We estimate that our sales by type of customer during the past three fiscal years were as follows: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type of Customer

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Restaurants

62 

%

 

61 

%

 

63 

%

Healthcare

 

 

10 

 

 

10 

 

Education, government

 

 

 

 

 

Travel, leisure, retail

 

 

 

 

 

Other (1)

12 

 

 

13 

 

 

11 

 

Totals

100 

%

 

100 

%

 

100 

%

 

 (1)  Other includes cafeterias that are not stand alone restaurants, bakeries, caterers, churches, civic and fraternal organizations, vending distributors, other distributors and international exports.  None of these types of customers, as a group, exceeded 5% of total sales in any of the years for which information is presented.

 

Sources of Supply

 

We purchase from thousands of suppliers, both domestic and international, none of which individually accounts for more than 10% of our purchases.  These suppliers consist generally of large corporations selling brand name and private label merchandise, as well as independent regional brand and private label processors and packers.  Purchasing is generally carried out through both centrally developed purchasing programs and direct purchasing programs established by our various operating companies.

 

We administer a consolidated product procurement program designed to develop, obtain and ensure consistent quality food and non-food products.  The program covers the purchasing and marketing of Sysco Brand merchandise, as well as products from a number of national brand suppliers, encompassing substantially all product lines.  Sysco’s operating companies purchase product from the suppliers participating in these consolidated programs and from other suppliers, although Sysco Brand products are only available to the operating companies through these consolidated programs.  We also focus on increasing profitability by lowering operating costs and by lowering aggregate inventory levels, which reduces future facility expansion needs at our broadline operating companies, while providing greater value to our suppliers and customers.  This includes the construction and operation of regional distribution centers (RDCs), which aggregate inventory demand to optimize the supply chain activities for certain products for all Sysco broadline operating companies in the region.  Currently, we have two RDCs in operation, one in Virginia and one in Florida.

 

Working Capital Practices

 

Our growth is funded through a combination of cash flow from operations, commercial paper issuances and long-term borrowings.  See the discussion in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Liquidity and Capital Resources” at Item 7 regarding our liquidity, financial position and sources and uses of funds.

 

Credit terms we extend to our customers can vary from cash on delivery to 30 days or more based on our assessment of each customer’s credit worthiness.  We monitor each customer’s account and will suspend shipments if necessary.

 

A majority of our sales orders are filled within 24 hours of when customer orders are placed.  We generally maintain inventory on hand to be able to meet customer demand.  The level of inventory on hand will vary by product depending on shelf-life, supplier order fulfillment lead times and customer demand.  We also make purchases of additional volumes of certain products based on supply or pricing opportunities.

 

We take advantage of suppliers’ cash discounts where appropriate and otherwise generally receive payment terms from our suppliers ranging from weekly to 30 days or more.

 

Corporate Headquarters and Shared Services Center

 

Our corporate staff makes available a number of services to our operating companies.  Members of the corporate staff possess experience and expertise in, among other areas, accounting and finance, treasury, legal, cash management, information technology, employee benefits, engineering, real estate and construction, risk management and insurance, sales and marketing, payroll, human resources, training and development, strategy, and tax compliance services.  The corporate office also makes available warehousing and distribution services, which provide assistance in operational best practices including space utilization, energy conservation, fleet management and work flow.

 

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Our shared services center performs support services for employees, suppliers and customers, payroll administration, human resources, customer and vendor contract administration, financial services such as vendor payments, invoicing, cash application, certain credit services, accounting and sales and use tax administration, procurement and maintenance support and sales support for some of our operating companies. 

 

Capital Improvements

 

To maximize productivity and customer service, we continue to modernize, expand and construct new distribution facilities.  During fiscal 2014, 2013 and 2012, approximately $523.2 million, $511.9 million and $784.5 million, respectively, were invested in delivery fleet, facilities, technology and other capital asset enhancements.  From time to time, we dispose of assets in the normal course of business; we consider proceeds from these asset sales to be an offset to capital expenditures.  During fiscal 2014, 2013 and 2012, capital expenditures, net of proceeds from sales of assets, were $497.4 million, $496.3 million and $776.3 million, respectively.  We estimate our capital expenditures, net of proceeds from sales of assets, in fiscal 2015 should be in the range of $500 million to $550 million.  During the three years ended June 28, 2014, capital expenditures were financed primarily by internally generated funds, our commercial paper program and bank and other borrowings.  We expect to finance our fiscal 2015 capital expenditures from the same sources.

 

Employees

 

As of June 28, 2014, we had approximately 50,300 full-time employees, approximately 17% of whom were represented by unions, primarily the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  Contract negotiations are handled by each individual operating company.  Approximately 21% of our union employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements that have expired or will expire during fiscal 2015 and are subject to renegotiation.  Since June 28, 2014, there have been no contract renegotiations.  We consider our labor relations to be satisfactory.

 

Competition

 

Industry sources estimate that there are more than 15,000 companies engaged in the distribution of food and non-food products to the foodservice industry in the U.S.  Our customers may also choose to purchase products directly from wholesale or retail outlets, including club, cash and carry and grocery stores, or negotiate prices directly with our suppliers.  Online retailers and e-commerce companies are also participants in the foodservice industry.  While we compete primarily with local and regional distributors, some organizations compete with us on a multi-region basis.  In addition, these local, regional and multi-regional distributors can create purchasing cooperatives and marketing groups to enhance their competitive abilities by expanding their product mix, improving purchasing power and extending their geographic capabilities.  We believe that the principal competitive factors in the foodservice industry are effective customer contacts, the ability to deliver a wide range of quality products and related services on a timely and dependable basis and competitive prices.  Our customers are accustomed to purchasing from multiple suppliers and channels concurrently.  Product needs, service requirements and price are just a few of the factors they evaluate when deciding where to purchase.  Customers can choose from many broadline foodservice distributors, specialty distributors that focus on specific categories such as produce, meat or seafood, other wholesale channels, club stores, cash and carry stores, grocery stores and numerous online retailers.  Since switching costs are very low, customers can make supplier and channel changes very quickly.  There are few barriers to market entry.  Existing foodservice competitors can extend their shipping distances, and add truck routes and warehouses relatively quickly to serve new markets or customers.

 

We consider our primary market to be the foodservice market in the U.S. and Canada and estimate that we serve about 17.4% of this approximately $255 billion annual market based on a measurement as of the end of calendar 2013.  We believe, based upon industry trade data, that our sales to the U.S. and Canada food-away-from-home industry were the highest of any foodservice distributor during fiscal 2014.  While adequate industry statistics are not available, we believe that in most instances our local operations are among the leading distributors of food and related non-food products to foodservice customers in their respective trading areas.  We believe our competitive advantages include our more than 7,000 marketing associates, our diversified product base, which includes a differentiated group of high quality Sysco brand products, the diversity in the types of customers we serve, our economies of scale and our multi-region portfolio in the U.S. and Canada, which mitigates some of the impact of regional economic declines that may occur over time.  We believe our liquidity and access to capital provides us the ability to continuously invest in business improvements.  We are the only distributor in the food-away-from-home industry in the U.S. with publicly traded equity.  While our public company status provides us with some advantages over many of our competitors, including access to capital, we believe it also provides us with some disadvantages that most of them do not have in terms of additional costs related to complying with regulatory requirements.

 

Government Regulation

 

Our company is required to comply, and it is our policy to comply, with all applicable laws in the numerous countries throughout the world in which we do business. In many jurisdictions, compliance with competition laws is of special importance to us, and our operations may come under special scrutiny by competition law authorities due to our competitive position in those jurisdictions.  In general, competition laws are designed to protect businesses and consumers from anti-competitive behavior.

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In the U.S., as a marketer and distributor of food products, we are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and regulations promulgated thereunder by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The FDA regulates food safety through various statutory and regulatory mandates, including manufacturing and holding requirements for foods through good manufacturing practice regulations, hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) requirements for certain foods, and the food and color additive approval process.  The agency also specifies the standards of identity for certain foods, prescribes the format and content of information required to appear on food product labels, regulates food contact packaging and materials, and maintains a Reportable Food Registry for the industry to report when there is a reasonable probability that an article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences.  For certain product lines, we are also subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the Packers and Stockyard Act and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to interpret and implement these statutory provisions.  The USDA imposes standards for product safety, quality and sanitation through the federal meat and poultry inspection program.  The USDA reviews and approves the labeling of these products and also establishes standards for the grading and commercial acceptance of produce shipments from our suppliers.  We are also subject to the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which imposes certain registration and record keeping requirements on facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption.  

 

We and our products are also subject to state and local regulation through such measures as the licensing of our facilities; enforcement by state and local health agencies of state and local standards for our products; and regulation of our trade practices in connection with the sale of our products.  Our facilities are subject to inspections and regulations issued pursuant to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act by the U.S. Department of Labor.  These regulations require us to comply with certain manufacturing, health and safety standards to protect our employees from accidents and to establish hazard communication programs to transmit information on the hazards of certain chemicals present in products we distribute.

 

We are also subject to regulation by numerous federal, state and local regulatory agencies, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Department of Labor, which sets employment practice standards for workers, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, which regulates transportation of perishable and hazardous materials and waste, and similar state, provincial and local agencies.  In addition, we are also subject to the U.S. False Claims Act, and similar state statutes, which prohibit the submission of claims for payment to the government that are false and the knowing retention of overpayments. 

 

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) prohibits bribery of public officials to obtain or retain business in foreign jurisdictions.  The FCPA also requires us to keep accurate books and records and to maintain internal accounting controls to detect and prevent bribery and to ensure that transactions are properly authorized.  We have implemented and continue to develop a robust anti-corruption compliance program applicable to our global operations to detect and prevent bribery and to comply with these and other anti-corruption laws in countries where we operate.

