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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

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

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021

OR

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

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                       TO

Commission File Number 001-37689

 

ALJ REGIONAL HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

13-4082185

( State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

244 Madison Avenue, PMB #358

New York, NY 10016

(Address of principal executive offices, Zip code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (888) 486-7775

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

Name of exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.01 par value

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No    ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer      

Emerging growth company

Accelerated filer     

Non-accelerated filer      

Smaller reporting company       

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262 (b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

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

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates was approximately $28,066,692, based on the closing price of $1.45 for such common equity on March 31, 2021.

The number of shares of common stock, $0.01 par value per share, outstanding as of November 30, 2021, was 42,405,725.

 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

None

 

 

 

 

 


 

ALJ REGIONAL HOLDINGS, INC.

ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K

FOR THE YEAR ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

INDEX

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

4

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

11

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

23

Item 2.

Properties

24

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

24

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

24

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

25

Item 6.

Reserved

26

Item 7.

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

27

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

37

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

37

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

37

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

38

Item 9B.

Other Information

38

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

38

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

39

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

43

Item 12.

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

48

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

49

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

51

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

52

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

56

 

 

 

Signatures

57

 

 

 

 

2


Table of Contents

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

The statements included in this Form 10-K regarding future financial performance, results and conditions and other statements that are not historical facts, including, among others, the statements regarding competition, the Company’s intention to retain earnings for use in the Company’s business operations, the Company’s ability to continue to fund its operations and service its indebtedness, the adequacy of the Company’s accrual for tax liabilities, management’s projection of continued taxable income, and the Company’s ability to offset future income against net operating loss carryovers, constitute forward-looking statements. The words “can,” “could,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “plan,” “future,” “believes,” “intends,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “projects,” “estimates,” and similar expressions are also intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results or events could differ materially from those set forth or implied by such forward-looking statements and related assumptions due to certain important factors, including, without limitation, the risks set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” below, which are incorporated herein by reference. Some, but not all, of the forward-looking statements contained in this Form 10-K include, among other things, statements about the following:

 

any statements regarding our expectations for future performance;

 

our ability to integrate business acquisitions;

 

our ability to compete effectively;

 

statements regarding future revenue and the potential concentration of such revenue coming from a limited number of customers;

 

our ability to meet customer needs;

 

our expectations that interest expense will increase;

 

our expectations that we will continue to have non-cash compensation expenses;

 

our expectation that we will be in compliance with the required covenants pursuant to our loan agreements;

 

regulatory compliance costs;

 

our ability to manage cost cutting activities;

 

the potential adverse impact of the novel coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) pandemic on our business, operations and the markets and communities in which we and our customers, vendors and employees operate;

 

our ability to improve margins and profitability on contracts we enter into; and

 

the other matters described in “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business.”

The Company is also subject to general business risks, including results of tax audits, adverse state, federal or foreign legislation and regulation, changes in general economic conditions, the Company’s ability to retain and attract key employees, acts of war or global terrorism and unexpected natural disasters. Any forward-looking statements included in this Form 10-K are made as of the date hereof, based on information available to the Company as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

 

3


Table of Contents

 

PART I

ITEM 1. BUSINESS.

Overview and Business Organization

ALJ Regional Holdings, Inc. (including subsidiaries, referred to collectively in this report as “ALJ,” the “Company” or “we”) is a holding company.  During the year ended September 30, 2021, ALJ consisted of the following wholly-owned subsidiaries:

 

Faneuil, Inc. (including its subsidiaries, “Faneuil”).  Faneuil is a leading provider of call center services, back-office operations, staffing services, and toll collection services to government and regulated commercial clients across the United States, focusing on the healthcare, utility, transportation, and toll revenue collection industries. Faneuil is headquartered in Hampton, Virginia. ALJ acquired Faneuil in October 2013.

 

Phoenix Color Corp. (including its subsidiaries, “Phoenix”).  Phoenix is a leading manufacturer of book components, educational materials and related products producing value-added components, heavily illustrated books and commercial specialty products using a broad spectrum of materials and decorative technologies. Phoenix is headquartered in Hagerstown, Maryland. ALJ acquired Phoenix in August 2015.

 

Floors-N-More, LLC, d/b/a, Carpets N’ More (“Carpets”). Carpets was a floor covering retailer in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a provider of multiple products for the commercial, retail and home builder markets including all types of flooring, countertops, cabinets, window coverings and garage/closet organizers. ALJ acquired and disposed of Carpets in April 2014 and February 2021, respectively.

With several members of senior management and our board of directors (“Board of Directors”) coming from long careers in the professional service industry, ALJ is focused on acquiring and operating exceptional businesses.

As a result of the sale of one of its segments, Carpets, during February 2021, discussed below, ALJ has organized its business and corporate structure into two business segments: Faneuil and Phoenix. ALJ is reported as corporate overhead. For results of operations by business segment, see “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Faneuil

Background

Faneuil is a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Hampton, VA. We acquired Faneuil from Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., for aggregate consideration of $53.0 million.

Faneuil is a nationally recognized leader in technology-enabled in-person and automated service delivery, particularly in regulated, highly complex environments.

Acquisition of Realtime Digital Innovations, LLC

On July 31, 2019 (“RDI Purchase Date”), Faneuil acquired Realtime Digital Innovations, LLC (“RDI” and such acquisition, the “RDI Acquisition”), a provider of workflow automation and business intelligence services. The RDI Acquisition is expected to provide Faneuil with a sustainable competitive advantage in the business process outsourcing space by allowing it to, among others, (i) automate process workflows and business intelligence, (ii) generate labor efficiencies for existing programs, (iii) expand potential new client target entry points, (iv) improve overall customer experience, and (v) increase margin profiles through shorter sales cycles and software license sales.

Services

Faneuil provides business processing solutions for an extensive client portfolio that includes both commercial and government entities across several verticals, including transportation, utilities, healthcare, consumer goods, and government/municipal services.  Utilizing advanced applications and a dedicated team of service professionals, Faneuil delivers broad outsourcing support, ranging from customer contact centers, fulfillment operations, and information technology services, to manual and electronic toll collection and violation processing, with the goal of building its clients’ brands by providing exemplary customer service.

4


Table of Contents

Faneuil’s core competencies include:

 

High-volume, multi-channel customer contact centers;

 

Customer relationship management;

 

Billing, payment, and claims processing;

 

Data entry;

 

Document management;

 

Operational expertise;

 

Workforce and support analytics;

 

Quality assurance;  

 

Back office and fulfillment operations;

 

System support and maintenance; and

 

Staffing services.

Faneuil employees who have contact with customers undergo intensive training and development, followed by structured monitoring and assessments before they are certified to process customer contacts. Faneuil’s customer contact employees provide service delivery through multiple communication channels, including telephone, fax, email, web chat and face-to-face interaction. Additionally, Faneuil provides multi-lingual representatives to accommodate the communication needs of non-English-speaking customers, as well as the hearing-impaired.

 

Human Capital Management

 

Faneuil is committed to fostering a work environment that values diversity and inclusion. This commitment includes providing equal access to and participation in, equal employment opportunities, programs, and services without regard to race, religion, color, origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age, or stereotypes based thereon. Faneuil welcomes team members' differences, experiences, and beliefs, and is investing in a more productive, engaged, diverse and inclusive workforce.

Faneuil monitors human capital metrics and diversity. On September 30, 2021, Faneuil had 6,541 full-time employees (down from 7,743 employees on September 30, 2020). No Faneuil employees are represented by a labor union, or subject to any collective bargaining agreements. Faneuil considers its employee relations good.

 

Faneuil continues to focus on workplace safety by providing training and bringing awareness to workplace best practices in a continuous effort to reduce workplace injuries and accidents. Faneuil acted quickly to respond to safety protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect the health and safety of team members. To support team members, Faneuil offered remote work options where possible, purchased additional sanitation supplies and increased personal protective materials provided to staff. 

Customers

Faneuil’s client portfolio includes both government and commercial entities nationwide, including several toll authorities, state agencies, municipalities, publicly-owned utilities, health benefit exchanges, one government agency that operates the major airports serving the Washington, D.C. area, and several other public and private entities.

The percentages of Faneuil net revenue derived from its significant customers for the years ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 were as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Customer A

 

 

10.1

%

 

 

10.6

%

Customer B

 

 

10.0

 

 

**

 

 

** Less than 10% of Faneuil net revenue. 

5


Table of Contents

Many Faneuil customers are government agencies subject to contractual budgetary ceilings. State and local funding for these agencies is approved by the respective state legislature(s) each year. Depending on budgetary constraints, the contract values may be subject to change based upon ongoing legislative approval.

Competition

Primary competitors to Faneuil are other large providers of toll services, such as Conduent, AEComm, and TransCore, Inc., as well as contact center operators such as Maximus and Automated Health Services. In many cases, Faneuil is smaller and has less financial and personnel resources than its competitors. If Faneuil cannot compete effectively to win new business and retain existing clients, its operating results will be negatively affected. To remain competitive, Faneuil must continuously implement new technologies and expand its portfolio of outsourced services and may have to make occasional strategic adjustments to its pricing for its services.

Properties

Faneuil leases all of its properties in various locations throughout the United States for customer contact centers, walk-in retail, and administration. Faneuil’s corporate headquarters are located in Hampton, VA. Faneuil’s leased facilities comprise an aggregate of approximately 487,000 square feet with leases that expire at various dates through June 2030. Faneuil believes that its existing leased facilities are adequate for current requirements.

Backlog

Faneuil backlog represents executed contracts for future services. Most contracts are long-term and obligate Faneuil to provide services over multiple years. Faneuil backlog may not represent firm commitments as some contracts, especially with government entities, allow for cancellation under certain instances. Faneuil adjusts backlog to reflect contract cancellations, deferrals, and revisions known at the reporting date. However, Faneuil could experience additional contract modifications or cancellations, which may increase or decrease backlog.

 

The following table reflects the amount of Faneuil backlog by the fiscal year we expect to recognize revenue:  

 

 

 

As of September 30,

 

(in millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Within one year

 

$

196.4

 

 

$

245.6

 

Between one year and two years

 

 

125.4

 

 

 

145.4

 

Between two years and three years

 

 

77.7

 

 

 

101.4

 

Between three years and four years

 

 

30.0

 

 

 

83.4

 

Thereafter

 

 

21.3

 

 

 

38.1

 

Total Faneuil backlog

 

$

450.8

 

 

$

613.9

 

 

The decrease in total Faneuil backlog from September 30, 2021 compared to September 30, 2020 was primarily the result of negotiating an early termination of a large unprofitable contract, and services provided in the normal course of business for long-term contracts outstanding on September 30, 2020.

