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Table of Contents
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, 2023
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 001-11593
______________________________________________________________  
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Ohio31-1414921
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
14111 Scottslawn Road, Marysville, Ohio 43041
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
(937) 644-0011
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol(s)Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Shares, $0.01 stated valueSMGNYSE
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  þ    No  o
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  o    No  þ
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  þ    No  o
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  þ    No  o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
  
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.         o
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  þ
The aggregate market value of Common Shares (the only common equity of the registrant) held by non-affiliates (for this purpose, executive officers and directors of the registrant are considered affiliates) as of March 31, 2023 (the last business day of the most recently completed second quarter) was approximately $2,895,917,514.
There were 56,552,916 Common Shares of the registrant outstanding as of November 17, 2023.
______________________________________________________________ 
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement for the registrant’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended September 30, 2023.


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The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
Annual Report on Form 10-K
For the Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2023
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PART I

ITEM 1.    BUSINESS
Company Description and Development of the Business
The discussion below describes the business conducted by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, an Ohio corporation (“Scotts Miracle-Gro” and, together with its subsidiaries, the “Company,” “we,” “our” or “us”), including general developments in our business during fiscal 2023. Each reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (“Form 10-K”) to a “fiscal” year is to our fiscal year ended or ending, as applicable, on September 30 of the referenced year. For additional information on recent business developments, see “ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS” of this Form 10-K.
Through our U.S. Consumer and Other segments, we are the leading manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products in North America. Our products are marketed under some of the most recognized brand names in the consumer lawn and garden industry. Our key consumer lawn and garden brands include Scotts® and Turf Builder® lawn fertilizer and Scotts® grass seed products; Miracle-Gro® soil, plant food and gardening products; Ortho® herbicide and pesticide products; and Tomcat® rodent control and animal repellent products. We are the exclusive agent of the Monsanto Company, a subsidiary of Bayer AG (“Monsanto”), for the marketing and distribution of certain of Monsanto’s consumer Roundup®1 branded products within the United States (“U.S.”) and certain other specified countries. In addition, we have an equity interest in Bonnie Plants, LLC, a joint venture with Alabama Farmers Cooperative, Inc. (“AFC”), focused on planting, growing, developing, distributing, marketing, and selling live plants.
Through our Hawthorne segment, we are a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of lighting, nutrients, growing media, growing environments and hardware products for indoor and hydroponic gardening in North America. Our key brands include General Hydroponics®, Gavita®, Botanicare®, Agrolux®, Gro Pro®, Mother Earth®, Grower’s Edge®, HydroLogic Purification System® and Cyco®.
Scotts Miracle-Gro traces its heritage to a company founded by O.M. Scott in Marysville, Ohio in 1868. In the mid-1900s, we became widely known for the development of quality lawn fertilizers and grass seeds that led to the creation of a new industry – consumer lawn care. In the 1990s, we significantly expanded our product offering with three leading brands in the U.S. home lawn and garden industry. In fiscal 1995, through a merger with Stern’s Miracle-Gro Products, Inc., which was founded by Horace Hagedorn and Otto Stern in Long Island, New York in 1951, we acquired the Miracle-Gro® brand, the industry leader in water-soluble garden plant foods. In fiscal 1999, we acquired the Ortho® brand in the United States and obtained exclusive rights to market Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® brand within the United States and other contractually specified countries, thereby adding industry-leading weed, pest and disease control products to our portfolio. Today, the Scotts®, Turf Builder®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho® and Roundup® brands make us the most widely recognized company in the consumer lawn and garden industry in the United States.
Business Segments
We divide our business into the following reportable segments:
U.S. Consumer
Hawthorne
Other
U.S. Consumer consists of our consumer lawn and garden business in the United States. Hawthorne consists of our indoor and hydroponic gardening business. Other primarily consists of our consumer lawn and garden business in Canada. This division of reportable segments is consistent with how the segments report to and are managed by our Chief Executive Officer (the chief operating decision maker of the Company). In addition, Corporate consists of general and administrative expenses and certain other income and expense items not allocated to the business segments. Financial information about these segments for each of the three fiscal years ended September 30, 2023, 2022 and 2021 is presented in “NOTE 21. SEGMENT INFORMATION” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K.
1 Roundup® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC, a company affiliated with Monsanto Company.

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Principal Products and Services
In our reportable segments, we manufacture, market and sell lawn and garden products in the following categories:
Lawn Care: The lawn care category is designed to help users grow and enjoy the lawn they want. Products within this category include lawn fertilizer products under the Scotts® and Turf Builder® brand names; grass seed products under the Scotts®, Turf Builder®, EZ Seed®, PatchMaster® and Thick’R LawnTM brand and sub-brand names; and lawn-related weed, pest and disease control products primarily under the Scotts® brand name, including sub-brands such as GrubEx®. The lawn care category also includes spreaders and other durables under the Scotts® brand name, including Turf Builder® EdgeGuard® spreaders and Handy Green® II handheld spreaders.
Gardening and Landscape: The gardening and landscape category is designed to help consumers grow and enjoy flower and vegetable gardens and beautify landscaped areas. Products within this category include a complete line of water-soluble plant foods under the Miracle-Gro® brand and sub-brands such as LiquaFeed®, continuous-release plant foods under the Miracle-Gro® brand and sub-brands such as Shake ‘N Feed®; potting mixes, garden soils, ground cover and mulches under the Miracle-Gro®, Scotts®, Hyponex® and Earthgro® brand names; plant-related pest and disease control products under the Ortho® brand; organic garden products under the Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics®, Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice®, Scotts®, Whitney Farms® and EcoScraps® brand names; and live goods and seeding solutions under the Miracle-Gro® brand. Hydroponic and indoor gardening focused growing media and nutrients products are marketed under the Mother Earth®, Botanicare®, General Hydroponics® and Cyco® brand names as well as brands owned by third parties for which we serve as distributor.
Hydroponic hardware and growing environments: This category is designed to provide durable goods to grow plants, flowers and vegetables using little or no soil. Products within this category include growing systems, trays, fans, filters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, timers, instruments, water pumps, irrigation supplies and hand tools, and are marketed under the Botanicare®, Gro Pro®, AeroGarden® and HydroLogic Purification System® brand names as well as brands owned by third parties for which we serve as distributor.
Lighting: The lighting category is designed to provide growers a complete selection of lighting systems and components for use in hydroponic and indoor gardening applications. Products in this category include lighting sensors, controls, fixtures, reflectors, lamps, cords and hangars, and are marketed under the Gavita®, Agrolux® and Titan® brand names as well as brands owned by third parties for which we serve as distributor.
Controls: The controls category is designed to help consumers protect their homes from pests and maintain external home areas. Insect control products are marketed under the Ortho® brand name, including Ortho Max®, Home Defense® and Bug B Gon® sub-brands; rodent control products are marketed under the Tomcat® and Ortho® brands; selective weed control products are marketed under the Ortho Weed B GonTM sub-brand; and non-selective weed killer products are marketed under the Groundclear® brand name. Hydroponic gardening focused controls products are marketed under the Alchemist® and General Hydroponics® brand names as well as brands owned by third parties for which we serve as distributor.
Marketing Agreement: We are Monsanto’s exclusive agent for the marketing and distribution of certain of Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® branded products in the United States and certain other specified countries.
Effective August 1, 2019, we entered into the Third Amended and Restated Exclusive Agency and Marketing Agreement (the “Third Restated Agreement”) pursuant to which we provide certain consumer and trade marketing program services, sales, merchandising, warehousing and other selling and marketing support for certain of Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® branded products. The Company also performs other services on behalf of Monsanto, including manufacturing conversion services, pursuant to ancillary agreements. For additional details regarding the Third Restated Agreement, see “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS — Risks Related to Our Business — In the event the Third Restated Agreement for Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® products terminates or Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® business materially declines, we would lose a substantial source of future earnings and overhead expense absorption” of this Form 10-K and “NOTE 7. MARKETING AGREEMENT” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K.
Acquisitions and Divestitures
There were no material acquisitions or divestitures during fiscal 2023. Refer to “NOTE 8. ACQUISITIONS AND INVESTMENTS” of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K for more information regarding fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021 acquisitions and investments.
Principal Markets and Methods of Distribution
We sell our products through our direct sales force, e-commerce website and our network of brokers and distributors primarily to home centers, mass merchandisers, warehouse clubs, large hardware chains, independent hardware stores, nurseries, garden centers, e-commerce platforms, food and drug stores, indoor gardening and hydroponic product distributors, retailers and growers.

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The majority of our shipments to customers are made via common carriers or through distributors in the United States. We primarily utilize third parties to manage the key distribution centers for our consumer lawn and garden business, which are strategically located across the United States and Canada. For our Hawthorne business, we primarily self-manage distribution centers across the United States and Canada. Growing media products are generally shipped direct-to-store without passing through a distribution center.
Raw Materials
We purchase raw materials for our products from various sources. We are subject to market risk as a result of the fluctuating prices of raw materials, including urea and other fertilizer inputs, resins, diesel, gasoline, natural gas, sphagnum peat, bark and grass seed. Our objectives surrounding the procurement of these materials are to ensure continuous supply, minimize costs and improve supply and pricing predictability. We seek to achieve these objectives through negotiation of contracts with favorable terms directly with vendors. When appropriate, we commit to purchase a certain percentage of our needs in advance of the lawn and garden season to secure pre-determined prices. We also hedge certain commodities, particularly diesel and urea, to improve cost predictability and control. Sufficient raw materials were available during fiscal 2023.
Trademarks, Patents, Trade Secrets and Licenses
We believe that our trademarks, patents, trade secrets and licenses provide us with significant competitive advantages. We pursue a vigorous trademark protection strategy consisting of registration, renewal and maintenance of key trademarks and proactive monitoring and enforcement activities to protect against infringement. The Scotts®, Miracle-Gro®, Ortho®, Tomcat®, Hyponex®, Earthgro®, General Hydroponics®, Gavita®, Botanicare®, Agrolux® and Mother Earth® brand names and logos, as well as a number of product trademarks, including Turf Builder®, EZ Seed®, Organic Choice®, Home Defense Max®, Nature Scapes®, and Weed B Gon Max® are registered in the United States and/or internationally and are considered material to our business.
In addition, we actively develop and maintain an extensive portfolio of utility and design patents covering a variety of subject matters and technologies relevant to the business such as fertilizer, weed killer, chemical and growing media compositions and processes; grass seed varieties; mechanical dispensing devices such as applicators, spreaders and sprayers; lighting applications; and hydroponic growing systems. Our utility patents provide protection generally extending to 20 years from the date of filing, and some of our patents will continue well into the next decade. We also hold exclusive and non-exclusive patent licenses and supply arrangements permitting the use and sale of additional patented fertilizers, pesticides, electrical and mechanical devices. Although our portfolio of trade secrets, patents and patent licenses is important to our success, no single trade secret, patent or group of related patents, alone, is considered critical to the operation of any of our business segments or the business as a whole.
Seasonality and Backlog
Our North America consumer lawn and garden business is highly seasonal, with approximately 75% of our annual net sales occurring in our second and third fiscal quarters combined. Our annual sales for this business are further concentrated in our second and third fiscal quarters by retailers who rely on our ability to deliver products closer to when consumers buy our products. We anticipate significant orders for our North America consumer lawn and garden business for the upcoming spring season will start to be received late in the winter and continue through the spring season. Historically, substantially all orders have been received and shipped within the same fiscal year with minimal carryover of open orders at the end of the fiscal year.
Our Hawthorne segment is also impacted by seasonal sales patterns for certain product categories due to the timing of outdoor growing in North America during our second and third fiscal quarters, and the timing of certain controlled agricultural lighting project sales during our third and fourth fiscal quarters.
Significant Customers
Home Depot and Lowe’s are our two largest customers and are the only customers that individually represent more than 10% of reported consolidated net sales during any of the three most recent fiscal years. For additional details regarding significant customers, see “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS — Risks Related to Our Business — Because of the concentration of our sales to a small number of retail customers, the loss of one or more of, or a significant reduction in orders from, any of our top customers, or a material reduction in the inventory of our products that they carry, could adversely affect our financial results” of this Form 10-K and “NOTE 21.  SEGMENT INFORMATION” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K.

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Competitive Marketplace
The markets in which we sell our products are highly competitive. We compete primarily on the basis of brand strength, product innovation, product quality, product performance, advertising, value, supply chain competency, field sales support, in-store sales support and the strength of our relationships with major retailers and distributors.
In the lawn and garden, pest control and indoor gardening and hydroponic markets, our products compete against private-label as well as branded products. Primary competitors include Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., Central Garden & Pet Company, Kellogg Garden Products, Oldcastle Retail, Inc., Lebanon Seaboard Corporation, Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, FoxFarm Soil & Fertilizer Company, Nanolux Technology, Inc., Sun Gro Horticulture, Inc., Advanced Nutrients, Ltd., SBM Life Science Corp., Woodstream Corporation, Sunday Lawn Care and Hydrofarm Holdings Group, Inc. In addition, we face competition from smaller regional competitors that operate in many of the areas where we compete.
In Canada, we face competition in the lawn and garden market from Premier Tech Ltd. and a variety of local companies including private label brands.
Research and Development
We continually invest in research and development, both in the laboratory and at the consumer level, to improve our products, manufacturing processes, packaging and delivery systems. Spending on research and development was $35.7 million, $45.3 million and $45.4 million in fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively, including product registration costs of $12.4 million, $13.0 million and $12.3 million, respectively. In addition to our own research and development activities, we actively seek ways to leverage the research and development activities of our suppliers and other business partners.
Regulatory Considerations
Laws and regulations in the United States and other countries affect the manufacture, sale, distribution, use and/or application of our products in several ways. For example, in the United States, all pesticide products must comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), and most pesticide products require registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “U.S. EPA”) and similar state agencies before they can be sold or distributed. The use of certain pesticide products is also regulated by the U.S. EPA in addition to various local, state and federal environmental and/or public health agencies. These regulations may, for example, include requirements that only certified or professional users apply the product, that certain products be used only on certain types of locations (such as “not for use on sod farms or golf courses”), that users post notices on properties to which products have been or will be applied, or that may require notification to individuals in the vicinity that products will be applied in the future, or may ban the use of certain ingredients or categories of products altogether. Analogous regulatory regimes apply to certain pesticides that we sell or distribute in other countries.
Fertilizer and growing media products are also subject to various laws and regulations, some of which require registration, mandate labeling requirements, and/or govern the sale and distribution of the products. Our grass seed products are regulated in the U.S. by the Federal Seed Act and various state regulations. In addition, governmental agencies regulate the disposal, transport, handling and storage of waste, the remediation of contaminated sites, air and water discharges from our facilities, and workplace health and safety.
Governmental authorities generally require operating facilities to obtain permits (sometimes on an annual basis) relating to site-specific conditions and/or activities. For example, permits must be obtained in order to harvest peat and to discharge storm water run-off or water pumped from peat deposits. The permits typically specify the condition in which the property must be left after the peat is fully harvested, with the residual use typically being natural wetland habitats combined with open water areas. We are generally required by these permits to limit our harvesting and to restore the property consistent with the intended residual use. In some locations, these facilities have been required to create water retention ponds to control the sediment content of discharged water.
In addition, in 2021 the Biden Administration announced a multi-agency plan to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) contamination nationwide. Agencies, including the U.S. EPA, the Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services, will take actions to prevent the release of PFAS into the air, drinking systems, and food supply and to expand cleanup efforts to remediate the impacts of PFAS pollution. As part of this announcement, the U.S. EPA released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024, which sets timelines by which the U.S. EPA plans to take specific actions during the first term of the Biden Administration. Further, many states have taken action to address PFAS concerns ranging from appropriation legislation to funding scientific research, bans on certain categories of consumer products containing PFAS and/or broad prohibitions on PFAS across all products. Complicating this patchwork of state regulation is that various jurisdictions may define PFAS differently. It is possible, therefore, that some of these actions will have an impact direct or indirect on our business.

