Watts Water Technologies, Inc.
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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

Or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Commission file number 001-11499

WATTS WATER TECHNOLOGIES, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

04-2916536

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

(I.R.S. Employer

Incorporation or Organization)

Identification No.)

815 Chestnut Street, North Andover, MA

01845

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (978688-1811

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A common stock, par value $0.10 per share

WTS

New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes  No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer 

Accelerated filer 

Non-accelerated filer 

Smaller reporting company

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  No 

As of June 25, 2023, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $4,757,799,205 based on the closing sale price as reported on the New York Stock Exchange.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

Class

    

Outstanding at January 28, 2024

Class A common stock, $0.10 par value per share

27,346,822 shares

Class B common stock, $0.10 par value per share

5,958,290 shares

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on May 22, 2024 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

    

Page

PART I.

Item 1.

BUSINESS

3

Item 1A.

RISK FACTORS

17

Item 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

26

Item 1C.

CYBERSECURITY

27

Item 2.

PROPERTIES

28

Item 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

29

Item 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

29

 

PART II

Item 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

30

Item 6.

[RESERVED]

31

Item 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

32

Item 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

46

Item 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

46

Item 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

47

Item 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

47

Item 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

48

Item 9C.

DISCLOSURE REGARDING FOREIGN JURISDICTIONS THAT PREVENT INSPECTIONS

48

 

PART III

Item 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

48

Item 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

48

Item 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

49

Item 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

49

Item 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

49

 

PART IV

Item 15.

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

50

Item 16.

FORM 10-K SUMMARY.

50

EXHIBIT INDEX

94

SIGNATURES

97

2

Table of Contents

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains statements that are not historical facts and are considered forward-looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements contain projections of our future results of operations or our financial position or state other forward-looking information. In some cases, you can identify these forward-looking statements by words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “should,” and “would” or similar words. You should not rely on forward-looking statements because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. These risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from the anticipated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Some of the factors that might cause these differences are described under Item 1A—“Risk Factors.” You should carefully review all of these factors, and you should be aware that there may be other factors that could cause these differences. These forward-looking statements were based on information, plans and estimates at the date of this report, and, except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, new information, future events or other changes.

PART I

Item 1.   BUSINESS.

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, references to “the Company,” “Watts Water,” “Watts,” “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Watts Water Technologies, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

Overview

Watts Regulator Co. was founded by Joseph E. Watts in 1874 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Watts Regulator Co. started as a small machine shop supplying parts to the New England textile mills of the 19th century. Since then, Watts has grown into a global manufacturer and become one of the world’s leading providers of water technologies and solutions that are designed to promote safety, energy efficiency, and water conservation for commercial and residential buildings. Watts Water Technologies, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware in 1985 and is the parent company of Watts Regulator Co.

Our strategy is to be the preferred supplier of differentiated solutions, systems and products that manage and conserve the flow of fluids and energy into, through and out of buildings in the commercial and residential markets of the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (“APMEA”), our three geographic segments. Within this framework, we focus upon three themes: safety and regulation, energy efficiency and water conservation. This strategy provides us with a platform to increase our earnings through sales growth, both organic and inorganic, and the systematic reduction of manufacturing costs and operational expenses.

Our strategy is to expand organically by introducing new, complementary products and solutions in existing markets, by enhancing our preferred brands, by promoting plumbing code development to drive the need for safety and quality products and by continually improving merchandising in our wholesale and retail distribution channels. We focus on selling solutions to our customers that integrate a variety of our product offerings. We target selected new products and geographic markets based on growth potential, including our ability to leverage our existing distribution channels. Additionally, we leverage our distribution channels through the introduction of new products and solutions, as well as the integration of products of our acquired companies.

The Internet of Things (“IoT”) has allowed companies to transform components and products into smart and connected solutions. We are committed to enhancing our smart and connected capabilities by expanding our internal competencies and making strategic acquisitions. We continue to invest in these capabilities by expanding our architecture development, enhancing digital tools used by our customers, including Watts’ website, and investing in new smart and connected product development projects. Our strategy focuses on three dimensions: Connect, Control and Conserve. We have introduced and plan to continue offering new products that will connect our customers with smart systems, control systems for optimal performance, and conserve critical resources by increasing operability, efficiency and safety. For the fourth quarter of 2023, 25% of our revenue was from smart and connected enabled products, in line with our goal set back in 2018.