 

For further information regarding Faneuil backlog, see “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to our Business Generally and our Common Stock - We may not receive the full amounts estimated under the contracts in our backlog, which could reduce our revenue in future periods below the levels anticipated. This makes backlog an uncertain indicator of future operating results.

Seasonality

Faneuil experiences seasonality within its various lines of business. For example, during the end of the calendar year through the end of the first calendar quarter, Faneuil generally experiences higher revenue attributable to its healthcare customers as the customer contact centers increase operations during the open enrollment periods of the healthcare exchanges. Faneuil revenue from its healthcare customers generally decreases during the remaining portion of the year after the open enrollment period. Seasonality is less pronounced with Faneuil customers in the transportation industry, though there is typically some volume increase during the summer months.

6


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Governmental Regulation

Faneuil’s business is subject to many legal and regulatory requirements in the United States, covering such matters as data privacy, consumer protection, healthcare requirements, labor relations, taxation, internal and disclosure control obligations, governmental affairs and immigration. For example, Faneuil is subject to state and federal laws and regulations regarding the protection of consumer information commonly referred to as “non-public personal information,” including the collection of patient data through Faneuil’s contact center services and medical device tracking services, which is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as HIPAA, which protects the privacy of patient data. These laws, regulations, and agreements require Faneuil to develop and implement policies to protect non-public personal information and to disclose these policies to consumers before a customer relationship is established and periodically thereafter. These laws, regulations, and agreements limit the ability to use or disclose non-public personal information for purposes other than the purposes originally intended. Many of these regulations, including those related to data privacy, frequently change and sometimes conflict with existing regulations amongst the various jurisdictions in which Faneuil provides services. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in liability for damages, fines, criminal prosecution, unfavorable publicity and restrictions on Faneuil’s operations.  Failure to adhere to or successfully implement processes in response to changing regulatory requirements in this area could result in legal liability or impairment to Faneuil’s reputation in the marketplace, which could have a material adverse effect on Faneuil’s business, results of operations and financial condition. Also, because a substantial portion of Faneuil operating costs consists of labor costs, changes in governmental regulations relating to wages, healthcare and healthcare reform and other benefits or employment taxes could have a material adverse effect on Faneuil’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

Management

Faneuil is led by ALJ board member Anna Van Buren, who has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2009 and previously served in executive roles at Faneuil since 2004. For additional information regarding Ms. Van Buren, see “Part III, Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.”

Phoenix Color Corp.

Background

Phoenix is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Hagerstown, Maryland. We acquired Phoenix from Visant Corporation for aggregate consideration of $88.3 million.

Phoenix is a premier full-service, full-color printer with over 40 years of superior printing experience. Drawing on a broad spectrum of materials and decorative technologies, Phoenix produces memorable, value-added components, heavily illustrated books, and specialty commercial products. Book publishers generally design book components to enhance the sales appeal of their books. The production of book components requires specialized equipment, materials, and finishes and often demands high-quality, intricate work. As a result, many leading publishers rely on specialty printers such as Phoenix to supply high-quality book components. This same philosophy applies to labels, packaging, and specialty commercial products, where Phoenix customers require the knowledge and expertise of a printer that can enhance their products for sale into the commercial marketplace. Phoenix has been servicing the publishing industry within the United States since 1979 and has formed lasting relationships with many of the biggest names in book publishing.

As a domestic manufacturer, Phoenix offers extensive, in-house digital pre-press capabilities and its technologically advanced UV printing platform supports an array of printing and finishing options. Phoenix innovative special effects include foil stamping, UV embellishments, and laminations, as well as its trademarked products LithoFoil®, MetalTone™, Look of Leather™, and VibraColor™.

Products and Services

Books and Components

Phoenix offers several products for books and components, which represents more than 90% of Phoenix net revenue.

Phoenix is a leader in providing distinctive cover components and high-quality, heavily illustrated and multi-colored books for all markets. With its technologically advanced pre-press and press operations as well as an array of finishing applications and innovative special effects, Phoenix is committed to producing memorable, value-added products.

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Labels and Packaging

In recent years, Phoenix has expanded into the label and packaging markets to leverage its unique printing and finishing capabilities as well as its trademarked special effects and extensive offerings of finishes and coatings.

Human Capital Management

Phoenix continually invests in and supports its employees and has an employee-focused, values-driven culture, which management believes is an advantage over its competitors.

 

Phoenix relies on highly qualified, skilled, and knowledgeable talent to support its strategic priorities. As such, Phoenix invests in (i) efforts to attract, develop, and retain employees, and (ii) tools, technologies, processes, and education to increase employee engagement, productivity, and efficiency.

 

Phoenix is committed to fostering a work environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion to create an equal, safe, and fair work environment for all employees. On September 30, 2021, Phoenix had 417 full-time employees (up from 413 employees on September 30, 2020). No Phoenix employees are represented by a labor union, or subject to any collective bargaining agreements. Phoenix considers its employee relations good.

Customers

Phoenix sells to many of the leading publishing companies. A small number of customers have historically accounted for a substantial portion of Phoenix net revenue. The percentages of Phoenix net revenue derived from its significant customers for the years ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 were as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Customer A

 

 

24.3

%

 

 

24.4

%

Customer B

 

 

22.6

 

 

 

18.9

 

Customer C

 

 

12.2

 

 

 

13.0

 

 

Suppliers

Phoenix has historically purchased raw materials from a small number of suppliers primarily to control the quality of the product and to capitalize on volume discounts. If these suppliers were unable to provide materials on a timely basis, Phoenix management believes alternative suppliers could provide the required materials with minimal disruption to the business. Historically, Phoenix has not experienced any significant delay or shortage in the supply of materials.

The percentages of Phoenix inventory purchases from its significant suppliers for the years ended September 30, 2021 and 2020 were as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30,

 

 

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Supplier A

 

 

19.6

%

 

 

14.1

%

Supplier B

 

 

13.2

 

 

17.3

 

Supplier C

 

**

 

 

10.6

 

 

** Less than 10% of Phoenix inventory purchases.

Backlog

 

Phoenix backlog represents executed master service agreements (“MSA”) that contain minimum volume commitments over multiple years for future product deliveries. Phoenix includes only the estimated minimum commitments in the MSAs as backlog. As Phoenix executed MSAs mostly provide for minimum volume commitments rather than minimum aggregate dollar spend, the actual revenue from such agreements may differ from our backlog estimates as to the total order volume and the timing of such volume. Phoenix adjusts backlog to reflect estimated order volumes delivered by its customers based on historical experience known at the reporting date; however, future variations in order volumes by Phoenix customers may increase or decrease backlog and future revenue.

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The following table reflects the amount of Phoenix backlog by the fiscal year we expect to recognize revenue:

 

 

 

As of September 30,

 

(in millions)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Within one year

 

$

69.8

 

 

$

65.0

 

Between one year and two years

 

 

64.7

 

 

 

63.5

 

Between two years and three years

 

 

44.5

 

 

 

57.3

 

Between three years and four years

 

 

43.3

 

 

 

43.3

 

Thereafter

 

 

52.4

 

 

 

95.6

 

Total Phoenix backlog

 

$

274.7

 

 

$

324.7

 

 

The decrease in Phoenix backlog on September 30, 2021 compared to September 30, 2020 was primarily driven by product delivery in the normal course of business for purchase orders outstanding on September 30, 2020.

 

For further information regarding the Phoenix backlog, see “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors - Risks Related to our Business Generally - We may not receive the full amounts estimated under the contracts in our backlog, which could reduce our revenue in future periods below the levels anticipated. This makes backlog an uncertain indicator of future operating results.

Seasonality

There is seasonality to the Phoenix business. Education book component sales (school and college) traditionally peak in the first and second quarters of the calendar year. Other book components sales traditionally peak in the third quarter of the calendar year. Book sales also traditionally peak in the third quarter of the calendar year. The fourth quarter of the calendar year traditionally has been the weakest quarter. These seasonal factors are not significant.

Competition

The printing industry in general and the printing and manufacturing of books, in particular, is extremely competitive. Over the past several years, there has been significant consolidation in the publishing industry, such that fewer publishers control a greater share of the market. Although there are still many small, independent publishers, they do not wield the leverage held by major publishing houses. Additionally, the printing industry has experienced a reduction in demand for trade books due to the impact of the e-book market and a reduction in textbooks due to lower state government funding, alternative product formats and digital distribution of content.

Primary competitors in the printing and manufacturing of books and book components include, but are not limited to Coral Graphics, Quad Graphics, and Worzalla. There is no reliable industry data available to determine Phoenix’s market share and position versus that of its competitors. With respect to book components, a portion of the products is produced by the book manufacturers and a portion by component printers. The dollar value of book components manufactured by the book manufacturers or by other component printers is unknown. Phoenix and Coral Graphics are the two primary trade book component manufacturers used by major publishers in the U.S. market. Most high-quality, heavily-illustrated and multi-colored books sold in the U.S. are produced outside of the U.S. Phoenix competes with Worzalla and several domestic book manufacturers for that portion that is produced domestically.

Environmental Matters

 

Phoenix is committed to creating quality products, while providing a safe and healthy workplace and acting as an environmentally responsible neighbor. Phoenix believes in preserving the environment and is committed to safeguarding natural resources and the environment as part of its daily operations.

 

Phoenix continues to seek solutions to reduce its environmental impact by identifying areas for improvement, continually seeking alternatives to improve efficiency of conventional energy usage and implementing new innovations to reduce its impacts on the environment.

Properties

Phoenix owns its principal properties for corporate offices and production located in Hagerstown, MD, which totals approximately 276,000 square feet. Phoenix also owns two buildings totaling approximately 45,000 square feet in Terre Haute, IN. Additionally, Phoenix rents approximately 5,000 square feet in Rockaway, NJ under a month-to-month lease. Phoenix believes its facilities will be adequate for at least the next 12 months.

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Management

Phoenix is led by Marc Reisch, who currently serves as its Chairman and previously served as its Chief Executive Officer from 2008 to 2015. Mr. Reisch served as a director on ALJ’s Board of Directors from August 2015 until October 2019. For additional information regarding Mr. Reisch, see “Part III, Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance.”