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Packaging has also become subject to increased governmental scrutiny in many states. Specifically, state legislation is seeking to reduce single use plastics and establish extended producer responsibility programs, which are designed to bolster the recycling industry by transferring the cost of packaging disposal to the manufacturers. Extended producer responsibility programs typically include targets and reporting responsibilities for, among other things, post-consumer recycling usage, compostable packaging, material reduction and refill strategies.
The expansion of our business may expand the regulatory oversight to which we are subject. If we enter new product categories and/or new jurisdictions, we may become subject to additional applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
For more information regarding how compliance with local, state, federal and foreign laws and regulations may affect us, see “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS — Risks Related to Regulation of Our Company — Compliance with environmental and other public health regulations or changes in such regulations or regulatory enforcement priorities could increase our costs of doing business or limit our ability to market all of our products” of this Form 10-K.
Regulatory Matters
We are subject to various regulatory proceedings, none of which are expected to be material to our business. At September 30, 2023, $2.7 million was accrued for environmental matters. During fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, we expensed $0.4 million, $0.2 million and $0.5 million, respectively, for such environmental matters. We had no material capital expenditures during the last three fiscal years related to environmental or regulatory matters.
Human Capital
We believe our culture and commitment to our associates provides unique value to us and our shareholders. Every associate, and every job, is important to our success and helping us achieve our purpose. We seek to create an environment that values the health, safety and wellness of our teams, and we work to equip them with the knowledge and skills to serve our business and develop in their careers.
This discussion includes information regarding human capital matters that we believe may be of interest to shareholders generally. We recognize that certain other stakeholders (such as customers, employees and non-governmental organizations) may be interested in more detailed information on these topics. We encourage you to review the “Supporting Our People” section of our 2023 Corporate Responsibility Report, located on our website at https://scottsmiraclegro.com/responsibility/environmental-social-and-governance, for more detailed information regarding our human capital programs and initiatives. The contents of our corporate website are not incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
Associates
As of September 30, 2023, we employed approximately 5,500 associates. During peak sales and production periods in fiscal 2023, our workforce totaled approximately 7,250, comprised of approximately 6,500 employees including seasonal associates and approximately 750 in temporary labor. Included within these numbers, during fiscal 2023, we employed a total of approximately 2,500 full-time and seasonal in-store associates within the United States to help our retail partners merchandise our products in their lawn and garden departments directly to consumers. During fiscal 2023, we continued strategic reductions in our workforce as part of an ongoing series of organizational changes and initiatives intended to create operational and management-level efficiencies.
Engagement
The level of engagement created through our associate experience directly impacts our business. To advance engagement, we take a purposeful approach focused on enhancing the employee experience. Communication between members of our leadership team and our other associates impacts our success by building trust and improving collaboration and overall engagement. We gather the voices of our associates formally and informally throughout the year through, among other initiatives, executive town halls, pulse surveys and leadership skip-level meetings. This feedback is shared and leveraged as human capital initiatives are defined.
In light of our recent work force restructuring, we have prioritized ensuring that our associates have access to the information they need to understand the business decisions being made, the reasons behind them and how changes will impact them in their role. To accomplish this, we execute comprehensive change management plans to support our associates through business transitions. Recognizing there is value to associates in engaging directly with our leadership team, we host Town Hall meetings each quarter to disseminate enterprise-wide information and to allow interactive communication.

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Diversity
We value our associates’ diversity and encourage them to leverage their varied life experiences at our Company. This includes diversity in terms of gender, sexuality, race, thoughts, interests, languages, beliefs and more. We continue to hold ourselves accountable to fostering a positive workplace, one that creates a sense of belonging and community. This comes to life in the programs and support we provide our associates.
Our employee resource groups (“ERGs”) are voluntary, associate-led groups usually formed by people with a common affinity such as gender, race, national origin, sexual orientation, military status or other attributes. Each ERG establishes a mission to positively impact the business by cultivating relationships through networking and developing talent through experiences, programs and mentoring. Our ERGs drive continuous improvement of our inclusive work environment and are open to all associates, regardless of the business department, location or management level. Our ERGs consist of the Scotts Women’s Network, the Scotts Black Employees Network, the Scotts Veterans Network, the Scotts Young Professionals, Scotts GroPride and Scotts Associates for a Greener Earth.
Professional Development
We view development and retention of our associates as valuable components of our business operations and creating a culture of leadership throughout our Company. We offer both online micro-learning and virtual learning content that accelerates the development of practical skills and competencies. Content is selected by associates and updated frequently to align to the development needs of our associates and address trending topics. Our associates have the opportunity to learn new skills through exposure and involvement in business challenges. Our managers support associates as development happens on the job through cross-functional team assignments, expanded roles and rotational assignments. We provide a variety of learning tools and experiences to our associates to help them embrace a growth mindset that leads to higher levels of achievement and personal satisfaction. Our ongoing development processes are designed to grow knowledge, improve skills and capabilities, and achieve competence in specific behaviors to meet performance expectations and prepare for potential future roles within our Company.
Compensation and Benefits
Our passion extends far beyond gardening and growing to include the well-being of our associates. We are a Company that has been rooted in family since our founding in 1868, and one way we demonstrate this is our commitment to enhancing the health and financial security of our associates and their families and our support for everyday challenges through our LiveTotalHealth program – the Company’s holistic and comprehensive approach to wellness. We formed a partnership with an innovative leader in the healthcare navigation and advocacy space to provide our associates and their family members with access to healthcare experts who can guide them throughout their healthcare journeys. We also believe financial health is a core component to our associates’ overall wellbeing. We conduct an annual analysis of our pay and compensation practices, from both an external market and internal consistency perspective, to ensure that our pay decisions are fair and equitable.
Health and Safety
We maintain several health and safety programs to protect our team members, including our comprehensive Environmental Health and Safety (“EHS”) management system. All associates and business partners, including contractors, are covered by our EHS management system. Our associates are encouraged to participate in safety committees to spur associate engagement with safety on a local and national level. To further manage health and safety risks, we develop compliance calendars that highlight dates for health and safety inspections and deadlines to meet voluntary and regulatory requirements. We use an EHS scorecard composed of leading and lagging indicators to evaluate our health and safety performance including progress measurements for safety training, behavioral-based safety observations, near-miss reporting, total recordable incident rate and lost time accident rate.
Information Systems
We understand the critical nature of real-time, measurable data and insights from a human capital perspective. Our cloud-based human capital management solution unifies our wide range of human relations functionality onto one single platform. This structure enables us to support the entire enterprise with qualitative and quantitative analytics specific to associate transactions, processes and programs, and connection to other organizational data creating a culture where data and analytics are the norm. The organization has embraced the scalable flexibility of the platform, and in doing so, has implemented other modules that integrate cohesively.

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Environmental, Social and Governance
Our stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, suppliers, associates, communities as well as the environment and society, are essential to our business. We endeavor to make our workforce more inclusive, our business more sustainable, and our communities more engaged by maintaining strong environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices.
In fiscal 2023, we published our 12th Corporate Responsibility Report, prepared in reference to the Global Reporting Initiative (“GRI”) Standards (2021) and with consideration for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (“SASB’s”) Chemicals industry standard. This report provides detailed information regarding our ESG strategy, focus areas and governance structure. The Company’s ESG focus areas are Product Stewardship and Safety, Operations and Supply Chain, Associate Engagement and Wellness, Community Engagement and Governance and Transparency. The Company continues to benchmark, set and make progress towards goals and seek continuous improvement around these focus areas.
We publish our Corporate Responsibility Report and several ESG-related policies and statements on the ESG section of our corporate website, which is located at https://scottsmiraclegro.com/responsibility/environmental-social-and-governance. These policies and statements address environmental, health and safety and human rights concerns. We maintain a Supplier Code of Conduct that establishes the minimum standards that suppliers must satisfy to sell goods to or do business with the Company. Further ESG initiatives in fiscal 2023 included responding to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s climate questionnaire and completing the S&P Corporate Sustainability Assessment. The contents of our corporate website are not incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC.
Website and General Information
We maintain a website at http://investor.scotts.com. Information on our websites will not be deemed incorporated by reference into, and do not form any part of, this Form 10-K or any other report or document that we file with or furnish to the SEC. We file reports with the SEC and make available, free of charge, on or through our website, our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as well as our proxy and information statements, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.

ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This Form 10-K, including the exhibits hereto and the information incorporated by reference herein, as well as our 2023 Annual Report to Shareholders (our “2023 Annual Report”), contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Information regarding activities, events and developments that we expect or anticipate will or may occur in the future, including, but not limited to, information relating to our future growth and profitability targets and strategies designed to increase total shareholder value, are forward-looking statements based on management’s estimates, assumptions and projections. Forward-looking statements also include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our future economic and financial condition and results of operations, the plans and objectives of management and our assumptions regarding our performance and such plans and objectives, as well as the amount and timing of dividends and repurchases of common shares of Scotts Miracle-Gro (“Common Shares”) or other uses of cash flows. Forward-looking statements generally can be identified through the use of words such as “guidance,” “outlook,” “projected,” “believe,” “target,” “predict,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “strategy,” “may,” “goal,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “foresee,” “likely,” “will,” “should” and other similar words and variations.
Forward-looking statements in this Form 10-K and our 2023 Annual Report are predictions only and actual results could differ materially from management’s expectations due to a variety of factors, including those described below. All forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons working on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by such risk factors.
The forward-looking statements that we make in this Form 10-K and our 2023 Annual Report are based on management’s current views and assumptions regarding future events and speak only as of their dates. We disclaim any obligation to update developments of these risk factors or to announce publicly any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements that we make, or to make corrections to reflect future events or developments, except as required by the federal securities laws.

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Risks Related to Our Business
If we underestimate or overestimate demand for our products and do not maintain appropriate inventory levels, our net sales and/or working capital could be negatively impacted.
Our ability to manage our inventory levels to meet our customers’ demand for our products is important for our business. Our production levels and inventory management goals for our products are based on estimates of demand, taking into account production capacity, timing of shipments, and inventory levels. If we overestimate or underestimate either channel or retail demand for any of our products during a given season, we may not maintain appropriate inventory levels, which could negatively impact our net sales, profit margins, net earnings, working capital and/or cash flow, hinder our ability to meet customer demand, result in loss of customers, or cause us to incur excess and obsolete inventory charges or excess warehouse storage costs.
An economic downturn and economic uncertainty may adversely affect demand for our products.
We have observed increased economic uncertainty in the U.S. including the potential for an economic recession. Impacts of such general economic weakness include, without limitation: falling overall demand for goods and services; reduced credit availability; reduced liquidity; volatility in credit, equity and foreign exchange markets; bankruptcies and rising interest rates. Adverse economic conditions have included or resulted, and could continue to include or result, in a significant increase in inflation, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, including our operating margins. Continued high inflation has had a negative impact on our operating margins in recent periods.
Disruptions in availability or increases in the prices of raw materials, fuel or transportation costs could adversely affect our results of operations.
We source many of our commodities and other raw materials on a global basis. The general availability and price of those raw materials can be affected by numerous forces beyond our control, including political instability, trade restrictions and other government regulations, duties and tariffs, price controls, changes in currency exchange rates and weather. A significant disruption in the availability or price of any of our key raw materials could negatively impact our business.
Increases in the prices of key commodities and other raw materials could adversely affect our ability to manage our cost structure. Market conditions may limit our ability to raise selling prices to offset increases in our raw material costs. Further, sustained price increases may lead to declines in volume as competitors may not adjust their prices or customers and/or consumers may decide not to pay the higher prices, which could lead to sales declines and loss of market share. Our projections may not accurately predict the volume impact of price increases, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our proprietary technologies can limit our ability to locate or utilize alternative inputs for certain products. For certain inputs, new sources of supply may have to be qualified under regulatory standards, which can require additional investment and delay bringing a product to market. We utilize hedge agreements periodically to fix the prices of a portion of our urea and fuel needs. The hedge agreements are designed to mitigate the earnings and cash flow fluctuations associated with the costs of urea and fuel. In periods of declining prices, utilizing these hedge agreements may effectively increase our expenditures for these raw materials.
Because of the concentration of our sales to a small number of retail customers, the loss of one or more of, or a significant reduction in orders from, any of our top customers, or a material reduction in the inventory of our products that they carry, could adversely affect our financial results.
Our top two retail customers, Home Depot and Lowe’s, together accounted for 47% of our fiscal 2023 net sales and 41% of our outstanding accounts receivable as of September 30, 2023. The loss of, or reduction in orders from any major customer for any reason (including, for example, changes in a retailer’s strategy, reduction in inventories of our products that they maintain, claims or allegations that our products or products we market on behalf of third parties are unsafe, a decline in consumer demand, regulatory, legal or other external pressures or a change in marketing strategy), and customer disputes regarding shipments, fees, merchandise condition or related matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Our inability to collect accounts receivable from one of our major customers, or a significant deterioration in the financial condition of one of these customers, including a bankruptcy filing or a liquidation, could also have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We do not have long-term sales agreements with, or other contractual assurances as to future sales to, any of our major retail customers. In addition, continued consolidation in the retail industry has resulted in an increasingly concentrated retail base, and as a result, we are significantly dependent upon sales to key retailers who have significant bargaining strength. To the extent such concentration continues to occur, our net sales and income from operations may be increasingly sensitive to deterioration in the financial condition of, or other adverse developments involving our relationship with, one or more of our

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key customers. In addition, our business may be negatively affected by changes in the policies of our retailers, such as inventory reductions, limitations on access to shelf space, price demands and other conditions.
We may not successfully develop new product lines and products or improve existing product lines and products.
Our future success depends on creating and successfully competing in markets for our products including our ability to improve our existing product lines and products and to develop and manufacture new product lines and products to meet evolving consumer needs. We cannot provide any assurance that we will successfully develop and manufacture new product lines and products or product innovations that satisfy consumer needs or achieve market acceptance, or that we will develop, manufacture and market new product lines and products or product innovations in a timely manner. If we fail to successfully develop and manufacture new product lines and products or product innovations, our ability to maintain or grow our market share may be adversely affected, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the development and introduction of new product lines and products and product innovations require substantial research and development expenditures, which we may be unable to recoup if such new product lines, products or innovations do not achieve market acceptance.
Many of the products we manufacture and market contain active ingredients that are subject to regulatory approval. The need to obtain such approval could delay the launch of new products or product innovations that contain active ingredients or otherwise prevent us from developing and manufacturing certain products and product innovations.
Our marketing activities may not be successful.
We invest substantial resources in advertising, consumer promotions and other marketing activities to maintain, extend and expand our brand image. Negative publicity about us or our brands, including publicity regarding product safety, quality, efficacy, environmental impacts (including packaging, energy and water use and matters related to climate impact and waste management) and other sustainability or similar issues, whether real or perceived, could occur and could be widely and rapidly disseminated, including through the use of social media sites. There can be no assurances that our marketing strategies will be effective or that the amount we invest in advertising activities will result in a corresponding increase in sales of our products. If our marketing initiatives are unsuccessful, including our ability to leverage new media such as digital media and social networks to reach existing and potential customers or our brands suffer damage to reputation due to real or perceived quality issues (which damage can be quickly multiplied by social media), we will have incurred significant expenses without the benefit of higher revenues.
The highly competitive nature of our markets could adversely affect our ability to maintain or grow revenues.
Each of our operating segments participates in highly competitive markets. Our products compete against national and regional products and private label products produced by various suppliers. Many of our competitors sell their products at prices lower than ours. Our most price sensitive consumers may trade down to lower priced products during challenging economic times or if current economic conditions worsen. We compete primarily on the basis of product innovation, product quality, product performance, value, brand strength, supply chain competency, field sales support, in-store sales support, the strength of our relationships with major retailers and advertising. Some of our competitors have significant financial resources. The strong competition that we face in all of our markets may prevent us from achieving our revenue goals, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our manufacturing operations, including our reliance on third-party manufacturers, could harm our business.
We may not be able to maintain or develop efficient, low-cost manufacturing capability and processes that will enable us to meet the quality, price, design and product standards or production volumes required to successfully manufacture our products. Even if we successfully maintain and develop our manufacturing capabilities and processes, we may not be able to do so in time to satisfy the requirements of our customers.
We rely on third parties to manufacture certain products. This reliance generates a number of risks, including decreased control over the production and related processes, which could lead to production delays or interruptions and inferior product quality control. In addition, performance problems at these third-party manufacturers could lead to cost overruns, shortages or other problems, which could increase our costs of production or result in delivery shortages or delays to our customers.
In addition, if one or more of our third-party manufacturers becomes insolvent or unwilling to continue to manufacture products of acceptable quality, at acceptable costs and in a timely manner, our ability to deliver products to our retail customers could be significantly impaired. Substitute manufacturers may not be available or, if available, may be unwilling or unable to manufacture the products we need on acceptable terms. Moreover, if customer demand for our products increases, we may be unable to secure sufficient additional capacity from our current third-party manufacturers, or others, on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.

