NEW YORK - August 26, 2021-- Coty Inc. (NYSE: COTY) ("Coty" or "the Company") today announced another quarter of improvement in its financial results and demonstrated recovery across its operations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, ended June 30, 2021.
In Q4, revenues increased 89.6%, or 80.7% LFL, lapping the peak of COVID impact in the prior year, even as COVID-related restrictions continued in many markets. As a result, Coty ended the year with revenues of $4.63 billion, above the high end of its $4.5-4.6 billion guidance range. While all regions returned to YoY growth in Q4, the U.S. and China markets were standouts. The Americas region grew 67% in Q4 and 6% in FY21, with the full year performance driven by double-digit growth in U.S. prestige products, and growth in Brazil and Canada. Asia Pacific grew 59% in Q4, with China growing double digits on a quarterly and full-year basis both year-on-year and versus FY19. EMEA sales more than doubled in Q4, even as many markets remained under restrictions through most of the quarter, with the consumer beauty brands recording stable market share for the first time in over 5 years. Underpinning the global momentum was the continued strength in e-commerce, which grew nearly 19% in Q4 and 34% in FY21, resulting in a high-teens e-commerce penetration for the year.
Coty's prestige brands sales more than doubled in Q4 and were nearly flat LFL in FY21, even as the Company continued to reduce sales in low quality channels, which represented a low teens negative impact to prestige brand sales in Q4 and a high single digit negative impact in FY21, relative to FY19. Nearly all prestige brands were up double- to triple-digits, with standout performance from Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, Calvin Klein, and Chloe, supplemented with expansion in Coty's new growth engines, prestige cosmetics and skincare.
In the mass channel, Coty continued to strengthen its consumer beauty brands, reaching a key milestone with CoverGirl gaining market share for three consecutive months, a first for the brand in 5 years. Building on this momentum, Coty launched the new brand repositioning for Rimmel in June, followed by Max Factor in late July. Coty's mass beauty revenues increased 37.9% LFL in Q4, with growth across each region.
Over the course of the year, Coty also advanced on its strategic pillar to become a beauty leader in sustainability. The Company announced its partnership with Lanzatech, becoming the first company in the fragrance industry to introduce sustainable ethanol, created using carbon-capture technology, into its fragrance products with the goal of having the majority of its fragrance portfolio using carbon-captured ethanol by 2023. On the cosmetics side, Coty has been leading with clean, vegan and cruelty-free formulations across brands such as CoverGirl, Sally Hansen, and Kylie Cosmetics. This has solidified Coty as the #2 player in clean cosmetics, as tracked by U.S. Nielsen.
During the quarter, Coty continued to reduce its cost base, with savings totaling approximately $70 million in the quarter. This brought the FY21 savings to over $330 million, exceeding the Company's initial plan for the year by over $100 million. Coty remains on track to generate ~$600 million of savings by FY23, and is identifying additional savings opportunities beyond FY23. At the same time, Coty now expects one-time cash costs associated with the cost savings program to come in approximately $100 million below the original target, aided by the strong cash focus of the Company. The company's efforts to drive gross margin expansion through a combination of product and channel mix, COGS savings and improved excess & obsolescence resulted in a reported and adjusted gross margin of ~60% for the year, up ~200bps YoY and in line with FY19 levels on a Continuing Operations basis, despite a lower sales base. The combination of gross margin expansion and accelerated cost savings allowed Coty to deliver profitability above expectations, while simultaneously reinvesting in the business. Specifically, in Q4 working media investments increased triple-digits versus last year and up over 30% versus 4Q19. At the same time, Coty delivered FY21 reported operating loss of $48.6 million and an adjusted EBITDA $760.4 million, exceeding guidance of ~$750 million and reflecting an adjusted EBITDA margin of 16.4%, delivering over 300 bps of margin expansion versus FY19. Q4 EPS totaled $(0.27) as reported and $(0.09) adjusted. The adjusted EPS is impacted by non-operational items including deferred financing fee write-offs, annual catch-up of tax expenses, and the impact of the convertible preferred shares on the diluted EPS calculation.
At the end of Q4, Financial Net Debt totaled approximately $5.2 billion. With an increase in the value of Coty's retained Wella stake to approximately $1.26 billion1 at quarter-end, the Company's Economic Net Debt totaled approximately $4.0 billion. During the quarter, Coty successfully raised $900 million in secured notes in April and €700 million in secured notes in June 2021, significantly improving the maturity profile of its debt.
Commenting on the operating results, Sue Y. Nabi, Coty's CEO, said:
"Today marks the completion of transformational year for Coty, as we advance on our journey in strengthening Coty's position as a global beauty powerhouse. Over the last 12 months, we have built a leadership team of beauty and transformation experts, unveiled and began executing on our multi-year strategy, completed the divestiture Wella, significantly improved our leverage profile, and over-delivered on our savings, revenue, and profit objectives.
We have ended the year on a high note, with Q4 sales nearly doubling YoY. Sales in the Americas expanded in FY21, and we saw particular strength in the U.S. and China. This a true testament not only to the strength of our prestige brand portfolio, but also to our innovation capabilities, with Marc Jacobs Perfect the best performing U.S. fragrance launch in the industry over the last 3 years, Gucci Guilty Pour Homme and Burberry Her driving market share gains for the beauty brands, and Chloe Atelier des Fleurs solidifying its position as a leading ultra premium artisanal fragrance collection.
At the same time, we made great strides on our objectives of becoming a key player in prestige cosmetics and strengthening our skincare portfolio. Gucci and Burberry makeup are already amongst the Top 25 makeup brands in China overall only a couple of years post launch, and Gucci makeup now ranks in the Top 10 within the U.S. and Europe doors where it is present. We intend to capitalize on this momentum in FY22, significantly expanding both our distribution and assortment. On skincare, Lancaster is elevating its visibility with Chinese consumers, with 3 branded counters opening in Hainan in the last few months, while philosophy is capitalizing on its Top 10 skincare position in the U.S. by leaning into cleaner formulations and expanded distribution.
Finally, in our consumer beauty brands, we are clearly seeing CoverGirl's transformation take hold with consumers, as the brand gained market share for three consecutive months, for the first time in 5 years. We are excited about the path ahead for Rimmel and Max Factor, as the new brand positioning, communication and visuals are being introduced now across European markets.
This operational and strategic progress was achieved without sacrificing our financial delivery, with FY21 gross margins of 60% back to FY19 levels and adjusted EBITDA margin of 16% up over 300 bps vs. FY19, setting the baseline for further expansion in the coming years.
Importantly, with two months into the new FY22 year, I am extremely encouraged by the momentum we are seeing across the business. In the market, we are seeing strong fragrance demand across the U.S. and China, some early signs of recovery in Europe and Travel Retail, and improving cosmetics trends. And we are capitalizing on this more favorable demand backdrop with a line-up of strong launches in each core area of the business. In fragrances we are already seeing very strong market reception for our launches including Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia with Miley Cyrus, Burberry Hero with Adam Driver, Calvin Klein Defy with Richard Madden, and Tiffany Rose Gold. And in cosmetics, the newly relaunched Kylie cosmetics line is seeing great momentum on- and off-line in the U.S. and across Europe, while Sally Hansen is once again disrupting the nail market with its new concept, It Takes Two.
As we continue to make tangible progress in each of our focus areas, I am more confident than ever in the growth and value creation path in front of Coty."
*Adjusted financial metrics used in this release are non-GAAP. See reconciliations of GAAP results to Adjusted results in the accompanying tables.
1Based on fair market value, reflecting the final Wella capital structure