Carpets N’ More

Background

In January 2021, ALJ entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”), by and among the Company, Superior Interior Finishes, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company (“Superior”) and Carpets, pursuant to which the Company agreed to sell 100% of the membership interests of Carpets to Superior for an aggregate purchase price of $0.5 million (the “Purchase Price”) in cash (the “Transaction”). At the time of the PSA, Superior was 100% owned by Steve Chesin, the Chief Executive Officer of Carpets. The Company entered into the PSA because its Carpets business segment had been deemed a non-core holding and had underperformed over the past several years. The Transaction, which was approved by a committee of the Board comprised solely of certain independent directors of the Company, closed in February 2021. As such, the results of operations, assets, liabilities, and cash flows of Carpets were classified as discontinued operations in ALJ’s financial statements for all periods presented. See “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules - Note 4. Acquisitions and Divestitures - Carpets Divestiture.”

Additional Information About ALJ and its Subsidiaries

ALJ was originally incorporated in the State of Delaware under the name Nuparent, Inc. on June 22, 1999. The Company’s name was changed to YouthStream Media Networks, Inc. on June 24, 1999, and that name was used through October 23, 2006. The Company’s name was changed to ALJ Regional Holdings, Inc. on October 23, 2006.

As of September 30, 2021, ALJ corporate had five employees, consisting of its Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and three support staff, performing services dedicated primarily to general corporate and administrative matters. No employee is represented by a labor union.

Intellectual Property

We rely on copyright, trademark, and trade secret laws as well as contractual restrictions to protect our proprietary information and intellectual property rights. We control access to our proprietary information and intellectual property, in part, by entering into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees, contractors, and business partners. We also control the use of our proprietary information and intellectual property through provisions in our client agreements and distribution partner agreements.

We have a limited number of registered trademarks and registered copyrights in the United States as well as a number of common law trademarks and trade names. We rely substantially on unpatented proprietary technology. We do not consider the success of our business, as a whole to be dependent on our intellectual property.

Available Information

We make available free of charge our annual, quarterly, and current reports, proxy statements and other information, in electronic format, upon request. To request such materials, please contact our Chief Financial Officer at 244 Madison Avenue, PMB #358, New York, NY 10016 or call 212-883-0083.

Additionally, many reports and amendments to reports filed pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, are available free of charge on our website at www.aljregionalholdings.com as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Information on our website and other information that can be accessed through our website are not part of this report.

 

 

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.

The following risk factors and other information included in this Form 10-K should be carefully considered. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations. If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition and operating results could be significantly harmed.

Risks Related to Faneuil

 

Faneuil is subject to uncertainties regarding healthcare reform that could materially and adversely affect that aspect of our business.

Since its adoption into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has been challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court, and several bills have been and continue to be introduced in Congress to delay, defund, or repeal implementation of or amend significant provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In addition, there continues to be ongoing litigation over the interpretation and implementation of certain provisions of the law. New tax reform legislation enacted on December 22, 2017 (“Tax Reform Law”) includes a provision repealing, effective January 1, 2019, the tax-based shared responsibility payment imposed by the Affordable Care Act on certain individuals who fail to maintain qualifying health coverage for all or part of a year that is commonly referred to as the “individual mandate,” which could lead to fewer enrollments in healthcare exchanges. Further significant changes to, or repeal of, the Affordable Care Act could materially and adversely affect that aspect of Faneuil’s business.

Economic downturns, reductions in government funding and other program-related and contract-related risks could have a negative effect on Faneuil’s business.

Demand for the services offered by Faneuil has been, and is expected to continue to be, subject to significant fluctuations due to a variety of factors beyond its control, including economic conditions, particularly since contracts for major programs are performed over extended periods of time. During economic downturns, the ability of both private and governmental entities to make expenditures may decline significantly. We cannot be certain that economic or political conditions will be generally favorable or that there will not be significant fluctuations adversely affecting Faneuil as a whole, or key industry segments targeted by Faneuil. In addition, Faneuil’s operations are, in part, dependent upon state government funding. Significant changes in the level of state government funding, changes in personnel at government authorities, the failure of applicable government authorities to take necessary actions, opposition by third parties to particular programs, any delay in the state government budget process or a state government shutdown could have an unfavorable effect on Faneuil’s business, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.

Faneuil’s profitability is dependent in part on Faneuil’s ability to estimate correctly, obtain adequate pricing, and control its cost structure related to fixed “price per call” contracts.

A significant portion of Faneuil’s revenues are derived from commercial and government contracts awarded through competitive bidding processes. Many of these contracts are extremely complex and require the investment of significant resources in order to prepare accurate bids and pricing based on both current and future conditions, such as the cost of labor, that could impact profitability of such contracts. Our success depends on Faneuil’s ability to (i) accurately estimate the resources and costs that will be required to implement and service any contracts we are awarded, sometimes in advance of the final determination of such contracts’ full scope and design, and (ii) negotiate adequate pricing for call center services that provide a reasonable return to our shareholders based on such estimates. Additionally, in order to attract and retain certain contracts, we are sometimes required to make significant capital and other investments to enable us to perform our services under those contracts, such as facility leases, information technology equipment purchases, labor resources, and costs incurred to develop and implement software. If Faneuil is unable to accurately estimate its costs to provide call center services, obtain adequate pricing, or control costs for fixed “price per call” contracts, it could materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Faneuil’s dependence on a small number of customers could adversely affect its business or results of operations.

Faneuil derives a substantial portion of its revenue from a relatively small number of customers. For additional information regarding Faneuil customer concentrations, see “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 5. Concentration Risks.” We expect the largest customers of Faneuil to continue to account for a substantial portion of its total net revenue for the foreseeable future. Faneuil has long-standing relationships with many of its significant customers. However, because Faneuil customers generally contract for specific projects or programs with a finite duration, Faneuil may lose these customers if funding for their respective programs is discontinued, or if their projects end and the contracts are not renewed or replaced. The loss or reduction of, or failure to renew or replace, any significant contracts with any of these customers could materially reduce Faneuil revenue and cash flows. Additionally, many Faneuil customers are government entities, which can unilaterally terminate or modify the existing contracts with Faneuil without cause and penalty to such government entities in many situations. If Faneuil does not replace them with other customers or other programs, the loss of business from any one of such customers could have a material adverse effect on its business or results of operations.

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The recovery of capital investments in Faneuil contracts is subject to risk.

In order to attract and retain large outsourcing contracts, Faneuil may be required to make significant capital investments to perform its services under the contract, such as purchases of information technology equipment and costs incurred to develop and implement software. The net book value of such assets, including intangible assets, could be impaired, and Faneuil earnings and cash flow could be materially adversely affected in the event of the early termination of all or a part of such a contract, reduction in volumes and services thereunder for reasons including, but not limited to, a clients merger or acquisition, divestiture of assets or businesses, business failure or deterioration, or a clients exercise of contract termination rights.

Faneuil’s dependence on subcontractors and equipment manufacturers could adversely affect it.

In some cases, Faneuil relies on and partners with third-party subcontractors as well as third-party equipment manufacturers to provide services under its contracts. To the extent that Faneuil cannot engage subcontractors or acquire equipment or materials, its performance, according to the terms of the customer contract, may be impaired. If the amount Faneuil is required to pay for subcontracted services or equipment exceeds the amount Faneuil has estimated in bidding for fixed prices or fixed unit price contracts, it could experience reduced profit or losses in the performance of these contracts with its customers. Also, if a subcontractor or a manufacturer is unable to deliver its services, equipment or materials according to the negotiated terms for any reason, including the deterioration of its financial condition, Faneuil may be required to purchase the services, equipment or materials from another source at a higher price. This may reduce the expected profit or result in a loss of a customer contract for which the services, equipment or materials were needed.

Partnerships entered into by Faneuil as a subcontractor with third parties who are primary contractors could adversely affect its ability to secure new projects and derive a profit from its existing projects.

In some cases, Faneuil partners as a subcontractor with third parties who are the primary contractors. In these cases, Faneuil is largely dependent on the judgments of the primary contractors in bidding for new projects and negotiating the primary contracts, including establishing the scope of services and service levels to be provided. Furthermore, even if projects are secured, if a primary contractor is unable to deliver its services according to the negotiated terms of the primary contract for any reason, including the deterioration of its financial condition, the customer may terminate or modify the primary contract, which may reduce Faneuil profit or cause losses in the performance of the contract.  In certain instances, the subcontract agreement includes a “Pay When Paid” provision, which allows the primary contractor to hold back payments to a subcontractor until they are paid by the customer, which has negatively impacted Faneuil cashflow.

If Faneuil or a primary contractor guarantees to a customer the timely implementation or performance standards of a program, Faneuil could incur additional costs to meet its guaranteed obligations or liquidated damages if it fails to perform as agreed.

In certain instances, Faneuil or its primary contractor guarantees a customer that it will implement a program by a scheduled date. At times, they also provide that the program will achieve or adhere to certain performance standards or key performance indicators. Although Faneuil generally provides input to its primary contractors regarding the scope of services and service levels to be provided, it is possible that a primary contractor may make commitments without Faneuil’s input or approval. If Faneuil or the primary contractor subsequently fails to implement the program as scheduled, or if the program subsequently fails to meet the guaranteed performance standards, Faneuil may be held responsible for costs to the client resulting from any delay in implementation, or the costs incurred by the program to achieve the performance standards. In most cases where Faneuil or the primary contractor fails to meet contractually defined performance standards, Faneuil may be subject to agreed-upon liquidated damages. To the extent that these events occur, the total costs for such program may exceed original estimates, and cause reduced profits, or in some cases a loss for that program.

Adequate bonding is necessary for Faneuil to win new contracts.

Faneuil is often required, primarily in its toll and transportation programs, to provide performance and surety bonds to customers in conjunction with its contracts. These bonds indemnify the customer should Faneuil fail to perform its obligations under the contracts. If a bond is required for a particular program and Faneuil is unable to obtain an appropriate bond, Faneuil cannot pursue that program. The issuance of a bond is at the suretys sole discretion. Moreover, due to events that affect the insurance and bonding markets generally, bonding may be more difficult to obtain in the future or may only be available at significant additional costs. There can be no assurance that bonds will continue to be available on reasonable terms, or at all. Any inability to obtain adequate bonding and, as a result, to bid on new work could harm Faneuil’s business.

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Data security and integrity are critically important to our business, and cybersecurity incidents, including cyberattacks, cyber-fraud, breaches of security, unauthorized access to or disclosure of confidential information, business disruption, or the perception that confidential information is not secure, could result in a material loss of business, regulatory enforcement, substantial legal liability and/or significant harm to our reputation.