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Our business is subject to risks associated with sourcing and manufacturing outside of the U.S. and risks from tariffs and/or international trade wars.
We import many of our raw materials and finished goods from countries outside of the United States, including but not limited to China. Our import operations are subject to complex customs laws, regulations, tax requirements, and trade regulations, such as tariffs set by governments, either through mutual agreements or bilateral actions. Tariffs on goods imported into the U.S., particularly goods from China, have increased the cost of the goods we purchase. Additional tariffs could be imposed by the U.S. with relatively short notice to us. These governmental actions could have, and any similar future actions may have, a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The overall effect of these risks is that our costs may increase or we may experience supply disruptions, which in turn may result in lower profitability if we are unable to offset such increases through higher prices, and/or that we may suffer a decline in sales if our customers do not accept price increases.
Our reliance on a limited base of suppliers may result in disruptions to our business and adversely affect our financial results.
Although we continue to implement risk mitigation strategies for single-source suppliers, we also rely on a limited number of suppliers for certain of our raw materials, product components and other necessary supplies, including certain active ingredients used in our products. If we are unable to maintain supplier arrangements and relationships, if we are unable to contract with suppliers at the quantity and quality levels needed for our business, or if any of our key suppliers becomes insolvent or experience other financial distress, we could experience disruptions in production, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
A significant interruption in the operation of our or our suppliers’ facilities could impact our capacity to produce products and service our customers, which could adversely affect revenues and earnings.
Operations at our and our suppliers’ facilities are subject to disruption for a variety of reasons, including fire, flooding or other natural disasters, disease outbreaks or pandemics, acts of war, terrorism, government shut-downs and work stoppages. A significant interruption in the operation of our or our suppliers’ facilities could significantly impact our capacity to produce products and service our customers in a timely manner, which could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, earnings and financial position, particularly with respect to products that we manufacture at a limited number of facilities, such as our fertilizer and liquid products.
Disruptions to transportation channels that we use to distribute our products may adversely affect our margins and profitability.
We may experience disruptions to the transportation channels used to distribute our products, including increased congestion, a lack of transportation capacity, increased fuel expenses, import or export controls or delays, and labor disputes or shortages. Disruptions in our trucking capacity may result in reduced sales or increased costs, including the additional use of more expensive or less efficient alternatives to meet demand. Congestion can affect previously negotiated contracts with shipping companies, resulting in unexpected increases in shipping costs, reduction in our profitability or reduced sales.
Climate change and unfavorable weather conditions could adversely impact financial results.
Our consumer lawn and garden net sales in any year are susceptible to weather conditions in the markets in which our products are sold. For instance, periods of abnormally wet or dry weather can adversely impact the sale of certain products, while increasing demand for other products with the overall impact on the Company difficult to predict.
Climate change continues to receive increasing global attention. The effects of climate change could include changes in rainfall patterns, water shortages, changing storm patterns and intensities, and changing temperature levels. These changes could over time affect, for example, the availability and cost of raw materials, commodities and energy, which in turn may impact our ability to procure goods or services required for the operation of our business at the quantities and levels we require.
The increase in climate change attention has resulted in evolving policy, legal and regulatory changes which may impose substantial operational and compliance burdens. Collecting, measuring and analyzing information relating to such matters can be costly, time-consuming, dependent on third-party cooperation and unreliable. Furthermore, methodologies for measuring, tracking and reporting on such matters continue to change over time, which requires our processes and controls for such data to evolve as well. Compliance with any new or more stringent laws or regulations, or stricter interpretations of existing laws, could require additional expenditures by us or our suppliers, in which case, the costs of raw materials and component parts could increase.
Consumers and businesses may independently change their behavior because of concerns regarding the impact of climate change and public perceptions. For example, consumers may elect to garden less frequently than historic patterns due to the unpredictability of weather patterns. Those consumers who are less directly impacted by climate change may also engage in

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less gardening due to discomfort or concerns about perceptions stemming from the direct impact of climate change on others. Current or potential retail customers may pull back from all or parts of the lawn and garden category in response to softening consumer demand. Also, our ability to finance the development of climate resilient product offerings may suffer if consumers become less engaged in lawn and gardening.
Our failure to adequately manage the political, legal, regulatory, consumer and retail impacts of climate change could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business could be negatively impacted by corporate citizenship and ESG matters and/or our reporting of such matters.
Certain investors, customers, consumers, employees, governmental authorities and other stakeholders are increasing their focus on corporate citizenship and sustainability matters. From time to time, we communicate certain initiatives, including goals, regarding environmental matters, responsible sourcing and social investments, including pursuant to our Corporate Responsibility Report. We could fail, or be perceived to fail, to achieve such initiatives or goals, or we could fail to fully and accurately report our progress on such initiatives and goals. In addition, we could be criticized for the scope of such initiatives or goals or perceived as not acting responsibly in connection with these matters. Our business could be negatively impacted by such matters. Any such matters, or related corporate citizenship and sustainability matters, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Product recalls or other product liability claims could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.
Due to the highly regulated nature of our products, which are primarily designed for consumer use, we may be required to stop selling, return or recall products due to a variety of potential concerns including suspected or confirmed product contamination, adulteration, product mislabeling or misbranding, tampering, or other deficiencies. Product recalls or voluntary market withdrawals could result in significant losses due to their costs, the destruction of product inventory, and lost sales due to the unavailability of the product for a period of time. Adverse attention about these types of concerns, whether or not valid, may damage our reputation, discourage consumers from buying our products, or cause production and delivery disruptions that could negatively impact our sales and financial condition.
We may also suffer losses if our products or operations violate applicable laws or regulations, or if our products are alleged to cause damage to property, injury, illness, or death. A significant product liability, legal judgment or a related regulatory enforcement action against us, or a significant product recall or voluntary withdrawal, may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operation.
If the perception of our brands or organizational reputation are damaged, our consumers, distributors and retailers may react negatively, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We believe we have built our reputation on the efficacy and safety of our brands. Any incident that erodes consumer affinity for our brands or our business operations could significantly reduce our value and damage our business. For example, negative third-party research or media reports on our product safety or efficacy, whether accurate or not, may adversely affect consumer perceptions, which could cause the value of our brands to suffer and adversely affect our business. We may also be adversely affected by news or other negative publicity, regardless of accuracy, regarding other aspects of our business, such as:
•     public health concerns, illness or safety;
•     the perception of our environmental stewardship and the effects our business has on the environment;
•     security breaches of confidential company, customer or employee information; or
•     employee related claims relating to alleged employment discrimination, health care and benefit issues.
As part of our marketing initiatives, we have contracted with certain public figures to market and endorse our products. While we maintain specific selection criteria and are diligent in our efforts to seek out public figures that resonate genuinely and effectively with our consumer audience, the individuals we choose to market and endorse our products may fall into negative favor with the general public. Because our consumers may associate the public figures that market and endorse our products with us, any negative publicity on behalf of such individuals may cause negative publicity about us and our products. This negative publicity could materially and adversely affect our brands and reputation and our revenue and profits.

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Certain of our products may be purchased for use in new and emerging industries or segments and/or be subject to varying, inconsistent, and rapidly changing laws, regulations, administrative practices, enforcement approaches, judicial interpretations, and consumer perceptions.
We sell products, including hydroponic gardening products, that end users may purchase for use in new and emerging industries or segments, including the growing of cannabis, that may not grow or achieve market acceptance in a manner that we can predict. The demand for these products depends on the uncertain growth of these industries or segments. For example, our Hawthorne segment sales volume has decreased due to an oversupply of cannabis, which has driven cannabis wholesale prices down significantly and has resulted in a decrease in indoor and outdoor cultivation. The oversupply has been driven by the impacts of increased licensing activity across the U.S., significant capital investment in the cannabis production marketplace over the past several years, inconsistent enforcement of regulations and the market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, we sell products that end users may purchase for use in industries or segments, including the growing of cannabis, that are subject to varying, inconsistent, and rapidly changing laws, regulations, administrative practices, enforcement approaches, judicial interpretations, and consumer perceptions. For example, certain countries and 38 U.S. states have adopted frameworks that authorize, regulate, and tax the cultivation, processing, sale, and use of cannabis for medicinal and/or non-medicinal use, while the U.S. Controlled Substances Act and the laws of other U.S. states prohibit growing cannabis.
If we are unable to effectively execute our e-commerce business, our reputation and operating results may be harmed.
We sell certain of our products over the Internet through our online store and our retail customer’s e-commerce retail platforms. As consumers demonstrate greater reliance on on e-commerce channels, the success of our business depends on our investment in e-commerce platforms, consumer preferences and buying trends relating to e-commerce, and our ability to both maintain the continuous operation of our online store and our fulfillment operations that support both our own and our retail customers’ e-commerce platforms. It is essential that these platforms provide a shopping experience that will generate orders and return visits to the respective platforms.
We are also vulnerable to certain additional risks and uncertainties associated with our e-commerce business, including: changes in required technology interfaces; website downtime and other technical failures; costs and technical issues associated with website software, systems and technology investments and upgrades; data and system security; system failures, disruptions and breaches and the costs to address and remedy such failures, disruptions or breaches; computer viruses; and changes in and compliance with applicable federal and state regulations. In addition, our efforts to remain competitive with technology trends, including the use of new or improved technology, creative user interfaces and other e-commerce marketing tools such as paid search and mobile applications, among others, may increase our costs and may not increase sales or attract consumers. Our failure to successfully respond to these risks and uncertainties might adversely affect the sales of our e-commerce business, as well as damage our reputation and brands.
Additionally, the success of our e-commerce business and the satisfaction of our consumers depend on the timely receipt of our products by our consumers. The efficient delivery of our products to our consumers requires that our distribution centers have adequate capacity to support the current level of e-commerce operations and any anticipated increased levels that may occur as a result of the growth of our e-commerce business. If we encounter difficulties with our distribution centers, or if any distribution centers shut down for any reason, including as a result of pandemics, acts of war, terrorism, government shut downs, work stoppages and fire or other natural disasters, we could face inventory shortages that may result in out of stock conditions in our online store, incur significantly higher costs and longer lead times associated with distributing our products to our consumers and experience dissatisfaction from our consumers. Any of these issues could have a material adverse effect on our business and harm our reputation.
Our operations, financial condition or reputation may be impaired if our information technology systems fail to perform adequately or if we are the subject of a data breach or cyber-attack.
We rely on information technology systems to conduct business, including communicating with employees and our key retail customers, ordering and managing materials from suppliers, shipping products to retail customers and analyzing and reporting results of operations. While we have taken steps to ensure the security of our information and operational technology systems, including those of our customers, vendors, suppliers and other third-party service providers with whom we have contracted, our systems have, in the past, been and may, in the future, be vulnerable to cyber-threats such as computer viruses or other malicious codes, security breaches, unauthorized access, phishing attacks and other disruptions from employee error, unauthorized uses, system failures (including Internet outages), unintentional or malicious actions of employees or contractors and cyber-attacks by hackers, criminal groups and social-activist organizations. Our information and operational technology systems and our third-party providers’ systems, have been, and will likely continue to be, subject to cyber-threats. We have experienced and may continue to experience an increase in the number of such attacks or threats as a substantial number of our employees work remotely and access our technology infrastructure remotely. In addition, while we maintain cyber-security insurance, costs related to a cyber-attack may exceed the amount of insurance coverage or be excluded under the terms of our

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cyber-security insurance policy. As cyber-attacks increase in frequency and magnitude, we may be unable to obtain cyber-security insurance in amounts and on terms we view as appropriate for our operations.
If our information technology systems are damaged or cease to function properly for an extended period of time, whether as a result of a significant cyber-incident or otherwise, our ability to communicate internally as well as with our retail customers, vendors, suppliers and other parties critical to our business, could be significantly impaired, which may adversely impact our business.
Additionally, in the normal course of our business, we collect, store and transmit proprietary and confidential information regarding our customers, employees, suppliers and others, including personally identifiable information. An operational failure or breach of security from increasingly sophisticated cyber-threats could lead to loss, misuse or unauthorized disclosure of this information about our employees or consumers, which may result in regulatory or other legal proceedings, and have a material adverse effect on our business and reputation. We also may not have the resources or technical sophistication to anticipate or prevent rapidly-evolving types of cyber-attacks. Any such attacks or precautionary measures taken to prevent anticipated attacks may result in increasing costs, including costs for additional technologies, training and third party consultants. The losses incurred from a breach of data security and operational failures as well as the precautionary measures required to address this evolving risk may adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and reputation.
Our insurance coverage may not be sufficient to avoid material impact on our financial position or results of operations resulting from claims or liabilities against us, and we may not be able to obtain insurance coverage in the future.
We maintain insurance coverage to manage exposure to future claims and liabilities that may adversely impact our financial position or results of operations. The extent of our insurance program is under continuous review and coverages are modified as we deem necessary. Despite our program, it is possible that claims or liabilities against us may have a material adverse impact on our financial position or results of operations. In addition, we may not be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage, when our existing insurance policies expire.
We maintain commercial liability and operations focused insurance coverage including property, management, cargo, cyber, workers compensation and general liability. While we expect to be able to continue our insurance coverages, there can be no assurance we will be able to continue such insurance coverage, or that such policy limits will be adequate to cover any liability we may incur, or that our insurance premiums will continue to be available at a cost similar to our cost today. The volatility of the insurance and reinsurance markets are subject to macroeconomic conditions and events that are outside of our control.
Additionally, it is possible one or more of our insurers could exclude from our policy certain chemicals or compounds used in our products. Consequently, we may have to stop using those chemicals or compounds or be forced to substitute less effective or more expensive alternatives to continue manufacturing and/or distributing such goods. A substantial increase in liability exposure or the loss of customers or product lines could each have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.
Our international operations make us susceptible to the costs and risks associated with operating internationally.
We operate manufacturing, sales and service facilities outside of the United States, particularly in Canada, the Netherlands, Mexico and China. Accordingly, we are subject to risks associated with operating in foreign countries, including:
fluctuations in currency exchange rates;
limitations on the remittance of dividends and other payments by foreign subsidiaries;
additional costs of compliance with local regulations;
historically, in certain countries, higher rates of inflation than in the United States;
changes in the economic conditions or consumer preferences or demand for our products in these markets;
restrictive actions by multinational governing bodies, foreign governments or subdivisions thereof;
changes in foreign labor laws and regulations affecting our ability to hire and retain employees;
changes in U.S. and foreign laws regarding trade and investment, including the impact of tariffs;
less robust protection of our intellectual property under foreign laws; and
difficulty in obtaining distribution and support for our products, including the impact of shipping port delays.
In addition, our operations outside the United States are subject to the risk of new and different legal and regulatory requirements in local jurisdictions, potential difficulties in staffing and managing local operations and potentially adverse tax consequences. The costs associated with operating our continuing international business could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows in the future.

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In the event the Third Restated Agreement for Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® products terminates or Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® business materially declines, we would lose a substantial source of future earnings and overhead expense absorption.
If we (i) become insolvent, (ii) commit a material breach, material fraud or material willful misconduct under the Third Restated Agreement, (iii) experience a change of control (subject to certain exceptions), or (iv) impermissibly assign our rights or delegate our obligations under the Third Restated Agreement, Monsanto may terminate the Third Restated Agreement without paying a termination fee to the Company, subject to certain terms and conditions as set forth therein. In addition, if Program EBIT (as defined in the Third Restated Agreement) falls below $50.0 million in any program year, Monsanto may terminate the Third Restated Agreement without paying a termination fee to the Company, subject to certain terms and conditions as set forth therein.
Monsanto may also terminate the Third Restated Agreement in the event of (a) a change of control of Monsanto or a sale of the Roundup® business effective at the end of the fifth full year after providing notice of termination, subject to certain terms and conditions as set forth in the applicable agreements, or (b) Monsanto’s decision to decommission the permits, licenses and registrations needed for, and the trademarks, trade names, packages, copyrights and designs used in, the sale of the Roundup® products in the lawn and garden market (a “Brand Decommissioning Event”), but, in each case, Monsanto would have to pay a termination fee to the Company.
If circumstances exist or otherwise develop that result in a material decline in Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® business, or in the event of Monsanto’s insolvency or bankruptcy, we would seek to mitigate the impact on us by exercising various rights and remedies under the Third Restated Agreement and applicable law. We cannot, however, provide any assurance that our exercise of such rights or remedies would produce the desired outcomes or that a material decline in Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® business would not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
In the event that the Third Restated Agreement terminates or Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® business materially declines, we would lose all, or a substantial portion, of the significant source of earnings and overhead expense absorption the Third Restated Agreement provides.
For additional information regarding the Third Restated Agreement including certain of our rights and remedies under the Third Restated Agreement, see “NOTE 7. MARKETING AGREEMENT” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K.
We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property and other proprietary rights that are material to our business.
Our ability to compete effectively depends in part on our rights to service marks, trademarks, trade names and other intellectual property rights we own or license, particularly our registered brand names and issued patents. Although we have a robust portfolio of registered trademarks, we have not sought to register each of our marks either in the United States or in every country in which such mark is used. Furthermore, because of the differences in foreign trademark, patent and other intellectual property or proprietary rights laws, we may not receive the same protection in other countries as we would in the United States with respect to the registered brand names and issued patents we hold. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property, proprietary information and/or brand names, we could suffer a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary information, or to defend against claims by third parties that our products or services infringe their intellectual property rights. Any litigation or claims brought by or against us could result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources. A successful claim of trademark, patent or other intellectual property infringement against us, or any other successful challenge to the use of our intellectual property, could subject us to damages or prevent us from providing certain products or services, or using certain of our recognized brand names, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our success depends upon the retention and availability of key personnel and the effective succession of senior management.
Our success largely depends on the performance of our management team and other key personnel. Our future operations could be harmed if we are unable to attract and retain talented, highly qualified senior executives and other key personnel. During fiscal 2023 through the filing of this report, we experienced management transitions involving our Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer and General Counsel. If we are unable to effectively provide for the succession of senior management, including our chief executive officer, our business, prospects, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.