 

Outside the U.S., our business is subject to numerous similar statutes and regulations, as well as other legal and regulatory requirements.

 

All of our company's facilities and other operations in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world are subject to various environmental protection statutes and regulations, including those relating to the use of water resources and the discharge of wastewater.  Further, most of our distribution facilities have ammonia-based refrigeration systems and tanks for the storage of diesel fuel and other petroleum products which are subject to laws regulating such systems and storage tanks.  Our policy is to comply with all such legal requirements.  We are subject to other federal, state, provincial and local provisions relating to the protection of the environment or the discharge of materials; however, these provisions do not materially impact the use or operation of our facilities. 

 

General

 

We have numerous trademarks that are of significant importance, including the SYSCO® trademark and our privately-branded product trademarks that include the SYSCO® trademark.  These trademarks and the private brands on which they are used are widely recognized within the foodservice industry.  Approximately half of our privately-branded sales are from products labeled with our SYSCO® trademark without any other trademark.  We believe the loss of the SYSCO®  trademark would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.  Our U.S. trademarks are effective for a ten-year period and the company generally renews its trademarks before their expiration dates unless a particular trademark is no longer in use.  The company does not have any material patents or licenses.

 

We are not engaged in material research and development activities relating to the development of new products or the improvement of existing products.

 

Our sales do not generally fluctuate significantly on a seasonal basis; therefore, the business of the company is not deemed to be seasonal.

 

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As of June 28, 2014, we operated 194 distribution facilities throughout the U.S., Bahamas, Canada, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

 

 

Item 1A.  Risk Factors

 

The following discussion of “risk factors” identifies the most significant factors that may adversely affect our business, operations, financial position or future financial performance.  This information should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained in this report.  The following discussion of risks is not all inclusive, but is designed to highlight what we believe are the most significant factors to consider when evaluating our business.  These factors could cause our future results to differ from our expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements identified on page 48 and from historical trends.

 

Merger-Related Risks

 

The closing and consummation of the merger with US Foods, Inc. (US Foods) is subject to regulatory approval and the satisfaction of certain conditions, and we cannot predict whether the necessary conditions will be satisfied or waived and the requisite regulatory approvals received.

 

The completion of the merger with US Foods is subject to regulatory approvals, including anti-trust approval, and customary conditions, including, without limitation:

 

·

the approval of the stockholders of US Foods;

·

the expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended;

·

the accuracy of the representations and warranties in the merger agreement and compliance with the respective covenants of the parties, subject to certain qualifiers;

·

the absence of any law, proceeding, order or injunction that prohibits the consummation of the merger;

·

the absence of certain governmental actions;

·

the absence of a material adverse effect on US Foods; and

·

the receipt by US Foods of a customary tax opinion with respect to the merger.

 

Sysco and US Foods may fail to secure the requisite approvals in a timely manner or on terms desired or anticipated, and the merger with US Foods may not close in the anticipated time frame, if at all.  Sysco has no control over certain conditions in the merger agreement, and cannot predict whether such conditions will be satisfied or waived.  Regulatory authorities may impose conditions on the completion of the merger or require changes to the terms of the transaction.  Such conditions or changes may prevent the closing of the merger or cause the merger to be delayed, and delays may cause Sysco to incur additional, potentially burdensome transaction costs. 

 

Sysco and US Foods may be required to accept certain remedies in order to obtain regulatory approval for the merger, and any such remedies could reduce the projected benefits of the merger and negatively impact the combined company.

 

The imposition of remedies as a condition to obtaining regulatory approval for the transaction could limit the revenues of the combined company and negatively impact the combined company.  The potential remedies may negatively impact the projected benefits of the proposed merger, along with the business, financial condition and competitiveness of Sysco, as the combined company.  Even if regulatory approval for the merger is obtained, any remedies could result in the total revenues of the combined post-merger entity being less than the combined historical revenues of Sysco and US Foods.

 

Termination of the merger agreement or failure to consummate the merger with US Foods could adversely impact Sysco and, under certain conditions, could require Sysco to make a termination payment of $300 million, which could adversely impact Sysco’s stock price and would adversely impact Sysco’s liquidity and financial condition.

 

The merger agreement contains certain termination rights, including the right of either party to terminate the merger agreement if the merger has not occurred by March 8, 2015, subject to extension under certain circumstances.  Furthermore, if the merger agreement is terminated due to a failure to obtain required antitrust approvals, in certain circumstances Sysco will be required to pay US Foods a termination fee of $300 million.  The payment of such fee would have an adverse impact on our liquidity and financial condition.  In addition, if the merger agreement is terminated, we may suffer other negative consequences.  Our business may be negatively impacted by our management having focused its attention on acquiring US Foods instead of pursuing other advantageous business opportunities or plans.  Furthermore, we will incur substantial expenses and costs related to the merger, whether or not it is consummated, including legal, accounting and advisory fees.  Also, failure to consummate the merger may result in negative market reactions, and may have an adverse impact on Sysco’s stock price and future financial results.

 

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Business uncertainties during the pendency of the proposed merger may adversely impact our current business operations and relationships with employees, vendors and customers.

 

Prospective suppliers, customers or other third parties may delay or decline to enter into agreements with us as a result of the uncertainties surrounding the proposed merger, and we may also lose current suppliers and customers as a result of these uncertainties.  Furthermore, uncertainties as to the effect of the merger transaction may adversely impact employee morale, and impede our ability to retain key employees.  The loss of key employees or union-related work stoppages could impact our ability to successfully integrate the businesses of Sysco and US Foods and fully realize the anticipated benefits of the merger.

 

The pending merger and our current pre-merger integration planning efforts may divert resources from Sysco’s day-to-day operations and ongoing efforts related to other strategies and initiatives.

 

The pending merger and our current pre-merger integration planning efforts may divert our management’s attention from day-to-day business operations and the execution and pursuit of strategic plans and initiatives, including the initiatives related to our Business Transformation Project, which has and will continue to require a substantial amount of resources.  The diversion of management attention from ongoing business operations and strategic efforts could result in performance shortfalls, which could adversely impact Sysco’s business and operations.

 

The integration of the businesses of Sysco and US Foods may be more difficult, costly or time consuming than expected, and the merger may not result in any or all of the anticipated benefits, including cost synergies. 

 

The success of the merger between Sysco and US Foods, including the realization of the anticipated benefits, will depend, in part, on the ability of Sysco, as the combined company, to successfully integrate the businesses of Sysco and US Foods.  Failure to effectively integrate the businesses could adversely impact the expected benefits of the merger, including cost synergies stemming from supply chain efficiencies, merchandising activities and overlapping general and administrative functions.  

 

The integration of two large independent companies will be complex, and we will be required to devote significant management attention and incur substantial costs to integrate Sysco’s and US Foods’ business practices, policies, cultures and operations.  This diversion of our management’s attention from day-to-day business operations and the execution and pursuit of strategic plans and initiatives, including the initiatives related to our Business Transformation Project, could result in performance shortfalls, which could adversely impact the combined company’s business, operations and financial results.  The integration process could also result in the loss of key employees, which could adversely impact the combined company’s future financial results.

 

Furthermore, during the integration planning process and after the closing of the merger, we may encounter additional challenges and difficulties, including those related to, without limitation, managing a larger combined company; streamlining supply chains, consolidating corporate and administrative infrastructures and eliminating overlapping operations; retaining our existing vendors and customers; unanticipated issues in integrating information technology, communications and other systems; and unforeseen and unexpected liabilities related to the merger or US Foods’ business.  Delays encountered in the integration could adversely impact the business, financial condition and operations of the combined company.     

 

We may not be able to retain some of US Foods’ vendors and customers after the proposed merger, which could negatively impact the anticipated benefits of the merger.

 

US Foods’ vendors or customers may have termination rights that are triggered upon completion of the merger, and such vendors or customers may decide to not renew their existing relationship with us, and may instead select one of our competitors.  If we are unable to retain and maintain these vendor and customer relationships, then the business, financial condition and operations of Sysco, as the combined company, could be adversely impacted.

 

Consummation of the merger will require Sysco to incur significant additional indebtedness, which could adversely impact our financial condition and may hinder our ability to obtain additional financing and pursue other business and investment opportunities. 

 

In connection with the merger, Sysco will assume or refinance all of US Foods’ outstanding debt, which was approximately $4.8 billion, as of June 28, 2014.  Any refinancing of US Foods’ indebtedness is expected to be financed with a combination of new debt and cash on Sysco’s balance sheet.  Sysco has secured fully committed bridge financing. 

 

Incurrence of additional indebtedness could have negative consequences, including increasing our vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions, and limiting our ability to obtain additional financing and implement and pursue strategic initiatives and opportunities.  Additionally, if we do not achieve the expected benefits and cost savings from the merger with US Foods, or if the financial performance of Sysco, as the combined company, does not meet current expectations, then our ability to service the debt will be adversely impacted.  Our credit ratings may also be impacted as a result of the incurrence of additional acquisition-related indebtedness.  Currently, certain credit rating agencies have put us on watch for a potential downgrade.

 

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The merger will dilute the ownership interests of Sysco’s existing stockholders.  

 

At the time of the consummation of the proposed merger, Sysco will issue approximately 87 million shares, or roughly 13% of Sysco’s outstanding common stock after the transaction is completed.  As a result, the ownership amounts of Sysco’s pre-merger stockholders will be diluted.  Generally, dilution will impact a stockholder’s ownership percentage and ability to influence voting results, and will likely reduce earnings per share, which could impact stock price.