Our business involves the use, storage, and transmission of information about our clients, their customers, and our employees. While we take reasonable measures to protect the security of and unauthorized access to our systems and the privacy of personal and proprietary information that we access and store, our security controls over our systems may not be adequate to prevent the improper access to or disclosure of this information. Such unauthorized access or disclosure could subject Faneuil to significant liability under relevant law or our contracts and could harm our reputation, resulting in impacts on our results of operations, loss of future revenue and business opportunities. These risks may further increase as our business model includes a high percentage of work from home delivery in addition to our delivery through customer experience centers.

We operate in an environment of significant risk of cybersecurity incidents resulting from unintentional events or deliberate attacks by third parties or insiders, which may involve exploiting highly obscure security vulnerabilities or sophisticated attack methods. These cyberattacks can take many forms, but they typically have one or more of the following objectives, among others:

 

obtain unauthorized access to confidential consumer information;

 

manipulate or destroy data; or

 

disrupt, sabotage or degrade service on our systems.

In recent years, there have been an increasing number of high-profile security breaches at companies and government agencies, and security experts have warned about the growing risks of hackers, cybercriminals and state actors launching a broad range of attacks targeting information technology systems. Information security breaches, computer viruses, interruption or loss of business data, DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks, ransomware and other cyberattacks on any of these systems could disrupt our normal operations of customer engagement centers and remote service delivery, our cloud platform offerings, and our enterprise services, impeding our ability to provide critical services to our clients. For example, on August 18, 2021, we detected a ransomware attack (the “Security Event”) that accessed and encrypted certain files on certain servers utilized by us in the provision of our call center services. Although we quickly and actively managed the Security Event, such event caused disruption to parts of our business, including certain aspects of our provision of call center services. Although we actively communicated with customers and worked to minimize disruption, we cannot guarantee that customer relationships were not harmed as a result of the Security Event.

We are experiencing an increase in frequency of cyber-fraud attempts, such as so-called “social engineering” attacks and phishing scams, which typically seek unauthorized money transfers or information disclosure. We actively train our employees to recognize these attacks and have implemented proactive risk mitigation measures to identify and to attempt to prevent these attacks. There are no assurances, however, that these attacks, which are growing in sophistication, may not deceive our employees, resulting in a material loss.

While we have taken reasonable measures to protect our systems and processes from unauthorized intrusions and cyber-fraud, we cannot be certain that advances in cyber-criminal capabilities, discovery of new system vulnerabilities, and attempts to exploit such vulnerabilities will not compromise or breach the technology protecting our systems and the information that we manage and control, which could result in damage to our systems, our business, our reputation, and our profitability.

We cannot assure you that our systems, databases and services will not be compromised or disrupted in the future, whether as a result of deliberate attacks by malicious actors, breaches due to employee error or malfeasance, or other disruptions during the process of upgrading or replacing computer software or hardware, power outages, computer viruses, telecommunication or utility failures or natural disasters or other catastrophic events. We work to monitor and develop our information technology networks and infrastructure to prevent, detect, address and mitigate the risk of unauthorized access, misuse, computer viruses and other events that could have a security impact.

The preventive actions we take to address cybersecurity risk, including protection of our systems and networks, may be insufficient to repel or mitigate the effects of cyberattacks in the future as it may not always be possible to anticipate, detect or recognize threats to our systems, or to implement effective preventive measures against all cybersecurity risks. This is because, among other things:

 

the techniques used in cyberattacks change frequently and may not be recognized until after the attacks have succeeded;

 

cyberattacks can originate from a wide variety of sources, including sophisticated threat actors involved in organized crime, sponsored by nation-states, or linked to terrorist or hacktivist organizations; and

 

third parties may seek to gain access to our systems either directly or using equipment or security passwords belonging to employees, customers, third-party service providers or other users.

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Unauthorized disclosure, loss or corruption of our data or inability of our clients and their customers to access our systems could disrupt our operations, subject us to substantial regulatory and legal proceedings and potential liability, result in a material loss of business and/or significantly harm our reputation.

We may not be able to immediately address the consequences of a cybersecurity incident because a successful breach of our computer systems, software, networks or other technology assets could occur and persist for an extended period of time before being detected due to, among other things:

 

the breadth and complexity of our operations;

 

the large number of clients, counterparties and third-party service providers with which we do business;

 

the proliferation and increasing sophistication of cyberattacks;

 

the possibility that a malicious third party compromises the software, hardware or services that we procure from a service provider unbeknownst to both the provider and to the Company; and

 

the possibility that a third party, after establishing a foothold on an internal network without being detected, might obtain access to other networks and systems.

The extent of a particular cybersecurity incident and the steps that we may need to take to investigate it may not be immediately clear, and it may take a significant amount of time before such an investigation can be completed and full and reliable information about the incident is known. While such an investigation is ongoing, we may not necessarily know the extent of the harm or how best to remediate it, and certain errors or actions could be repeated or compounded before they are discovered and remediated, any or all of which could further increase the costs and consequences of a cybersecurity incident.

Due to concerns about data security and integrity, a growing number of legislative and regulatory bodies have adopted consumer notification and other requirements in the event that consumer information is accessed by unauthorized persons and additional regulations regarding the use, access, accuracy and security of such data are possible. In the United States, we are subject to federal and state laws that provide for disparate notification regimes. In the event of unauthorized access, our failure to comply with the complexities of these various regulations could subject us to regulatory scrutiny and additional liability.

If our cloud platforms and third-party software and systems experience disruptions due to technology failures or cyberattacks and if we fail to correct such impacts promptly, our business will be materially impacted.

Our cloud platforms and third-party software and systems that we use to serve our clients are complex and may, from time to time have service interruptions, contain design defects, configuration or coding errors, and other vulnerabilities that may be difficult to detect or correct, and which may be outside of our control. We may not have sufficient redundant operations to cover a loss or failure of our systems in a timely manner. Any significant interruption could severely harm our business and reputation and result in a loss of revenue and clients. Although our commercial agreements limit our exposure from such occurrences, they may not always effectively protect us against claims in all jurisdictions and against third-party claims. If our clients’ business is damaged, our reputation could suffer, we could be subject to contract termination and payments for damages, adversely affecting our business, our reputation, our results of operations and financial condition.

If we fail to maintain and improve our systems, demand for our services could be adversely affected.

In our markets, there are continuous improvements in computer hardware, network operating systems and technologies. These improvements, as well as changes in client preferences or regulatory requirements, may require changes in the technology used to gather and process our data and deliver our services. Our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability to:

 

internally develop and implement new and competitive technologies;

 

use leading third-party technologies effectively;

 

respond to changing client needs and regulatory requirements; and

 

transition client and their customer data and data sources successfully to new interfaces or other technologies.

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We cannot provide assurance that we will successfully implement new technologies, cause our cloud platforms and third-party software and systems providers to implement compatible technologies or adapt our technology to evolving customer, regulatory and competitive requirements. If we fail to respond or fail to cause our cloud platforms and third-party software and systems providers to respond, to changes in technology, regulatory requirements or client preferences, the demand for our services, the delivery of our services or our market reputation could be adversely affected. Additionally, our failure to implement important updates could affect our ability to successfully meet the timeline for us to generate cost savings resulting from our investments in improved technology. Failure to achieve any of these objectives would impede our ability to deliver strong financial results.

Faneuil’s business is subject to many regulatory requirements, and current or future regulation could significantly increase Faneuil’s cost of doing business.

Faneuil’s business is subject to many laws and regulatory requirements in the United States, covering such matters as data privacy, consumer protection, healthcare requirements, labor relations, taxation, internal and disclosure control obligations, governmental affairs and immigration. For example, Faneuil is subject to state and federal laws and regulations regarding the protection of consumer information commonly referred to as “non-public personal information.” For instance, the collection of patient data through Faneuil’s contact center services is subject to HIPAA, which protects the privacy of patients’ data. These laws, regulations, and agreements require Faneuil to develop and implement policies to protect non-public personal information and to disclose these policies to consumers before a customer relationship is established and periodically after that. These laws, regulations, and agreements limit the ability to use or disclose non-public personal information for purposes other than the ones originally intended. Many of these regulations, including those related to data privacy, are frequently changing and sometimes conflict with existing ones among the various jurisdictions in which Faneuil provides services. Violations of these laws and regulations could result in liability for damages, fines, criminal prosecution, unfavorable publicity, and restrictions placed on Faneuil operations. Faneuil’s failure to adhere to or successfully implement processes in response to changing regulatory requirements in this area could result in legal liability or impairment to Faneuil’s reputation in the marketplace, which could have a material adverse effect on Faneuil’s business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, because a substantial portion of Faneuil operating costs consists of labor costs, changes in governmental regulations relating to wages, healthcare and healthcare reform and other benefits or employment taxes could have a material adverse effect on Faneuil’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

Matters relating to employment and labor laws and prevailing wage standards may adversely affect our business.

The industries in which Faneuil competes is labor intensive and governed by various federal and state labor laws with respect to its relationship with its employees. Faneuil’s ability to meet its labor needs on a cost-effective basis is subject to numerous external factors, including the availability of qualified personnel in the workforce in the local markets in which it operates, unemployment levels within those markets, prevailing wage rates, health and other insurance costs and changes in employment and labor laws. Such laws related to employee hours, wages, job classification and benefits could significantly increase Faneuil’s operating costs. Faneuil is also subject to employee claims against it based on such laws and other actions or inactions of its employees. Some or all of these claims may give rise to litigation, including class action litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage and hour lawsuits. Such class action lawsuits are typically brought by specialized plaintiff law firms who often seek large settlements based entirely on the number of potential plaintiffs in a class, whether or not there is any basis for the claims that they make on behalf of their clients, most of whom do not believe themselves to be aggrieved nor seek recourse until solicited. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation, Faneuil may not be able to accurately determine the impact on it of any future adverse outcome of such proceedings. The ultimate resolution of these matters could have a material adverse impact on Faneuil’s financial condition, results of operations, and liquidity. In addition, regardless of the outcome, these proceedings could result in substantial cost to Faneuil and may require Faneuil to devote substantial resources to defend itself.

Additionally, in the event prevailing wage rates increase in the local markets in which Faneuil operates, Faneuil may be required to concurrently increase the wages paid to its employees to maintain the quality of its workforce and customer service. To the extent such increases are not covered by our customers, Faneuil’s profit margins may decrease as a result.  If Faneuil is unable to hire and retain employees capable of meeting its business needs and expectations, its business and brand image may be impaired. Any failure to meet Faneuil’s staffing needs or any material increase in turnover rates of its employees may adversely affect its business, results of operations and financial condition.