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Our workforce reductions may cause undesirable consequences and our results of operations may be harmed.
During fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2022, we undertook a strategic reduction in our workforce as part of an on-going series of organizational changes and initiatives intended to create operational and management-level efficiencies. This workforce reduction may yield unintended consequences, such as attrition beyond our intended reduction in workforce and reduced employee morale, which may cause our employees who were not affected by the reduction in workforce to seek alternate employment. Employees whose positions were eliminated or those who determine to seek alternate employment may seek employment with our competitors.
We cannot provide assurance that we will not undertake additional workforce reductions or that we will be able to realize the cost savings and other anticipated benefits from our previous or any future workforce reduction plans. In addition, if we continue to reduce our workforce, it may adversely impact our ability to respond rapidly to any new product, growth or revenue opportunities and to execute on our business plans. Additionally, reductions in workforce may make it more difficult to recruit and retain new employees. If we need to increase the size of our workforce in the future, we may encounter a competitive hiring market due to labor shortages, increased employee turnover, changes in the availability of workers and increased wage costs.
We are involved in a number of legal proceedings and, while we cannot predict the outcomes of such proceedings and other contingencies with certainty, some of these outcomes could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are involved in legal proceedings and are subject to investigations, inspections, audits, inquiries and similar actions by governmental authorities, arising in the course of our business (see the discussion in “ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS” of this Form 10-K). Legal proceedings, in general, can be expensive and disruptive. Some of these suits may purport or may be determined to be class actions and/or involve parties seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts of damages, including punitive or exemplary damages, and may remain unresolved for several years. For example, product liability claims challenging the safety of our products or products we market on behalf of third parties may also result in a decline in sales for a particular product and could damage the reputation or the value of related brands, involve us in litigation and have a material adverse effect on our business.
From time to time, we are also involved in legal proceedings as a plaintiff involving contract, intellectual property and other matters. We may also become the subject of securities litigation or shareholder derivative suits. We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings and other contingencies, and the costs incurred in litigation can be substantial, regardless of the outcome. Substantial unanticipated verdicts, fines and rulings do sometimes occur. As a result, we could from time to time incur judgments, enter into settlements or revise our expectations regarding the outcome of certain matters, and such developments could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in the period in which the amounts are accrued and/or our cash flows in the period in which the amounts are paid. The outcome of some of these legal proceedings and other contingencies could require us to take, or refrain from taking, actions which could negatively affect our operations and, depending on the nature of the allegations, could negatively impact our reputation or the reputation of products we market on behalf of third parties. Additionally, defending against these legal proceedings may involve significant expense and diversion of management’s attention and resources.
Risks Related to Our M&A, Lending and Financing Activities
Our indebtedness could limit our flexibility and adversely affect our financial condition.
As of September 30, 2023, we had $2,630.6 million of debt and $1,156.7 million in available borrowings under our credit facility. Our inability to meet restrictive financial and non-financial covenants associated with that debt, or to generate sufficient cash flow to repay maturing debt, could adversely affect our financial condition. For example, our debt level could:
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to our indebtedness;
make us more vulnerable to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of cash flows from operating activities to payments on our indebtedness, which would reduce the cash flows available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, advertising, research and development efforts, pay dividends, repurchase our Common Shares and other general corporate activities;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
limit our ability to borrow additional funds;
expose us to risks inherent in interest rate fluctuations because some of our borrowings are at variable rates of interest, which could result in higher interest expense in the event of increases in interest rates; and
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt.

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Our ability to make payments on or to refinance our indebtedness, fund planned capital expenditures and acquisitions, pay dividends and make repurchases of our Common Shares will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future which, to some extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. We cannot provide any assurance that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operating activities or that future borrowings will be available to us in amounts sufficient to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund our other liquidity needs.
Our credit facility and the indentures governing our 5.250% Senior Notes due 2026 (the “5.250% Senior Notes”), our 4.500% Senior Notes due 2029 (the “4.500% Senior Notes”), our 4.000% Senior Notes due 2031 (the “4.000% Senior Notes”) and our 4.375% Senior Notes due 2032 (the “4.375% Senior Notes” and, collectively with the 5.250% Senior Notes, the 4.500% Senior Notes and the 4.000% Senior Notes, the “Senior Notes”) contain restrictive covenants and cross-default provisions. For example, under our credit facility the maximum permitted leverage ratio is (i) 7.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, (ii) 8.25 for the first quarter of fiscal 2024, (iii) 7.75 for the second quarter of fiscal 2024, (iv) 6.50 for the third quarter of fiscal 2024, (v) 6.00 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024, (vi) 5.50 for the first quarter of fiscal 2025, (vii) 5.25 for the second quarter of fiscal 2025, (viii) 5.00 for the third quarter of fiscal 2025, (ix) 4.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2025 and (x) 4.50 for the first quarter of fiscal 2026 and thereafter. Our leverage ratio was 6.57 at September 30, 2023. In addition, our credit facility contains a fixed charge coverage ratio covenant which sets the minimum permitted fixed charge coverage ratio at (i) 0.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 through the third quarter of fiscal 2024 and (ii) 1.00 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024 and thereafter. Our fixed charge coverage ratio was 1.56 for the twelve months ended September 30, 2023. The Senior Notes contain an interest coverage ratio covenant which sets the minimum permitted interest coverage ratio at 2.00. Our interest coverage ratio was 2.81 for the twelve months ended September 30, 2023. A breach of any of these financial ratio covenants or other covenants could result in a default and/or a cross default under the credit facility and Senior Notes, as applicable. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, and could cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets. We cannot provide any assurance that the holders of such indebtedness would waive a default or that we could pay the accelerated indebtedness in full.
Subject to compliance with certain covenants under our credit facility and the indentures governing the Senior Notes, we may incur additional debt in the future. If we incur additional debt, the risks described above could intensify.
Significant or prolonged periods of higher interest rates may have an adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Interest rates have a direct impact on our business due to the amount of variable debt the Company utilizes in its operations. Prolonged periods of higher interest rates may have a negative impact on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. All of our debt under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement bears interest at variable rates primarily derived from, as defined therein, the (i) the Alternate Base Rate, (ii) the Adjusted Term SOFR Rate or (iii) the Swingline Rate. In a rising interest rate environment, debt financing will become more expensive and may have higher transactional and servicing costs. For example, our interest expense in fiscal 2023 increased significantly compared to fiscal 2022 driven by an increase in our weighted average interest rate primarily due to higher borrowing rates on the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement.
Although the Company has taken steps to reduce our exposure to variable rate debt instruments, if interest rates remain relatively high or increase in the future, we could see increases in our borrowing costs which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Acquisitions, other strategic alliances and investments could result in operating difficulties, dilution, and other harmful consequences that may adversely impact our business and results of operations.
Acquisitions, strategic alliances and investments are an important element of our overall long-term corporate strategy and use of capital, and these transactions could be material to our financial condition and results of operations. We expect to continue to evaluate and enter into discussions regarding a wide array of potential strategic transactions. The process of integrating an acquired company, business, or product has created, and will continue to create, unforeseen operating difficulties and expenditures. The areas where we face risks include:
Assumptions implicit to our acquisition strategy or valuations are not realized.
Diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to acquisition integration challenges.
Failure to successfully further develop the acquired business or product lines.
Implementation or remediation of controls, procedures and policies at the acquired company.
Integration of the acquired company’s accounting, human resources and other administrative systems, and coordination of product, engineering and sales and marketing functions.

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Transition of operations, users and customers onto our existing platforms.
Reliance on the expertise of our strategic partners with respect to market development, sales, local regulatory compliance and other operational matters.
Failure to obtain required approvals on a timely basis, if at all, from governmental authorities, or conditions placed upon approval, under competition and antitrust laws which could, among other things, delay or prevent us from completing a transaction, or otherwise restrict our ability to realize the expected financial or strategic goals of an acquisition.
In the case of foreign acquisitions, the need to integrate operations across different cultures and languages and to address the particular economic, currency, political and regulatory risks associated with specific countries.
Cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization, and retention of employees from the businesses we acquire.
Liability for or reputational harm from activities of the acquired company before the acquisition or from our strategic partners, including patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities.
Litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, customers, former shareholders or other third parties.
Our failure to address these risks or other problems encountered in connection with our past or future acquisitions and investments or strategic alliances could cause us to fail to realize the anticipated benefits of such acquisitions, investments or alliances, incur unanticipated liabilities, and harm our business generally.
Our acquisitions, strategic alliances and investments could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities or amortization expenses, or impairment of goodwill and purchased long-lived assets, and restructuring charges, any of which could harm our financial condition or results of operations and cash flows. Also, the anticipated benefits of many of our acquisitions may not materialize.
Changes in credit ratings issued by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) could adversely affect our cost of financing and the market price of our Senior Notes.
NRSROs rate the Senior Notes and the Company based on factors that include our operating results, actions that we take, their view of the general outlook for our industry and their view of the general outlook for the economy. Actions taken by the NRSROs can include maintaining, upgrading or downgrading the current rating or placing us on a watch list for possible future downgrading. Downgrading the credit rating of the Senior Notes or placing us on a watch list for possible future downgrading could increase our cost of financing, limit our access to the capital markets and have an adverse effect on the market price of the Senior Notes.
In August 2023, S&P Global Ratings lowered our issuer credit rating to B+ from BB- and lowered its rating on our Senior Notes to B- from B. Also in August 2023, Moody's Investors Service lowered our (i) Corporate Family Rating to B1 from Ba3 and our (ii) Probability of Default Rating to B1-PD from Ba3-PD and (iii) rating on the Senior Notes to B2 from B1.
A failure to dispose of assets or businesses in a timely manner may cause the results of the Company to suffer.
We evaluate as necessary the potential disposition of assets and businesses that may no longer help meet our objectives. When we decide to sell assets or a business, we may encounter difficulty in finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner, which could delay the achievement of our strategic objectives. Alternatively, we may dispose of a business at a price or on terms that are less than we had anticipated. After reaching an agreement with a buyer for the disposition of a business, the pre-closing conditions must also be satisfied or waived, which may prevent us from completing the transaction. Dispositions may also involve continued financial involvement in the divested business, such as through continuing equity ownership, guarantees, indemnities or other financial obligations. Under these arrangements, performance by the divested businesses or other conditions outside our control could affect our future financial results.
Our lending activities may adversely impact our business and results of operations.
As part of our strategic initiatives, we have provided financing to certain strategic partners. Our exposure to credit losses on these financing balances and strategic investments will depend on the financial condition of these counterparties as well as legal, regulatory and macroeconomic factors beyond our control, such as deteriorating conditions in the world economy or in the industries served by the borrowers and federal legalization of the U.S. cannabis market. While we monitor our exposure, there can be no guarantee we will be able to successfully mitigate all of these risks. Credit losses, if significant, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

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Our hedging arrangements expose us to certain counterparty risks.
In addition to commodity hedge agreements, we utilize interest rate swap agreements to manage the net interest rate risk inherent in our sources of borrowing as well as foreign currency forward contracts to manage the exchange rate risk associated with certain intercompany loans with foreign subsidiaries and other approved transactional currency exposures. Utilizing these hedge agreements exposes us to certain counterparty risks. The failure of one or more of the counterparties to fulfill their obligations under the hedge agreements, whether as a result of weakening financial stability or otherwise, could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our postretirement-related costs and funding requirements could increase as a result of volatility in the financial markets, changes in interest rates and actuarial assumptions.
We sponsor a number of defined benefit pension plans associated with our U.S. and former international businesses, as well as a postretirement medical plan in the United States for certain retired associates and their dependents. The performance of the financial markets and changes in interest rates impact the funded status of these plans and cause volatility in our postretirement-related costs and future funding requirements. If the financial markets do not provide the expected long-term returns on invested assets, we could be required to make significant pension contributions. Additionally, changes in interest rates and legislation enacted by governmental authorities can impact the timing and amounts of contribution requirements.
We utilize third-party actuaries to evaluate assumptions used in determining projected benefit obligations and the fair value of plan assets for our pension and other postretirement benefit plans. In the event we determine that our assumptions should be revised, such as the discount rate or expected return on assets, our future pension and postretirement benefit expenses could increase or decrease. The assumptions we use may differ from actual results, which could have a significant impact on our pension and postretirement liabilities and related costs and funding requirements.
Risks Related to Regulation of Our Company
Compliance with environmental and other public health regulations or changes in such regulations or regulatory enforcement priorities could increase our costs of doing business or limit our ability to market all of our products.
Laws and regulations relating to environmental matters affect us in several ways. All pesticide products sold in the United States must comply with FIFRA and most must be registered with the U.S. EPA and similar state agencies. Our inability to obtain or maintain such registrations, or the cancellation of any such registration of our products, could have an adverse effect on our business, the severity of which would depend on a variety of factors, including the product(s) involved, whether another product could be substituted and whether our competitors were similarly affected. We attempt to anticipate regulatory developments and maintain registrations of, and access to, substitute active ingredients, but there can be no assurance that we will be able to avoid or reduce these risks. In addition, several provinces in Canada have adopted regulation that substantially restrict our ability to market and sell certain of our consumer pesticide products.
Under the Food Quality Protection Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996, food-use pesticides are evaluated to determine whether there is reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the cumulative effects of pesticide exposures. Under this Act, the U.S. EPA is evaluating the cumulative and aggregate risks from dietary and non-dietary exposures to pesticides. The pesticides in our products, certain of which may be also used on crops processed into various food products, are manufactured by independent third parties and continue to be evaluated by the U.S. EPA as part of this exposure risk assessment. The U.S. EPA or the third-party registrant may decide that a pesticide we use in our products will be limited or made unavailable to us. We cannot predict the outcome or the severity of the effect of these continuing evaluations.
In addition, the use of certain fertilizer and pesticide products (including pesticide products that contain glyphosate) is regulated by various environmental and public health agencies. These regulations may, among other things, ban the use of certain ingredients contained in such products or require (i) that only certified or professional users apply the product, (ii) that certain products be used only on certain types of locations, (iii) users to post notices on properties to which products have been or will be applied, and/or (iv) notification to individuals in the vicinity that products will be applied in the future. Even if we are able to comply with all such regulations and obtain all necessary registrations and licenses, we cannot provide assurance that our products, particularly pesticide products, will not cause or be alleged to cause injury to the environment or to people under all circumstances, particularly when used improperly or contrary to instructions. The costs of compliance, remediation or products liability have adversely affected operating results in the past and could materially adversely affect future quarterly or annual operating results.
Our products and operations may be subject to increased regulatory and environmental scrutiny in jurisdictions in which we do business. For example, we are subject to regulations relating to our harvesting of peat for our growing media business which has come under increasing regulatory and environmental scrutiny. In the United States, state regulations frequently require us to limit our harvesting and to restore the property to an agreed-upon condition. In some locations, we have been

