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GCP Applied Technologies Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results

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GCP Applied Technologies Reports Second Quarter 2020 Results
  • 2Q20 Net sales $195.4 million down 25%
  • Gross Margin 39.1%, an increase of 130 basis points
  • Selling, general and administrative expenses $65.7 million, decreased 8%
  • 2Q20 Loss from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders of $1.3 million; Adjusted EBIT* of $13.3 million
  • Net cash provided by operating activities of $17.6 million for six months ended June 30, 2020
  • Completed the sale of GCP’s Cambridge headquarters for $125 million; Board of Directors authorizes $100 million stock repurchase program

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — GCP Applied Technologies Inc. (NYSE: GCP), a leading global provider of construction products technologies, today announced results for the second quarter of 2020.

For the three months ended June 30, 2020, GCP reported net sales of $195.4 million compared to $262.2 million in the prior year quarter. Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits* were $200.0 million versus $258.3 million in the prior year quarter. Loss from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders was $1.3 million compared to income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders of $3.1 million in the second quarter of 2019, while Adjusted EBITDA* totaled $25.0 million, down from $36.1 million in the prior year quarter. Adjusted EBIT* was $13.3 million compared to $25.1 million in the prior year quarter. Diluted loss per share from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders was $0.02 versus diluted earnings per share of $0.04 in the second quarter of 2019, while Adjusted EPS* was $0.09 compared to $0.19 in the prior year quarter.

Randy Dearth, GCP’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our organization performed well during the second quarter in the face of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. We continue to demonstrate our ability to deliver positive operating cash flow despite the drop in global construction demand. Our strong balance sheet, which features significant liquidity of approximately $670 million as of June 30, 2020 and no near-term debt maturities, is a competitive differentiator that provides substantial financial flexibility and positions us well to successfully manage through the ongoing economic challenges and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dearth continued, “We remain committed to providing excellent service to our customers and advancing our operational improvements. I would like to thank all of our employees whose dedication and commitment continue to be instrumental as we navigate through this changing operating environment.”

“I am pleased to confirm that we completed the sale of GCP’s Cambridge headquarters on July 31, 2020.  Planning is underway to locate a fitting location for our headquarters. The transaction unlocks value for GCP shareholders and is consistent with the Company’s commitment to invigorating its focus on profitable growth and value creation.”

“With the addition of this cash to our strong balance sheet, we believe now is the right time to have the ability to allocate a portion of our capital to the repurchase of GCP stock through an authorized $100 million stock repurchase program”, concluded Randy Dearth.

Total GCP Applied Technologies
($ Millions)

2Q 2020 2Q 2019 % Change
Net sales $195.4 $262.2 (25.5)%
Net Sales Constant Currency* $200.0 $262.2 (23.7)%
Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits* $200.0 $258.3 (22.6)%
Gross margin 39.1% 37.8% 130 bps
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders $(1.3) $3.1 NM
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders as a percentage of net sales (0.7)% 1.2% (190) bps
Diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders $(0.02) $0.04 NM
Adjusted EPS* $0.09 $0.19 (52.6)%
Adjusted EBIT* $13.3 $25.1 (47.0)%
Adjusted EBIT Margin* 6.8% 9.6% (280) bps
Adjusted EBITDA* $25.0 $36.1 (30.7)%
Adjusted EBITDA Margin* 12.8% 13.8% (100) bps

Second Quarter 2020:

  • Net sales decreased 25.5% primarily attributable to lower sales volumes in SCC and SBM due to lower construction and manufacturing activity resulting from COVID- 19 and unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation, partially offset by price increases in Latin America.
  • Gross margin increased 130 basis points to 39.1% primarily due to lower raw materials, labor and freight costs which more than offset the unfavorable impact of lower sales volumes.
  • Selling, general and administrative costs of $65.7 million decreased 8% for the second quarter primarily due to reduced discretionary spending, benefits from our productivity initiatives and lower employee costs resulting from restructuring programs. Favorable impacts were partially offset by increased shareholder activism and other related costs as well as increased expenses related to our growth initiatives.
  • Loss from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders was $1.3 million compared to income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders of $3.1 million for the prior year quarter. The change was primarily due to lower gross profit compared with the prior year quarter due to lower sales volumes, partially offset by reduced restructuring and repositioning costs, lower selling, general and administrative costs and lower tax expense.
  • Adjusted EBIT* of $13.3 million decreased 47.0% compared to the prior year quarter primarily due to lower operating income in SCC and SBM, partially offset by lower corporate costs and certain pension costs.
  • Adjusted EBITDA* decreased 30.7% to $25.0 million with a corresponding Adjusted EBITDA Margin* of 12.8%.The decrease was due to lower Adjusted EBIT*.

Second Quarter Segment Performance

Specialty Construction Chemicals
($ Millions)

2Q 2020 2Q 2019 % Change
Net sales $115.9 $150.4 (22.9)%
Net Sales Constant Currency* $119.5 $150.4 (20.5)%
Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits* $119.5 $146.5 (18.4)%
Gross margin 39.1% 35.6% 350 bps
Segment operating income $9.9 $14.2 (30.3)%
Segment operating margin 8.5% 9.4% (90) bps
  • Net sales decreased 22.9% compared with the prior-year quarter due to lower volumes in all regions and the unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation, partially offset by increased pricing, principally in Latin America.
  • Gross margin increased 350 basis points to 39.1% primarily due to raw material deflation, improved operations and logistics productivity, as well as favorable regional mix, which more than offset the unfavorable impact of lower volumes resulting in reduced operating leverage.
  • Segment operating margin decreased 90 basis points primarily due to lower sales volumes impacting operating leverage, partially offset by higher gross margin.

Specialty Building Materials
($ Millions)

2Q 2020 2Q 2019 % Change
Net sales $79.5 $111.8 (28.9)%
Net Sales Constant Currency* $80.5 $111.8 (28.0)%
Gross margin 39.7% 41.1% (140) bps
Segment operating income $11.0 $22.3 (50.7)%
Segment operating margin 13.8% 19.9% (610) bps
  • Net sales decreased 28.9% due to lower construction and manufacturing activity in all regions resulting from COVID-19.
  • Gross margin of 39.7% declined 140 basis points primarily due to unfavorable impact of lower volumes resulting in reduced operating leverage, partially offset by raw material deflation.
  • Segment operating margin of 13.8% decreased 610 basis points primarily due to lower sales volumes negatively impacting operating leverage and lower gross margin, partially offset by lower operating costs.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
The Company has been closely monitoring the impact of novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and managing its effects on its business globally as the situation continues to evolve rapidly.

COVID-19 began emerging in the latter half of the first quarter resulting in temporary mandated closures of the Company’s manufacturing operations, primarily in China. During the second quarter, the pandemic spread and intensified throughout the world resulting in mandated and voluntary closures of some of the Company’s manufacturing operations and administrative offices. During this time, the Company focused on protecting the health, safety and well-being of its employees in accordance with guidelines issued by national and other health and safety authorities, while seeking to meet the needs of its global customers and suppliers. The Company activated its business continuity team which is comprised of commercial, procurement, supply chain, and operations professionals. These professionals work with all facets of the GCP organization to maintain health and safety while continuing to service its customers. Responsive measures the Company adopted include working remotely when possible, establishing procedures for deep cleaning of facilities, restricting business travel, providing personal protective equipment, using appropriate social distancing practices, and restricting visitor access to facilities.

As construction was allowed to continue in a number of GCP’s geographic markets for a majority of the first quarter, COVID-19 did not have a material effect on the Company’s overall results of operations during the quarter, although temporary mandated closures of its manufacturing operations, primarily in China, began to negatively impact the Company’s revenue and profitability in the latter half of the first quarter. COVID-19 has negatively impacted the Company’s operating results during the second quarter due primarily to periodic closures of its facilities in all regions in which the Company operates, and periodic mandatory halts of construction activity in specific cities and countries around the world by government authorities or voluntary closures due to safety concerns. The Company’s customers experienced similar disruptions as a result of the pandemic which resulted in reduced customer demand and orders for the Company’s products. The Company has taken actions to preserve its liquidity by reducing discretionary spending and certain planned capital expenditures.