Further, Faneuil relies on the ability to attract and retain labor on a cost-effective basis. The availability of labor in the local markets in which Faneuil operates has declined in recent years and competition for such labor has increased, especially under the economic crises experienced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Faneuil’s ability to attract and retain a sufficient workforce on a cost-effective basis depends on several factors discussed above, including the ability to protect staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Faneuil may not be able to attract and retain a sufficient workforce on a cost-effective basis in the future. In the event of increased costs of attracting and retaining a workforce, Faneuil’s profit margins may decline as a result.

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Risks Related to Phoenix

Economic weakness and uncertainty, as well as the effects of these conditions on Phoenix’s customers and suppliers, could reduce demand for or the ability of Phoenix to provide its products and services.

Economic conditions related to Phoenix, Phoenix’s customers, and Phoenix’s suppliers, could negatively impact Phoenix’s business and results of operations. Phoenix has experienced, and may continue to experience, reduced demand for certain of its products and services. As a result of uncertainty about global economic conditions, including factors such as unemployment, bankruptcies, financial market volatility, sovereign debt issues, government budget deficits, tariffs, and other factors which continue to affect the global economy, Phoenix’s customers and suppliers may experience further deterioration of their businesses, suffer cash flow shortages or file for bankruptcy. In turn, existing or potential customers may delay or decline to purchase Phoenix products and related services, and Phoenix’s suppliers and customers may not be able to fulfill their obligations to it in a timely fashion.

Educational textbook cover and component sales depend on continued government funding for educational spending, which impacts demand by its customers, and may be affected by changes in or continued restrictions on local, state and/or federal funding and school budgets. As a result, a reduction in consumer discretionary spending or disposable income and/or adverse trends in the general economy (and consumer perceptions of those trends) may affect Phoenix more significantly than other businesses in other industries.

In addition, customer difficulties could result in increases in bad debt write-offs and increases to Phoenix’s allowance for doubtful accounts receivable. Further, Phoenix’s suppliers may experience similar conditions as its customers, which may impact their viability and their ability to fulfill their obligations to Phoenix. Negative changes in these or related economic factors could materially adversely affect Phoenix’s business.

A substantial decrease or interruption in business from Phoenix’s significant customers or suppliers could adversely affect its business.

Phoenix has significant customer and supplier concentration. For additional information regarding customer and supplier concentrations, see “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 5. Concentration Risks.” Any significant cancellation, deferral or reduction in the quantity or type of products sold to these principal customers or a significant number of smaller customers, including as a result of Phoenix’s failure to perform, the impact of economic weakness and challenges to customer businesses, a change in buying habits, further industry consolidation or the impact of the shift to alternative methods of content delivery, including digital distribution and printing, to customers, could have a material adverse effect on Phoenix business. Further, if Phoenix’s significant customers, in turn, are not able to secure large orders, they will not be able to place orders with Phoenix. A substantial decrease or interruption in business from Phoenix’s significant customers could result in write-offs or the loss of future business and could have a material adverse effect on Phoenix’s business.

Additionally, Phoenix purchases certain limited grades of paper to produce book and component products. If Phoenix’s suppliers reduce their supplies or discontinue these grades of paper, Phoenix may be unable to fulfill its contract obligations, which could have a material adverse effect on its business. See “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 5. Concentration Risks.”

The impact of digital media and similar technological changes, including the substitution of printed products with digital content, may continue to adversely affect the results of Phoenix’s operations.

The industry in which Phoenix operates is experiencing rapid change due to the impact of digital media and content on printed products. Electronic delivery of information offers alternatives to traditional delivery in the form of print materials provided by Phoenix. Further improvements in the accessibility and quality of digital media, mobile technologies, e-reader technologies, digital retailing and the digital distribution of documents and data has resulted and may continue to result in increased consumer substitution away from Phoenix’s printed products. Continued acceptance by consumers and educational institutions of such digital media, as an alternative to print materials, is uncertain and difficult to predict and may decrease the demand for the Phoenix’s printed products, result in reduced pricing for its printing services and additional excess capacity in the printing industry, and could materially adversely affect Phoenix’s business.

Fluctuations in the cost and availability of raw materials could increase Phoenix cost of sales.

To produce its products, Phoenix is dependent upon the availability of raw materials, including paper, ink, and adhesives, the price and availability of which are affected by numerous factors beyond its control. These factors include:

 

the level of consumer demand for these materials and downstream products containing or using these materials;

 

the supply of these materials and the impact of industry consolidation;

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government regulation and taxes;

 

market uncertainty;

 

volatility in the capital and credit markets;

 

environmental conditions and regulations; and

 

political and global economic conditions.

Any material increase in the price of key raw materials could adversely impact Phoenix cost of sales or result in the loss of availability of such materials at reasonable prices. When these fluctuations result in significantly higher raw material costs, Phoenix’s operating results are adversely affected to the extent it is unable to pass on these increased costs to its customers or to the extent they materially affect customer buying habits. Significant fluctuations in prices for paper, ink, and adhesives could, therefore, have a material adverse effect on Phoenix’s business.

Phoenix is subject to environmental obligations and liabilities that could impose substantial costs upon Phoenix.

Phoenix’s operations are subject to a variety of federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations governing emissions to air, discharge to water, the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of hazardous substances and other materials, and employee health and safety matters. As an owner and operator of real property and a generator of hazardous substances, Phoenix may be subject to environmental cleanup liability, regardless of fault, pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act or analogous state laws, as well as to claims for harm to health or property or for natural resource damages arising out of contamination or exposure to hazardous substances. Some current or past operations have involved metalworking and plating, printing and other activities that have resulted in or could result in environmental conditions giving rise to liabilities. If Phoenix incurs significant expenses related to environmental cleanup or damages stemming from harm or alleged harm to health, property or natural resources arising from contamination or exposure to hazardous substances, Phoenix’s business may be materially and adversely affected.

Risks Related to our Businesses Generally

A widespread health crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

A widespread health crisis, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and related governmental responses may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. These effects could include disruptions to our workforce due to illness or “shelter-in-place” restrictions, temporary closures of our facilities, the interruption of our supply chains and distribution channels, and similar effects on our customers or suppliers that may impact their ability to perform under their contracts with us or cause them to curtail their business with us. In addition, we have taken and will continue to take temporary precautionary measures intended to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 to our employees, including requiring certain employees to work remotely and suspending non-essential travel and in-person meetings, which could negatively affect our business. Further, COVID-19 has and is expected to continue to adversely affect the economies and financial markets of many countries and most areas of the United States, which may affect demand for our products and services and our ability to obtain additional financing for our business. Further impacts specific to our subsidiaries’ businesses may include:

 

Prolonged interruption of Faneuil’s physical customer contact centers due to illness or stay-at-home regulations and costs related to transitioning to work from home arrangements;

 

Reduced demand for Faneuil’s toll services as travel declines;

 

Disruption of Phoenix’s production facilities due to illness or stay-at-home regulations; and

 

Similar impacts that negatively affect Phoenix’s significant customer or suppliers.

Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business and our financial results. To the extent that the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this “Risk Factors” section, such as those relating to our high level of indebtedness, our need to generate sufficient cash flows to service our indebtedness and our ability to comply with the covenants contained in our credit agreement.

The extent to which COVID-19 will impact our business and our financial results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with certainty. Such developments may include the ongoing spread of the virus, the vaccination rates against the virus, the emergence of new variants of the virus, the severity of the disease, the duration of the outbreak and the type and duration of actions that may be taken by various governmental authorities in response to the outbreak and the impact

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on the economy. As a result, at the time of this filing, it is not possible to predict the overall impact of COVID-19 on our business, liquidity, and financial results.

We previously received a notice of failure to satisfy a continued listing rule from the Nasdaq.

 

On April 9, 2020, we received a letter from the Listing Qualifications Department of the Nasdaq Stock Market (“Nasdaq”) indicating that, based upon the closing bid price of our common stock for the last 30 consecutive business days, we did not meet the minimum bid price of $1.00 per share required for continued listing on The Nasdaq Global Market pursuant to Nasdaq Listing Rule 5450(a)(1). Pursuant to the initial Nasdaq notice and Rule 5810(c)(3)(A) of the Nasdaq Listing Rules, we originally had 180 calendar days from the date of the notice, or until October 6, 2020, to regain compliance with the minimum bid price requirement in Rule 5550(a)(2) by achieving a closing bid price for our common stock of at least $1.00 per share over a minimum of 10 consecutive business days. However, on April 17, 2020, we received a second letter from the Nasdaq indicating that, given the extraordinary market conditions, effective as of April 16, 2020, the Nasdaq has determined to toll the compliance periods for the minimum bid price requirement through June 30, 2020, such that we had until December 21, 2020, to regain compliance. On November 5, 2020, we received a notice from NASDAQ that we had regained compliance with Listing Rule 5450(a)(1). Despite Nasdaq now considering this matter closed, there can be no assurance that we will be able to remain in compliance with the minimum bid price requirement or with other Nasdaq listing requirements in the future. If we are unable to remain in compliance with the minimum bid price requirement or with any of the other continued listing requirements, the Nasdaq may take steps to delist our common stock, which could have adverse results, including, but not limited to, a decrease in the liquidity and market price of our common stock, loss of confidence by our employees and investors, loss of business opportunities, and limitations in potential financing options.

Our ability to engage in some business transactions may be limited by the terms of our debt.

Our financing documents contain affirmative and negative financial covenants restricting ALJ, Faneuil, and Phoenix. Specifically, our loan facilities’ covenants restrict ALJ, Faneuil, and Phoenix from:

 

incurring additional debt;

 

making certain capital expenditures;

 

allowing liens to exist;

 

entering transactions with affiliates;

 

guaranteeing the debt of other entities, including joint ventures;

 

merging, consolidating, or otherwise combining with another company; or

 

transferring or selling our assets.

Our ability to borrow under our loan arrangements depends on our compliance with certain covenants and borrowing base requirements. A significant deterioration in our profitability and/or cash flow, whether caused by our inability to grow our businesses in a profitable manner, or by events beyond our control, may cause us to fall out of compliance with such covenants and borrowing base requirements. The failure to comply with these covenants and requirements could result in an event of default under our loan arrangements that, if not cured or waived, could terminate such partys ability to borrow further, permit acceleration of the relevant debt (and other indebtedness based on cross-default provisions) and permit foreclosure on any collateral granted as security under the loan arrangements, which includes substantially all of our assets. Accordingly, any default under our loan facilities could also result in a material adverse effect on us that may result in our lenders seeking to recover from us or against our assets. There can also be no assurance that the lenders will grant waivers on covenant violations if they occur. Any such event of default would have a material adverse effect on us.

