The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., a natural and organic products company providing consumers with A Healthy Way of Life™, today reported its results for the first quarter ended September 30, 2011. "We have seen a strong start to our fiscal year as we continue to experience favorable growth trends across our branded portfolio, despite the challenging economy," said Irwin D. Simon, founder, president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial in a prepared statement. "Consumption trends improved year-over-year driven by consumers seeking out our natural and organic products. The strength of our existing portfolio coupled with our very exciting recent acquisitions of Daniels Group in the United Kingdom and the Europe's Best® brand in Canada give us a solid international platform for growth. With our leading brands in on-trend categories, our product innovation capabilities and the depth of our management team and existing infrastructure, we believe our global operations will achieve our growth and profitability expectations. With our newly established international scale, we look for increased growth and profit contributions outside the United States alongside our achievements in the United States," concluded Irwin Simon.
Net sales in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 increased 13.3 percent to $292.4 million as compared to net sales of $258.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. The company's growth was driven by increased consumption in core categories, strong contributions from its Earth's Best®, MaraNatha®, Spectrum®, The Greek Gods®, Sensible Portions®, Linda McCartney® and personal care brands, and expanded distribution principally in the grocery and mass channels.
The company earned $11.7 million in net income as compared to $9.1 million in the first quarter of the prior year and reported earnings per diluted share of $0.26 as compared to $0.21 in the first quarter of the prior year. Adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.29 on adjusted net income of $13.0 million in the fiscal 2012 first quarter as compared to $0.25 per share on adjusted net income of $10.8 million in the prior year first quarter. Adjusted net income and earnings per diluted share improved 19.9 percent and 16.0 percent, respectively, over the prior year first quarter. Adjusted net income for these periods excludes only acquisition related items.
Gross profit in the first quarter improved 13 basis points to 27.3 percent of net sales, as compared to the prior year first quarter of 27.2 percent, on the strength of a favorable mix of product sales worldwide and productivity savings, which helped offset input cost inflation of approximately 4.5 percent over the prior year first quarter. In the first quarter, selling, general and administrative expenses improved by 55 basis points to 18.9 percent of net sales when compared to the prior year first quarter of 19.4 percent. Operating margin was 7.8 percent of net sales, an improvement of 63 basis points on a GAAP basis and 52 basis points on an adjusted basis, as compared to the prior year first quarter.