It is difficult for GCP to predict at this time the duration and extent of the impact of COVID-19 on the global construction industry, the Company’s business, its financial position, results of operations, or liquidity. Factors the Company is monitoring to assess the potential duration and extent of the impact of COVID-19 on its operations include the health of the global economy and construction industry, specifically on demand drivers for its construction products, as well as operational disruptions including those resulting from government actions, such as mandatory halts of construction activity, travel restrictions, as well as facility and work site closures. Due to this uncertainty, the Company believes the impact of COVID-19 may continue to negatively impact its performance in future periods, and there can be no assurance that a continued or deepening impact of COVID-19 would not have a material adverse effect on its future results of operations or cash flows. The Company will continue to prioritize the health and safety of its employees and serving its customers while minimizing disruption to the extent possible. The Company will also continue to monitor the health of the construction industry in the geographic markets in which the Company operates and respond accordingly.

Capital Allocation and Liquidity
GCP remains committed to maintaining a disciplined approach to capital allocation and preserving the Company’s strong balance sheet. GCP’s cash balance at the end of the second quarter of 2020 was $318.2 million. The Company has reduced planned capital expenditures by approximately $25 million in 2020 to further support its cash position. GCP has access to additional liquidity in the form of a $350 million revolving credit facility maturing in 2023, which brings total liquidity sources to approximately $670 million as of June 30, 2020. The Company’s 5.5% Senior Notes with an aggregate principal amount of $350 million mature in 2026. GCP’s strong balance sheet, which features significant liquidity and no near-term debt maturities, is a competitive differentiator that provides substantial financial flexibility and positions the Company well to successfully manage through the ongoing economic challenges and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Restructuring and Repositioning Plans
GCP’s restructuring and repositioning plans are focused on the Company’s SCC segment, its global supply chain, as well as its general administration and business support functions. The plans are designed to reduce the Company’s complexity, create a more efficient and effective organization, and generate approximately $80 million in expected savings from 2018 through 2022. These expected savings exclude savings that the Company achieved from the execution of its 2017 restructuring and repositioning plan. GCP will continue to evaluate opportunities to improve its operations and cost structure beyond its currently active initiatives.

Subsequent Events

Sale of Corporate Headquarters
On July 2, 2020, GCP entered into a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement with IQHQ, L.P., for a sale and subsequent leaseback of its corporate headquarters located at 62 Whittemore Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140 for total consideration of $125.0 million. The transaction closed on July 31, 2020. Pursuant to the sale of the property, the Company received cash proceeds of $122.5 million, net of related transaction costs and commissions. The initial rent-free lease term of eighteen months commenced on July 31, 2020 and can be extended for an additional six months at the Company’s option subject to monthly rental payments of $0.6 million. Under the terms of the lease, GCP is required to pay operating expenses, utilities, insurance, real estate taxes and assessments applicable to the property, as well as certain repairs and maintenance costs.

Stock Repurchase Program
On July 30, 2020, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of GCP authorized a program to repurchase up to $100 million of the Company’s common stock which is effective through July 30, 2022. Share repurchases under the program may be made from time to time at the Board’s discretion through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including Rule 10b-18 of the Exchange Act. The share repurchase program is subject to a periodic review by the Board and may be suspended periodically or discontinued at any time. The Company plans to fund repurchases from its existing cash balance. No shares have been repurchased by the Company subsequent to July 30, 2020.

Investor Call
GCP has scheduled a conference call and webcast at 10:00 a.m. ET today to review its second quarter 2020 results. Those who wish to listen to the conference call webcast should visit the Investors section of the GCP website at www.gcpat.com. The live call can be accessed  by dialing +1 (888) 254-3590 in the U.S. or +1 (720) 543-0214 internationally prior to the start of the call. Participants should ask to join the GCP Applied Technologies call. An accompanying slide presentation will also be available on the website.

For those unable to participate in the live conference call, a playback will be available until May 13, 2020. To listen to the playback, please dial +1 (888) 203-1112 in the U.S. or +1 (719) 457-0820 internationally; the access code is 8265227.  An audio webcast replay will also be available in the “Events and Presentations” section of the Company’s website for approximately three months.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
In this press release the Company refers to non-GAAP financial measures including: Net Sales Constant Currency, Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits, Adjusted Gross Profit, Adjusted Gross Profit Margin, Adjusted EBIT, Adjusted EBIT Margin, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, Adjusted Free Cash Flow, Adjusted EPS, and Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital. These non-GAAP measures do not purport to represent income or liquidity measures as defined under United States generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), and should not be considered as alternatives to such measures as an indicator of GCP’s performance. These measures are provided to investors and others to improve the period-to-period and peer-to-peer comparability of GCP’s financial results and to ensure that investors understand the information GCP uses to evaluate the performance of its businesses.

The Analysis of Operations pages included in this press release provide reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to their most comparable GAAP measures, as well as definitions for each of these non-GAAP financial measures and explanations as to why management finds them useful and believes they are useful to investors, potential investors and others.

Investor Relations
Betsy Cowell
T +1 617.498.4568
investors@gcpat.com

***********************************************************************************************************************
About GCP Applied Technologies
GCP is a leading global provider of construction products technologies that include additives for cement and concrete, the VERIFI® in-transit concrete management system, high-performance waterproofing products, and specialty systems. GCP products have been used to build some of the world’s most renowned structures. More information is available at www.gcpat.com.

This announcement contains “forward-looking statements,” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the context of the statement and generally arise when GCP or its management is discussing its beliefs, estimates or expectations. Such statements generally include the words “believes,” “plans,” “intends,” “targets,” “will,” “expects,” “estimates,” “suggests,” “anticipates,” “outlook,” “continues,” or similar expressions. These statements are not historical facts or guarantees of future performance but instead represent only the beliefs of GCP and its management at the time the statements were made regarding future events which are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside GCP’s control. Actual results and outcomes may differ materially from what is expressed or forecast in such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements about expected financial positions; results of operations; cash flows; financing plans; business strategy; operating plans; strategic alternatives; capital and other expenditures; competitive positions; growth opportunities for existing products; benefits from new technology and cost reduction initiatives, plans and objectives; and markets for securities. Like other businesses, we are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from our projections or that could cause other forward-looking statements to prove incorrect. Factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, or that could cause other forward-looking statements to prove incorrect, include, without limitation, risks related to: the cyclical and seasonal nature of the industries that GCP serves; foreign operations, especially in emerging regions; changes in currency exchange rates; business disruptions due to public health or safety emergencies, such as the novel strain of coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic;  the cost and availability of raw materials and energy; the effectiveness of GCP’s research and development, new product introductions and growth investments; acquisitions and divestitures of assets and gains and losses from dispositions; developments affecting GCP’s outstanding liquidity and indebtedness, including debt covenants and interest rate exposure; developments affecting GCP’s funded and unfunded pension obligations; warranty and product liability claims; legal proceedings; the inability to establish or maintain certain business relationships and relationships with customers and suppliers or the inability to retain key personnel; the handling of hazardous materials and the costs of compliance with environmental regulations; extreme weather events and natural disasters. These and other factors are identified and described in more detail in GCP’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and is available online at www.sec.gov, and subsequent quarterly reports. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on GCP’s projections and other forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date thereof. GCP undertakes no obligation to publicly release any revision to its projections and other forward-looking statements contained in this announcement, or to update them to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this announcement.

*Non-GAAP financial measures. See the tables herein for important information regarding these measures and a reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures.
NM – Not meaningful.