We have substantial indebtedness and our ability to generate cash to service our indebtedness depends on factors that are beyond our control.

We currently have, and will likely continue to have, a substantial amount of indebtedness, some of which require us to make a lump-sum or “balloon” payment at maturity. Our indebtedness could, among other things, make it more difficult for us to satisfy our debt obligations, require us to use a large portion of our cash flow from operations to repay and service our debt or otherwise create liquidity problems, limit our flexibility to adjust to market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage. We expect to obtain the money to pay our expenses and pay the principal and interest on our indebtedness from cash flow from our operations and potentially from debt or equity offerings. However, if we do not have sufficient funds to repay the debt at maturity of these loans, we will need to refinance this debt. If the credit environment is constrained at the time the balloon payment is due or our indebtedness otherwise matures, we may not be able to refinance our existing indebtedness on acceptable terms and may be forced to choose from a

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number of unfavorable options. These options include agreeing to otherwise unfavorable financing terms, selling assets on disadvantageous terms or defaulting on the loan and permitting the lender to foreclose. Accordingly, our ability to meet our obligations depends on our future performance and capital raising activities, which will be affected by financial, business, economic and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. If our cash flow and capital resources prove inadequate to allow us to pay the principal and interest on our debt and meet our other obligations, our ability to execute our business plan and effectively compete in the marketplace may be materially adversely affected.

The industries in which our subsidiaries operate are highly competitive, which could decrease demand for our subsidiaries’ products or force them to lower their prices, which could have a material adverse effect on their business and our financial results.

Faneuil primarily competes based on quality, performance, innovation, technology, price, applications expertise, system and service flexibility, and established customer service capabilities, as its services relate to toll collection, customer contact centers, and employee staffing. Faneuil may not be able to compete effectively on all these fronts or with all of its competitors.

Phoenix competes directly or indirectly with several established book and book component manufacturers. New distribution channels such as digital formats, the internet and online retailers and growing delivery platforms (e.g., tablets and e-readers), combined with the concentration of retailer power, pose threats and provide opportunities to traditional consumer publishing models, potentially impacting both sales volumes and pricing.

Competitive pressures or the inability by our subsidiaries to adapt effectively and quickly to a changing competitive landscape could affect prices, margins or demand for products and services. If our subsidiaries are unable to respond timely and appropriately to these competitive pressures, from existing or new competitors, their business, market share and financial performance could be adversely affected.

A failure to attract and retain necessary personnel, skilled management, and qualified subcontractors may have an adverse impact on the business of our subsidiaries.

Because each of our subsidiaries operates in intensely competitive markets, its success depends to a significant extent upon each subsidiary’s ability to attract, retain and motivate highly skilled and qualified personnel and to subcontract with qualified, competent subcontractors. If our subsidiaries fail to attract, develop, motivate, retain, and effectively utilize personnel with the desired levels of training or experience, or, as applicable, are unable to contract with qualified, competent subcontractors, their business will be harmed. Experienced and capable personnel remain in high demand, and there is continual competition for their talents. Quality service depends on the ability to retain employees and control personnel turnover, as any increase in the employee turnover rate could increase recruiting and training costs and could decrease operating effectiveness and productivity. Additionally, our subsidiaries’ businesses are driven in part by the personal relationships, skills, experience and performance of each subsidiary’s senior management team. Despite executing employment agreements with members of each subsidiary’s senior management team, such members may discontinue service with our subsidiaries and we may not be able to find individuals to replace them at the same cost, or at all. The loss or interruption of the services of any key employee or the loss of a key subcontractor relationship could hurt our business, financial condition, cash flow, results of operations and prospects.

Changes in interest rates may increase our interest expense.

 

As of September 30, 2021, $99.5 million of our current borrowings under the Blue Torch Term Loan, Amended PNC Revolver, and potential future borrowings are, and may continue to be, at variable rates of interest, tied to LIBOR or the Prime Rate of interest, thus exposing us to interest rate risk. Such rates tend to fluctuate based on general economic conditions, general interest rates, Federal Reserve rates and the supply of and demand for credit in the relevant interbanking market. In recent years, the Fed has incrementally changed the target range for the federal funds rate. Changes in the interest rate generally, and particularly when coupled with any significant variable rate indebtedness, could materially adversely impact our interest expense. If interest rates changed in the future by 100 basis points, based on our current borrowings as of September 30, 2021, our interest expense would increase or decrease by $1.0 million per year.

 

Further, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates LIBOR, has announced that it intends to stop encouraging or compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR rates after 2021 (the “FCA Announcement”). The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index, the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), calculated using short-term repurchase agreements backed by Treasury securities. We are evaluating the potential impact of the eventual replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate; however, we are not able to predict whether LIBOR will cease to be available after 2021 or whether SOFR will become a widely accepted benchmark in place of LIBOR. Although it is not possible to predict the effect the FCA Announcement, any discontinuation, modification or other reforms to LIBOR or the establishment of

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alternative reference rates such as SOFR may have on LIBOR, we do not expect the effect to have a material impact on our interest expense.

 

We may not receive the full amounts estimated under the contracts in our backlog, which could reduce our revenue in future periods below the levels anticipated. This makes backlog an uncertain indicator of future operating results.

 

As of September 30, 2021, both of our subsidiaries had a significant backlog. Our backlog is typically subject to large variations from quarter to quarter and comparisons of backlog from period to period are not necessarily indicative of future revenue. The contracts comprising our backlog may not result in actual revenue in any particular period or at all, and the actual revenue from such contracts may differ from our backlog estimates. The timing of receipt of revenue, if any, for projects included in backlog could change because many factors affect the scheduling of projects. In certain instances, customers may have the right to cancel, reduce or defer amounts that we have in our backlog, which could negatively affect our future revenue. The failure to realize all amounts in our backlog could adversely affect our revenue and gross margins. As a result, our subsidiaries’ backlog as of any particular date may not be an accurate indicator of our future revenue or earnings.

Some of our officers may have outside business interests, which could impair our ability to implement our business strategies and lead to potential conflicts of interest. 

Some of our officers, in the course of their other business activities, may become aware of investments, business or other information which may be appropriate for presentation to us as well as to other entities to which they owe a fiduciary duty. They may also in the future become affiliated with entities that are engaged in business or other activities similar to those we intend to conduct. As a result, they may have conflicts of interest in determining to which entity particular opportunities or information should be presented. If, as a result of such conflict, we are deprived of investments, business or information, the execution of our business plan and our ability to effectively compete in the marketplace may be adversely affected.

We may not be able to consummate additional acquisitions and dispositions on acceptable terms or at all. Furthermore, we and our subsidiaries may not be able to integrate acquisitions successfully and achieve anticipated synergies, or the acquisitions and dispositions we and our subsidiaries pursue could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition and operating results.

As part of our business strategy, we intend to continue to pursue acquisitions and dispositions. Acquisitions and dispositions could involve a number of risks and present financial, managerial and operational challenges, including:

 

adverse developments with respect to our results of operations as a result of an acquisition which may require us to incur charges and/or substantial debt or liabilities;

 

disruption of our ongoing business and diversion of resources and management attention from existing businesses and strategic matters;

 

difficulty with assimilation and integration of operations, technologies, products, personnel or financial or other systems;

 

increased expenses, including compensation expenses resulting from newly hired employees and/or workforce integration and restructuring;

 

disruption of relationships with current and new personnel, customers, and suppliers;

 

integration challenges related to implementing or improving internal controls, procedures and/or policies at a business that prior to the acquisition lacked the same level of controls, procedures and/or policies;

 

assumption of certain known and unknown liabilities of the acquired business;

 

regulatory challenges or resulting delays; and

 

potential disputes (including with respect to indemnification claims) with the buyers of disposed businesses or with the sellers of acquired businesses, technologies, services, or products.

We may not be able to consummate acquisitions or dispositions on favorable terms or at all. Our ability to consummate acquisitions will be limited by our ability to identify appropriate acquisition candidates, to negotiate acceptable terms for purchase and our access to financial resources, including available cash and borrowing capacity. In addition, we could experience financial or other setbacks if we are unable to realize, or are delayed in realizing, the anticipated benefits resulting from an acquisition, if we incur greater than expected costs in achieving the anticipated benefits or if any business that we acquire or invest in encounters problems or liabilities which we were not aware of or were more extensive than believed.

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Our net operating loss carryforwards could be substantially limited if we experience an “ownership change,” as defined in Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Our ability to utilize net operating losses (“NOLs”) and built-in losses under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) and tax credit carryforwards to offset our future taxable income and/or to recover previously paid taxes would be limited if we were to undergo an “ownership change” within the meaning of Section 382 of the Code, which is generally any change in ownership of more than 50% of its stock over a three-year period. These rules generally operate by focusing on ownership changes among stockholders owning directly or indirectly 5% or more of the stock of a company and any change in ownership arising from a new issuance of stock by the company. Depending on the resulting limitation, a significant portion of our NOLs could expire before we would be able to use them. At the end of our most recent fiscal year, September 30, 2021, we had net operating loss carryforwards for federal income tax purposes of approximately $135.1 million that start expiring in 2022. Approximately $109.1 million of the carryforward expires in 2022. Our inability to utilize our NOLs would have a negative impact on our financial position and results of operations.

In August 2018, our shareholders approved the amendment of certain provisions in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, updating certain restrictions on transfers of our stock that may result in an “ownership change” within the meaning of Section 382 in order to preserve stockholder value and the value of certain tax assets primarily associated with NOLs and built-in losses under Section 382. We do not believe we have experienced an “ownership change” as defined by Section 382 in the last three years. However, whether a change in ownership occurs in the future is largely outside of our control, and there can be no assurance that such a change will not occur.

The concentration of our capital stock ownership with insiders will likely limit your ability to influence corporate matters. 

Our executive officers and directors and their affiliated entities together beneficially owned approximately 56.0% of our outstanding common stock at November 30, 2021. Jess Ravich, our current Chief Executive Officer, beneficially owned approximately 47.4% of our common stock as of November 30, 2021. As a result, these stockholders, if they act together or in a block, could have significant influence over most matters that require approval by our stockholders, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions, even if other stockholders oppose them. This concentration of ownership might also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company that other stockholders may view as beneficial.

We do not currently plan to pay dividends to holders of our common stock.

We do not currently anticipate paying cash dividends to the holders of our common stock. Accordingly, holders of our common stock must rely on price appreciation as the sole method to realize a gain on their investment. There can be no assurances that the price of our common stock will ever appreciate in value.