 

Industry and General Economic Risks

 

Periods of significant or prolonged inflation or deflation affect our product costs and may negatively impact our profitability. 

 

Volatile food costs have a direct impact on our industry.  Periods of product cost inflation may have a negative impact on our profit margins and earnings to the extent that we are unable to pass on all or a portion of such product cost increases to our customers, which may have a negative impact on our business and our profitability.  In addition, periods of rapidly increasing inflation may negatively impact our business due to the timing needed to pass on such increases, the impact of such inflation on discretionary spending by consumers and our limited ability to increase prices in the current, highly competitive environment.  Conversely, our business may be adversely impacted by periods of product cost deflation, because we make a significant portion of our sales at prices that are based on the cost of products we sell plus a percentage margin.  As a result, our profit levels may be negatively impacted during periods of product cost deflation, even though our gross profit percentage may remain relatively constant.

 

Our results of operations and financial condition may be directly, adversely affected by unfavorable conditions in the US economy and local markets, as well as negative trends in consumer confidence.

 

The foodservice distribution industry, which is characterized by relatively low profit margins with limited demand growth expected in the near-term, is especially susceptible to negative trends and economic uncertainty.  The United States (U.S.) has experienced an uneven economic environment over the past several years.  Despite job growth experiencing a positive trend, it has yet to translate into a significant impact on overall unemployment.  The housing segment is struggling to maintain consistent, positive trends, and this segment historically has been a key driver of economic growth.  These factors indicate that consumer disposable income is increasing modestly.  In addition, our results of operations are substantially affected by local operating and economic conditions, which can vary substantially by market.  The difficult economic conditions can affect us in the following ways:

 

·

Unfavorable conditions can depress sales and/or gross margins in a given market.

·

Food cost and fuel cost inflation experienced by the consumer can lead to reductions in the frequency of dining out and the amount spent by consumers for food-away-from-home purchases, which could negatively impact our business by reducing demand for our products

·

Heightened uncertainty in the financial markets negatively affects consumer confidence and discretionary spending, which can cause disruptions with our customers and suppliers.

·

Liquidity issues and the inability of our customers, vendors and suppliers to consistently access credit markets to obtain cash to support operations can cause temporary interruptions in our ability to conduct day-to-day transactions involving the payment to or collection of funds from our customers, vendors and suppliers.

 

The uncertainty in the economic environment has adversely affected the rate of improvement in both business and consumer confidence and spending, and uncertainty about the long-term investment environment could further depress capital investment and economic activity.  

 

Competition in our industry may adversely impact our margins and our ability to retain customers, and makes it difficult for us to maintain our market share, growth rate and profitability.    

 

The foodservice distribution industry is fragmented and highly competitive, with local, regional, multi-regional distributors and specialty competitors.  Furthermore, barriers to entry by new competitors, or geographic or product line expansion by existing competitors, are low.  Additionally, increased competition from non-traditional sources (such as club stores and commercial wholesale outlets with lower cost structures), and group purchasing organizations have served to further increase pressure on the industry’s profit margins, and continued margin pressure within the industry may have a material adverse impact on our operating results and profitability.  Finally, demand for food-away-from-home products is volatile and price sensitive, imposing limits on our customers’ ability to absorb cost increases.  New and increased competitive sources may result in increased focus on pricing and on limiting price increases, or may require increased discounting.  Such competition or other industry pressures may result in margin erosion and/or make it difficult for us to attract and retain customers.

 

Although our sales historically have grown faster than the market, industry growth rates have slowed over the past several years, and industry sources expect the lower growth rates to continue in the near-term.  These trends have placed pressure on our profit margins and made it more difficult to leverage our cost structure and pass along cost increases.  We expect these trends to continue for

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the foreseeable future.  If we are unable to effectively differentiate ourselves from our competitors, our market share, sales and profitability, through increased expenditures or decreased prices, could be adversely impacted.

 

We may not be able to fully compensate for increases in fuel costs, and forward purchase commitments intended to contain fuel costs could result in above market fuel costs. 

 

Volatile fuel prices have a direct impact on our industry.  We require significant quantities of fuel for our delivery vehicles and are exposed to the risk associated with fluctuations in the market price for fuel.  The price and supply of fuel can fluctuate significantly based on international, political and economic circumstances, as well as other factors outside our control, such as actions by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, and other oil and gas producers, regional production patterns, weather conditions and environmental concerns.  On average, on-highway diesel fuel prices decreased approximately 1% in fiscal 2014 and increased approximately 2% in 2013, respectively, as compared to the prior year.  The cost of fuel affects the price paid by us for products, as well as the costs we incur to deliver products to our customers.  Although we have been able to pass along a portion of increased fuel costs to our customers in the past, there is no guarantee that we will continue to be able to do so in the future.  If fuel costs increase further in the future, we may experience difficulties in passing all or a portion of these costs along to our customers, which may have a negative impact on our business and our profitability.  We routinely enter into forward purchase commitments for a portion of our projected monthly diesel fuel requirements at prices equal to the then-current forward price for diesel.  If fuel prices decrease significantly, these forward purchases may prove ineffective and result in our paying higher than market costs for a portion of our diesel fuel. 

 

Business and Operational Risks

 

Our ability to meet our long-term strategic objectives to grow the profitability of our business depends largely on the success of the Business Transformation Project. 

 

Our multi-year Business Transformation Project consists of:

 

·

the design and deployment of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to implement an integrated software system to support a majority of our business processes and further streamline our operations;

·

initiatives to lower our cost structure; and

·

initiatives to lower our product costs. 

 

Successfully managing deployment is critical to our business success.  While we expect all of the components of the Business Transformation Project to enhance our value proposition to customers and suppliers and improve our long-term profitability, there can be no assurance that we will realize our expectations within the time frame we have established, if at all.

 

The actual cost of the ERP system may be greater than currently expected and continued delays in the execution of deployment may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

ERP implementations are complex and time-consuming projects that involve substantial investments in system software and implementation activities over a multi-year timeframe.  Our cost estimates related to our ERP system are based on assumptions which are subject to wide variability, require a great deal of judgment, and are inherently uncertain.  Thus, the actual costs of the project in fiscal 2015 (and beyond) may be greater than currently expected.  We have encountered, and we may continue to encounter, the need for changes in design or revisions of the project calendar and budget, including incurring expenses at an earlier or later time than currently anticipated.  For example, we deployed our ERP system to five additional locations in fiscal 2014 and are continuing to experience improved functionality in many areas compared to past deployments; however, while the majority of the system functionality is performing as designed, we have continued to identify issues that we want to address before we continue deploying to additional locations.     

 

In addition, implementation of the ERP system requires significant management attention and resources over an extended period of time and any significant design errors or delays in the implementation of the systems could materially and adversely affect our operating results.  In addition, because the implementation is expected to continue to involve a significant financial commitment, our business, results of operations and liquidity may also be adversely affected if the ERP system, and the associated process changes, do not prove to be cost effective or do not result in the cost savings and other benefits at the levels that we anticipate.  There can be no guarantee that we will be able to realize the intended results of the system software and implementation activities.

 

We may not realize anticipated benefits from our operating cost reduction efforts.    

 

We have implemented a number of cost reduction initiatives that we believe are necessary to position our business for future success and growth.  Our future success and earnings growth will be significantly impacted by our ability to achieve a lower cost structure and operate efficiently in the highly competitive food and beverage industry, particularly in an environment of increased competitive activity and low growth rates.  A variety of factors could cause us not to realize some of the expected cost savings,

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including, among other things, delays in the anticipated timing of activities related to our cost savings initiatives, lack of sustainability in cost savings over time and unexpected costs associated with operating our business.  If we are unable to realize the anticipated benefits from our cost cutting efforts, we could become cost disadvantaged in the marketplace, and our competitiveness and our profitability could decrease.  Furthermore, even if we realize the anticipated benefits of our cost reduction efforts, we may experience an adverse impact on our employees, customers and suppliers, which could negatively affect our sales and profits.

 

We may not realize the full anticipated benefits from our category management initiative.

 

We are in the midst of deploying our category management initiative which encompasses a rigorous process whereby we use market data and customer insights to optimize the product assortment available to our customers, strengthen strategic relationships with our suppliers, drive product innovation and increase our sales and profit margins.  If our sales associates are not able to effectively gain acceptance of the new product assortment from our customers or are not able to absorb the significant administrative and process changes required, then we may not be able to successfully execute the category management initiative in the timeline we anticipate and we may not capture all of the financial and other benefits that we anticipate.

 

Conditions beyond our control can interrupt our supplies and increase our product costs.    

 

We obtain substantially all of our foodservice and related products from third-party suppliers.  For the most part, we do not have long-term contracts with our suppliers committing them to provide products to us; however, we believe the number of long-term contracts will increase as we progress with our category management initiative.  Although our purchasing volume can provide benefits when dealing with suppliers, suppliers may not provide the foodservice products and supplies needed by us in the quantities and at the prices requested.  We are also subject to delays caused by interruption in production and increases in product costs based on conditions outside of our control.  These conditions include work slowdowns, work interruptions, strikes or other job actions by employees of suppliers, short-term weather conditions or more prolonged climate change, crop and other agricultural conditions, water shortages, transportation interruptions, unavailability of fuel or increases in fuel costs, product recalls, competitive demands and natural disasters or other catastrophic events (including, but not limited to food-borne illnesses).  Further, increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions could also impair production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain or impact demand for our products.  Input costs could increase at any point in time for a large portion of the products that we sell for a prolonged period.  Our inability to obtain adequate supplies of foodservice and related products as a result of any of the foregoing factors or otherwise could mean that we could not fulfill our obligations to customers, and customers may turn to other distributors.