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Operations (unaudited)

Three Months Ended June 30, Six Months Ended June 30,
(In millions, except per share amounts) 2020 2019 2020 2019
Net sales $ 195.4 $ 262.2 $ 412.1 $ 488.3
Cost of goods sold 119.0 163.2 253.8 307.1
Gross profit 76.4 99.0 158.3 181.2
Selling, general and administrative expenses 65.7 71.4 133.8 140.4
Research and development expenses 3.7 4.6 8.6 9.3
Interest expense and related financing costs 5.0 5.7 10.7 11.6
Repositioning expenses 1.0 5.8 3.7 11.2
Restructuring expenses and asset impairments 0.4 4.4 3.5 5.0
Other income, net (2.7 ) (1.7 ) (4.9 ) (3.5 )
Total costs and expenses 73.1 90.2 155.4 174.0
Income from continuing operations before income taxes 3.3 8.8 2.9 7.2
(Provision for) benefit from income taxes (4.5 ) (5.7 ) (2.6 ) 10.7
(Loss) income from continuing operations (1.2 ) 3.1 0.3 17.9
(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes (0.5 ) (0.3 ) 6.3
Net (loss) income (1.2 ) 2.6 24.2
Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests (0.1 ) (0.2 ) (0.2 )
Net (loss) income attributable to GCP shareholders $ (1.3 ) $ 2.6 $ (0.2 ) $ 24.0
Amounts Attributable to GCP Shareholders:
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders (1.3 ) 3.1 0.1 17.7
(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes (0.5 ) (0.3 ) 6.3
Net (loss) income attributable to GCP shareholders $ (1.3 ) $ 2.6 $ (0.2 ) $ 24.0
Earnings (Loss) Per Share Attributable to GCP Shareholders
Basic earnings (loss) per share:(2)
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04 $ $ 0.24
(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes $ $ (0.01 ) $ $ 0.09
Net (loss) income attributable to GCP shareholders(1) $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04 $ $ 0.33
Weighted average number of basic shares 72.9 72.6 72.9 72.5
Diluted earnings (loss) per share:(2)
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04 $ $ 0.24
(Loss) income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes $ $ (0.01 ) $ $ 0.09
Net (loss) income attributable to GCP shareholders(1) $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04 $ $ 0.33
Weighted average number of diluted shares 72.9 73.0 73.0 72.9

______________________________

(1) Amounts may not sum due to rounding.

(2) Dilutive effect only applicable to the periods during which GCP generated net income from continuing operations.

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Consolidated Balance Sheets (unaudited)

(In millions, except par value and shares) June 30, 2020 December 31, 2019
ASSETS
Current Assets
Cash and cash equivalents $ 318.2 $ 325.0
Trade accounts receivable, net of allowance for credit losses of $7.3 million and $7.5 million, respectively 148.9 183.7
Inventories, net 98.5 95.9
Other current assets 45.4 43.7
Total Current Assets 611.0 648.3
Properties and equipment, net 243.1 245.3
Operating lease right-of-use assets 33.8 29.3
Goodwill 200.3 208.9
Technology and other intangible assets, net 72.7 80.7
Deferred income taxes 17.5 26.1
Overfunded defined benefit pension plans 23.6 25.0
Other assets 38.3 38.0
Non-current assets held for sale 0.5
Total Assets $ 1,240.3 $ 1,302.1
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current Liabilities
Debt payable within one year $ 2.7 $ 2.7
Operating lease obligations payable within one year 8.0 8.1
Accounts payable 73.1 88.4
Other current liabilities 92.1 113.6
Total Current Liabilities 175.9 212.8
Debt payable after one year 348.7 346.5
Income taxes payable 35.2 41.4
Deferred income taxes 11.9 13.1
Operating lease obligations 26.5 21.6
Unrecognized tax benefits 42.6 42.2
Underfunded and unfunded defined benefit pension plans 68.7 67.5
Other liabilities 15.6 15.9
Total Liabilities 725.1 761.0
Commitments and Contingencies
Stockholders’ Equity
Series A Junior Participating Preferred Stock, par value $0.01; 10,000,000 shares authorized, no shares issued or outstanding
Common stock issued, par value $0.01; 300,000,000 shares authorized; outstanding: 72,974,610 and 72,850,268, respectively 0.7 0.7
Paid-in capital 56.9 53.4
Accumulated earnings 610.0 610.2
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (145.7 ) (117.0 )
Treasury stock (8.9 ) (8.6 )
Total GCP’s Shareholders’ Equity 513.0 538.7
Noncontrolling interests 2.2 2.4
Total Stockholders’ Equity 515.2 541.1
Total Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity $ 1,240.3 $ 1,302.1

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (unaudited)

Six Months Ended June 30,
(In millions) 2020 2019
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
Net income $ $ 24.2
Less: (Loss) income from discontinued operations (0.3 ) 6.3
Income from continuing operations 0.3 17.9
Reconciliation to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization 22.7 21.1
Amortization of debt discount and financing costs 0.7 0.7
Stock-based compensation expense 2.3 5.0
Unrealized loss on foreign currency 1.6
Deferred income taxes (5.8 ) (15.5 )
Loss (gain) on disposal of property and equipment 0.1 (0.2 )
Changes in assets and liabilities, excluding effect of currency translation:
Trade accounts receivable 30.3 9.5
Inventories (5.1 ) (6.8 )
Accounts payable (13.5 ) (17.6 )
Pension assets and liabilities, net 1.6 2.5
Other assets and liabilities, net (15.3 ) (17.3 )
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities from continuing operations 19.9 (0.7 )
Net cash used in operating activities from discontinued operations (2.3 ) (12.4 )
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities 17.6 (13.1 )
INVESTING ACTIVITIES
Capital expenditures (18.8 ) (27.7 )
Other investing activities 0.4 0.5
Net cash used in investing activities from continuing operations (18.4 ) (27.2 )
Net cash used in investing activities from discontinued operations (0.4 )
Net cash used in investing activities (18.4 ) (27.6 )
FINANCING ACTIVITIES
Repayments under credit arrangements (7.6 )
Payments on finance lease obligations (0.4 ) (0.4 )
Payments of tax withholding obligations related to employee equity awards (0.3 ) (3.2 )
Proceeds from exercise of stock options 0.7 5.0
Payments of dividends to noncontrolling interests (0.4 )
Net cash used in financing activities from continuing operations (0.4 ) (6.2 )
Effect of currency exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents (5.6 ) 0.6
Decrease in cash and cash equivalents (6.8 ) (46.3 )
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period 325.0 326.1
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 318.2 $ 279.8
Supplemental disclosure of non-cash investing activities:
Property and equipment purchases unpaid and included in accounts payable $ 5.3 $ 12.3

Analysis of Operations

The Company has set forth in the tables below GCP’s key operating statistics with percentage changes for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019.

Segment operating margin is defined as segment operating income divided by segment net sales. It represents an operating performance measure related to ongoing earnings and trends in GCP operating segments that are engaged in revenue generation and other core business activities. The Company uses this metric to allocate resources between the segments and assess its strategic and operating decisions related to core operations of its business.

In the table, the Company presents financial information in accordance with U.S. GAAP, as well as certain non-GAAP financial measures, which it describes below in further detail. GCP believes that the non-GAAP financial information supplements its discussions about the performance of its businesses, improves period-to-period comparability and provides insight to the information that management uses to evaluate the performance of its businesses. Management uses non-GAAP measures in financial and operational decision-making processes, for internal reporting, and as part of its forecasting and budgeting processes since these measures provide additional transparency to GCP’s core operations.

In the table, the Company has provided reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered substitutes for financial measures calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, and the financial results that the Company calculates and presents in the table in accordance with U.S. GAAP, as well as the corresponding reconciliations from those results, should be carefully evaluated.