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required to create water retention ponds to control the sediment content of discharged water. In Canada, our peat extraction efforts are also the subject of regulation.
In addition to the laws and regulations already described, various governmental agencies regulate the disposal, transport, handling and storage of waste, the remediation of contaminated sites, air and water discharges from our facilities, and workplace health and safety. Under certain environmental laws and regulations, we may be liable for the costs of investigation and remediation of the presence of certain regulated materials, as well as related costs of investigation and remediation of damage to natural resources, at various properties, including our current and former properties as well as offsite waste handling or disposal sites that we have used. Liability may be imposed upon us without regard to whether we knew of or caused the presence of such materials and, under certain circumstances, on a joint and several basis. There can be no assurances that the presence of such regulated materials at any such locations, or locations that we may acquire in the future, will not result in liability to us under such laws or regulations or expose us to third-party actions such as tort suits based on alleged conduct or environmental conditions.
In 2021, the Biden Administration announced a multi-agency plan to address PFAS contamination. Various federal agencies, including the U.S. EPA, will take actions to prevent the release of PFAS into the air, drinking systems, and food supply and to expand cleanup efforts to remediate the impacts of PFAS pollution. As part of this announcement, the U.S. EPA released its PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021-2024, which identifies timelines by which the U.S. EPA plans to take specific actions during the first term of the Biden Administration. It is possible that some of these actions may have an impact – direct or indirect – on our business. For example, in August 2022, the U.S. EPA proposed to designate PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, as hazardous substances under CERCLA, which could have wide-ranging impact on companies across various industries. Until further detail is provided, including whether the rule is enacted as proposed, we cannot predict the outcome or the severity of the impact of these proposed actions. Further, many states have taken action to address PFAS concerns with actions ranging from appropriation legislation to fund scientific research, bans on certain categories of consumer products containing PFAS and/or broad prohibitions on PFAS across all products. Complicating this patchwork of state regulation is that jurisdictions may differ as to what they consider PFAS. It is possible, therefore, that some of these actions will have an impact - direct or indirect - on our business.
Many states are increasingly scrutinizing packaging, including seeking to reduce single use plastics and establish extended producer responsibility programs, which are designed to bolster the recycling industry by transferring the cost of packaging disposal to the manufacturers. Extended producer responsibility programs typically include targets and reporting responsibilities for post-consumer recycling usage, compostable packaging, material reduction, refill strategies, etc.
The adequacy of our current non-FIFRA compliance-related environmental accruals and future provisions depends upon our operating in substantial compliance with applicable environmental and public health laws and regulations, as well as the assumptions that we have both identified all of the significant sites that must be remediated and that there are no significant conditions of potential contamination that are unknown to us. A significant change in the facts and circumstances underlying these assumptions or in current enforcement policies or requirements, or a finding that we are not in substantial compliance with applicable environmental and public health laws and regulations, could have a material adverse effect on future environmental capital expenditures and other environmental expenses, as well as our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Unanticipated changes in our tax provisions, the adoption of new tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities could affect our profitability and cash flows.
We are subject to income and other taxes in the United States federal jurisdiction and various local, state and foreign jurisdictions. Our effective tax rate in the future could be adversely affected by changes to our operating structure, changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets (such as net operating losses and tax credits) and liabilities, changes in tax laws and the discovery of new information in the course of our tax return preparation process. In particular, the carrying value of deferred tax assets, which are predominantly related to our operations in the United States, is dependent on our ability to generate future taxable income of the appropriate character in the relevant jurisdiction.
From time to time, tax proposals are introduced or considered by the U.S. Congress or the legislative bodies in local, state and foreign jurisdictions that could also affect our tax rate, the carrying value of our deferred tax assets, or our tax liabilities. Our tax liabilities are also affected by the amounts we charge for inventory, services, licenses, funding and other items in intercompany transactions. We are subject to ongoing tax audits in various jurisdictions. In connection with these audits (or future audits), tax authorities may disagree with our intercompany charges, cross-jurisdictional transfer pricing or other matters and assess additional taxes. We regularly assess the likely outcomes of our audits in order to determine the appropriateness of our tax provision. As a result, the ultimate resolution of our tax audits, changes in tax laws or tax rates, and the ability to utilize our deferred tax assets could materially affect our tax provision, net income and cash flows in future periods.

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Risks Related to Our Common Shares
The Company’s decision to maintain, reduce or discontinue paying cash dividends to our shareholders or repurchasing our Common Shares could cause the market price for our Common Shares to decline.
Our payment of quarterly cash dividends on and repurchase of our Common Shares pursuant to a stock repurchase program are subject to, among other things, our financial position and results of operations, available cash and cash flow, capital requirements, credit facility provisions and other factors. Prior to fiscal 2022, we generally increased the cash dividends on our Common Shares as well as engaged in share repurchase activity. Since fiscal 2022, we have not changed the dividend amount nor have we engaged in share repurchase activity outside of our compensation programs. As of September 30, 2023, we do not have a board authorized share repurchase program.
We may maintain, or increase or decrease (including eliminating) the amount of cash dividends on, and increase or decrease the amount of repurchases of, our Common Shares in the future. Any decision by us regarding the payment of quarterly cash dividends or repurchases of our Common Shares could cause the market price of our Common Shares to decline. A failure to pay dividends, an inability to resume increases of our cash dividends or an inability to begin repurchasing Common Shares at historical levels could result in a lower market valuation of our Common Shares.
Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. beneficially owns approximately 23% of our Common Shares and can significantly influence decisions that require the approval of shareholders.
Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. beneficially owned approximately 23% of our outstanding Common Shares on a fully diluted basis as of November 17, 2023. As a result, it has sufficient voting power to significantly influence the election of directors and the approval of other actions requiring the approval of our shareholders, including entering into certain business combination transactions. In addition, because of the percentage of ownership and voting concentration in Hagedorn Partnership, L.P., elections of our board of directors will generally be within the control of Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. While all of our shareholders are entitled to vote on matters submitted to our shareholders for approval, the concentration of our Common Shares and voting control presently lies with Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. As such, it would be difficult for shareholders to propose and have approved proposals not supported by Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. Hagedorn Partnership, L.P.’s interests could differ from, or conflict with, the interests of other shareholders.

ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.

ITEM 2.    PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters is located in Marysville, Ohio, where we own approximately 729 acres of land. In addition, we own and lease numerous industrial, commercial and office properties located in North America, Europe and Asia that support the management, manufacturing, distribution and research and development of our products and services. We believe our properties are suitable and adequate to serve the needs of our business and that our leased properties are subject to appropriate lease agreements.
The following is a summary of owned and leased primary operating properties by country as of September 30, 2023:
LocationOwnedLeased
United States362603,4
Canada1013
Mexico1
China6
The Netherlands2
Total4682
We own or lease 46 manufacturing properties, 16 distribution properties and 4 research and development properties in the United States. We own or lease 15 manufacturing properties and 1 research and development property in Canada, 1 manufacturing property in the Netherlands and 1 research and development property in China. Most of the manufacturing properties, which include growing media properties and peat harvesting properties, have production lines, warehouses, offices and field processing areas.
2 Includes one distribution center that is not operational. Disposition efforts are underway.
3 Includes one manufacturing location under development with operations scheduled to begin in 2025.
4 Includes nine distribution centers that are not operational. Disposition efforts are underway.

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ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
As noted in the discussion in “ITEM 1. BUSINESS — Regulatory Considerations — Regulatory Matters” of this Form 10-K, we are involved in several pending environmental and regulatory matters. We believe that our assessment of contingencies is reasonable and that the related accruals, in the aggregate, are adequate; however, there can be no assurance that the final resolution of these matters will not have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
The Company has been named as a defendant in a number of cases alleging injuries that the lawsuits claim resulted from exposure to asbestos-containing products, apparently based on the Company’s historic use of vermiculite in certain of its products. In many of these cases, the complaints are not specific about the plaintiffs’ contacts with the Company or its products. The cases vary, but complaints in these cases generally seek unspecified monetary damages (actual, compensatory, consequential and punitive) from multiple defendants. The Company believes that the claims against it are without merit and is vigorously defending against them. The Company has not recorded any accruals in its consolidated financial statements as the likelihood of a loss from these cases is not probable at this time. The Company does not believe a reasonably possible loss would be material to the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. In addition, the Company does not believe the ultimate resolution of these cases will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. There can be no assurance that future developments related to pending claims or claims filed in the future, whether as a result of adverse outcomes or as a result of significant defense costs, will not have a material effect on the Company’s financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
We are involved in other lawsuits and claims which arise in the normal course of our business including the initiation and defense of proceedings to protect intellectual property rights, advertising claims, securities matters and employment disputes. In our opinion, these claims individually and in the aggregate are not expected to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE
Not Applicable.


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PART II

SUPPLEMENTAL ITEM. EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE REGISTRANT
The executive officers of Scotts Miracle-Gro, their positions and, as of November 17, 2023, their ages and years with Scotts Miracle-Gro (and its predecessors) are set forth below. 
NameAgePosition(s) HeldYears with
Company
James Hagedorn68 Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board36 
Matthew E. Garth49 Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer
Nathan E. Baxter51 Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Julie A. DeMuesy53 Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Ethics Officer13 
Christopher J. Hagedorn39 Division President12 
Dimiter Todorov51 Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer 15 
Executive officers serve at the discretion of the Board of Directors of Scotts Miracle-Gro and pursuant to executive severance agreements or other arrangements. The business experience of each of the individuals listed above during at least the past five years is as follows:
Mr. Hagedorn was named Chairman of the Board of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s predecessor in January 2003 and Chief Executive Officer of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s predecessor in May 2001. In October 2023, Mr. Hagedorn also assumed the additional duties of President. Prior to these appointments, Mr. Hagedorn held several senior leadership positions at the Company. Mr. Hagedorn serves on Scotts Miracle-Gro’s Board of Directors, a position he has held with Scotts Miracle-Gro (or its predecessor) since 1995. Mr. Hagedorn is the brother of Katherine Hagedorn Littlefield, a director of Scotts Miracle-Gro, and is the father of Christopher J. Hagedorn, an executive officer of the Company.
Mr. Garth was named Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of the Company in October 2023. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Garth served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a position he held since December 2022. Previously, Mr. Garth served as Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasury, and Chief Financial Officer for Mineral Technologies Inc., a specialty mineral company.
Mr. Baxter was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company in August 2023. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Baxter served as Executive Vice President, Global Technology and Operations, a position he held since April 2023. Previously, Mr. Baxter served as President of Tokyo Electron U.S. Holdings, a semiconductor manufacturing equipment company.
Ms. DeMuesy was named Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Ethics Officer of the Company in October 2023. Prior to this appointment, Ms. DeMuesy served as Senior Vice President, HR Operations from November 2021 until September 2023. Previously, Ms. DeMuesy served as Vice President, HR Operations from July 2018 until November 2021. Prior to July 2018, Ms. DeMuesy has held several senior leadership positions at the Company since 2016 when she rejoined the Company after a ten year absence.
Mr. C. Hagedorn was named Division President of Scotts Miracle-Gro in January 2021. Prior to this appointment, Mr. C. Hagedorn served as Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hawthorne, a position he held since January 2017. Mr. C. Hagedorn is the son of Mr. J. Hagedorn, the Chairman, President and CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Mr. Todorov was named Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of the Company in December 2022. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Todorov served as Vice President, Legal, a position he held since June 2015.
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ITEM 5.    MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
The Common Shares trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SMG.” The payment of future dividends, if any, on the Common Shares will be determined by the Board of Directors in light of conditions then existing, including the Company’s earnings, financial condition and capital requirements, restrictions in financing agreements, business conditions and other factors. On April 8, 2022, we entered into a sixth amended and restated credit agreement (the “Sixth A&R Credit Agreement”), providing the Company and certain of its subsidiaries with five-year senior secured loan facilities in the aggregate principal amount of $2.5 billion, comprised of a revolving credit facility of $1.5 billion and a term loan in the original principal amount of $1.0 billion. On July 31, 2023, the Company entered into Amendment No. 2 (“Amendment No. 2”) to the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. Amendment No. 2 limits the Company’s ability to declare or pay any discretionary dividends, distributions or other restricted payments to only the payment of (i) regularly scheduled cash dividends to holders of its Common Shares in an aggregate amount not to exceed $225.0 million per fiscal year and (ii) other dividends, distributions or other restricted payments in an aggregate amount not to exceed $25.0 million.
On December 14, 2022 and September 13, 2023, Scotts Miracle-Gro issued 388,878 and 373,831 Common Shares, respectively, having a contractual value of $20.0 million each, to a vendor who is an accredited investor as consideration for advertising services. The issuances of the Common Shares were exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, pursuant to Section 4(a)(2). Scotts Miracle-Gro issued the Common Shares in privately negotiated transactions, and such restricted shares were acquired for the recipient’s accounts for investment purposes.
As of November 17, 2023, there were approximately 268,000 shareholders, including holders of record and our estimate of beneficial holders.
The following table shows the purchases of Common Shares made by or on behalf of Scotts Miracle-Gro or any “affiliated purchaser” (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) of Scotts Miracle-Gro for each of the three fiscal months in the quarter ended September 30, 2023:
Period
Total Number of
Common Shares
Purchased(1)
Average Price
Paid per
Common Share(2)
Total Number of
Common Shares
Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs(3)
Approximate Dollar
Value of Common Shares
That May Yet Be
Purchased Under the
Plans or Programs(3)
July 2, 2023 through July 29, 20231,291 $69.87 — N/A
July 30, 2023 through August 26, 20231,743 $53.07 — N/A
August 27, 2023 through September 30, 20234,270 $52.61 — N/A
Total7,304 $55.77 — 
(1)All of the Common Shares purchased during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 were purchased in open market transactions. The Common Shares purchased during the quarter consisted of 7,304 Common Shares purchased by the trustee of the rabbi trust established by the Company as permitted pursuant to the terms of The Scotts Company LLC Executive Retirement Plan.
(2)The average price paid per Common Share is calculated on a settlement basis and includes commissions.
(3)On February 6, 2020, the Company announced a repurchase program allowing for repurchases of up to $750.0 million of Common Shares from April 30, 2020 through March 25, 2023. The program expired on March 25, 2023 and, as of September 30, 2023, the Company does not have an active repurchase program.

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Comparison of Cumulative Five-Year Total Return*
The following graph compares the yearly change in the cumulative total stockholder return on our Common Shares for the past five fiscal years with the cumulative total return of the Russell 2000 Index and the S&P 500 Household Products Index.
smg5yearreturn20230930.jpg

ITEM 6.    RESERVED
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THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
ITEM 7.    MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The purpose of this Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) is to provide an understanding of our financial condition and results of operations by focusing on changes in certain key measures from year-to-year. This MD&A includes the following sections:
Executive summary
Results of operations
Segment results
Liquidity and capital resources
Non-GAAP measures
Regulatory matters
Critical accounting policies and estimates
Executive Summary
Our operations are divided into three reportable segments: U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other. U.S. Consumer consists of our consumer lawn and garden business in the United States. Hawthorne consists of our indoor and hydroponic gardening business. Other primarily consists of our consumer lawn and garden business in Canada. This division of reportable segments is consistent with how the segments report to and are managed by our chief operating decision maker. In addition, Corporate consists of general and administrative expenses and certain other income and expense items not allocated to the business segments. See “SEGMENT RESULTS” below for additional information regarding our evaluation of segment performance.
Through our U.S. Consumer and Other segments, we are the leading manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer lawn and garden products in North America. Our products are marketed under some of the most recognized brand names in the industry. Our key consumer lawn and garden brands include Scotts® and Turf Builder® lawn fertilizer and Scotts® grass seed products; Miracle-Gro® soil, plant food and gardening products; Ortho® herbicide and pesticide products; and Tomcat® rodent control and animal repellent products. We are the exclusive agent of Monsanto for the marketing and distribution of certain of Monsanto’s consumer Roundup® branded products within the United States and certain other specified countries. In addition, we have an equity interest in Bonnie Plants, LLC, a joint venture with AFC, focused on planting, growing, developing, distributing, marketing and selling live plants.
Through our Hawthorne segment, we are a leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of lighting, nutrients, growing media, growing environments and hardware products for indoor and hydroponic gardening in North America. Our key brands include General Hydroponics®, Gavita®, Botanicare®, Agrolux®, Gro Pro®, Mother Earth®, Grower’s Edge®, HydroLogic Purification System® and Cyco® .
As a leading consumer branded lawn and garden company, our product development and marketing efforts are largely focused on providing innovative and differentiated products and continually increasing brand and product awareness to inspire consumers to create retail demand. We have implemented this model for a number of years by focusing on research and development and investing approximately 3-5% of our U.S. Consumer segment annual net sales in advertising to support and promote our consumer lawn and garden products and brands. We continually explore new and innovative ways to communicate with consumers. We believe that we receive a significant benefit from these expenditures and anticipate a similar commitment to research and development, advertising and marketing investments in the future, with the continuing objective of driving category growth and profitably maintaining and/or increasing market share.
Our consumer lawn and garden net sales in any one year are susceptible to weather conditions in the markets in which our products are sold. For instance, periods of abnormally wet or dry weather can adversely impact the sale of certain products, while increasing demand for other products. We believe that our diversified product line and our geographic diversification reduce this risk, although to a lesser extent in a year in which unfavorable weather is geographically widespread and extends across a significant portion of the lawn and garden season. We also believe that weather conditions in any one year, positive or negative, do not materially impact longer-term category growth trends.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Due to the seasonal nature of the consumer lawn and garden business, for our U.S. Consumer and Other segments, significant portions of our products ship to our retail customers during our second and third fiscal quarters, as noted in the following table. Our annual net sales are further concentrated in the second and third fiscal quarters by retailers who rely on our ability to deliver products closer to when consumers buy our products. Our Hawthorne segment is also impacted by seasonal sales patterns for certain product categories due to the timing of outdoor growing in North America during our second and third fiscal quarters, and the timing of certain controlled agricultural lighting project sales during our third and fourth fiscal quarters.
 