 

Adverse publicity about us or lack of confidence in our products could negatively impact our reputation and reduce earnings. 

 

Maintaining a good reputation and public confidence in the safety of the products we distribute is critical to our business, particularly to selling Sysco Brand products.  The Sysco brand name, trademarks and logos and our reputation are powerful sales and marketing tools, and we devote significant resources to promoting and protecting them.  Anything that damages our reputation or the public’s confidence in our products, whether or not justified, including adverse publicity about the quality, safety, sustainability or integrity of our products or relating to activities by our operations, employees, suppliers or agents could tarnish our reputation and reduce the value of our brand, and could adversely affect our revenues and profits.

 

Reports, whether true or not, of food-borne illnesses (such as e-coli, avian flu, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, hepatitis A, trichinosis, salmonella, listeria or swine flu) and injuries caused by food tampering could also severely injure our reputation or negatively impact the public’s confidence in our products.  If patrons of our restaurant customers become ill from food-borne illnesses, our customers could be forced to temporarily close restaurant locations and our sales and profitability would be correspondingly decreased.  In addition, instances of food-borne illnesses or food tampering or other health concerns (even those unrelated to the use of Sysco products), or public concern regarding the safety of our products, can result in negative publicity about the food service distribution industry and cause our sales and profitability to decrease dramatically.

 

Damage to our reputation and loss of brand equity could reduce demand for our products and services.  This reduction in demand, together with the dedication of time and expense necessary to defend our reputation, will have an adverse effect on our financial condition, liquidity and results of operations, as well as require additional resources to rebuild our reputation and restore the value of our brand.  Our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected if our public image or reputation were to be tarnished by negative publicity including dissemination via print, broadcast or social media, or other forms of Internet-based communications.  Adverse publicity about regulatory or legal action against us could damage our reputation and image, undermine our customers’ confidence and reduce short-term or long-term demand for our products and services, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or not material to our operations.  Any of these events could have a material negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

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If sales to our locally-managed customers grow at a lower rate than sales to our corporate-managed customers, our operating margins may decline and our corporate-managed customers will increase their proportion of our total sales, thus subjecting us to greater risk if we lose one or more of these customers and possibly enabling these larger customers to exert greater pressure on us to reduce our prices and/or expand our services.

 

Our sales to corporate-managed customers have generally grown at a faster rate than our sales to locally-managed locations.  Gross margin from our corporate-managed customers is generally lower than that of our locally-managed customers because we typically sell higher volumes of products to these customers and provide a relatively lower level of value-added services than we do to locally-managed customers.  If sales to our locally-managed customers do not grow at the same or a greater rate as sales to our corporate-managed customers, our operating margins may decline.

 

Moreover, if sales to our corporate-managed customers increase at a faster pace of growth than sales to our locally-managed customers, we will become more dependent on corporate-managed customers as they begin to represent a greater proportion of our total sales.  Additionally, the loss of sales to the larger of these corporate-managed customers could have a material negative impact on our results of operations and financial condition.  Additionally, as a result of our greater dependence on these customers, we could be pressured by them to lower our prices and/or offer expanded or additional services at the same prices.  In that event, we would need to achieve additional cost savings to offset these price reductions and/or cost increases or our gross margins and profitability could be materially adversely affected.  We may be unable to change our cost structure and pricing practices rapidly enough to successfully compete in such an environment.

 

Expanding into international markets and complementary lines of business presents unique challenges, and our expansion efforts with respect to international operations and complementary lines of business may not be successful. 

 

In addition to our domestic activities, an element of our strategy includes the possibility of further expansion of operations into international markets and the establishment of international procurement organizations.  Our ability to successfully operate in international markets may be adversely affected by local laws and customs, legal and regulatory constraints, including compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, political and economic conditions and currency regulations of the countries or regions in which we currently operate or intend to operate in the future.  Risks inherent in our existing and future international operations also include, among others, the costs and difficulties of managing international operations, difficulties in identifying and gaining access to local suppliers, suffering possible adverse tax consequences, maintaining product quality and greater difficulty in enforcing intellectual property rights.  Additionally, foreign currency exchange rates and fluctuations thereof may have an adverse impact on our future costs or on future sales and cash flows from our international operations.

 

Another element of our strategy includes the possibility of expansion into businesses that are closely related or complementary to, but not currently part of, our core foodservice distribution business.  Our ability to successfully operate in these complementary business markets may be adversely affected by legal and regulatory constraints, including compliance with regulatory programs to which we become subject.  Risks inherent in branching out into such complementary markets also include the costs and difficulties of managing operations outside of our core business, which may require additional skills and competencies, as well as difficulties in identifying and gaining access to suppliers or customers in new markets.

 

If we fail to comply with requirements imposed by applicable law or other governmental regulations, we could become subject to lawsuits, investigations and other liabilities and restrictions on our operations that could significantly and adversely affect our business. 

 

We are subject to governmental regulation at the federal, state, international, national, provincial and local levels in many areas of our business, such as food safety and sanitation, minimum wage, overtime, wage payment, wage and hour and employment discrimination, immigration, human health and safety, and due to the services we provide in connection with governmentally funded entitlement programs.  From time to time, both federal and state governmental agencies have conducted audits of our billing practices as part of investigations of providers of services under governmental contracts, or otherwise.  We also receive requests for information from governmental agencies in connection with these audits.  While we attempt to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, we cannot represent that we are in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations or interpretations of these laws and regulations at all times or that we will be able to comply with any future laws, regulations or interpretations of these laws and regulations.    

 

If we fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations or encounter disagreements with respect to our contracts subject to governmental regulations, including those referred to above, we may be subject to investigations, criminal sanctions or civil remedies, including fines, injunctions, prohibitions on exporting, seizures or debarments from contracting with the government.  The cost of compliance or the consequences of non-compliance, including debarments, could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.  In addition, governmental units may make changes in the regulatory frameworks within which we operate that may require either the corporation as a whole or individual businesses to incur substantial increases in costs in order to comply with such laws and regulations.

 

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Product liability claims could materially impact our business.

 

We, like any other seller of food, face the risk of exposure to product liability claims in the event that the use of products sold by Sysco causes injury or illness.  We cannot be sure that consumption of our products will not cause a health-related illness in the future or that we will not be subject to claims or lawsuits relating to such matters.  Further, even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or is not fully pursued, the negative publicity surrounding any assertion that our products caused illness or injury could adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential customers and our corporate and brand image.  With respect to product liability claims, we believe we have sufficient primary or excess umbrella liability insurance.  However, this insurance may not continue to be available at a reasonable cost or, if available, may not be adequate to cover all of our liabilities.  We generally seek contractual indemnification and insurance coverage from parties supplying our products, but this indemnification or insurance coverage is limited, as a practical matter, to the creditworthiness of the indemnifying party and the insured limits of any insurance provided by suppliers.  If Sysco does not have adequate insurance or contractual indemnification available, product liability relating to defective products could materially reduce our net earnings and earnings per share.

 

We must finance and integrate acquired businesses effectively.

 

Historically, a portion of our growth has come through acquisitions.  If we are unable to integrate acquired businesses successfully or realize anticipated economic, operational and other benefits and synergies in a timely manner, our earnings per share may be materially adversely impacted.  Integration of an acquired business may be more difficult when we acquire a business in a market in which we have limited expertise, or with a culture different from Sysco’s.  A significant expansion of our business and operations, in terms of geography or magnitude, could strain our administrative and operational resources.  Significant acquisitions may also require the issuance of material additional amounts of debt or equity, which could materially alter our debt-to-equity ratio, increase our interest expense and decrease earnings per share, and make it difficult for us to obtain favorable financing for other acquisitions or capital investments.  See “--The integration of the businesses of Sysco and US Foods may be more difficult, costly or time consuming than expected, and the merger may not result in any or all of the anticipated benefits, including cost synergies.

 

We need access to borrowed funds in order to grow, and any default by us under our indebtedness could have a material adverse impact on cash flow and liquidity.

 

A substantial part of our growth historically has been the result of acquisitions and capital expansion.  We anticipate additional acquisitions and capital expansion in the future.  As a result, our inability to finance acquisitions and capital expenditures through borrowed funds could restrict our ability to expand.  Moreover, any default under the documents governing our indebtedness could have a significant adverse effect on our cash flows, as well as the market value of our common stock.  See “--Consummation of the merger will require Sysco to incur significant additional indebtedness, which could adversely impact our financial condition and may hinder our ability to obtain additional financing and pursue other business and investment opportunities.”

 

Our level of indebtedness and the terms of our indebtedness could adversely affect our business and liquidity position.

 

As of June 28, 2014, we had approximately $3 billion of total indebtedness.  We have a Board-approved commercial paper program allowing us to issue short-term unsecured notes in an aggregate amount not to exceed $1.3 billion; a revolving credit facility supporting our U.S. and Canadian commercial paper programs in the amount of $1.5 billion set to expire on December 29, 2018; certain uncommitted bank lines of credit providing for unsecured borrowings for working capital of up to $95.0 million; and a €100.0 million (Euro) multicurrency revolving credit facility for use by our Irish subsidiary set to expire September 24, 2014, which is subject to extension.  Our indebtedness may further increase from time to time for various reasons, including fluctuations in operating results, working capital needs, capital expenditures and potential acquisitions or joint ventures.  Our increased level of indebtedness and the ultimate cost of such indebtedness could have a negative impact on our liquidity, cost of capital and financial results.  In the future, our cash flow and capital resources may not be sufficient for payments of interest on and principal of our debt, and any alternative financing measures available may not be successful and may not permit us to meet our scheduled debt service obligations.  See “--Consummation of the merger will require Sysco to incur significant additional indebtedness, which could adversely impact our financial condition and may hinder our ability to obtain additional financing and pursue other business and investment opportunities.”