The following are the non-GAAP financial measures presented in the table:

  • Net Sales Constant Currency (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as current period revenue in local currency translated using prior period exchange rates. GCP uses constant currency in assessing trends in sales excluding the impact of fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.
  • Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as Net Sales Constant Currency less the impact on net sales resulting from the exit of non-profitable geographic markets associated with the 2018 Restructuring Plan.
  • Adjusted EBIT (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as net income (loss) from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders adjusted for: (i) gains and losses on sales of businesses, product lines and certain other investments; (ii) currency and other financial losses in Venezuela; (iii) costs related to legacy product, environmental and other claims; (iv) restructuring and repositioning expenses, and asset impairments; (v) defined benefit plan costs other than service and interest costs, expected returns on plan assets and amortization of prior service costs/credits; (vi) third-party and other acquisition-related costs; (vii) other financing costs associated with the modification or extinguishment of debt; (viii) amortization of acquired inventory fair value adjustments; (ix) tax indemnification adjustments; (x) interest income, interest expense and related financing costs; (xi) income taxes; (xii) shareholder activism and other related costs; and (xiii) certain other items that are not representative of underlying trends. Adjusted EBIT Margin is defined as Adjusted EBIT divided by net sales. GCP uses Adjusted EBIT to assess and measure its operating performance and determine performance-based employee compensation. The Company uses Adjusted EBIT as a performance measure because it provides improved quarter-to-quarter and year-over-year comparability for decision-making and compensation purposes and allows management to measure the ongoing earnings results of its strategic and operating decisions.
  • Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as Adjusted EBIT adjusted for depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA Margin is defined as Adjusted EBITDA divided by net sales. GCP uses Adjusted EBITDA as a performance measure in making significant business decisions.
  • Adjusted Earnings Per Share (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as earnings per share (“EPS”) from continuing operations on a diluted basis adjusted for: (i) gains and losses on sales of businesses, product lines and certain other investments; (ii) currency and other financial losses in Venezuela; (iii) costs related to legacy product, environmental and other claims; (iv) restructuring and repositioning expenses and asset impairments; (v) defined benefit plan costs other than service and interest costs, expected returns on plan assets and amortization of prior service costs/credits; (vi) third-party and other acquisition-related costs; (vii) other financing costs associated with the modification or extinguishment of debt; (viii) amortization of acquired inventory fair value adjustments; (ix) tax indemnification adjustments; (x) shareholder activism and other related costs; (xi) certain discrete tax items; and (xii) certain other items that are not representative of underlying trends. GCP uses Adjusted EPS as a performance measure to review its diluted earnings per share results on a consistent basis and in determining certain performance-based employee compensation.
  • Adjusted Gross Profit (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as gross profit adjusted for: (i) corporate and pension-related costs included in cost of goods sold; (ii) loss in Venezuela included in cost of goods sold; (iii) amortization of acquired inventory fair value adjustment; and (iv) certain other items that are not representative of underlying trends. Adjusted Gross Margin means Adjusted Gross Profit divided by net sales. GCP uses this performance measure to understand trends and changes and to make business decisions regarding core operations.
  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as net cash provided by or used in operating activities minus capital expenditures plus: (i) cash paid for restructuring and repositioning, third party and other acquisition-related costs, costs related to legacy product, environmental and other claims, as well as certain other items that are not representative of underlying trends, net of related cash taxes; (ii) capital expenditures related to repositioning; and (iii) accelerated payments under defined benefit pension arrangements. GCP uses Adjusted Free Cash Flow as a liquidity measure to evaluate its ability to generate cash to support its ongoing business operations, to invest in its businesses, to provide a return of capital to shareholders and to determine payments of performance-based compensation.
  • Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital (a non-GAAP financial measure)– is defined as Adjusted EBIT (on a trailing four quarters basis) divided by stockholders’ equity adjusted for: (i) cash and cash equivalents, (ii) debt, (iii) income tax assets and liabilities, (iv) defined benefit pension plan assets and liabilities, and (iv) certain other assets and liabilities. GCP manages its operations with the objective of maximizing sales, earnings and cash flow over time which requires that the Company successfully balances its growth, profitability and working capital and other investments to support sustainable, long-term financial performance. During the second quarter and the prior periods, GCP used Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital as a performance measure in evaluating operating results, making operating, investment and capital allocation decisions, and balancing the growth and profitability of its operations.

Beginning with the second quarter of  2020, GCP no longer excludes the impact of COVID-19-related costs from its computation of Adjusted EBIT, Adjusted EBIT Margin, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, Adjusted EPS, Adjusted Gross Profit and Adjusted Gross Margin. In the first quarter of 2020, these costs consisted of fixed manufacturing costs and discretionary direct labor costs incurred during temporary closure of the Company’s manufacturing facilities, primarily in China, as a direct result of the outbreak. The pandemic’s ongoing impact on GCP’s global operations paired with the potential longevity of its duration and resurgence, as well as the uncertainty related to the timing of development of an antiviral vaccine or a medical treatment to prevent further spread of the virus and facilitate recovery, suggests it may no longer be infrequent or unusual in nature. As a result, the Company will no longer exclude the impact of COVID-19-related costs from its computation of the aforementioned non-GAAP financial measures starting with the second quarter of 2020 and going forward.

Beginning with the third quarter of 2020 and going forward, GCP will no longer be presenting Adjusted EBIT Return on Invested Capital since management will no longer be relying on this measure when evaluating the Company’s financial performance and operating results. GCP does not believe the presentation of Adjusted EBIT Return on Invested Capital enhances the investors’ understanding of its financial performance and results of operations.

Adjusted EBIT, Adjusted EBIT Margin, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, Adjusted EPS, Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital, Adjusted Gross Profit and Adjusted Gross Margin do not purport to represent income measures as defined in accordance with U.S. GAAP. These measures are provided to investors and others to improve the quarter-to-quarter, year-to-year, and peer-to-peer comparability of the Company’s financial results and to ensure that investors understand the information it uses to evaluate the performance of its businesses.

Adjusted EBIT has material limitations as an operating performance measure because it excludes costs related to income and expenses from restructuring and repositioning activities which historically have been a material component of the Company’s net income (loss) from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders. Adjusted EBITDA also has material limitations as an operating performance measure because it excludes the impact of depreciation and amortization expense. The Company’s business is substantially dependent on the successful deployment of capital, and depreciation and amortization expense is a necessary element of the Company costs. GCP compensates for the limitations of these measurements by using these indicators together with net income (loss) measured in accordance with GAAP to present a complete analysis of its results of operations. Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBITDA should be evaluated together with net income (loss) from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders measured in accordance with GAAP for a complete understanding of its results of operations.

The Company does not provide GAAP financial information on a forward-looking basis because the Company is unable to estimate with reasonable certainty unusual or unanticipated charges, expenses or gains without unreasonable effort. These items are uncertain, depend on various factors, and could be material to the Company’s results computed in accordance with GAAP.

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Analysis of Operations (unaudited)

Analysis of Operations
(In millions, except per share amounts)
Three Months Ended June 30, Six Months Ended June 30,
2020 2019 % Change 2020 2019 % Change
Net sales:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ 115.9 $ 150.4 (22.9 )% $ 241.3 $ 282.1 (14.5 )%
Specialty Building Materials 79.5 111.8 (28.9 )% 170.8 206.2 (17.2 )%
Total GCP net sales $ 195.4 $ 262.2 (25.5 )% $ 412.1 $ 488.3 (15.6 )%
Net sales by region:
North America $ 112.3 $ 135.8 (17.3 )% $ 231.5 $ 249.3 (7.1 )%
Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA) 34.6 52.3 (33.8 )% 78.9 98.7 (20.1 )%
Asia Pacific 39.7 58.9 (32.6 )% 80.0 109.6 (27.0 )%
Latin America 8.8 15.2 (42.1 )% 21.7 30.7 (29.3 )%
Total net sales by region $ 195.4 $ 262.2 (25.5 )% $ 412.1 $ 488.3 (15.6 )%
Net Sales Constant Currency:
Specialty Construction Chemicals 119.5 $ 150.4 (20.5 )% $ 247.0 $ 282.1 (12.4 )%
Specialty Building Materials 80.5 111.8 (28.0 )% 172.4 206.2 (16.4 )%
Total GCP Net Sales Constant Currency (non-GAAP) $ 200.0 $ 262.2 (23.7 )% $ 419.4 $ 488.3 (14.1 )%
Impact of Market Exits:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ $ 3.9 (100.0 )% $ $ 5.6 (100.0 )%
Specialty Building Materials NM NM
Total Impact of Market Exits $ $ 3.9 (100.0 )% $ $ 5.6 (100.0 )%
Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ 119.5 $ 146.5 (18.4 )% $ 247.0 $ 276.5 (10.7 )%
Specialty Building Materials 80.5 111.8 (28.0 )% 172.4 206.2 (16.4 )%
Total GCP Net Sales Constant Currency Excluding Market Exits (non-GAAP) $ 200.0 $ 258.3 (22.6 )% $ 419.4 $ 482.7 (13.1 )%
Profitability performance measures:
Adjusted EBIT (A):
Specialty Construction Chemicals segment operating income $ 9.9 $ 14.2 (30.3 )% $ 17.8 $ 22.1 (19.5 )%
Specialty Building Materials segment operating income 11.0 22.3 (50.7 )% 24.7 38.2 (35.3 )%
Corporate costs (B) (6.3 ) (9.4 ) (33.0 )% (12.1 ) (19.3 ) (37.3 )%
Certain pension costs (C) (1.3 ) (2.0 ) (35.0 )% (2.6 ) (3.9 ) (33.3 )%
Adjusted EBIT (non-GAAP) $ 13.3 $ 25.1 (47.0 )% 27.8 37.1 (25.1 )%
Repositioning expenses (1.0 ) (5.8 ) (82.8 )% (3.7 ) (11.2 ) (67.0 )%
Restructuring expenses and asset impairments (0.4 ) (4.4 ) (90.9 )% (3.5 ) (5.0 ) (30.0 )%
Shareholder activism and other related costs (D) (3.8 ) (1.1 ) NM (7.4 ) (3.6 ) NM
Third-party and other acquisition-related costs (0.2 ) (100.0 )% (0.7 ) (0.1 ) NM
Interest expense, net (4.7 ) (4.9 ) (4.1 )% (9.8 ) (10.1 ) (3.0 )%
Legacy product, environmental and other claims (0.1 ) 100.0 % (0.1 ) 100.0 %
Income tax (provision) benefit (4.5 ) (5.7 ) (21.1 )% (2.6 ) 10.7 NM
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders $ (1.3 ) $ 3.1 NM $ 0.1 $ 17.7 (99.4 )%
(Loss) income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders a percentage of net sales (0.7 )% 1.2 % (1.9) pts % 3.6 % (3.6) pts
Diluted EPS from continuing operations (GAAP) $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04 NM $ $ 0.24 (100.0 )%
Adjusted EPS (non-GAAP) $ 0.09 $ 0.19 (52.6 )% $ 0.19 $ 0.26 (26.9 )%