 Percent of Net Sales from Continuing 
Operations by Quarter
 202320222021
First Quarter14.8 %14.4 %15.2 %
Second Quarter43.2 %42.8 %37.1 %
Third Quarter31.5 %30.2 %32.7 %
Fourth Quarter10.5 %12.6 %15.0 %
Management focuses on a variety of key indicators and operating metrics to monitor the financial condition and performance of the continuing operations of our business. These metrics include consumer purchases (point-of-sale data), market share, category growth, net sales (including unit volume, pricing and foreign exchange movements), gross margins, advertising to net sales ratios, income from operations, income from continuing operations, net income, earnings per share, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”), leverage ratio, fixed charge coverage ratio and interest coverage ratio. To the extent applicable, these metrics are evaluated with and without impairment, restructuring and other charges that do not occur in or reflect the ordinary course of our ongoing business operations. Metrics that exclude impairment, restructuring and other nonrecurring items are used by management to evaluate our performance, engage in financial and operational planning and determine incentive compensation because we believe that these measures provide additional perspective on the performance of our underlying, ongoing business. We also focus on measures to optimize cash flow and return on invested capital, including the management of working capital and capital expenditures. Refer to the “NON-GAAP MEASURES” section of this MD&A for further discussion of non-GAAP measures.
Recent Events
During fiscal 2022, we began implementing a series of Company-wide organizational changes and initiatives intended to create operational and management-level efficiencies. As part of this restructuring initiative, we are reducing the size of our supply chain network, reducing staffing levels and implementing other cost-reduction initiatives. In addition, to reduce our on hand inventory to align with the optimized network capacity, we have accelerated the reduction of certain Hawthorne inventory, primarily lighting, growing environments and hardware products. We expect these efforts to deliver run-rate annualized savings of at least $300.0, nearly all of which is expected to be realized by the end of fiscal 2024. The restructuring initiative is expected to improve our gross margin rate and decrease SG&A. During fiscal 2023, we incurred costs of $184.8 in the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations and $44.1 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations associated with this restructuring initiative primarily related to inventory write-down charges, employee termination benefits, facility closure costs and impairment of right-of-use assets and property, plant and equipment. Costs incurred from the inception of this restructuring initiative through September 30, 2023 were $294.1.
During fiscal 2023, our Hawthorne segment continued to experience adverse financial results due to decreased sales volume and inflationary cost pressures. The decrease in sales volume is attributable to an oversupply of cannabis, which significantly decreased cannabis wholesale prices and indoor and outdoor cannabis cultivation. The oversupply has been driven by increased licensing activity across the U.S., significant capital investment in the cannabis production marketplace over the past several years, inconsistent enforcement of regulations and the market impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we revised our internal forecasts to reflect the longer persistence and more significant impact of the oversupply of cannabis, and recorded non-cash, pre-tax impairment charges of $117.7 related to our Hawthorne segment intangible assets in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. We expect that the oversupply of cannabis will continue to adversely impact our Hawthorne segment. If the oversupply of cannabis persists longer, or is more significant than we expect, our results of operations could be materially and adversely impacted for a longer period and to a greater extent than we currently anticipate.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
During fiscal 2023, we recorded a non-cash, pre-tax other-than-temporary impairment charge of $101.3 related to our convertible debt investments and a non-cash, pre-tax goodwill impairment charge of $10.3 associated with our Other segment in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. In addition, we recorded a non-cash, pre-tax impairment charge of $94.7 associated with our investment in Bonnie Plants, LLC in the “Equity in (income) loss of unconsolidated affiliates” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2023.
On June 8, 2022, we entered into Amendment No. 1 (“Amendment No. 1”) to the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement which increased the maximum permitted leverage ratio for the quarterly leverage covenant effective for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 until April 1, 2024. During the third quarter of fiscal 2023, we experienced an unexpected shortfall in earnings that affected our ability to remain in compliance with the leverage ratio covenant of Amendment No. 1. On July 31, 2023, we entered into Amendment No. 2 to the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement which, in addition to other changes, temporarily increased the maximum permitted leverage ratio for the quarterly leverage covenant, and increased the interest rate applicable to borrowings under the revolving credit facility and the term loan facility by 25 bps for each existing pricing tier and added a pricing tier that is applicable for periods when the leverage ratio is in excess of 6.00. Refer to the “LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES” section of this MD&A for more information regarding Amendment No. 2.
During fiscal 2023, we continued to experience the impacts of cost inflation, resulting in persistently high manufacturing and logistics costs, as well as volatile commodity costs. Higher costs over the past several years required us to implement significant price increases across our business in fiscal 2022 and 2023. Inflationary headwinds, volatile commodity costs and higher interest rates are expected to continue. The impact that these trends will continue to have on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including inflationary and macroeconomic conditions and their impact on consumer behavior, which are difficult to predict.
Results of Operations
The following table sets forth the components of earnings as a percentage of net sales:

Year Ended September 30,
2023% of Net Sales2022% of Net Sales2021% of Net Sales
Net sales$3,551.3 100.0 %$3,924.1 100.0 %$4,925.0 100.0 %
Cost of sales2,708.3 76.3 2,891.1 73.7 3,431.3 69.7 
Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other 185.7 5.2 160.1 4.1 24.7 0.5 
Gross margin657.3 18.5 872.9 22.2 1,469.0 29.8 
Operating expenses:
Selling, general and administrative551.3 15.5 613.0 15.6 743.5 15.1 
Impairment, restructuring and other280.5 7.9 693.1 17.7 4.3 0.1 
Other (income) expense, net(0.1)— 0.8 — (1.8)— 
Income (loss) from operations(174.4)(4.9)(434.0)(11.1)723.0 14.7 
Equity in (income) loss of unconsolidated affiliates101.1 2.8 12.9 0.3 (14.4)(0.3)
Interest expense178.1 5.0 118.1 3.0 78.9 1.6 
Other non-operating income, net(0.3)— (6.9)(0.2)(18.6)(0.4)
Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes(453.3)(12.8)(558.1)(14.2)677.1 13.7 
Income tax expense (benefit) from continuing operations(73.2)(2.1)(120.6)(3.1)159.8 3.2 
Income (loss) from continuing operations(380.1)(10.7)(437.5)(11.1)517.3 10.5 
Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax— — — — (3.9)(0.1)
Net income (loss)$(380.1)(10.7)%$(437.5)(11.1)%$513.4 10.4 %
The sum of the components may not equal due to rounding.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Net Sales
Net sales for fiscal 2023 were $3,551.3, a decrease of 9.5% from net sales of $3,924.1 for fiscal 2022. Net sales for fiscal 2022 decreased 20.3% from net sales of $4,925.0 for fiscal 2021. Factors contributing to the change in net sales are outlined in the following table:
Year Ended September 30,
20232022
Volume and mix(14.3)%(27.0)%
Foreign exchange rates(0.4)(0.4)
Pricing5.0 6.2 
Acquisitions0.2 0.9 
Change in net sales(9.5)%(20.3)%
The decrease in net sales for fiscal 2023 as compared to fiscal 2022 was primarily driven by:
decreased sales volume across all segments driven by growing environments, growing media, hardware, nutrients and lighting products in our Hawthorne segment; and lawn care, plant food and controls products in our U.S. Consumer segment; and
the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates as a result of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to the Canadian dollar;
partially offset by increased pricing in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments.
The decrease in net sales for fiscal 2022 as compared to fiscal 2021 was primarily driven by:
decreased sales volume driven by lighting, nutrients, growing media, hardware and growing environments products in our Hawthorne segment; and lawn care, soils, controls, plant food and mulch products in our U.S. Consumer segment;
decreased net sales associated with the Roundup® marketing agreement; and
the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange rates as a result of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to the euro and the Canadian dollar;
partially offset by increased pricing in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments; and
the addition of net sales from acquisitions in our Hawthorne segment.
Cost of Sales
The following table shows the major components of cost of sales:
Year Ended September 30,
202320222021
Materials$1,524.1 $1,616.7 $1,962.5 
Distribution and warehousing556.3 660.1 684.0 
Manufacturing labor and overhead545.4 546.4 714.0 
Costs associated with Roundup® marketing agreement
82.5 67.9 70.8 
Cost of sales2,708.3 2,891.1 3,431.3 
Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other 185.7 160.1 24.7 
$2,894.0 $3,051.2 $3,456.0 