 

Our liquidity can be negatively impacted by payments required to appeal tax assessments with certain tax jurisdictions.  

 

Certain tax jurisdictions require partial to full payment of audit assessments or the posting of letters of credit in order to proceed to the appeals process.  Sysco has posted approximately $32.5 million in letters of credit in order to appeal the Canadian Revenue Agency assessments of transfer pricing adjustments relating to our cross border procurement activities through our former purchasing cooperative on our 2004 and 2005 fiscal years.    If assessed on later years currently under examination using these same positions, we could have to pay cash or post additional letters of credit of as much as $129.0 million, in order to appeal these further assessments.    If significant further payments are required, the company’s financial condition or cash flows could be adversely affected.    

 

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We rely on technology in our business and any technology disruption or delay in implementing new technology could have a material negative impact on our business. 

 

 Our ability to decrease costs and increase profits, as well as our ability to serve customers most effectively, depends on the reliability of our technology network.  We use software and other technology systems, among other things, to generate and select orders, to load and route trucks, to make purchases, manage our warehouses and to monitor and manage our business on a day-to-day basis.  Any disruption to these computer systems could adversely impact our customer service, decrease the volume of our business and result in increased costs and lower profits.

 

Furthermore, process changes will be required as we continue to use our existing warehousing, delivery, and payroll systems to support operations as we implement the ERP system.  While Sysco has invested and continues to invest in technology security initiatives and disaster recovery plans, these measures cannot fully insulate us from technology disruption that could result in adverse effects on operations and profits.

 

A cybersecurity incident and other technology disruptions could negatively impact our business and our relationships with customers. 

 

We use computers in substantially all aspects of our business operations.  We also use mobile devices, social networking and other online activities to connect with our employees, suppliers, business partners and our customers.  Such uses give rise to cybersecurity risks, including security breach, espionage, system disruption, theft and inadvertent release of information.  Our business involves the storage and transmission of numerous classes of sensitive and/or confidential information and intellectual property, including customers’ and suppliers personal information, private information about employees, and financial and strategic information about the company and its business partners.  Further, as the company pursues its strategy to grow through acquisitions and to pursue new initiatives that improve our operations and cost structure, the company is also expanding and improving its information technologies, resulting in a larger technological presence and corresponding exposure to cybersecurity risk.  If we fail to assess and identify cybersecurity risks associated with acquisitions and new initiatives, we may become increasingly vulnerable to such risks.  Additionally, while we have implemented measures to prevent security breaches and cyber incidents, our preventative measures and incident response efforts may not be entirely effective.  The theft, destruction, loss, misappropriation, or release of sensitive and/or confidential information or intellectual property, or interference with our information technology systems or the technology systems of third parties on which we rely, could result in business disruption, negative publicity, brand damage, violation of privacy laws, loss of customers, potential liability and competitive disadvantage.

 

We may be required to pay material amounts under multiemployer defined benefit pension plans.

 

 We contribute to several multiemployer defined benefit pension plans based on obligations arising under collective bargaining agreements covering union-represented employees.  Approximately 10% of our current employees are participants in such multiemployer plans.  In fiscal 2014, our total contributions to these plans were approximately $76 million, which included payments for withdrawal liabilities of $41 millionThe costs of providing benefits through such plans have increased in recent yearsThe amount of any increase or decrease in our required contributions to these multiemployer plans will depend upon many factors, including the outcome of collective bargaining, actions taken by trustees who manage the plans, government regulations, the actual return on assets held in the plans and the potential payment of a withdrawal liability if we choose to exitBased upon the information available to us from plan administrators, we believe that several of these multiemployer plans are underfunded.  The unfunded liabilities of these plans may result in increased future payments by us and the other participating employers.  Underfunded multiemployer pension plans may impose a surcharge requiring additional pension contributions.  Our risk of such increased payments may be greater if any of the participating employers in these underfunded plans withdraws from the plan due to insolvency and is not able to contribute an amount sufficient to fund the unfunded liabilities associated with its participants in the plan.  Based on the latest information available from plan administrators, we estimate our share of the aggregate withdrawal liability on the multiemployer plans in which we participate could have been as much as $245 million as of June 28, 2014.  A significant increase to funding requirements could adversely affect the company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

Our funding requirements for our company-sponsored qualified pension plan may increase should financial markets experience future declines.

 

At the end of fiscal 2012, we decided to freeze future benefit accruals under the company-sponsored qualified pension plan (Retirement Plan) as of December 31, 2012 for all U.S.-based salaried and non-union hourly employees.  Effective January 1, 2013, these employees were eligible for additional contributions under an enhanced, defined contribution plan.  While these actions will serve to limit future growth in our pension liabilities, we had a sizable pension obligation of $3.2 billion as of June 28, 2014; therefore, financial market factors could impact our funding requirements.  Although recent pension funding relief legislation has served to defer some required funding, additional contributions may be required if our plan is not fully funded when the provisions that provided the relief are phased out.  See Note 14, “Company-Sponsored Employee Benefit Plans” to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 for a discussion of the funded status of the Retirement Plan.    

 

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The amount of our annual contribution to the Retirement Plan is dependent upon, among other things, the returns on the Retirement Plan’s assets and discount rates used to calculate the plan’s liability.  Our Retirement Plan holds investments in both equity and fixed income securities.  Fluctuations in asset values can cause the amount of our anticipated future contributions to the plan to increase.  The projected liability of the Retirement Plan will be impacted by the fluctuations of interest rates on high quality bonds in the public markets as these are inputs in determining our minimum funding requirements.  Specifically, decreases in these interest rates may have an adverse impact on our funding obligations.  To the extent financial markets experience future declines similar to those experienced in fiscal 2008 through the beginning of fiscal 2010, and/or interest rates on high quality bonds in the public markets decline, our required contributions may increase for future years as our funded status decreases, which could have an adverse impact on our liquidity. 

 

Failure to successfully renegotiate union contracts could result in work stoppages.

 

As of June 28, 2014, approximately 8,800 employees at 52 operating companies were members of 59 different local unions associated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and other labor organizations.  In fiscal 2015, 13 agreements covering approximately 1,900 employees have expired or will expire.  Since June 28, 2014, there have been no contract renegotiations.  Failure of our operating companies to effectively renegotiate these contracts could result in work stoppages.  Although our operating subsidiaries have not experienced any significant labor disputes or work stoppages to date, and we believe they have satisfactory relationships with their unions, a work stoppage due to failure of multiple operating subsidiaries to renegotiate union contracts could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

A shortage of qualified labor could negatively impact our business and materially reduce earnings.

 

The future success of our operations, including the achievement of our strategic objectives, depends on our ability to identify, recruit, develop and retain qualified and talented individuals, and any shortage of qualified labor could significantly affect our business.  Our employee recruitment, development and retention efforts may not be successful and there may be a shortage of qualified individuals in future periods.  Any such shortage would decrease Sysco’s ability to effectively serve our customers and achieve our strategic objectives.  Such a shortage would also likely lead to higher wages for employees and a corresponding reduction in our net earnings.

 

Our authorized preferred stock provides anti-takeover benefits that may not be viewed as beneficial to stockholders.

 

Under our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, Sysco’s Board of Directors is authorized to issue up to 1,500,000 shares of preferred stock without stockholder approval.  Issuance of these shares could make it more difficult for anyone to acquire Sysco without approval of the Board of Directors, depending on the rights and preferences of the stock issued.  In addition, if anyone attempts to acquire Sysco without approval of the Board of Directors of Sysco, the existence of this undesignated preferred stock could allow the Board of Directors to adopt a shareholder rights plan without obtaining stockholder approval, which could result in substantial dilution to a potential acquirer.  As a result, hostile takeover attempts that might result in an acquisition of Sysco, that could otherwise have been financially beneficial to our stockholders, could be deterred.

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

14


 

 

Item 2.  Properties

 

The table below shows the number of distribution facilities occupied by Sysco in each state, province or country and the aggregate square footage devoted to cold and dry storage as of June 28, 2014. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

Number of Facilities

 

Cold Storage
(Square Feet in thousands)

 

Dry Storage
(Square Feet in thousands)

 

Segment Served*

Alabama

 

184 

 

130 

 

BL

Alaska

 

41 

 

28 

 

BL

Arizona

 

129 

 

107 

 

BL, O

Arkansas

 

131 

 

88 

 

BL, O

California

17 

 

1,386 

 

1,254 

 

BL, S, O

Colorado

 

274 

 

213 

 

BL, S, O

Connecticut

 

156 

 

110 

 

BL, O

District of Columbia

 

52 

 

42 

 

BL

Florida

14 

 

1,166 

 

887 

 

BL, S, O

Georgia

 

267 

 

417 

 

BL, S, O

Idaho

 

95 

 

92 

 

BL

Illinois

 

409 

 

408 

 

BL, S, O

Indiana

 

100 

 

109 

 

BL

Iowa

 

93 

 

95 

 

BL

Kansas

 

177 

 

171 

 

BL

Kentucky

 

92 

 

106 

 

BL

Louisiana

 

134 

 

113 

 

BL

Maine

 

59 

 

50 

 

BL

Maryland

 

318 

 

255 

 

BL

Massachusetts

 

249 

 

229 

 

BL, S

Michigan

 

320 

 

300 

 

BL, S

Minnesota

 

233 

 

195 

 

BL

Mississippi

 

95 

 

69 

 

BL

Missouri

 