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Analysis of Operations (unaudited) (continued)

Analysis of Operations
(In millions)
Three Months Ended June 30, Six Months Ended June 30,
2020 2019 % Change 2020 2019 % Change
Adjusted profitability performance measures:
Gross Profit:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ 45.3 $ 53.6 (15.5 ) % $ 92.4 $ 97.9 (5.6 ) %
Specialty Building Materials 31.6 46.0 (31.3 ) % 66.8 84.2 (20.7 ) %
Adjusted Gross Profit (non-GAAP) $ 76.9 $ 99.6 (22.8 ) % 159.2 182.1 (12.6 ) %
Corporate costs and pension costs in cost of goods sold (C) (0.5 ) (0.6 ) (16.7 ) % (0.9 ) (0.9 ) %
Total GCP Gross Profit (GAAP) $ 76.4 $ 99.0 (22.8 ) % $ 158.3 $ 181.2 (12.6 ) %
Gross Margin:
Specialty Construction Chemicals 39.1 % 35.6 % 3.5 pts 38.3 % 34.7 % 3.6 pts
Specialty Building Materials 39.7 % 41.1 % (1.4) pts 39.1 % 40.8 % (1.7) pts
Adjusted Gross Margin (non-GAAP) 39.4 % 38.0 % 1.4 pts 38.6 % 37.3 % 1.3 pts
Corporate costs and pension costs in cost of goods sold (0.3 ) % (0.2 ) % (0.1) pts (0.2 ) % (0.2 ) % — pts
Total GCP Gross Margin (GAAP) 39.1 % 37.8 % 1.3 pts 38.4 % 37.1 % 1.3 pts
Adjusted EBIT (A)(B)(C):
Specialty Construction Chemicals segment operating income $ 9.9 $ 14.2 (30.3 ) % $ 17.8 $ 22.1 (19.5 ) %
Specialty Building Materials segment operating income 11.0 22.3 (50.7 ) % 24.7 38.2 (35.3 ) %
Corporate and certain pension costs (7.6 ) (11.4 ) (33.3 ) % (14.7 ) (23.2 ) (36.6 ) %
Total GCP Adjusted EBIT (non-GAAP) $ 13.3 $ 25.1 (47.0 ) % $ 27.8 $ 37.1 (25.1 ) %
Depreciation and amortization:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ 6.8 $ 6.1 11.5 % $ 13.2 $ 11.6 13.8 %
Specialty Building Materials 3.6 3.8 (5.3 ) % 7.2 7.6 (5.3 ) %
Corporate 1.3 1.1 18.2 % 2.3 1.9 21.1 %
Total GCP depreciation and amortization $ 11.7 $ 11.0 6.4 % $ 22.7 $ 21.1 7.6 %
Adjusted EBITDA:
Specialty Construction Chemicals $ 16.7 $ 20.3 (17.7 ) % $ 31.0 $ 33.7 (8.0 ) %
Specialty Building Materials 14.6 26.1 (44.1 ) % 31.9 45.8 (30.3 ) %
Corporate and certain pension costs (6.3 ) (10.3 ) (38.8 ) % (12.4 ) (21.3 ) (41.8 ) %
Total GCP Adjusted EBITDA (non-GAAP) $ 25.0 $ 36.1 (30.7 ) % $ 50.5 $ 58.2 (13.2 ) %
Adjusted EBIT Margin:
Specialty Construction Chemicals 8.5 % 9.4 % (0.9) pts 7.4 % 7.8 % (0.4) pts
Specialty Building Materials 13.8 % 19.9 % (6.1) pts 14.5 % 18.5 % (4.0) pts
Total GCP Adjusted EBIT Margin (non-GAAP) 6.8 % 9.6 % (2.8) pts 6.7 % 7.6 % (0.9) pts
Adjusted EBITDA Margin:
Specialty Construction Chemicals 14.4 % 13.5 % 0.9 pts 12.8 % 11.9 % 0.9 pts
Specialty Building Materials 18.4 % 23.3 % (4.9) pts 18.7 % 22.2 % (3.5) pts
Total GCP Adjusted EBITDA Margin (non-GAAP) 12.8 % 13.8 % (1.0) pts 12.3 % 11.9 % 0.4 pts
Analysis of Operations
(In millions)
Four Quarters Ended
June 30, 2020 June 30, 2019
Calculation of Return on Stockholders’ Equity and Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital (trailing four quarters):
Income from continuing operations attributable to GCP shareholders (trailing four quarters): $ 23.0 $ 44.6
Stockholders’ Equity (end of period) 515.2 512.3
Assets:
Cash and cash equivalents (318.2 ) (279.8 )
Pension plans (23.6 ) (22.3 )
Income taxes (17.5 ) (26.5 )
Other current assets (E) (15.2 ) (11.8 )
Other assets (F) (2.6 ) (3.6 )
Assets held for sale (0.5 )
Subtotal (377.1 ) (344.5 )
Liabilities:
Debt* 351.4 349.1
Income taxes 89.7 96.9
Pension plans 68.7 50.5
Other current liabilities (G) 15.9 26.1
Other liabilities (H) 2.1 1.8
Subtotal 527.8 524.4
Total invested capital (end of period) $ 665.9 $ 692.2
Return on Stockholders’ Equity 4.5 % 8.7 %
Adjusted EBIT (trailing four quarters) $ 92.5 $ 108.9
Adjusted EBIT Return On Invested Capital (non-GAAP) 13.9 % 15.7 %

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(A) GCP segment operating income includes only its share of income of consolidated joint ventures.

(B) Management allocates certain corporate costs to each operating segment to the extent such costs are directly attributable to the segments.

(C) Certain pension costs include only ongoing costs, recognized quarterly, which include service and interest costs, expected returns on plan assets and amortization of prior service costs/credits. “Corporate costs and pension costs in cost of goods sold” represent service costs related to GCP manufacturing employees. Corporate costs do not include any amounts for pension expense. Other pension-related costs, including annual mark-to-market adjustments, gains or losses from curtailments and terminations, as well as other related costs, are excluded from Adjusted EBIT. These amounts are not used by management to evaluate the performance of GCP businesses and significantly affect the peer-to-peer and period-to-period comparability of its financial results. Mark-to-market adjustments and other related costs are primarily attributable to changes in financial market values and actuarial assumptions and are not directly related to the operation of GCP businesses.