Certain provisions in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation contain transfer restrictions that may have the effect of delaying or preventing beneficial takeover bids by third parties.

Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation imposes certain restrictions on transfer of stock designed to preserve the value of certain tax assets primarily associated with our NOLs and built-in losses under Section 382. These restrictions prohibit certain transfers that would result in a person or a group of persons acquiring 5% of more of ALJ’s outstanding stock, unless otherwise approved by our Board of Directors or a committee thereof. While such transfer restrictions are intended to protect our NOLs and built-in losses under Section 382, they may also have the effect of delaying or preventing beneficial takeover bids by third parties.

Changes in U.S. tax laws could have a material adverse effect on our business, cash flow, results of operations or financial conditions

On December 22, 2017, then President Trump signed into law the final version of the Tax Reform Law. The Tax Reform Law significantly reforms the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, with many of its provisions effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2018. The Tax Reform Law, among other things, contains significant changes to corporate taxation, including a permanent reduction of the corporate income tax rate, a partial limitation on the deductibility of business interest expense, a limitation of the deduction for net operating loss carryforwards, an indefinite net operating loss carryforward and the elimination of the two-year net operating loss carryback, temporary, immediate expensing for certain new investments and the modification or repeal of many business deductions and credits. We continue to examine the impact this tax reform legislation may have on our business. Notwithstanding the reduction in the corporate income tax rate, the overall impact of the Tax Reform Law is uncertain and our business and financial condition could be adversely affected. The impact of this reform on our stockholders is uncertain. Stockholders should consult with their tax advisors regarding the effect of the Tax Reform Law and other potential changes to the U.S. Federal tax laws on them.

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The market price of our common stock is volatile.

The market price of our common stock could fluctuate substantially in the future in response to a number of factors, including the following:

 

our quarterly operating results or the operating results of other companies in our industry;

 

changes in general conditions in the economy, the financial markets or our industry;

 

relatively low trading volumes;

 

announcements by our competitors of significant acquisitions; and

 

the occurrence of various risks described in these Risk Factors.

Also, the stock market has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations recently. This volatility has had a significant impact on the market prices of securities issued by many companies for reasons unrelated to their operating performance. These broad market fluctuations may materially adversely affect our stock price, regardless of our operating results.

We are subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business that could be time-consuming, result in costly litigation and settlements or judgments, require significant amounts of management attention and result in the diversion of significant operational resources, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We, our officers, and our subsidiaries, are currently involved in, and from time to time may become involved in, legal proceedings or be subject to claims arising in the ordinary course of our business. Litigation is inherently unpredictable, time-consuming and distracting to our management team, and the expenses of conducting litigation are not inconsequential. Such distraction and expense may adversely affect the execution of our business plan and our ability to compete effectively in the marketplace. Further, if we do not prevail in litigation in which we may be involved, our results could be adversely affected, in some cases, materially. For additional information, see “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 9. Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation, Claims, and Assessments.”  

Any business disruptions due to political instability, armed hostilities, acts of terrorism, natural disasters or other unforeseen events could adversely affect our financial performance.

If terrorist activities, armed conflicts, political instability, or natural disasters, including climate change related events, occur in the United States, such events may negatively affect the operations of our subsidiaries, cause general economic conditions to deteriorate or cause demand for our subsidiaries’ services to decline. A prolonged economic slowdown or recession could reduce the demand for our subsidiaries’ services, and consequently, negatively affect our subsidiaries’ future sales and profits. Additionally, certain of our subsidiaries are dependent on key production facilities and certain specialized machines. Any disruption of production capabilities due to unforeseen events at any of our subsidiaries’ principal facilities could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.

Account data breaches involving stored data, or the misuse of such data could adversely affect our reputation, performance, and financial condition.

We and each of our subsidiaries provide services that involve the storage of non-public information. Cyber-attacks designed to gain access to sensitive information are constantly evolving, and high-profile electronic security breaches leading to unauthorized releases of sensitive information have occurred recently at several major U.S. companies, including several large retailers, despite widespread recognition of the cyber-attack threat and improved data protection methods. Any breach of the systems on which sensitive data and account information are stored or archived and any misuse by our employees, by employees of data archiving services or by other unauthorized users of such data could lead to damage to our reputation, claims against us and other potential increases in costs. If we are unsuccessful in defending any lawsuit involving such data security breaches or misuse, we may be forced to pay damages, which could materially and adversely affect our profitability and financial condition. Also, damage to our reputation stemming from such breaches could adversely affect our prospects. As the regulatory environment relating to companies obligations to protect such sensitive data becomes stricter, a material failure on our part to comply with applicable regulations could subject us to fines or other regulatory sanctions.

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Your share ownership may be diluted by the issuance of additional shares of our common or preferred stock in the future.

Your share ownership may be diluted by the issuance of additional shares of our common or preferred stock or securities convertible into common or preferred stock in the future. As of September 30, 2021, a total of 1,425,000 shares of our common stock are issuable pursuant to outstanding options issued by us at a weighted-average exercise price of $3.45, and 1,610,538 shares of our common stock are issuable pursuant to outstanding warrants at a weighted-average exercise price of $0.56. As of September 30, 2021, ALJ had debt that was convertible into 11,158,357 shares of common stock at the discretion of the debt holder. It is probable that options or warrants to purchase our common stock, or debt that is convertible into common stock, will be exercised during their respective terms if the fair market value of our common stock exceeds the exercise price of the particular option or warrant. If the stock options or warrants are exercised, your share ownership will be diluted. Additionally, options to purchase up to 1,375,000 shares of ALJ common stock are available for grant under our existing equity compensation plans as of September 30, 2021.

In addition, our Board of Directors may determine from time to time that we need to raise additional capital by issuing additional shares of our common stock or other securities. We are not restricted from issuing additional common stock or preferred stock, including any securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for, or that represent the right to receive, common or preferred stock. The issuance of any additional shares of common stock or preferred stock or securities convertible into, exchangeable for or that represent the right to receive common or preferred stock, or the exercise of such securities could be substantially dilutive to shareholders of our common stock. New investors also may have rights, preferences, and privileges that are senior to, and that adversely affect, our then current shareholders. Holders of our shares of common stock have no preemptive rights that entitle holders to purchase their pro rata share of any offering of shares of any class or series. The market price of our common stock could decline as a result of sales of shares of our common stock made after this offering or the perception that such sales could occur. We cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing, or nature of our future offerings. Thus, our shareholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting their stock holdings.

We are a “smaller reporting company” and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “smaller reporting companies.”

We qualify as a “smaller reporting company,” meaning that we are not an investment company, an asset-backed issuer, or a majority-owned subsidiary of a parent company that is not a “smaller reporting company,” and have either: (i) a public float of less than $250 million or (ii) annual revenues of less than $100 million during the most recently completed fiscal year and (A) no public float or (B) a public float of less than $700 million. As a “smaller reporting company,” we are subject to reduced disclosure obligations in our SEC filings compared to other issuers, including with respect to disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. Until such time as we cease to be a “smaller reporting company,” such reduced disclosure in our SEC filings may make it harder for investors to analyze our operating results and financial prospects.

Climate change related events may have a long-term impact on our business.

While we seek to mitigate our business risks associated with climate change, we recognize that there are inherent climate related risks regardless of where we conduct our businesses. Access to clean water and reliable energy in the communities where we conduct our business is a priority. Any of our locations may be vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Climate related events have the potential to disrupt our business, including the business of our customers, and may cause us to experience higher attrition, losses and additional costs to resume operations.

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

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ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.

ALJ’s corporate mailing address is 244 Madison Avenue, PMB #358, New York, NY 10016. For additional information about the properties of each of ALJ’s operating subsidiaries, see “Part I, Item 1. Business.”

The Company has been named in, and from time to time may become named in, various other lawsuits or threatened actions that are incidental to our ordinary business. For additional information regarding such matters, see “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 9. Commitments and Contingencies - Litigation, Claims, and Assessments.”  

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE.

Not applicable.

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PART II

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

Market Information

On May 11, 2016, our stock began trading on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “ALJJ.”  Prior to May 11, 2016, our stock traded on the OTC Bulletin Board. Although a market for our common stock exists, it is relatively illiquid.

 

Record Holders

As of November 30, 2021, there were 118 registered holders of ALJ’s common stock. In addition, there are a significant number of holders of ALJ common stock that are “street name” or beneficial holders, whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers, and other financial institutions.

Dividends

We have not declared or paid dividends on our common stock to date. We intend to retain any earnings for use in the business for the foreseeable future.

Equity Compensation Plan Information

On July 11, 2016, ALJ shareholders approved ALJ’s Omnibus Equity Incentive Plan (the “2016 Plan”), which allows ALJ and its subsidiaries to grant securities of ALJ to officers, employees, directors or consultants.  ALJ believes that equity-based compensation is fundamental to attracting, motivating and retaining highly-qualified dedicated employees who have the skills and experience required to achieve business goals.  Further, ALJ believes the 2016 Plan aligns the compensation of directors, officers, and employees with shareholder interest.  

The 2016 Plan is administered by ALJ’s Compensation, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee (the “Compensation, Nominating, and Corporate Governance Committee”) of the Board. The maximum aggregate number of common stock shares that may be granted under the 2016 Plan is 2,000,000. The 2016 Plan generally provides for the grant of qualified or nonqualified stock options, restricted stock and restricted stock units, unrestricted stock, stock appreciation rights, performance awards and other awards.  The Compensation, Nominating, and Corporate Governance Committee has full discretion to set the vesting criteria.  The exercise price of a stock option may not be less than 100% of the fair market value of ALJ’s common stock on the date of grant. The 2016 Plan prohibits the repricing of outstanding stock options without prior shareholder approval. The term of stock options granted under the 2016 Plan may not exceed ten years.  Awards are subject to accelerated vesting upon a change in control in the event the acquiring company does not assume the awards.

The Board may amend, alter, or discontinue the 2016 Plan, but shall obtain shareholder approval of any amendment as required by applicable law or stock exchange listing requirements.

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The following table sets forth certain information concerning shares of common stock authorized for issuance under the Company’s existing equity compensation plans as of September 30, 2021:

 

 

 

Number of

securities to be

issued upon

exercise of

outstanding

options, warrants

and rights

(a)

 

 

Weighted average

exercise price of

outstanding

options, warrants

and rights

(b)

 

 

Number of

securities

remaining

available for

future issuance

under equity

compensation

plans (excluding

securities

reflected in

column (a))

(c)

 

Equity compensation plans approved by

   security holders

 

 

625,000

 

 

$

2.61

 

 

 

1,375,000

 

Equity compensation plans not approved by

   security holders

 

 

800,000

 

 

 

4.12

 

 

 

 

Total

 

 

1,425,000

 

 

$

3.45

 

 

 

1,375,000

 

 

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

None, other than as previously disclosed by the Company.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

ITEM 6. RESERVED.