106 

 

94 

 

BL, S

Montana

 

120 

 

121 

 

BL

Nebraska

 

143 

 

129 

 

BL

Nevada

 

199 

 

154 

 

BL, O

New Jersey

 

140 

 

453 

 

BL, O

New Mexico

 

120 

 

108 

 

BL

New York

 

417 

 

361 

 

BL, O

North Carolina

 

332 

 

303 

 

BL, S, O

North Dakota

 

46 

 

59 

 

BL

Ohio

 

407 

 

423 

 

BL, S, O

Oklahoma

 

176 

 

156 

 

BL, S, O

Oregon

 

177 

 

154 

 

BL, S

Pennsylvania

 

542 

 

405 

 

BL, S

Rhode Island

 

 

 -

 

BL

South Carolina

 

191 

 

98 

 

BL

Tennessee

 

406 

 

426 

 

BL, O

Texas

18 

 

1,131 

 

1,235 

 

BL, S, O

Utah

 

161 

 

107 

 

BL

Virginia

 

627 

 

418 

 

BL

Washington

 

134 

 

92 

 

BL

Wisconsin

 

287 

 

299 

 

BL, O

Bahamas

 

90 

 

23 

 

BL

Alberta, Canada

 

206 

 

199 

 

BL

British Columbia, Canada

 

289 

 

271 

 

BL, O

Manitoba, Canada

 

78 

 

74 

 

BL

New Brunswick, Canada

 

85 

 

41 

 

BL

Newfoundland, Canada

 

33 

 

41 

 

BL

Nova Scotia, Canada

 

45 

 

50 

 

BL

Ontario, Canada

10 

 

549 

 

442 

 

BL, O

Quebec, Canada

 

152 

 

239 

 

BL

Saskatchewan, Canada

 

40 

 

54 

 

BL

 

15


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location

Number of Facilities

 

Cold Storage
(Square Feet in thousands)

 

Dry Storage
(Square Feet in thousands)

 

Segment Served*

Ireland

 

109 

 

68 

 

BL

Northern Ireland

 

 

 

BL

Puerto Rico

 

 

 -

 

O

Total

194 

 

13,710 

 

12,573 

 

 

 

*  Segments served include Broadline (BL), SYGMA (S) and Other (O).

 

We own approximately 21,717,000 square feet of our distribution facilities (or 82.6% of the total square feet), and the remainder is occupied under leases expiring at various dates from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2032, exclusive of renewal options. 

 

We own our approximately 625,000 square foot headquarters office complex in Houston, Texas.  In addition, we own our approximately 669,000 square foot shared services complex in Cypress, Texas.

 

We are currently constructing expansions, replacement or fold-out facilities for our distribution facilities in Phoenix, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Dublin, Ireland.  These operating companies, in the aggregate, accounted for approximately 2% of fiscal 2014 sales.

 

As of June 28, 2014, our fleet of approximately 9,400 delivery vehicles consisted of tractor and trailer combinations, vans and panel trucks, most of which are either wholly or partially refrigerated for the transportation of frozen or perishable foods.  We own approximately 94% of these vehicles and lease the remainder.

 

 

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings

 

None.

 

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable.

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.    Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Repurchases of Equity Securities

 

The principal market for Sysco’s common stock (SYY) is the New York Stock Exchange.  The table below sets forth the high and low sales prices per share for our common stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape and the cash dividends declared for the periods indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends

 

Common Stock Prices

 

Declared

 

High

 

Low

 

Per Share

Fiscal 2013:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

$

31.41 

 

$

28.23 

 

$

0.27 

Second Quarter

 

32.40 

 

 

29.75 

 

 

0.28 

Third Quarter

 

35.62 

 

 

30.55 

 

 

0.28 

Fourth Quarter

 

35.40 

 

 

33.07 

 

 

0.28 

Fiscal 2014:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

$

36.05 

 

$

31.37 

 

$

0.28 

Second Quarter

 

43.40 

 

 

31.13 

 

 

0.29 

Third Quarter

 

37.08 

 

 

34.07 

 

 

0.29 

Fourth Quarter

 

37.92 

 

 

35.31 

 

 

0.29 

 

The number of record owners of Sysco’s common stock as of August 13, 2014 was 11,575.

 

16


 

We made the following share repurchases during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Period

(a) Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)

 

(b) Average Price Paid per Share

 

(c) Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs

 

(d) Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs

Month #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 30 – April 26

 -

 

$

 -

 

 -

 

11,655,197 

Month #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 27 – May 24

2,357 

 

 

37.19 

 

 -

 

11,655,197 

Month #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 25 – June 28

 -

 

 

 -

 

 -

 

11,655,197 

Total

2,357 

 

$

37.19 

 

 -

 

11,655,197 

 

 (1) The shares purchased in Month #2 represented shares tendered by individuals in connection with stock option exercises.

 

In August 2013, our Board of Directors approved the repurchase of up to 20,000,000 shares for an aggregate purchase price not to exceed $720 million.  The authorization expires on August 23, 2015.  Pursuant to the repurchase program, shares may be acquired in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions at the company’s discretion, subject to market conditions and other factors

 

The Board of Directors has authorized us to enter into agreements from time to time to extend our ongoing repurchase program to include repurchases during company announced “blackout periods” of such securities in compliance with Rule 10b5-1 promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act).

 

Stock Performance Graph

 

The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act, each as amended, except to the extent that Sysco specifically incorporates such information by reference into such filing.

 

 

The following stock performance graph compares the performance of Sysco’s Common Stock to the S&P 500 Index and to the S&P 500 Food/Staple Retail Index for Sysco’s last five fiscal years.

 

 The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our Common Stock, the S&P 500 Index, and the S&P 500 Food/Staple Retail Index was $100 on the last trading day of fiscal 2009, and that all dividends were reinvested.  Performance data for Sysco, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Food/Staple Retail Index is provided as of the last trading day of each of our last five fiscal years.

 

17


 

Picture 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6/27/09

7/3/10

7/2/11

6/30/12

6/29/13

6/28/14

Sysco Corporation

$100

$129

$148

$145

$172

$197

S&P 500

100

114

152

158

190

237

S&P 500 Food/Staple Retail Index

100

101

131

151

183

221

 

 

18


 

 

Item 6.  Selected Financial Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

 

2011

 

2010

(53 Weeks)

 

(In thousands except for per share data)

Sales

$

46,516,712 

 

 

$

44,411,233 

 

 

$

42,380,939 

 

 

$

39,323,489 

 

 

$

37,243,495 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating income

 

1,587,122 

 

 

 

1,658,478 

 

 

 

1,890,632 

 

 

 

1,931,502 

 

 

 

1,975,868 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earnings before income taxes

 

1,475,624 

 

 

 

1,547,455 

 

 

 

1,784,002 

 

 

 

1,827,454 

 

 

 

1,849,589 

 

Income taxes

 

544,091 

 

 

 

555,028 

 

 

 

662,417 

 

 

 

675,424 

 

 

 

669,606 

 

Net earnings

$

931,533 

 

 

$

992,427 

 

 

$

1,121,585 

 

 

$

1,152,030 

 

 

$

1,179,983 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net earnings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share

$

1.59 

 

 

$

1.68 

 

 

$

1.91 

 

 

$

1.96 

 

 

$

1.99 

 

Diluted earnings per share

 

1.58 

 

 

 

1.67 

 

 

 

1.90 

 

 

 

1.96 

 

 

 

1.99 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dividends declared per share

$

1.15 

 

 

$

1.11 

 

 

$

1.07 

 

 

$

1.03 

 

 

$

0.99 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

$

13,167,950 

 

 

$

12,678,208 

 

 

$

12,137,207 

 

 

$

11,427,190 

 

 

$

10,336,436 

 

Capital expenditures

 

523,206 

 

 

 

511,862 

 

 

 

784,501 

 

 

 

636,442 

 

 

 

594,604 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current maturities of long-term debt

$

304,777 

 

 

$

207,301 

 

 

$

254,650 

 

 

$

207,031 

 

 

$

7,970 

 

Long-term debt

 

2,384,167 

 

 

 

2,639,986 

 

 

 

2,763,688 

 

 

 

2,279,517 

 

 

 

2,472,662 

 

Total long-term debt

 

2,688,944 

 

 

 

2,847,287 

 

 

 

3,018,338 

 

 

 

2,486,548 

 

 

 

2,480,632 

 

Shareholders’ equity

 

5,266,695 

 

 

 

5,191,810 

 

 

 

4,685,040 

 

 

 

4,705,242 

 

 

 

3,827,526 

 

Total capitalization

$

7,955,639 

 

 

$

8,039,097 

 

 

$

7,703,378 

 

 

$

7,191,790 

 

 

$

6,308,158 

 

Ratio of long-term debt to

capitalization

 

33.8 

%

 

 

35.4 

%

 

 

39.2 

%

 

 

34.6 

%

 

 

39.3 

%

 

 

19


 

 

Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

Our discussion below of our results includes certain non-GAAP financial measures that we believe provide important perspective with respect to underlying business trends and results and provides meaningful supplemental information to both management and investors that is indicative of the performance of the company’s underlying operations and facilitates comparison on a year-over-year basis.  Other than free cash flow, any non-GAAP financial measure will be denoted as an adjusted measure and exclude the impact from executive retirement plans restructuring, multiemployer pension withdrawals, severance charges, merger and integration costs associated with our pending US Foods, Inc. (US Foods) merger, change in estimate for self-insurance costs, charges from a liability for a settlement, facility closure charges, amortization of US Foods financing costs and an acquisition related charge specific to fiscal 2013, collectively defined as (Certain Items).  The comparison of our fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2012 periods also excludes the impact of our Business Transformation Project.  More information on the rationale for the use of these measures and reconciliations to GAAP numbers can be found under “Non-GAAP Reconciliations.”