(D) Shareholder activism and other related costs consist primarily of professional fees incurred in connection with the actions by certain of GCP shareholders seeking changes in the composition of our Board of Directors and nomination of candidates to stand for election at the 2019 and 2020 Annual Shareholders’ Meetings, as well as other related matters.

(E) Other current assets consist of income taxes receivable.

(F) Other assets consist of capitalized financing fees.

(G) Other current liabilities consist of income taxes, restructuring, repositioning, accrued interest and liabilities incurred in association with the Darex divestiture.

(H) Other liabilities consist of other postretirement benefits liabilities.

∗   Consists of current and non-current components.

NM• Not meaningful.

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Analysis of Operations (unaudited) (continued)

(In millions) Six Months Ended
June 30,
2020 2019
Cash flow measure:
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities from continuing operations $ 19.9 $ (0.7 )
Capital expenditures (18.8 ) (27.7 )
Cash paid for repositioning 8.5 11.3
Cash paid for restructuring 2.0 6.3
Cash paid for third-party and other acquisition-related costs 0.5 0.4
Capital expenditures related to repositioning 2.6 1.3
Cash paid for shareholder activism and other related costs (1) 8.0 1.7
Cash taxes related to repositioning, restructuring, third-party and other acquisition-related costs, shareholder activism and other related costs (4.7 ) (4.9 )
Adjusted Free Cash Flow (non-GAAP) $ 18.0 $ (12.3 )

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(1) Shareholder activism and other related costs consist primarily of professional fees incurred in connection with the actions by certain of GCP shareholders seeking changes in the composition of its Board of Directors and nomination of candidates to stand for election at the 2019 and 2020 Annual Shareholders’ Meetings, as well as other related matters.

GCP Applied Technologies Inc.
Adjusted Earnings Per Share (unaudited)

Three Months Ended June 30,
2020 2019
(In millions, except per share amounts) Pre-
Tax
Tax
Effect
After-
Tax
Per
Share
Pre-
Tax
Tax
Effect
After-
Tax
Per
Share
Diluted EPS from continuing operations (GAAP) $ (0.02 ) $ 0.04
Repositioning expenses $ 1.0 $ 0.2 $ 0.8 0.01 $ 5.8 $ 1.5 $ 4.3 0.06
Restructuring expenses and asset impairments 0.4 0.1 0.3 4.4 0.1 4.3 0.06
Third-party and other acquisition-related costs 0.2 0.2
Legacy product, environmental and other claims 0.1 0.1
Shareholder activism and other related costs 3.8 1.0 2.8 0.04 1.1 0.3 0.8 0.01
Discrete tax items, including adjustments to uncertain tax positions (4.0 ) 4.0 0.06 (1.4 ) 1.4 0.02
Adjusted EPS (non-GAAP) $ 0.09 $ 0.19
Six Months Ended June 30,
2020 2019
(In millions, except per share amounts) Pre-
Tax
Tax
Effect
After-
Tax
Per
Share
Pre-
Tax
Tax
Effect
After-
Tax
Per
Share
Diluted EPS from continuing operations (GAAP) $ $ 0.24
Repositioning expenses $ 3.7 $ 0.9 $ 2.8 0.04 $ 11.2 $ 2.8 $ 8.4 0.12
Restructuring expenses and asset impairments 3.5 0.9 2.6 0.04 5.0 0.2 4.8 0.07
Third-party and other acquisition-related costs 0.7 0.2 0.5 0.01 0.1 0.1
Legacy product, environmental and other claims 0.1 0.1
Shareholder activism and other related costs 7.4 1.9 5.5 0.08 3.6 0.9 2.7 0.04
Discrete tax items, including adjustments to uncertain tax positions (1.5 ) 1.5 0.02 15.0 (15.0 ) (0.21 )
Adjusted EPS (non-GAAP) $ 0.19 $ 0.26

Fashion

Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

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Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

Fashion’s OG Instagrammers are building empires and, at the same time, growing their influence beyond the industry.

After being schooled for years on the workings of the fashion industry, mega-influencers including Danielle Bernstein (2.7 million Instagram followers) and Rocky Barnes (2.5 million Instagram followers) are graduating to careers less reliant on brands. To take it to the next level, they’re leveraging their prowess and communities, driving deals with effective business partners, and evolving their focus, based on the industry’s direction and their own passions. The emerging results, for both Bernstein and Barnes, are personally-backed brands and investment portfolios set to expand based on early successes.

“The plan is to grow, in a big way,” said Bernstein. “I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I’ll always want to introduce new businesses and categories to my brand. And I’m angel investing and joining the board of advisors for so many companies. That’s the future of the creator economy: harnessing and creating community around your existing followers and then figuring out how to monetize that.”

In 2019, upon inking a licensing deal with New York-based clothing company Onia, Bernstein launched the Shop We Wore What e-commerce site, populated with her expanding We Wore What fashion collection. The collection has been at the center of much recent controversy, due to allegedly including copycat designs. According to Bernstein, she turns to vintage pieces, editorials and travel for inspiration. Bernstein’s also become an investor and advisor for hair supplement company Wellbel and CBD brand Highline Wellness. In May, she became active on Patreon, offering exclusive video content to paying members of her community.

In addition, Bernstein heads up We Gave What, a charitable arm of her company. In 2019, she launched tech company Moe Assist with a project management tool for influencers, though its social accounts have been inactive for two-plus months. When asked for comment, a spokesperson said Moe Assist is in a new fundraising stage and “should have news to share shortly.”

Barnes, meanwhile, partnered with Reunited Clothing to come out with her apparel company, The Bright Side, in December. And she recently became a first-time investor-advisor, for 6-month-old SMS shopping platform Qatch. She announced the partnership in an Instagram post on Monday.

“I feel like a grown-up,” she told me, before confirming that she’s interested in investing in more companies. “Diversifying my business has been a really big [focus] for me. I interact with so many different brands and companies on a daily basis. Using my market knowledge in ways that can help other people is fulfilling and exciting for me. And I especially love when I can be involved with a company from the beginning.”

Building on their content creator role in fashion is a natural progression, both said. And it plays into many industry shifts: On its way out is fashion’s DTC era, largely fueled by Harvard Business School and Wharton graduates using a plug-and-play, marketing-heavy business model to launch brands. More consumers are prioritizing quality, differentiated products, making industry experience and style expertise greater virtues among insiders. At the same time, consumers are increasingly taking shopping cues from relatable, platform-native celebrities, moving on from authoritative editors and more closed-off celebrities.

The school of collaborations
The collaborator-to-founder shift isn’t the newest thing. Other longtime influencers that have made the pivot include Arielle Charnas, with Something Navy; Aimee Song, with Song of Style; Rumi Neely, with Are You Am I; the list goes on. Most often, the names behind these brands don’t have formal design and business training — for her part, Bernstein said she “went to FIT for two years, but didn’t study design and production.” But, for years, they’ve worked hand-in-hand with companies to bring their visions to life. And along the way, they’ve come to know what resonates best with their vast communities, from marketing to merchandising to product.

“My most successful collaborations have led to the largest share of my business,” said Bernstein.

Bernstein’s partnership with Onia came out of her swimwear collaboration with its Onia brand, in May 2019. On the collab’s launch day, it drove $2 million in sales, and an included style was the brand’s best-selling swimsuit of the summer. Also in 2019, Bernstein collaborated with Joe’s Jeans on multiple denim collections. The launch day of the first, in March 2019, marked Joe Jeans’ best sales day to date, said Jennifer Hawkins, the brand’s svp of marketing and innovation on a Glossy Podcast in October.

Both served as learning opportunities for Bernstein, who said — as with all of her collaborations — she took full advantage: “It was never just [uploading] a post, and then I went away,” she said. “I always wanted to know how the performance was, in terms of sales, and asked questions: ‘Can you share the analytics?’ ‘What did you see on your end?’ ‘What worked and what didn’t work?’”

She added, “They provided a ton of data, in terms of what I could sell and what the market was missing.”

Likewise, she said, she always followed and shared with partner brands the Instagram Insights and Google Analytics numbers around her corresponding posts. Doing so gave all parties a 360-degree view of a collaboration’s success.