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

Our Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is provided in addition to the accompanying consolidated financial statements and notes to assist readers in understanding our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows. Our MD&A is organized as follows:

 

Overview. Discussion of our business and overall analysis of financial and other highlights affecting us to provide context for the remainder of MD&A.

 

Results of Operations. An analysis comparing our financial results for the year ended September 30, 2021 (“Fiscal 2021”) to the year ended September 30, 2020 (“Fiscal 2020”).

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources. An analysis of changes in our cash flows and discussion of our financial condition and liquidity.

 

Contractual Obligations.  Discussion of our contractual obligations as of September 30, 2021.

 

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements.  Discussion of our off-balance sheet arrangements as of September 30, 2021.

 

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.  This section provides a discussion of the significant estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes included in “Part IV, Item 15. Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules.”  The following discussion contains a number of forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Words such as "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "goals," "plans," "believes," "seeks," "estimates," "continues," "may," "will," "should," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Such statements are based on our current expectations and could be affected by the risk and uncertainties described in “Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors.” Our actual results may differ materially.

Overview

ALJ Regional Holdings, Inc. (“ALJ” or “we”) is a holding company that operates Faneuil, Inc. (“Faneuil”) and Phoenix Color Corp. (“Phoenix”). Additionally, ALJ operated Floors-N-More, LLC, d/b/a Carpets N’ More (“Carpets”) through February 2021.  

In January 2021, ALJ entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (“PSA”), by and among ALJ, Superior Interior Finishes, LLC, a Nevada limited liability company (“Superior”) and Carpets, pursuant to which ALJ agreed to sell 100% of the membership interests of Carpets to Superior for an aggregate purchase price of $0.5 million (the “Purchase Price”) in cash (the “Transaction”). At the time of the PSA, Superior was 100% owned by Steve Chesin, the Chief Executive Officer of Carpets. ALJ entered into the PSA because its Carpets business segment had been deemed a non-core holding and had underperformed over the past several years.  The Transaction, which was approved by a committee of the Board comprised solely of certain independent directors of the Company, closed in February 2021. As such, the results of operations, assets, liabilities, and cashflows of Carpets were classified as discontinued operations in ALJ’s financial statements for all periods presented. See “Part IV, Item 15 – Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 4. Acquisitions and Divestitures – Carpets Divestiturefor additional information about the divestiture of Carpets.

With several members of our senior management and Board of Directors coming from long careers in the professional services industry, ALJ is focused on acquiring and operating exceptional businesses.

We continue to see our business evolve as we execute our strategy of buying attractively valued assets. In analyzing the financial impact of any potential acquisition, we focus on earnings, operating margin, cash flow and return on invested capital targets. We hire successful and experienced management teams to run each of our operating companies and incentivize them to drive higher profits. We are focused on increasing our net revenue at each of our operating subsidiaries by investing in sales and marketing, expanding into new products and markets, and evaluating and executing on tuck-in acquisitions, while continually examining our cost structures to drive higher profits.

 

In June 2021, we replaced the Cerberus Term Loan with the Blue Torch Term Loan and amended the Cerberus/PNC Financing Agreement (referred to collectively as “Debt Refinance”) to (i) significantly reduce principal payments, (ii) consolidate debt, (iii) update financial covenants, and (iv) extend the maturity dates under both the Blue Torch Term Loan and the Amended PNC Revolver from November 2023 to June 2025. See “Part IV, Item 15 – Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules – Note 8. Debt” for additional information.

 

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Impact of Coronavirus Pandemic - Update

 

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic, which continues to spread throughout the world. COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on the U.S. economy as federal, state, and local governments react to this public health crisis.

 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of ALJ’s subsidiaries have been deemed “Essential Services” and have continued to operate with limited disruption. To date, the impact of COVID-19 has been minimal.  The Company took immediate actions to enable work-from-home where possible and put in place increased safety precautions, including social distancing, at other locations where essential services on site are required. The duration of these measures is unknown, may be extended, and additional measures may be imposed.

 

Although we have not been materially impacted by COVID-19, we could be impacted in the near term by lower volumes in several parts of our business, resulting in lower revenue and profit. While the impact of COVID-19 on our future financial position, results of operations and cash flows cannot be estimated with certainty, such impact could be significantly negative. Although some employees have recently started to return to work, we still have a significant portion of our work force working from home. The extent to which COVID-19 impacts our operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, including, among others, the duration of the outbreak, vaccination rate against the virus, new variants of the virus, new information that may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19 and the actions, especially those taken by governmental authorities, to contain the pandemic or treat its impact. As events are rapidly changing, additional impacts may arise that are not known at this time. See “Part I, Item 1A, Risk Factors - Risks Related to our Businesses Generally - A widespread health crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition,” for an additional discussion of risks related to COVID-19.

 

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Results of Operations

The following table sets forth certain Consolidated Statements of Operations data as a percentage of net revenue, unless specifically footnoted, for each period as follows:

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30, 2021

 

 

Year Ended

September 30, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

% of

 

 

 

 

 

 

% of

 

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

Dollars

 

 

Net Revenue

 

 

Dollars

 

 

Net Revenue

 

Net revenue (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faneuil

 

$

325,226

 

 

 

73.8

%

 

$

247,032

 

 

 

70.6

%

Phoenix

 

 

115,627

 

 

 

26.2

 

 

 

103,021

 

 

 

29.4

 

Consolidated net revenue

 

 

440,853

 

 

 

100.0

 

 

 

350,053

 

 

 

100.0

 

Cost of revenue (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faneuil

 

 

267,342

 

 

 

82.2

 

 

 

203,409

 

 

 

82.3

 

Phoenix (3)

 

 

87,903

 

 

 

76.0

 

 

 

79,079

 

 

 

76.8

 

Consolidated cost of revenue

 

 

355,245

 

 

 

80.6

 

 

 

282,488

 

 

 

80.7

 

Selling, general, and administrative expense (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faneuil

 

 

40,130

 

 

 

12.3

 

 

 

34,577

 

 

 

14.0

 

Phoenix

 

 

12,981

 

 

 

11.2

 

 

 

12,651

 

 

 

12.3

 

ALJ

 

 

7,368

 

 

 

 

 

 

4,856

 

 

 

 

Consolidated selling, general, and administrative expense

 

 

60,479

 

 

 

13.7

 

 

 

52,084

 

 

 

14.9

 

Depreciation and amortization expense (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faneuil

 

 

14,074

 

 

 

4.3

 

 

 

12,978

 

 

 

5.3

 

Phoenix (4)

 

 

2,135

 

 

 

1.8

 

 

 

2,222

 

 

 

2.2

 

Consolidated depreciation and amortization expense

 

 

16,209

 

 

 

3.7

 

 

 

15,200

 

 

 

4.3

 

Impairment of goodwill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

56,492

 

 

 

16.1

 

Gain on disposal of assets and other gain, net

 

 

(191

)

 

 

 

 

 

(324

)

 

 

(0.1

)

Total consolidated operating expenses

 

 

431,742

 

 

 

97.9

 

 

 

405,940

 

 

 

116.0

 

Consolidated operating income (loss)

 

 

9,111

 

 

 

2.1

 

 

 

(55,887

)

 

 

(16.0

)

Interest expense

 

 

(10,190

)

 

 

(2.3

)

 

 

(10,528

)

 

 

(3.0

)

Interest from legal settlement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

200

 

 

 

0.1

 

Loss on debt extinguishment

 

 

(2,072

)

 

 

(0.5

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Provision for) benefit from income taxes

 

 

(429

)

 

 

(1.0

)

 

 

2,043

 

 

 

5.8

 

Net loss from continuing operations

 

 

(3,580

)

 

 

(0.8

)

 

 

(64,172

)

 

 

(18.3

)

Net loss from discontinued operations

 

 

(1,063

)

 

 

(0.2

)

 

 

(3,502

)

 

 

(1.0

)

Net loss

 

$

(4,643

)

 

 

(1.1

)

 

$

(67,674

)

 

 

(19.3

)

Loss per share of common stock–basic and diluted

 

$

(0.11

)

 

 

 

 

 

$

(1.60

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

Percentage is calculated as segment net revenue divided by consolidated net revenue.

(2)

Percentage is calculated as a percentage of the respective segment net revenue.

(3)

Includes depreciation expense of $5.4 million and $4.6 million during Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively.

(4)

Primarily amortization of intangible assets. Total depreciation and amortization for Phoenix, including depreciation expense captured in cost of revenue, was $7.5 million and $6.8 million during Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively.

Net Revenue

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

Faneuil

 

$

325,226

 

 

$

247,032

 

 

$

78,194

 

 

 

31.7

%

Phoenix

 

 

115,627

 

 

 

103,021

 

 

 

12,606

 

 

 

12.2

 

Consolidated net revenue

 

$

440,853

 

 

$

350,053

 

 

$

90,800

 

 

 

25.9

%

 

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Faneuil Net Revenue

 

Faneuil net revenue for Fiscal 2021 was $325.2 million, an increase of $78.2 million, or 31.7%, compared to net revenue of $247.0 million for Fiscal 2020. The increase was attributable to a $77.8 million and $17.9 million increase in revenues from new and existing customers, respectively, partly offset by a $17.5 million decrease driven by the completion of customer contracts.

Phoenix Net Revenue

Phoenix net revenue for Fiscal 2021 was $115.6 million, an increase of $12.6 million, or 12.2%, compared to net revenue of $103.0 million during Fiscal 2020. The increase was primarily attributable to higher component sales primarily related to trade sales.

Cost of Revenue

 

 

 

Year Ended

September 30,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

 

$ Change

 

 

% Change

 

Faneuil

 

$

267,342

 

 

$

203,409

 

 

$

63,933

 

 

 

31.4

%

As a percentage of segment net revenue

 

 

82.2

%

 

 

82.3

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix

 

 

87,903

 

 

 

79,079

 

 

 

8,824

 

 

 

11.2

 

As a percentage of segment net revenue

 

 

76.0

%

 

 

76.8

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consolidated cost of revenue

 

$

355,245

 

 

$

282,488

 

 

$

72,757

 

 

 

25.8

%

 

Faneuil Cost of Revenue

Faneuil cost of revenue for