SEC Document



restrict our operational flexibility and reduce our ability to conduct certain transactions, since our credit facility contains certain restrictive financial and operating covenants;


limit our flexibility to adjust to changing business and market conditions, which would make us more vulnerable to a downturn in general economic conditions; and


have a material adverse effect on our short-term liquidity if large debt maturities occur in close succession.

We cannot assure you that our business always will be able to make timely or sufficient payments of our debt.  Should we fail to comply with covenants in our debt instruments, such failure could result in an event of default which, if not cured or waived, would have a material adverse effect on us.

Fluctuations in the supply and prices of raw materials may negatively impact our financial results.

We obtain raw materials from a number of suppliers.  Many of our raw materials are petroleum-based derivatives, minerals and metals.  The cost of raw materials has in the past experienced, and likely will continue to experience, periods of volatility which could increase the cost of manufacturing our products.  Under normal market conditions, these materials are generally available on the open market from a variety of producers; however, unexpected shortages are a possibility.  Interruptions in the supply of raw materials could have a significant impact on our ability to produce products. Recently, some raw material costs have increased significantly and we have experienced some tightening in supply.  Adequate supply of critical raw materials is managed by establishing contracts, procuring from multiple sources, and identifying alternative materials or technology; however, the unavailability of raw materials or increased prices of raw materials that we are unable to pass along to our customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

The markets in which we operate are highly competitive and some of our competitors are much larger than we are and may have greater financial resources than we do.

The markets in which we operate are fragmented, and we do not face competition from any one company across all of our product lines. However, any significant increase in competition, as a result of the consolidation of competitors, including the merger of Sherwin-Williams and Valspar, or otherwise, may cause us to lose market share or compel us to reduce prices to remain competitive, which could result in reduced gross profit margins. Increased competition may also impair our ability to grow or to maintain our current levels of revenues and earnings. Companies that compete in our markets include Akzo Nobel, Ferro, GCP Applied Technologies, H.B. Fuller, Masco, PPG, and Sherwin-Williams. Several of these companies are much larger than we are and may have greater financial resources than we do. Increased competition with these companies could prevent the institution of price increases or could require price reductions or increased spending to maintain our market share, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our success depends upon our ability to attract and retain key employees and the succession of senior management.

Our success largely depends on the performance of our management team and other key employees. If we are unable to attract and retain talented, highly qualified senior management and other key people, our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition could be adversely affected. In addition, if we are unable to effectively provide for the succession of senior management, including our Chief Executive Officer, our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition may be adversely affected. While we follow a disciplined, ongoing succession planning process and have succession plans in place for senior management and other key executives, these do not guarantee that the services of qualified senior executives will continue to be available to us at particular moments in time.

We depend on a number of large customers for a significant portion of our net sales and, therefore, significant declines in the level of purchases by any of these key customers could harm our business.

Some of our operating companies, particularly in the consumer segment, face a substantial amount of customer concentration. Our key consumer segment customers include Ace Hardware, Cotter & Company, Do It Best, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Menards, Orgill, Rona, Wal-Mart and W.W. Grainger. Sales to our ten largest consumer segment customers accounted for approximately 23%, 23% and 23% of our total net sales for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, and 67%, 68% and 67%, respectively, of the consumer segment’s net sales for those same fiscal years. Sales to the Home Depot represented less than 10% of our consolidated net sales for fiscal 2017 and 2016, and 10% of our consolidated net sales for fiscal 2015, and 28%, 28% and 29% of our consumer segment net sales for fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.  If we were to lose one or more of our key customers, or experience a delay or cancellation of a significant order, or incur a significant decrease in the level of purchases from any of our key customers, or experience difficulty in collecting amounts due from a key customer, our net revenues could decline materially and our operating results could be reduced materially.



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