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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Factors contributing to the change in cost of sales are outlined in the following table:
Year Ended September 30,
20232022
Volume, mix and other$(299.7)$(641.4)
Foreign exchange rates(10.4)(16.9)
Material cost changes112.7 121.0 
Costs associated with Roundup® marketing agreement
14.6 (2.9)
(182.8)(540.2)
Impairment, restructuring and other25.6 135.4 
Change in cost of sales$(157.2)$(404.8)
The decrease in cost of sales for fiscal 2023 as compared to fiscal 2022 was primarily driven by: 
lower sales volume in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
lower warehousing costs included within “volume, mix and other” in our U.S. Consumer and Hawthorne segments; and
the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates as a result of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to the Canadian dollar;
partially offset by higher material costs in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
higher manufacturing costs, primarily labor, included within “volume, mix and other” in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
inventory write-down charges included within “volume, mix and other” associated with our U.S. Consumer segment;
an increase in costs associated with the Roundup® marketing agreement; and
an increase in impairment, restructuring and other charges.
The decrease in cost of sales for fiscal 2022 as compared to fiscal 2021 was primarily driven by: 
lower sales volume in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
the favorable impact of foreign exchange rates as a result of the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to the euro and the Canadian dollar; and
a decrease in costs associated with the Roundup® marketing agreement;
partially offset by higher material costs in our U.S. Consumer and Other segments;
higher transportation and warehousing costs included within “volume, mix and other” in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments; and
an increase in impairment, restructuring and other charges.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Gross Margin
As a percentage of net sales, our gross margin rate was 18.5%, 22.2% and 29.8% for fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively. Factors contributing to the change in gross margin rate are outlined in the following table:
Year Ended September 30,
20232022
Volume, mix and other(4.0)%(6.6)%
Material costs(3.3)(3.4)
Roundup® commissions and reimbursements
(0.3)(0.2)
Acquisitions— (0.1)
Pricing5.0 6.3 
(2.6)(4.0)
Impairment, restructuring and other(1.1)(3.6)
Change in gross margin rate(3.7)%(7.6)%
The decrease in gross margin rate for fiscal 2023 as compared to fiscal 2022 was primarily driven by: 
higher material costs in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
higher manufacturing costs, primarily labor, included within “volume, mix and other” in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
unfavorable leverage of fixed costs, included within “volume, mix and other,” driven by lower sales and production volume in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
inventory write-down charges included within “volume, mix and other” associated with our U.S. Consumer segment; and
an increase in impairment, restructuring and other charges;
partially offset by increased pricing in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments; and
lower warehousing costs included within “volume, mix and other” in our U.S. Consumer and Hawthorne segments.
The decrease in gross margin rate for fiscal 2022 as compared to fiscal 2021 was primarily driven by: 
higher material costs in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
higher transportation and warehousing costs included within “volume, mix and other” associated with our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments;
unfavorable leverage of fixed costs driven by lower sales volume in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments; and
an increase in impairment, restructuring and other charges;
partially offset by increased pricing in our U.S. Consumer, Hawthorne and Other segments.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
The following table sets forth the components of selling, general and administrative expenses (“SG&A”):
Year Ended September 30,
202320222021
Advertising$123.7 $120.3 $165.7 
Advertising as a percentage of net sales3.5 %3.1 %3.4 %
Share-based compensation49.7 34.3 40.6 
Research and development35.7 45.3 45.4 
Amortization of intangibles22.6 31.0 29.1 
Other selling, general and administrative319.6 382.1 462.7 
$551.3 $613.0 $743.5 
SG&A decreased $61.7, or 10.1%, during fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022. Advertising expense increased $3.4, or 2.8%, in fiscal 2023 driven by increased media spending in our U.S. Consumer segment. Share-based compensation expense, which excludes certain advertising expenses paid for in Common Shares, increased $15.4, or 44.9%, driven by short-term variable incentive compensation that was provided to employees as share-based awards for fiscal 2023 in lieu of a cash-based program, partially offset by the recognition of a cumulative adjustment for certain performance-based award units to reflect management’s assessment of a lower probability of achievement of performance goals. Amortization expense decreased $8.4, or 27.1%, driven by the impairment of certain Hawthorne segment intangible assets during fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2023. Other SG&A and research and development costs decreased by a combined $72.1, or 16.9%, driven by the reductions in staffing levels and other cost-reduction initiatives.
SG&A decreased $130.5, or 17.6%, during fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021. Advertising expense decreased $45.4, or 27.4%, in fiscal 2022 driven by decreased media spending in our U.S. Consumer and Hawthorne segments. Other SG&A decreased $80.6, or 17.4%, in fiscal 2022 driven by a decrease in short-term variable cash incentive compensation expense, reductions in staffing levels and other cost-reduction initiatives.
Impairment, Restructuring and Other
Activity described herein is classified within the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” and “Impairment, restructuring and other” lines in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The following table details impairment, restructuring and other charges (recoveries) for each of the periods presented:
Year Ended September 30,
202320222021
Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other:
Restructuring and other charges (recoveries), net$148.5 $143.6 $(0.3)
Right-of-use asset impairments25.8 — — 
Property, plant and equipment impairments11.4 16.6 — 
COVID-19 related costs— — 25.0 
Operating expenses—impairment, restructuring and other:
Goodwill and intangible asset impairments127.9 668.3 — 
Convertible debt other-than-temporary impairments101.3 — — 
Restructuring and other charges, net51.2 40.9 0.1 
Gains on sale of property, plant and equipment— (16.2)— 
COVID-19 related costs— — 4.2 
Total impairment, restructuring and other charges$466.1 $853.2 $29.0 
During fiscal 2023, we recorded non-cash, pre-tax goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $127.9 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations, comprised of $117.7 of finite-lived intangible asset impairment charges associated with our Hawthorne segment and $10.3 of goodwill impairment charges associated with our Other segment.
During fiscal 2023, we recorded a non-cash, pre-tax other-than-temporary impairment charge related to our convertible debt investments of $101.3 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
During fiscal 2022, we began implementing a series of Company-wide organizational changes and initiatives intended to create operational and management-level efficiencies. As part of this restructuring initiative, we are reducing the size of our supply chain network, reducing staffing levels and implementing other cost-reduction initiatives. In addition, to reduce our on hand inventory to align with the optimized network capacity, we have accelerated the reduction of certain Hawthorne inventory, primarily lighting, growing environments and hardware products. During fiscal 2023, we incurred costs of $229.0 associated with this restructuring initiative primarily related to inventory write-down charges, employee termination benefits, facility closure costs and impairment of right-of-use assets and property, plant and equipment. We incurred costs of $16.3 in our U.S. Consumer segment and $168.5 in our Hawthorne segment in the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2023. We incurred costs of $7.7 in our U.S. Consumer segment, $20.7 in our Hawthorne segment, $0.8 in our Other segment and $14.9 at Corporate in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2023. During fiscal 2022, we incurred costs of $65.2 associated with this restructuring initiative primarily related to employee termination benefits and impairment of property, plant and equipment. We incurred costs of $9.7 in our U.S. Consumer segment and $27.1 in our Hawthorne segment in the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2022. We incurred costs of $11.9 in our U.S. Consumer segment, $8.1 in our Hawthorne segment, $0.7 in our Other segment and $7.7 at Corporate in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2022. Costs incurred to date since the inception of this restructuring initiative are $45.5 for our U.S. Consumer segment, $224.4 for our Hawthorne segment, $1.5 for our Other segment and $22.7 at Corporate. We continue to evaluate additional network and organizational changes, which, if executed, may result in additional restructuring charges in future periods.
During fiscal 2022, we recorded non-cash, pre-tax goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $632.4 as a result of interim impairment testing of our Hawthorne segment in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations, comprised of $522.4 of goodwill impairment charges and $110.0 of finite-lived intangible asset impairment charges.
During fiscal 2022, we incurred inventory write-down charges of $120.9 in the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations and finite-lived intangible asset impairment charges of $35.3 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations associated with our decision to discontinue and exit the market for certain Hawthorne lighting products and brands.
During fiscal 2022, we recorded gains of $16.2 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations associated with the sale of property, plant and equipment.
During fiscal 2021, we incurred costs of $29.2 associated with the COVID-19 pandemic primarily related to premium pay. We incurred costs of $21.2 in our U.S. Consumer segment, $3.2 in our Hawthorne segment and $0.6 in our Other segment in the “Cost of sales—impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2021. We incurred costs of $4.0 in our U.S. Consumer segment and $0.2 in our Other segment in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations during fiscal 2021.
Income (Loss) from Operations
Loss from operations was $(174.4) in fiscal 2023 compared to $(434.0) in fiscal 2022. The decrease was driven by lower impairment, restructuring and other charges and lower SG&A, partially offset by lower net sales and a decrease in gross margin rate.
Income (loss) from operations was $(434.0) in fiscal 2022 compared to $723.0 in fiscal 2021. The decrease was driven by lower net sales, a decrease in gross margin rate, higher impairment, restructuring and other charges and lower other income, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Equity in (Income) Loss of Unconsolidated Affiliates
Equity in (income) loss of unconsolidated affiliates associated with Bonnie Plants, LLC was $101.1, $12.9 and $(14.4) in fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively. During fiscal 2023, we recorded a non-cash, pre-tax impairment charge of $94.7 associated with our investment in Bonnie Plants, LLC. Refer to “NOTE 9. INVESTMENT IN UNCONSOLIDATED AFFILIATES” of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Form 10-K for more information regarding Bonnie Plants, LLC.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Interest Expense
Interest expense was $178.1 in fiscal 2023, an increase of 50.8% compared to $118.1 in fiscal 2022. The increase was driven by an increase in our weighted average interest rate, net of the impact of interest rate swaps, of 180 basis points, primarily due to higher borrowing rates on the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. While we had net debt repayments of $353.6 during fiscal 2023, our seasonal borrowing and repayment pattern resulted in an average debt balance for fiscal 2023 that was consistent with fiscal 2022.
Interest expense was $118.1 in fiscal 2022, an increase of 49.7% compared to $78.9 in fiscal 2021. The increase was driven by higher average borrowings of $1,119.6 due to higher inventory production, capital expenditures, acquisition activity and repurchases of our Common Shares.
Other Non-Operating Income, Net
Other non-operating income was $0.3, $6.9 and $18.6 in fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively. On December 31, 2020, we acquired a 50% equity interest in Bonnie Plants, LLC in exchange for cash payments of $102.3, forgiveness of our outstanding loan receivable with AFC and surrender of our options to increase our economic interest in the Bonnie Plants business. We recorded a gain of $12.5 during the first quarter of fiscal 2021 to write-up the value of our loan receivable with AFC to its closing date fair value.
Income Tax Expense (Benefit) from Continuing Operations
A reconciliation of the federal corporate income tax rate and the effective tax rate on income from continuing operations before income taxes is summarized below:
 Year Ended September 30,
 202320222021
Statutory income tax rate21.0 %21.0 %21.0 %
Effect of foreign operations0.2 (1.6)(0.2)
State taxes, net of federal benefit3.2 2.6 3.9 
Effect of other permanent differences(0.8)2.8 (1.1)
Research and Experimentation and other federal tax credits0.2 0.2 (0.2)
Effect of tax contingencies0.1 (1.8)— 
Change in valuation allowances(8.7)(0.9)0.1 
Other1.0 (0.7)0.1 
Effective income tax rate16.2 %21.6 %23.6 %
During fiscal 2023, we recorded a non-cash, pre-tax other-than-temporary impairment charge related to our convertible debt investments of $101.3 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Deferred tax assets related to unrealized losses on convertible debt investments were $33.4 and $25.3 at September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. A full valuation allowance has been established against these losses at September 30, 2023 as we do not expect to utilize them prior to their expiration. This discrete item, which is included in the “Change in valuation allowances” line in the table above, decreased the fiscal 2023 effective tax rate because we incurred a net loss during this period.
During fiscal 2022, we recorded non-cash, pre-tax goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges of $668.3 in the “Impairment, restructuring and other” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The tax impact of the impairment charges was a benefit of $148.3, which is net of the impact of non-deductible goodwill of $18.8, for fiscal 2022 and was recorded in the “Income tax expense (benefit) from continuing operations” line in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The tax impact of non-deductible goodwill was considered a discrete item because we have no remaining non-deductible goodwill. This discrete item, which is included in the “Effect of foreign operations” line in the table above, decreased the fiscal 2022 effective tax rate by approximately 340 bps because we incurred a net loss during the period. Additionally, excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation, which are included in the “Effect of other permanent differences” line in the table above, increased the fiscal 2022 effective tax rate by approximately 260 bps.
Income (Loss) from Continuing Operations
Loss from continuing operations was $(380.1), or $(6.79) per diluted share, in fiscal 2023 compared to $(437.5), or $(7.88) per diluted share, in fiscal 2022. The decrease was driven by lower impairment, restructuring and other charges, and lower SG&A, partially offset by lower net sales, a decrease in gross margin rate, higher equity in loss of unconsolidated affiliates, higher interest expense, lower other non-operating income and lower income tax benefit.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Income (loss) from continuing operations was $(437.5), or $(7.88) per diluted share, in fiscal 2022 compared to $517.3, or $9.03 per diluted share, in fiscal 2021. The decrease was driven by lower net sales, a decrease in gross margin rate, higher impairment, restructuring and other charges, lower other income, lower equity in income of unconsolidated affiliates, higher interest expense and lower other non-operating income, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Diluted average common shares used in the diluted loss per common share calculation for fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2022 were 56.0 million and 55.5 million, respectively, which excluded potential common shares of 0.4 million and 0.6 million, respectively, because the effect of their inclusion would be anti-dilutive as we incurred a net loss for fiscal 2023 and fiscal 2022. Diluted average common shares used in the diluted income per common share calculation for fiscal 2021 were 57.2 million, which included dilutive potential common shares of 1.5 million.
Segment Results
The performance of each reportable segment is evaluated based on several factors, including income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes, amortization, impairment, restructuring and other charges (“Segment Profit (Loss)”), which is a non-GAAP financial measure. Senior management uses Segment Profit (Loss) to evaluate segment performance because they believe this measure is indicative of performance trends and the overall earnings potential of each segment.
The following table sets forth net sales by segment:
Year Ended September 30,
202320222021
U.S. Consumer$2,843.7 $2,928.8 $3,197.7 
Hawthorne 467.3 716.2 1,424.2 
Other240.3 279.1 303.1 
Consolidated$3,551.3 $3,924.1 $4,925.0 
The following table sets forth Segment Profit (Loss) as well as a reconciliation to income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes, the most directly comparable measure prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”):
Year Ended September 30,
202320222021
U.S. Consumer$454.1 $568.6 $726.7 
Hawthorne(48.1)(21.1)163.8 
Other12.4 20.2 42.1 
Total Segment Profit (Non-GAAP)418.4 567.7 932.6 
Corporate(101.6)(112.4)(149.7)
Intangible asset amortization(25.2)(37.1)(30.9)
Impairment, restructuring and other(466.0)(852.2)(29.0)
Equity in income (loss) of unconsolidated affiliates(101.1)(12.9)14.4 
Interest expense(178.1)(118.1)(78.9)
Other non-operating income, net0.3 6.9 18.6 
Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes (GAAP)$(453.3)$(558.1)$677.1 
U.S. Consumer
U.S. Consumer segment net sales were $2,843.7 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 2.9% from fiscal 2022 net sales of $2,928.8. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 8.3%, partially offset by increased pricing of 5.4%. The decrease in sales volume for fiscal 2023 was driven by lawn care, plant food and controls products.
U.S. Consumer Segment Profit was $454.1 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 20.1% from fiscal 2022 Segment Profit of $568.6. The decrease for fiscal 2023 was primarily due to lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate, partially offset by lower SG&A.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
U.S. Consumer segment net sales were $2,928.8 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 8.4% from fiscal 2021 net sales of $3,197.7. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 15.6%, partially offset by increased pricing of 7.2%. The decrease in sales volume for fiscal 2022 was driven by lawn care, soils, controls, plant food and mulch products.
U.S. Consumer Segment Profit was $568.6 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 21.8% from fiscal 2021 Segment Profit of $726.7. The decrease for fiscal 2022 was primarily due to lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Hawthorne
Hawthorne segment net sales were $467.3 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 34.8% from fiscal 2022 net sales of $716.2. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 38.1%, partially offset by increased pricing of 2.5% and acquisitions of 0.8%. The decrease in sales volume for fiscal 2023 was driven by growing environments, growing media, hardware, nutrients and lighting products.
Hawthorne Segment Loss was $48.1 in fiscal 2023 compared to fiscal 2022 Segment Loss of $21.1. The increase for fiscal 2023 was driven by lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Hawthorne segment net sales were $716.2 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 49.7% from fiscal 2021 net sales of $1,424.2. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 56.0% and unfavorable foreign exchange rates of 0.8%, partially offset by increased pricing of 3.8% and acquisitions of 3.3%. The decrease in sales volume for fiscal 2022 was driven by lighting, nutrients, growing media, hardware and growing environments products.
Hawthorne Segment Loss was $21.1 in fiscal 2022 compared to fiscal 2021 Segment Profit of $163.8. The decrease for fiscal 2022 was driven by lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Other
Other segment net sales were $240.3 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 13.9% from fiscal 2022 net sales of $279.1. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 16.0% and unfavorable foreign exchange rates of 4.8%, partially offset by increased pricing of 6.9%.
Other Segment Profit was $12.4 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 38.6% from fiscal 2022 Segment Profit of $20.2. The decrease was driven by lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate.
Other segment net sales were $279.1 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 7.9% from fiscal 2021 net sales of $303.1. The decrease was driven by lower sales volume of 13.7% and unfavorable foreign exchange rates of 1.9%, partially offset by increased pricing of 7.7%.
Other Segment Profit was $20.2 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 52.0% from fiscal 2021 Segment Profit of $42.1. The decrease was driven by lower net sales and a lower gross margin rate, partially offset by lower SG&A.
Corporate 
Corporate expenses were $101.6 in fiscal 2023, a decrease of 9.6% from fiscal 2022 expenses of $112.4. The decrease was driven by lower share-based compensation expense due to the recognition of a cumulative adjustment for certain performance-based award units to reflect management’s assessment of a lower probability of achievement of performance goals, and reductions in staffing levels and other cost-reduction initiatives.
Corporate expenses were $112.4 in fiscal 2022, a decrease of 24.9% from fiscal 2021 expenses of $149.7. The decrease was driven by lower short-term variable cash incentive compensation expense, reductions in staffing levels and other cost-reduction initiatives.
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THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Liquidity and Capital Resources
The following table summarizes cash activities for the years ended September 30:
202320222021
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities$531.0 $(129.0)$271.5 
Net cash used in investing activities(65.7)(283.2)(538.6)
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities(520.1)255.3 494.0 
Operating Activities
Cash provided by operating activities totaled $531.0 for fiscal 2023, an increase of $660.0 compared to cash used in operating activities of $129.0 for fiscal 2022. This increase was driven by a reduction in inventory, lower short-term variable cash incentive compensation payouts, higher income tax refunds and lower SG&A, partially offset by lower gross margin, higher interest payments, higher payments associated with restructuring activities and accounts payable timing. Accounts payable timing is driven by the unfavorable impact of extended payment terms with vendors for payments originally due in the final weeks of fiscal 2022 that were paid in the first quarter of fiscal 2023.
Cash used in operating activities totaled $129.0 for fiscal 2022, a decrease of $400.5 compared to cash provided by operating activities of $271.5 for fiscal 2021. This decrease was driven by higher inventory, lower accounts payable, lower net income and higher interest payments, partially offset by lower tax payments and lower short-term variable cash incentive compensation payouts. Higher inventory was driven by higher production, lower sales and higher input costs. Lower accounts payable was driven by the timing of production. Fiscal 2022 was also favorably impacted by extended payment terms with vendors for payments originally due in the final weeks of fiscal 2022 that were paid in the first quarter of fiscal 2023.
The seasonal nature of our North America consumer lawn and garden business generally requires cash to fund significant increases in inventories during the first half of the fiscal year. Receivables and payables also build substantially in our second quarter of the fiscal year in line with the timing of sales to support our retailers’ spring selling season.
Investing Activities
Cash used in investing activities totaled $65.7 for fiscal 2023, a decrease of $217.5 compared to $283.2 for fiscal 2022. Cash used for investments in property, plant and equipment during fiscal 2023 was $92.8, a decrease from fiscal 2022 due to higher spending in the prior period on capital projects to expand network capacity. We also received proceeds of $37.0 during fiscal 2023 related to the payoff of seller financing that we provided in connection with a fiscal 2017 divestiture. In addition, we had other investing cash outflows of $12.4 primarily comprised of cash outflows associated with currency forward contracts.