 

Due to the inherent uncertainties concerning the impact of the pending US Foods acquisition (see discussion in Risk Factors in Part 1, Item 1A.), it is impracticable for us to provide projections that fully anticipate all possible impacts of the acquisition.  For that reason, forward-looking disclosures in this MD&A and elsewhere describe anticipated future trends and results of only our current operations, excluding any potential impact from the US Foods acquisition unless specifically noted.

 

Overview

 

Sysco distributes food and related products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other foodservice customers.  Our operations are primarily located throughout the United States (U.S.), Bahamas, Canada, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and include broadline companies (which include our custom-cut meat operations), SYGMA (our chain restaurant distribution subsidiary), specialty produce companies, hotel supply operations, a company that distributes specialty imported products, a company that distributes to international customers and our Sysco Ventures platform, our suite of technology solutions that help support the business needs of our customers.

 

We consider our primary market to be the foodservice market in the U.S., Canada and Ireland and estimate that we serve about 17.4% of this approximately $255 billion annual market based on a measurement as of the end of calendar 2013.  We use industry data obtained from various sources including Technomic, Inc., the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association and the Irish Food Board to calculate this measurement.  Industry sources adjust measurements of the market size periodically to align with governmental census data.  As a result, our measurement used for calendar 2012 was adjusted to 17.1%.  According to industry sources, the foodservice, or food-away-from-home, market represents approximately 48% of the total dollars spent on food purchases made at the consumer level in the U.S. as of the end of calendar 2013.

 

Industry sources estimate the total foodservice market in the U.S. experienced a real sales increase of approximately 1.1% in calendar year 2013 and  1.2% in calendar year 2012.  Real sales changes do not include the impact of inflation or deflation.

 

Highlights

 

The foodservice industry remained under pressure in fiscal 2014.  While the economy continues to slowly recover, the magnitude of recovery is modest and the outlook for certain fundamental drivers of the economy is mixed.  This creates a challenging business environment for us and our customers; however, we continue to implement transformational change on a broad scale which is enhancing the products and services we provide our customers and helping us to operate more efficiently.  Our sales and gross profits grew modestly, and our expense management performance was favorable overall despite cost pressures in our delivery operations.  Our improvements largely resulted from our Business Transformation Project initiatives, which helped drive our North American Broadline cost per case lower than in fiscal 2013.  The impact of Certain Items also contributed to lower operating income in fiscal 2014 as compared to fiscal 2013.   

 

Comparison of results from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2013:

 

·

Sales increased 4.7%, or $2.1 billion to $46.5 billion.

·

Operating income decreased 4.3%, or $71.4 million, to $1.6 billion.

·

Adjusted operating income decreased 0.9%, or $16.2 million, to $1.7 billion.

·

Net earnings decreased 6.1%, or $60.9 million, to $0.9 billion. 

·

Adjusted net earnings decreased 1.8%, or $19.4 million, to $1.0 billion.

·

Basic earnings per share in fiscal 2014 was $1.59, a 5.4% decrease from the comparable prior year period amount of  $1.68 per share.  Diluted earnings per share in fiscal 2014 was $1.58, a 5.4% decrease from the comparable prior year period amount of $1.67 per share. 

·

Adjusted diluted earnings per share was $1.76 in fiscal 2014, a 1.1% decrease from  the comparable prior year amount of  $1.78 per share.

20


 

 

See “Non-GAAP Reconciliations” for an explanation of these non-GAAP financial measures.

 

In the second quarter of fiscal 2014, we announced an agreement to merge with US Foods.  This merger is currently pending a regulatory review process.

 

 

Trends and Strategy

 

Trends

 

General economic conditions and consumer confidence can affect the frequency of purchases and amounts spent by consumers for food-away-from-home and, in turn, can impact our customers and our sales.  Consumers continue to spend their disposable income in an increasingly disciplined manner.  We believe these conditions have contributed to a slow rate of recovery in the foodservice market.  While these trends can be cyclical in nature, greater consumer confidence will be required to reverse the trend.  According to industry sources, real sales growth for the total foodservice market in the U.S. is expected to be modest over the long-term.  We believe these industry trends reinforce the need for us to transform our business to reduce our overall cost structure and provide greater value to our customers.  Our long-term sales growth expectation is 4% to 6% annually, which assumes a modest rate of inflation similar to historical levels.

 

Our gross margin performance has been influenced by multiple factors.  The modest level of growth in the foodservice market has created additional competitive pricing pressures which is in turn negatively impacting gross profits.  Sales to our locally-managed customers, including independent restaurant customers, have not grown at the same rate as sales to our corporate-managed customers.  Gross margin from our corporate-managed customers is generally lower than other types of customers due to higher volumes sold to these customers.  Our locally-managed customers comprise a significant portion of our overall volumes and an even greater percentage of profitability because of the high level of value added services we typically provide to this customer group.  As a result, our gross margins have declined.  The disparity in the growth rate between these customer types moderated in the last half of fiscal 2014 with locally-managed sales growth trending at similar rates as corporate-managed customers.  Inflation can be a factor that contributes to gross margin pressure.  Our inflation rates were relatively stable over the first three quarters of fiscal 2014, however it increased in the fourth quarter, all quarters being compared to the past year.  Fourth quarter fiscal 2014 inflation was seen primarily in the meat, seafood and dairy categories which represent more than one-third of our annual sales.  While we cannot predict whether inflation will continue at current levels, periods of high inflation, either overall or in certain product categories, can have a negative impact on us and our customers, as high food costs can be difficult to pass on to our customers and inflation can reduce consumer spending in the food-away-from-home market, and may negatively impact our sales, gross profit, operating income and earnings. 

 

We have experienced higher operating expenses this fiscal year as compared to fiscal 2013, stemming from higher case volumes, some of which is attributable to our acquired operations, increased depreciation and amortization, increased delivery costs and higher corporate expenses.  These were partially offset by lower Business Transformation Project expenses and benefits from Business Transformation Project initiatives.  We have experienced a decrease in pay-related expenses in the selling and information technology areas due to initiatives from our Business Transformation Project.  The benefits in the selling and information technology areas have largely been realized and are not expected to recur in fiscal 2015.  Other areas of pay-related expense have increased primarily from acquired companies and within delivery areas of our business a portion of which can be attributable to volume increases.  Our retirement-related expenses consist primarily of costs from our company-sponsored qualified pension plan (Retirement Plan), our Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan (SERP) and our defined contribution plan.  Our Retirement Plan was substantially frozen and the SERP was completely frozen in fiscal 2013, and our defined contribution plan was enhanced with greater benefits.  The net impact of these actions is a reduction in retirement-related costs for fiscal 2014 as compared to fiscal 2013.  The benefits in the retirement-related expense have largely been realized and the amount of cost decrease is not expected to recur at the same magnitude in fiscal 2015 as in fiscal 2014.  Corporate office expenses have risen in fiscal 2014 and will continue to rise in fiscal 2015 as we expand our corporate capabilities including a new revenue management function, organizational changes that drive greater functional support in our broadline operations and additional investments in technology.  We have incurred additional costs in connection with the proposed merger with US Foods announced in the second quarter of fiscal 2014 primarily from integration planning and due diligence costs.  We anticipate incurring additional costs as we begin planning for integration of the two companies as well as other financing costs incurred in connection with the proposed merger.  The proposed merger is undergoing regulatory review by the Federal Trade Commission and we estimate the merger will close by the end of the third quarter or in the fourth quarter of calendar 2014. 

 

Strategy

 

We are focused on optimizing our core broadline business in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Ireland, while continuing to explore appropriate opportunities to profitably grow our market share and create shareholder value by expanding beyond our core business.  Day-to-day, our business decisions are driven by our mission to market and deliver great products to our customers with exceptional service, with the aspirational vision of becoming each of our customers’ most valued and trusted business partner.  We have identified five components of our strategy to help us achieve our mission and vision:

21


 

 

·

Profoundly enrich the experience of doing business with Sysco:  Our primary focus is to help our customers succeed.  We believe that by building on our current competitive advantages, we will be able to further differentiate our offering to customers.  Our competitive advantages include our sales force of over 7,000 marketing associates; our diversified product base, which includes quality-assured Sysco brand products; the suite of services we provide to our customers such as business reviews and menu analysis; and our multi-regional presence in the U.S. and Canada.  In addition, we have a portfolio of businesses spanning broadline, specialty meat, chain restaurant distribution, specialty produce, hotel amenities, specialty import and export which serves our customers’ needs across a wide array of business segments.  Through our Sysco Ventures platform, we are developing a suite of technology solutions that help support the administrative needs of our customers.  We believe this strategy of enriching the experience of doing business with Sysco will increase customer retention and profitably accelerate sales growth with both existing and new customers.

 

·

Continuously improve productivity in all areas of our business:  Our multi-year Business Transformation Project is designed to improve productivity and reduce costs.  An integrated software system is included in this project and will support a majority of our business processes to further streamline our operations and reduce costs.  These systems are commonly referred to as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.  We view the technology as an important enabler of this project; however the larger outcome of this project will be from transformed processes that standardize portions of our operations.  This includes a shared business service center to centrally manage certain back-office functions that are currently performed at a majority of our operating companies.  This project includes other components to lower our cost structure through improved productivity without impacting our service to our customers.  We continue to optimize warehouse and delivery activities across the organization to achieve a more efficient delivery of products to our customers and we seek to improve sales productivity and lower general and administrative costs.  We also have a product cost reduction and category management initiative to use market data and customer insights to make changes to product pricing and product assortment. 