“I’ve learned what works for brands so they get the largest return on their investment,” she said.

For example, she’s learned to lean on her audience’s tastes, versus rely on her own, by allowing them to offer feedback throughout the design process through Instagram. That’s included the selection of fabrics and colors and the fit sessions with models. She only spotlights her favorite styles and what she wears in her own social posts, as a play for authenticity.

According to Bernstein, the collaborations with brands allowing her to play an advisor role — by guiding them on influencer partnerships, marketing and messaging — are always more successful. And they often turn into longer-term investment or advising partnerships.

Bernstein chose to work with Onia on the We Wore What collection based on its prioritization of quality and fit, and ability to keep to affordable retail prices. Currently, prices on the We Wore What site range from $20, for a scrunchie, to $228, for a vegan leather jumpsuit.

Barnes was also ready to go out on her own after finding the right partners. Her Reunited Clothing partnership came after working with the company to create her Express product collaboration, in early 2019. On its first-quarter 2019 earnings call, interim CEO Matthew C. Moullering said the company had seen “a strong start to [the] collection both in-stores and online and [believed] it [was] helping to introduce the brand to a new audience.”

“Having your own brand is terrifying,” Barnes said. “But I like that I’m in control and not so dependent on doing the day-to-day posts promoting other companies.”

But, she added, “One of the huge benefits of working with all these different brands on all these different projects is that we’re constantly getting introduced to new people and seeing who we like working with.”

Barnes’ internal team consists of her husband, who’s the “business brains” of the company, she said, and an assistant.

Like Bernstein, Barnes stressed the need for outside support in the production process: “I love such quirky, crazy things, but I also understand what is realistic for a buyer and a normal girl buying clothes,” she said. “The experience of taking ideas and making them work for a bigger group of people was my learning curve going into a business. It’s important to have a good, diverse team around you who can make your idea something that’s marketable.”

For its part, We Wore What has seen “200x growth in the last year,” as it’s expanded to new categories, Bernstein said. Its ready-to-wear, swimwear, resort wear, and activewear are now sold in “dozens and dozens of retailers around the world,” many of which offer style exclusives; they include Revolve, Bloomingdale’s and Intermix.

“Launching my own brand was putting the proof in the pudding for the power of influencers, when it comes to selling product,” she said.

As with her Joe’s and Onia collaborations, Bernstein sees a rush-to-buy with We Wore What product drops. “The first 10 minutes is when we see the biggest portion of our sales for the entire collection,” she said.

To build buzz, Shop We Wore What’s Instagram account (213,000 followers) features in its Stories the line sheets of the soon-to-launch styles, allowing customers to thoughtfully plan their buy. Doing so has led to lower return rates, Bernstein said. The company’s marketing mix also includes text messages and emails, VIP discounts and user-generated content.

Bernstein has a staff of four people, which include a chief operating officer and a brand coordinator. She said she prioritizes establishing partners with skills and expertise she doesn’t have, so she can learn from them along the way. Ideally, she’d have learned about tech packs, fittings and production logistics in school, but she’s training as she goes.

Moving forward, Bernstein said she plans to extend the size range of We What What styles, which are currently available in sizes XS-XXL, and launch collections with collaborators to sell exclusively on her brand’s DTC site. In addition, she aims to eventually open “experimental” physical retail, starting with pop-ups.

As for her investment-advisor portfolio, she’s currently in talks with companies centered on the concepts of “being able to sell your closet and even rent your closet.”

As for Barnes’ Bright Side, she said it will hit “a bunch of new retailers this year.”

Moving beyond fashion
Up next for Shop We Wore What is a new product category that will hit before the holiday season. Considering her passion for home furnishings and decor — based on her @homeworewhat Instagram account (7,500 followers) and recent press coverage of her new SoHo loft — it’s a safe bet that a home-related category is in the cards.

Likewise, Barnes hinted at a future Bright Side home collection, following her recent, two-year home remodel, which she’s getting set to debut on social media.

Lifestyle brands are the clear goal.

“I would love to be a combination of Rachel Zoe and Martha Stewart, just having my hands in everything and creating this really beautiful lifestyle where you can entertain and be fashionable,” Barnes said. “That’s kind of the dream.”

She added, “Fashion is where my heart has always been, but I’m growing as a person and there’s so much more in my life right now: my family, my home — and I’m getting older, so beauty [and skin care] makes sense now. Sharing all of that with everyone seems so natural; it would be weird if I only did fashion.”

As for future investments, though Quatch fits perfectly into Barnes’ world, with its fashion-tech focus, she said she’s open to investing in any company where she sees opportunity.

What’s more, she has no plans to retire from social media, though she has yet to tackle TikTok.

“People’s need for content has only increased, so I’m posting and creating content more than ever,” Barnes said. “But I’ve learned to become more of a hard-ass with brands. The companies that are willing to work with me and [facilitate] the most like authentic relationship possible are the ones I move forward with.” Reunited can attest.

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Harry Potter fans would know this as the Room of Requirement; muggle cricketers dub it backend operations. Tabraiz Shamsi is an amateur magician. He is also a professional worrier of why some googlies don’t turn as much as he’d want, in cricket.

For the Proteas chinaman bowler, the room of requirement from where he could pull out any game data, used to be the dependable ‘P Dawgg’, former South Africa analyst Prasanna Agoram combining his ken and nous and fast processing laptop. Prasanna enviably would be privy to the trial (and error) runs of Magician Shamsi’s classical Tourniquet coin-drops with the cricket ball. Which was the unglamorous, quirk-in-progress of his left-arm leg spin.

At the stroke of 1 a.m, oftener than not, Shamsi would come looking for what he called ‘shit balls’, in what Prasanna reckoned were otherwise impressive, less-than-run-a-ball bowling spells. This was that one specific delivery that went for a six to sully Shamsi’s 4-0-22-3 T20 match figures. It was the bugs, not the features, that the 29-year-old would cussedly fixate on.

“I’d never point out that he’s missing his length or the back foot was collapsing, at 12.30 in the night. Because Shamo, you see, would then take me to the nets at 1 a.m! He’s capable of calling the manager and telling him at that hour that I have to practice NOW. You had to be careful about what you told him at 1 a.m,” Prasanna laughs, underlining ungrudging admiration for the Proteas spinner’s dedication.

A series of self-recriminations in staccato would follow the ‘Bhai, can you please put on the shit-ball that went for a six.’ “He’d curse himself watching replays: ‘no good, not international class, garbage ball.’ If you try telling him it is ‘well-played’ from Jos Butler and not exactly a poor ball, he’d be hard on himself and say, ‘This is nonsense from Shamo’,” Prasanna recalls of his exacting standards.

For, the South African World No 1 spinner – who lends mystery to the Saffer bowling attack if not entirely upstaging their thunderbolt battery of pacers – knows that all sleights of hand, can come with uncontrollable twists of fate. Both in magic, and cricket.

A young boy of 15 at Paarl who tried to bowl quick like Wasim Akram and Chaminda Vaas, had wound up as a left arm leg spin all-sorts, after years of compulsive fine-tuning. And taken failures and omissions into his run-up’s five-strides.

***
Born in Johannesburg, Shamsi wanted to be a super quick in the land of bolting pacers. His progress though didn’t follow the regular route of being identified early for First teams at schools and playing age-groups. Also, he was told he wasn’t quick enough.

Speaking to the podcast ‘Pavilion conversations with C.S’ recently, Shamsi recalls his earliest break at age 15, bowling alone in the school nets, with the cricket coach’s office nearby. The coach would stop by and ask him what he was upto. “I said, ‘Sir, the U15 trials are coming up. I want to make the Paarl team wanna progress’. He told me – you are not gonna make it. But even there I thought he realised the type of character I am. That was just his way to push me even harder. He said ‘Don’t waste your time practicing coz you won’t get selected. And i was even more driven,” he told the host Mr. Chiwanza.

Shamsi would end up with most wickets that tournament, make the B team (“Still not A”), followed by U17 and U19s for the local side. “I didn’t get selected for SA U19s or invited to camps. My past was little different. In fact I got my opportunity at semi-pro cricket because one player got selected for U19s and went to the World Cup. A spot opened up because of him. I just knew that was my chance I had to make it work. And fortunately I performed. When he came back from the World Cup, he couldn’t get into the team,” Shamsi recalled.