Cash used in investing activities totaled $283.2 for fiscal 2022, a decrease of $255.4 compared to $538.6 for fiscal 2021. Cash used for investments in property, plant and equipment during fiscal 2022 was $113.5. We also completed the acquisitions of Luxx Lighting, Inc., True Liberty Bags and Cyco during fiscal 2022 in exchange for aggregate cash payments of $237.3, as well as the issuance of 0.1 million Common Shares, a non-cash investing and financing activity, with a fair value of $21.0 based on the share price at the time of payment. In addition, during fiscal 2022, we made payments of $25.0 in connection with a minority non-equity convertible debt investment in RIV Capital, received proceeds from the sale of long-lived assets of $63.3 and received $29.3 associated with currency forward contracts.
For the three fiscal years ended September 30, 2023, we allocated our capital spending as follows: 64% for maintenance of existing productive assets; 20% for cost savings projects, focused primarily on supply chain and information technology, and 16% for innovation and expansion. We expect fiscal 2024 capital expenditures to be generally consistent with our recent capital spending amounts and allocations.
Financing Activities
Cash used in financing activities totaled $520.1 for fiscal 2023 compared to cash provided by financing activities of $255.3 for fiscal 2022. During fiscal 2023, we had net debt repayments of $353.6, paid dividends of $149.1, paid financing and issuance fees of $6.4 and repurchased Common Shares for $9.3 (which includes cash paid to tax authorities to satisfy statutory income tax withholding obligations related to share-based compensation). Higher debt repayment and lower Common Share repurchases are driven by our focus on using available cash flow to reduce our debt.
Cash provided by financing activities totaled $255.3 in fiscal 2022 compared to $494.0 in fiscal 2021. During fiscal 2022, we had net borrowings of $680.1 and paid financing and issuance fees of $9.6. We also repurchased Common Shares for $257.9 and paid dividends of $166.2 during fiscal 2022.
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THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Accounts Receivable Sales
On October 27, 2023, we entered into an agreement under which we may sell up to $600.0 of a portfolio of available and eligible outstanding customer accounts receivable generated by sales to four specified customers. The agreement is uncommitted and has an initial term that expires October 25, 2024, unless earlier terminated by the purchaser.
Supplier Finance Program
We have an agreement to provide a supplier finance program which facilitates participating suppliers’ ability to finance our payment obligations with a designated third-party financial institution. Participating suppliers may, at their sole discretion, elect to finance our payment obligations prior to their scheduled due dates at a discounted price to the participating financial institution. Our obligations to our suppliers, including amounts due and scheduled payment dates, are not impacted by suppliers’ decisions to finance amounts under this arrangement. The payment terms that we negotiate with our suppliers are consistent, regardless of whether a supplier participates in the program. Our current payment terms with a majority of our suppliers generally range from 30 to 60 days, which we deem to be commercially reasonable. Our outstanding payment obligations under our supplier finance program were $18.3 and $8.6 at September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively, and are recorded within accounts payable in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The associated payments were $185.3 for fiscal 2023 and are classified as operating activities in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
Share Repurchases
On February 6, 2020, Scotts Miracle-Gro announced that its Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $750.0 of Common Shares from April 30, 2020 through March 25, 2023. There were no share repurchases under this share repurchase authorization during fiscal 2023 through its expiration on March 25, 2023. During fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, Scotts Miracle-Gro repurchased 1.1 million and 0.6 million Common Shares under this share repurchase authorization for $175.0 and $113.1, respectively. Treasury share purchases also include cash paid to tax authorities to satisfy statutory income tax withholding obligations related to share-based compensation of $9.3, $82.9 and $16.3 for fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Our cash and cash equivalents were held in cash depository accounts with major financial institutions around the world or invested in high quality, short-term liquid investments having original maturities of three months or less. The cash and cash equivalents balances of $31.9 and $86.8 at September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively, included $26.6 and $4.2, respectively, held by controlled foreign corporations. As of September 30, 2023, we maintain our assertion of indefinite reinvestment of the earnings of all material foreign subsidiaries.
Borrowing Agreements
Credit Facilities
Our primary sources of liquidity are cash generated by operations and borrowings under our credit facilities, which are guaranteed by substantially all of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s domestic subsidiaries. On July 5, 2018, we entered into a fifth amended and restated credit agreement, which provided us with five-year senior secured loan facilities in the aggregate principal amount of $2,300.0, comprised of a revolving credit facility of $1,500.0 and a term loan in the original principal amount of $800.0.
On April 8, 2022, we entered into the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement, providing the Company and certain of its subsidiaries with five-year senior secured loan facilities in the aggregate principal amount of $2,500.0, comprised of a revolving credit facility of $1,500.0 and a term loan in the original principal amount of $1,000.0 (the “Sixth A&R Credit Facilities”). The Sixth A&R Credit Agreement replaced the fifth amended and restated credit agreement and will terminate on April 8, 2027. The Sixth A&R Credit Facilities are available for the issuance of letters of credit up to $100.0. The terms of the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement include customary representations and warranties, affirmative and negative covenants, financial covenants, and events of default.
Under the terms of the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement, loans bear interest, at our election, at a rate per annum equal to either (i) the Alternate Base Rate plus the Applicable Spread (each, as defined in the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement) or (ii) the Adjusted Term SOFR Rate for the Interest Period in effect for such borrowing plus the Applicable Spread (all as defined in the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement). Swingline Loans bear interest at the applicable Swingline Rate set forth in the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. Interest rates for other select non-U.S. dollar borrowings, including borrowings denominated in euro, Pounds Sterling and Canadian dollars, are based on separate interest rate indices, as set forth in the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
On June 8, 2022, we entered into Amendment No. 1 to the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. Amendment No. 1 increased the maximum permitted leverage ratio for the quarterly leverage covenant until April 1, 2024. Amendment No. 1 also increased the interest rate applicable to borrowings under the revolving credit facility by 35 bps and the term loan facility by 50 bps, and increased the annual facility fee rate on the revolving credit facility by 15 bps, in each case, when the Company’s quarterly-tested leverage ratio exceeded 4.75.
On July 31, 2023, we entered into Amendment No. 2 to the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. Amendment No. 2 (i) reduces the revolving loan commitments by $250.0; (ii) increases the maximum permitted leverage ratio for the quarterly leverage covenant until the earlier of (a) October 1, 2025 and (b) subject to certain conditions specified in Amendment No. 2, the termination by the Company of such adjustment (such period, the “Leverage Adjustment Period”); (iii) replaces the interest coverage covenant with a fixed charge coverage covenant; (iv) increases the interest rate applicable to borrowings under the revolving credit facility and the term loan facility by 25 bps for each existing pricing tier and adds a pricing tier applicable to periods when the leverage ratio exceeds 6.00; (v) limits the amount of certain incremental investments, loans and advances to $25.0 during the Leverage Adjustment Period; and (vi) adds our intellectual property (subject to certain exceptions) as collateral to secure our obligations under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. Additionally, Amendment No. 2 limits our ability to declare or pay any discretionary dividends, distributions or other restricted payments during the Leverage Adjustment Period to only the payment of (i) regularly scheduled cash dividends to holders of our Common Shares in an aggregate amount not to exceed $225.0 per fiscal year and (ii) other dividends, distributions or other restricted payments in an aggregate amount not to exceed $25.0. Amendment No. 2 also subjects our ability to make certain investments to pro forma compliance with certain leverage levels specified in Amendment No. 2. Pursuant to Amendment No. 2, the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement is secured by (i) a perfected first priority security interest in all of the accounts receivable, inventory, equipment and intellectual property (subject to certain exceptions) of Scotts Miracle-Gro and certain of its domestic subsidiaries and (ii) the pledge of all of the capital stock of certain of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s domestic subsidiaries and a portion of the capital stock of certain of its foreign subsidiaries.
At September 30, 2023, we had letters of credit outstanding in the aggregate principal amount of $5.0, and had $1,156.7 of borrowing availability under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. The weighted average interest rates on average borrowings under the credit facilities, excluding the impact of interest rate swaps, were 7.6%, 2.8% and 1.9% for fiscal 2023, fiscal 2022 and fiscal 2021, respectively.
The Sixth A&R Credit Agreement contains, among other obligations, an affirmative covenant regarding our leverage ratio determined as of the end of each of our fiscal quarters calculated as average total indebtedness, divided by our earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, as adjusted pursuant to the terms of Amendment No. 2 (“Adjusted EBITDA”). Pursuant to Amendment No. 2, the maximum permitted leverage ratio is (i) 7.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, (ii) 8.25 for the first quarter of fiscal 2024, (iii) 7.75 for the second quarter of fiscal 2024, (iv) 6.50 for the third quarter of fiscal 2024, (v) 6.00 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024, (vi) 5.50 for the first quarter of fiscal 2025, (vii) 5.25 for the second quarter of fiscal 2025, (viii) 5.00 for the third quarter of fiscal 2025, (ix) 4.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2025 and (x) 4.50 for the first quarter of fiscal 2026 and thereafter. Our leverage ratio was 6.57 at September 30, 2023. Pursuant to Amendment No. 2, the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement also contains an affirmative covenant regarding our fixed charge coverage ratio determined as of the end of each of our fiscal quarters, calculated as Adjusted EBITDA minus capital expenditures and expense for taxes paid in cash, divided by the sum of interest expense plus restricted payments, as described in Amendment No. 2. The minimum required fixed charge coverage ratio is (i) 0.75 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 through the third quarter of fiscal 2024 and (ii) 1.00 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2024 and thereafter. Our fixed charge coverage ratio was 1.56 for the twelve months ended September 30, 2023.
As of September 30, 2023, we were in compliance with all applicable covenants in the agreements governing our debt. Based on our projections of financial performance for the twelve-month period subsequent to the date of the filing of this Form 10-K, we expect to remain in compliance with the financial covenants under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement. However, our assessment of our ability to meet our future obligations is inherently subjective, judgment-based, and susceptible to change based on future events. A covenant violation may result in an event of default. Such a default would allow the lenders under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement to accelerate the maturity of the indebtedness thereunder and would also implicate cross-default provisions under the Senior Notes and cause the Senior Notes to become due and payable at that time. As of September 30, 2023, our indebtedness under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement and Senior Notes was $2,613.3. We do not have sufficient cash on hand or available liquidity that can be utilized to repay these outstanding amounts in the event of default.
As part of our contingency planning to address potential future circumstances that could result in noncompliance, we have contemplated alternative plans including additional restructuring activities to reduce operating expenses and certain cash management strategies that are within our control. Additionally, we have contemplated alternative plans that are subject to market conditions and not in our control, including, among others, discussions with our lenders to amend the terms of our financial covenants under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement and generating cash by completing other financing transactions, which may include issuing equity. There is no assurance that we will be successful in implementing these alternative plans.
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THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Senior Notes
On December 15, 2016, Scotts Miracle-Gro issued $250.0 aggregate principal amount of 5.250% Senior Notes due 2026. The 5.250% Senior Notes represent general unsecured senior obligations and rank equal in right of payment with our existing and future unsecured senior debt. The 5.250% Senior Notes have interest payment dates of June 15 and December 15 of each year.
On October 22, 2019, Scotts Miracle-Gro issued $450.0 aggregate principal amount of 4.500% Senior Notes due 2029. The 4.500% Senior Notes represent general unsecured senior obligations and rank equal in right of payment with our existing and future unsecured senior debt. The 4.500% Senior Notes have interest payment dates of April 15 and October 15 of each year.
On March 17, 2021, Scotts Miracle-Gro issued $500.0 aggregate principal amount of 4.000% Senior Notes due 2031. The 4.000% Senior Notes represent general unsecured senior obligations and rank equal in right of payment with our existing and future unsecured senior debt. The 4.000% Senior Notes have interest payment dates of April 1 and October 1 of each year.
On August 13, 2021, Scotts Miracle-Gro issued $400.0 aggregate principal amount of 4.375% Senior Notes due 2032. The 4.375% Senior Notes represent general unsecured senior obligations and rank equal in right of payment with our existing and future unsecured senior debt. The 4.375% Senior Notes have interest payment dates of February 1 and August 1 of each year.
Substantially all of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s directly and indirectly owned domestic subsidiaries serve as guarantors of the 5.250% Senior Notes, the 4.500% Senior Notes, the 4.000% Senior Notes and the 4.375% Senior Notes.
The Senior Notes contain an affirmative covenant regarding our interest coverage ratio determined as of the end of each of our fiscal quarters, calculated as Adjusted EBITDA divided by interest expense excluding costs related to refinancings. The minimum required interest coverage ratio is 2.00. Our interest coverage ratio was 2.81 for the twelve months ended September 30, 2023.
Receivables Facility
We also maintained a Master Repurchase Agreement (including the annexes thereto, the “Repurchase Agreement”) and a Master Framework Agreement, as amended (the “Framework Agreement” and, together with the Repurchase Agreement, the “Receivables Facility”) under which we could sell a portfolio of available and eligible outstanding customer accounts receivable to the purchasers subject to agreeing to repurchase the receivables on a weekly basis. The eligible accounts receivable consisted of accounts receivable generated by sales to three specified customers. The eligible amount of customer accounts receivables which could be sold under the Receivables Facility was $400.0 and the commitment amount during the seasonal commitment period that began on February 24, 2023 and ended on June 16, 2023 was $160.0. The Receivables Facility expired on August 18, 2023.
The sale of receivables under the Receivables Facility was accounted for as short-term debt and we continued to carry the receivables on our Consolidated Balance Sheets, primarily as a result of our requirement to repurchase receivables sold. As of September 30, 2022, there were $75.0 in borrowings on receivables pledged as collateral under the Receivables Facility, and the carrying value of the receivables pledged as collateral was $79.8.
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THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Interest Rate Swap Agreements
We enter into interest rate swap agreements with major financial institutions that effectively convert a portion of our variable rate debt to a fixed rate. Interest payments made between the effective date and expiration date are hedged by the swap agreements. Swap agreements that were hedging interest payments as of September 30, 2023 and 2022 had a maximum total U.S. dollar equivalent notional amount of $600.0 and $800.0, respectively. On October 26, 2023, we executed an interest rate swap agreement with a notional amount that adjusts in accordance with a specified seasonal schedule, and a maximum notional amount of $100.0. This swap agreement has a fixed rate of 4.74%, an effective date of November 20, 2023 and an expiration date of March 22, 2027. The notional amount, effective date, expiration date and rate of each of the swap agreements outstanding at September 30, 2023 are shown in the table below:
Notional
Amount ($)
 Effective
Date (a)
Expiration
Date
Fixed
Rate
200 (b)1/20/20226/20/20240.49 %
200 6/7/20236/8/20260.80 %
150 6/7/20234/7/20273.37 %
50 6/7/20234/7/20273.34 %
(a)The effective date refers to the date on which interest payments are first hedged by the applicable swap agreement.
(b)Notional amount adjusts in accordance with a specified seasonal schedule. This represents the maximum notional amount at any point in time.
Availability and Use of Cash
We believe that our cash flows from operations and borrowings under our agreements described herein will be sufficient to meet debt service, capital expenditures and working capital needs for the foreseeable future. However, we cannot ensure that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available under our borrowing agreements in amounts sufficient to pay indebtedness or fund other liquidity needs. Actual results of operations will depend on numerous factors, many of which are beyond our control as further discussed in “ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS — Risks Related to Our M&A, Lending and Financing Activities — Our indebtedness could limit our flexibility and adversely affect our financial condition” of this Form 10-K.
Financial Disclosures About Guarantors and Issuers of Guaranteed Securities
The 5.250% Senior Notes, 4.500% Senior Notes, 4.000% Senior Notes and 4.375% Senior Notes were issued by Scotts Miracle-Gro on December 15, 2016, October 22, 2019, March 17, 2021 and August 13, 2021, respectively. The Senior Notes are guaranteed by certain consolidated domestic subsidiaries of Scotts Miracle-Gro (collectively, the “Guarantors”) and, therefore, we report summarized financial information in accordance with SEC Regulation S-X, Rule 13-01, “Guarantors and Issuers of Guaranteed Securities Registered or Being Registered.”
The guarantees are “full and unconditional,” as those terms are used in Regulation S-X, Rule 3-10(b)(3), except that a Guarantor’s guarantee will be released in certain circumstances set forth in the indentures governing the Senior Notes, such as: (i) upon any sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Guarantor (including by way of merger or consolidation) to any person other than Scotts Miracle-Gro or any “restricted subsidiary” under the applicable indenture; (ii) if the Guarantor merges with and into Scotts Miracle-Gro, with Scotts Miracle-Gro surviving such merger; (iii) if the Guarantor is designated an “unrestricted subsidiary” in accordance with the applicable indenture or otherwise ceases to be a “restricted subsidiary” (including by way of liquidation or dissolution) in a transaction permitted by such indenture; (iv) upon legal or covenant defeasance; (v) at the election of Scotts Miracle-Gro following the Guarantor’s release as a guarantor under the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement, except a release by or as a result of the repayment of the Sixth A&R Credit Agreement; or (vi) if the Guarantor ceases to be a “restricted subsidiary” and the Guarantor is not otherwise required to provide a guarantee of the Senior Notes pursuant to the applicable indenture.
Our foreign subsidiaries and certain of our domestic subsidiaries are not guarantors (collectively, the “Non-Guarantors”) of the Senior Notes. Payments on the Senior Notes are only required to be made by Scotts Miracle-Gro and the Guarantors. As a result, no payments are required to be made from the assets of the Non-Guarantors, unless those assets are transferred by dividend or otherwise to Scotts Miracle-Gro or a Guarantor. In the event of a bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation or reorganization of any of the Non-Guarantors, holders of their indebtedness, including their trade creditors and other obligations, will be entitled to payment of their claims from the assets of the Non-Guarantors before any assets are made available for distribution to Scotts Miracle-Gro or the Guarantors. As a result, the Senior Notes are effectively subordinated to all the liabilities of the Non-Guarantors.
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(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
The guarantees may be subject to review under federal bankruptcy laws or relevant state fraudulent conveyance or fraudulent transfer laws. In certain circumstances, the court could void the guarantee, subordinate the amounts owing under the guarantee, or take other actions detrimental to the holders of the Senior Notes.
As a general matter, value is given for a transfer or an obligation if, in exchange for the transfer or obligation, property is transferred or a valid antecedent debt is satisfied. A court would likely find that a Guarantor did not receive reasonably equivalent value or fair consideration for its guarantee to the extent such Guarantor did not obtain a reasonably equivalent benefit from the issuance of the Senior Notes.
The measure of insolvency varies depending upon the law of the jurisdiction that is being applied. Regardless of the measure being applied, a court could determine that a Guarantor was insolvent on the date the guarantee was issued, so that payments to the holders of the Senior Notes would constitute a preference, fraudulent transfer or conveyances on other grounds. If a guarantee is voided as a fraudulent conveyance or is found to be unenforceable for any other reason, the holders of the Senior Notes will not have a claim against the Guarantor.
Each guarantee contains a provision intended to limit the Guarantor’s liability to the maximum amount that it could incur without causing the incurrence of obligations under its guarantee to be a fraudulent conveyance. However, there can be no assurance as to what standard a court will apply in making a determination of the maximum liability of each Guarantor. Moreover, this provision may not be effective to protect the guarantees from being voided under fraudulent conveyance laws. There is a possibility that the entire guarantee may be set aside, in which case the entire liability may be extinguished.
The following tables present summarized financial information on a combined basis for Scotts Miracle-Gro and the Guarantors. Transactions between Scotts Miracle-Gro and the Guarantors have been eliminated and the summarized financial information does not reflect investments of the Scotts Miracle-Gro and the Guarantors in the Non-Guarantor subsidiaries.
September 30, 2023
Current assets$1,212.0 
Non-current assets (a)
1,911.2 
Current liabilities683.9 
Non-current liabilities 2,833.3 
(a)Includes amounts due from Non-Guarantor subsidiaries of $26.2.
Year Ended
September 30, 2023
Net sales$3,203.3 
Gross margin642.7 
Net loss (a)
(333.2)
(a)Includes intercompany expense from Non-Guarantor subsidiaries of $12.1.
Judicial and Administrative Proceedings
We are party to various pending judicial and administrative proceedings arising in the ordinary course of business, including, among others, proceedings based on accidents or product liability claims and alleged violations of environmental laws. We have reviewed these pending judicial and administrative proceedings, including the probable outcomes, reasonably anticipated costs and expenses, and the availability and limits of our insurance coverage, and have established what we believe to be appropriate accruals. We believe that our assessment of contingencies is reasonable and that the related accruals, in the aggregate, are adequate; however, there can be no assurance that future quarterly or annual operating results will not be materially affected by these proceedings, whether as a result of adverse outcomes or as a result of significant defense costs.
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Table of Contents
THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
Contractual Obligations
The following table summarizes our future cash outflows for contractual obligations as of September 30, 2023:
  Payments Due by Period
Contractual Cash ObligationsTotalLess Than 1 Year1-3 Years3-5 YearsMore Than
5 Years
Debt obligations$2,613.7 $50.4 $100.0 $1,113.3 $1,350.0 
Interest expense on debt obligations688.0 128.9 262.1 167.4 129.6 
Finance lease obligations20.8 2.6 4.6 3.4 10.2 
Operating lease obligations344.8 88.9 128.9