 

·

Expand our portfolio of products and services by initiating a customer-centric innovation program:  We continually explore opportunities to provide new and improved products, technologies and services to our customers. 

 

·

Explore, assess and pursue new businesses and markets: This strategy is focused on identifying opportunities to expand the core business through growth in new international markets and in adjacent areas that complement our core foodservice distribution business.  As a part of our ongoing strategic analysis, we regularly evaluate business opportunities, including potential acquisitions, joint ventures and sales of assets and businesses.

 

·

Develop and effectively integrate a comprehensive, enterprise-wide talent management process:  Our ability to drive results and grow our business is directly linked to having the best talent in the industry.  We are committed to the continued enhancement of our talent management programs in terms of how we recruit, select, train and develop our associates throughout Sysco, as well as succession planning.  Our ultimate objective is to provide our associates with outstanding opportunities for professional growth and career development.  

 

The five components of our strategy discussed above are designed to drive sustainable profitable growth, increase asset optimization and free cash flow and increase operating margins.  Consistent with these three objectives, in the second quarter of fiscal 2014, we announced an agreement to merge with US Foods.  US Foods is a leading foodservice distributor in the U.S. that markets and distributes fresh, frozen and dry food and non-food products to more than 200,000 foodservice customers including independently owned single location restaurants, regional and national chain restaurants, healthcare and educational institutions, hotels and motels, government and military organizations and retail locations.  Following the completion of the proposed merger, the combined company will continue to be named Sysco and headquartered in Houston, Texas.  At closing, Sysco is expected to have annual sales of approximately $65 billion and with successful integration, we believe at least $600 million in estimated annual synergies can be obtained in the combined company over a three to four year time period.  Expenses to achieve synergies are estimated to be $700 million to $800 million to occur over a three year time frame once the acquisition has closed.  We anticipate some level of capital expenditures primarily for internal use software and other computer equipment; however, amounts have not been estimated at this time. 

 

As of the time the merger agreement was announced in December 2013, Sysco agreed to pay approximately $3.5 billion for the equity of US Foods, comprised of $3 billion of Sysco common stock and $500 million of cash.  As part of the transaction, Sysco will also assume or refinance US Foods’ net debt, which was approximately $4.7 billion as of September 28, 2013, bringing the total enterprise value to $8.2 billion at the time of the merger announcement.  As of August 13, 2014, the merger consideration is estimated as follows:  approximately $3.7 billion for the equity of US Foods, comprised of $3.2 billion of Sysco common stock valued using the seven day average through August 13, 2014 and $500 million of cash.  US Foods' net debt to be assumed or refinanced was approximately $4.8 billion as of June 28, 2014, bringing the total enterprise value to $8.5 billion as of August 13, 2014.  The value of Sysco’s common stock and the amount of US Foods’ net debt will fluctuate.  As such, the components of the transaction and total enterprise value noted above will not be finalized until the merger is consummated. 

 

22


 

We have secured a fully committed bridge financing and expect to issue longer-term financing prior to closing.  After completion of the transaction, the equity holders of US Foods will own approximately 87 million shares, or roughly 13%, of Sysco.  A representative from each of US Foods’ two majority shareholders will join Sysco’s Board of Directors upon closing.  This merger is currently pending a regulatory review process by the Federal Trade Commission.  We expect the transaction to close by the end of the third quarter or in the fourth quarter of calendar 2014.  Under certain conditions, including lack of regulatory approval, Sysco would be obligated to pay $300 million to the owners of US Foods if the merger were cancelled, which would be recognized as an expense.

 

Business Transformation Project

 

Our multi-year Business Transformation Project consists of:

 

·

the design and deployment of an ERP system to implement an integrated software system to support a majority of our business processes and further streamline our operations;

·

initiatives to lower our operating cost structure; and

·

initiatives to lower our product cost including a category management initiative to use market data and customer insights to lower product pricing and enhance our product assortment to drive sales growth.

 

With respect to our ERP system, we successfully installed a major scheduled update to the system and have deployed the system to twelve locations as of the end of July 2014.  In fiscal 2015, we will implement a software version upgrade, finalize information technology-related US Foods merger integration planning and sequencing decisions and enhance the scalability of our shared service center’s processes to prepare for more conversions in the future.  Our goal with integration planning is to sequence the decisions of our ERP implementation to help us achieve the most synergies in a timely manner.

 

We are seeking to lower our operating cost structure through various initiatives.  These include routing optimization to reduce routes and miles driven, while improving on-time deliveries.  This initiative is expected to be complete by the end of fiscal 2015.  We made substantial progress on our fleet and equipment optimization initiative aimed at reducing costs and optimizing our capital spend.  We expect to complete the rationalization of our fleet by the end of fiscal 2015.  Driver and warehouse pay structures are being enhanced including tools to more effectively manage labor costs.  We are also piloting a program to increase the amount of recycled material in our operations.  We expect to roll out this program across the country by the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2015, which should also reduce costs.

 

We also seek to lower our product costs through various initiatives such as our category management initiative.  This initiative is designed to lower our total product costs and to align our product assortment with customer demand.  We are using market data and customer insights to make changes to our product assortment while building strategic partnerships with our suppliers to grow our sales and our suppliers’ sales.  We believe there are opportunities to more effectively provide the products that our customers want, commit to greater volumes with our suppliers and create mutual benefits for all parties.  We believe that procuring greater quantities with select vendors will result in reduced prices for our product purchases.  In fiscal 2014, we launched several product categories, developed and implemented field-ready sales tools and enhanced customer support and improved communication and coordination with the field.  By the end of fiscal year 2015, we expect to have launched all of the categories in the scope of this initiative.  We continue to believe this initiative will provide benefits to our customers and savings for us over the next few years. 

 

The following tables outline our Business Transformation Project expenditures, that are attributable to our ERP system implementation and shared service support center, for the periods presented:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

2014

 

2013

 

Change in Dollars

 

 

(In millions)

Operating expense

 

$

277.0 

 

$

330.5 

 

$

(53.5)

Capital expenditure

 

 

33.4 

 

 

20.0 

 

 

13.4 

Amortization

 

 

(87.5)

 

 

(76.8)

 

 

(10.7)

Cash outlay

 

$

222.9 

 

$

273.7 

 

$

(50.8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

2013

 

2012

 

Change in Dollars

 

 

(In millions)

Operating expense

 

$

330.5 

 

$

193.1 

 

$

137.4 

Capital expenditure

 

 

20.0 

 

 

146.2 

 

 

(126.2)

Amortization

 

 

(76.8)

 

 

(17.1)

 

 

(59.7)

Cash outlay

 

$

273.7 

 

$

322.2 

 

$

(48.5)

 

23


 

The decrease in expenses in fiscal 2014 was due to lower employee costs that were attributed to our Business Transformation Project due to a change in allocation for employees that are not dedicated full time to the project.  Only full time employee costs are included in fiscal 2014, while fiscal 2013 included all employee costs.  Additional contributors to the decrease in fiscal 2014 include an increased level of capitalization on amounts spent for system improvements and reduced level of spend with consultants in fiscal 2014.  The increase in expenses in 2013 was largely attributable to deployment costs and software amortization, which began in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 and totaled $76.8 million.  Our cash outlay for our Business Transformation Project, which excludes non-cash expenses such as software amortization, has decreased in fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2013 primarily due to lower levels of spend on internal labor and consultants. 

 

Our goal for our Business Transformation Project is to generate approximately $550 million to $650 million in annual benefits to be achieved by fiscal 2015.  In fiscal 2014, we exceeded our benefit goals and believe we will exceed our goals again in fiscal 2015.    

 

 

Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth the components of our consolidated results of operations expressed as a percentage of sales for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

 

2012

Sales

100.0 

%

 

100.0 

%

 

100.0 

%

Cost of sales

82.4 

 

 

82.0 

 

 

81.6 

 

Gross profit

17.6 

 

 

18.0 

 

 

18.4 

 

Operating expenses

14.2 

 

 

14.3 

 

 

13.9 

 

Operating income

3.4 

 

 

3.7 

 

 

4.5 

 

Interest expense

0.2 

 

 

0.3 

 

 

0.3 

 

Other expense (income), net

(0.0)

 

 

(0.0)

 

 

(0.0)

 

Earnings before income taxes

3.2 

 

 

3.4 

 

 

4.2 

 

Income taxes

1.2 

 

 

1.2 

 

 

1.6 

 

Net earnings

2.0 

%

 

2.2 

%

 

2.6 

%

 

The following table sets forth the change in the components of our consolidated results of operations expressed as a percentage increase or decrease over the prior year:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014

 

2013

Sales

 

 

 

4.7 

%

 

4.8 

%

Cost of sales

 

 

 

5.3 

 

 

5.2 

 

Gross profit

 

 

 

2.3 

 

 

2.8 

 

Operating expenses

 

 

 

4.0 

 

 

7.6 

 

Operating income

 

 

 

(4.3)

 

 

(12.3)

 

Interest expense

 

 

 

(3.7)

 

 

13.3 

 

Other expense (income), net (1)

 

 

 

(29.9)

 

 

158.2 

 

Earnings before income taxes

 

 

 

(4.6)

 

 

(13.3)

 

Income taxes

 

 

 

(2.0)

 

 

(16.2)

 

Net earnings

 

 

 

(6.1)

%

 

(11.5)

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic earnings per share

 

 

 

(5.4)

%

 

(12.0)

%

Diluted earnings per share

 

 

 

(5.4)

 

 

(12.1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Average shares outstanding

 

 

 

(0.6)

 

 

0.3