It was around 2015-6 after he had zeroed in on Chinaman as his chosen bag of assorted tricks in franchise, provincial cricket, that he first sought out Prasanna, while closely following senior leggie and his ‘bruv’ Imran Tahir. Prasanna promised to compile a list of outstanding T20 spinners of that year for comparison, when Shamsi asked him: ‘Why just T20? I want to play all formats.’

Prasanna promised to revert after two days on Friday, and on Monday, he had a message from the hotel lobby at 10.30 am that Shamsi was waiting. “Normally, cricketers will turn up at 11.30, if the analyst time is 10.30. This guy made me abandon my breakfast and was ready with a list of questions. I’d prepared a presentation earlier on bowlers like Warne, Ajmal and Herath and how they bowled on unhelpful tracks, what lengths to bowl at what stage, and offered to email it to him. He tells me: “No. I’ll write it down in my own words. I don’t want shortcuts.”

Shamsi would sit and plan for every batsman – his notes diary in tow, even on matchdays when he wasn’t in Playing XI. And once he would spill the beans on why brainwaves struck him at 1 a.m – his preferred time to brainstorm with the analyst. “He once told me he eats my brain at that hour, so that he gets dreams of how to get a Kohli or Sharma out, so he can wake up next day he can execute the training plans.”

Once he came angsty about his googlies not spinning as much as Kuldeep Yadav or Brad Hogg. “When he said it’s not spinning, I told him Shamo’ you didn’t bowl any googly. That’s it. He hit the nets and bowled 1000 googlies non-stop and then said, he’s now hitting the groove.”

But nothing had prepared Prasanna for Shamsi’s mic-drop in the pink ball Test against Australia where the Chinaman was fancied as it’s tougher to spot the wrist in the Adelaidian twilight. Shamsi was instructed to block for 20 balls and support Faf as Proteas were hanging on at 210-9. Shamsi would announce he would score a 50 – against Pat Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc. Finally he was unbeaten on 18. “He came back and blustered ‘If someone had suported me, I’d have hit that 50’.”

***

This constant state of ‘upbeat’ – talking up his own abilities to score a 50 coming at No 11 against Cummins & Starc – might well be the sort of swag and sizzle that the staid South African teams need at ICC tournaments. For a large part of the last 30 years, the Proteas have entered tournaments with burdensome tags of ‘talented’ and ‘favourites’ and come up short. The tasteless mocking glee of choke-jokes has run its course, and being light-weights might well prove liberating.

For all their botched run chases in 50 overs, South Africa can stake claim to the historic highest run-rally to 438. And the innings-interval remark of Jacques Kallis, the most expensive bowler in Australia’s 434, who had quipped “Guys, I think we’ve done a good job. They’re 15 runs short.”

Shamsi likes his boisterous one-liners too. And his showboating and noisy over-the-top pantomime aggression.

After starring in a T20 win against Ireland earlier, he would tell South African journalist Telford Vice, “In my young age, I started as a seamer but was told I’m not quick enough to be a fast bowler so became a spinner. Grew up watching Andre Nel, Dayle Steyn, Allan Donald, that’s where aggression comes from.”

He knows it’s a double-edged sword and a bowler can be packed off, but it can disrupt batters too. “Whatever it takes to win. I’m in charge of making our presence felt on the ground and ensure the team never backs down from opponents,” he added.

Shamsi recently responded to Darren Sammy’s tweet on who would win the T20 World: “Come on skipper, you know the answer to this already…. South Africa of course.” Scroll down the thread, and some mocker mangles his grammar: “are you comedy me”. A good laugh was had by all. Pressure punctured.

“He’ll say things like ‘I’ll single-handedly win this,” Prasanna says, “Whether it happens or not, it gives confidence to people close to you – your team.”

***

Shamsi’s made it to the top of rankings, taking 49 wickets from 42 T20Is, at a strike-rate of 14.8 and averaging 6.6. There’s been a bucketful of wickets in franchise cricket and The Hundred. He’s 31 and has bidden his time to make it to the national team, and another 4 years into the Playing XI. The Wicket then, is an ocassion to celebrate, he reckons.

“I’m a human being and not a robot and want to make long-lasting happy memories that will live with me forever long after my career is done and that is the reason behind my celebrations,” he wrote in a social media post once. “My celebrations mean no disrespect to the opponents. They help me enjoy myself, switch on and off during the game to release some pressure, and put some smiles on people’s faces too.”

There’s the “Shoe” that got going in the West Indies, where within seconds of a wicket, he’d shrug his ankle open from the left shoe and pretend to speak on a landline receiver. Then there’s the bus driver-celebration with Carlos Braithwaite and something about a birdie’s chirp. A flying kiss to the wife and a mock punch to a fielder like a streets hip hopper. Though the untold back-stories raise anticipation of what he’ll whip up next.

Prasanna says there can be new hairdos before every game, sometimes “thrice a week”, and that magic tricks and celebrations are practiced as diligently as the googlies and top-spinners. “Not only will he say, ‘Tomorrow I’ll get Ben Stokes out.’ He’ll also ask you to watch the celebration.”

Amongst his most famous on-field triumph-trumpetings after snaring a batter is pulling a wand out of a hankey – a magician’s staple. But never in cricket, where magic’s glossary is slathered on the slow bowlers and their guiles.

T20 commentators love his name, lending it a South American football match caller’s vroom: “Shaaa-mzzziii”. But it’s the celebrations that can befuddle the most trained of raconteurs. When Shamsi got Wihan Lubbe in the Mzansi Super League, the commentator would build up to the expected celebration. “Is the shoe coming off? No. Look at that…it’s magic,” he would chortle. Cricket was momentarily put to the side, before he resumed confused: “That was a legspinner…… Beg your pardon… Offspinner… That did the trick..” Shamsi’s delivery had jagged away from the leftie and the post-celebration left the commentator’s mind in knots.

Appearing on the Dan Nicholl Show in SA, Shamsi had pulled one of those ‘I can guess the card pulled out of the deck after being shuffled’ tricks. It was ace of spades.

Magic had been his fallback option till age 16, he’d say. “So if cricket doesn’t work out… I ll practice magic for 10 years… But naa… It’s gonna work out.. I’ll bamboozle you all,” he would say, charming the audience.

At the start of the magic gig, Shamsi had handed a sealed envelope to the host. “Sealed with Proteas saliva” Nicholl had joked with whispered reverence. The distracting envelope had briefly become the centrepiece, and Shamsi would explain later:
“You satisfied you made me stop shuffling when u wanted me to? Funny thing is…You thought you were in charge of the trick… Telling me when to stop. Even though it’s your show, I’m running this party… I was controlling you and I actually made you stop at a specific point. …And to prove that I had written down something in this envelope before starting the trick..” It read Ace of Spades.

Shamsi’s assortment of Chinaman, is a bit like that: planned spontaneity. Allan Donald in a video while introducing him to RCB few seasons ago, said: “Left arm, tweaks it this way, tweaks it that way, then tweaks it the other way.” Offering attacking options in the middle overs, with his ability to turn ball both ways, and variations of top spinner, the side spinner and googly, makes him effective against both lefties and righties. The constant explosion of activity – before, right after when appealing (he once did a spot of bhangra jumps, then sat down altogether while pleading a decision) and when celebrating, is in fact the sealed envelope distraction.

Yet, bad days are not unfamiliar to Shamsi, and his role can be flexible like the magician’s wand, like in the West Indies, to keep things quiet, contain against the big power hitters. “There’s two ways to skin a cat… Not really fussed about not getting wickets in WI. That was a different role,” he told the media later.

Sometimes the magic is in not believing the flimflam and sleight. Like rankings. “I don’t lose sleep over being No 1. Obviously it’s a nice feeling to be on top. But I’ve said it before and I truly mean it. I don’t even think I’m the best bowler in our team. We have some great bowlers in the unit. Rankings don’t mean anything if a batsman gets hold of you. I don’t even know how those rankings work honestly.”

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Five great Twenty20 World Cup upsets

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