3

Table of Contents

We continue to focus on sustainability by taking steps to reduce the negative impact our operations have on the environment while generating economic value by manufacturing and selling solutions, products and technologies that enable our customers to reduce the negative impact they have on the environment. As a leading global water technology company, we address some of the world’s most important sustainability priorities – the conservation, control and safe use of water. In 2023, we initiated a project to conduct Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) for all of our products produced in our largest production plant and foundry located in Franklin New Hampshire, representing many of our largest and most impactful product lines. Our smart and connected strategy is anchored by a commitment to connect our customers to smart systems, control those systems for optimal performance, and conserve critical water and other resources by increasing operability, efficiency, and safety. In 2023, we enabled our core product lines with an option for smart and connected capabilities to provide flood and freeze detection in backflow preventors and flood detection in relief valves, helping avoid water waste and mitigate damage. Operationally, we have reduced our global water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, improved our safety performance, continued to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive work environment, and maintained robust ethics and compliance programs so that we do business with integrity and in accordance with high ethical standards.

We intend to generate incremental growth by targeting select acquisitions both in our core markets and in new complementary markets. We have completed 14 acquisitions since 2013. Our acquisition strategy focuses on businesses that manufacture preferred brand name products that address our themes of safety and regulation, energy efficiency and water conservation. We target businesses that will provide us with one or more of the following: an entry into new markets, improved channel access, unique and/or proprietary technologies, advanced production capabilities or complementary solution offerings. In the last 12 months, we completed three strategic and complementary acquisitions that expanded our addressable market and are intended to enable value creation through greater scale and growth opportunities.

We are committed to reducing our manufacturing and operating costs using Lean methodologies to drive improvement across all key processes. We have a number of manufacturing facilities in lower-cost regions. In recent years, we have announced global restructuring plans which reduced our manufacturing and distribution footprint in order to reduce our costs and to realize incremental operating efficiencies.

Additionally, a majority of our manufacturing facilities are ISO 9000, 9001 or 9002 certified by the International Organization for Standardization. The ISO 9000 standards series is a set of internationally recognized standards for quality assurance and management.

The majority of our sales are for products that have been approved under regulatory standards incorporated into state and municipal plumbing, heating, building and fire protection codes in the Americas, Europe, and certain countries within APMEA. We have consistently advocated for the development and enforcement of plumbing codes and are committed to providing products to meet these standards.

Products and Solutions

We have a broad range of products and solutions in terms of design distinction, size and configuration. We classify our many products and solutions into four global categories. These categories are:

Residential & commercial flow control and protection—includes products and solutions typically sold into plumbing and hot water applications such as backflow preventers, water pressure regulators, temperature and pressure relief valves, thermostatic mixing valves, leak detection and protection products, commercial washroom solutions and emergency safety products and equipment. Many of our flow control and protection products and solutions are now smart and connected enabled, warning of leaks, floods and freeze with alerts to Building Management System (BMS) and/or personal devices giving our customers greater insight into their water management and the ability to shut off the water supply to avoid waste and mitigate damage. Residential & commercial flow control and protection products accounted for approximately 56%, 52% and 53% of our total net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.

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HVAC & gas—includes commercial high-efficiency boilers, water heaters and heating solutions, hydronic and electric heating systems for under-floor radiant applications, custom heat and hot water solutions, hydronic pump groups for boiler manufacturers and alternative energy control packages, and flexible stainless steel connectors for natural and liquid propane gas in commercial food service and residential applications. Most of our HVAC products and solutions feature advanced controls enabling customers to easily connect to the BMS for better monitoring, control and operation. HVAC & gas products and solutions accounted for approximately 29% of our total net sales in 2023, and 31% of our total net sales in 2022 and 2021. HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Drainage & water re-use—includes drainage products and engineered rain water harvesting solutions for commercial, industrial, marine and residential applications, including connected roof drain systems. Drainage & water re-use products and solutions accounted for approximately 10% of our total net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021.

Water quality—includes point-of-use and point-of-entry water filtration, monitoring, conditioning and scale prevention systems for commercial, marine and residential applications. Water quality products and solutions accounted for approximately 5%, 7% and 6% of our total net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively.

Commercial and Operational Excellence

We strive to invest in product innovation that meets the wants and needs of our customers. Our focus is on differentiated products and solutions that will provide greater opportunity to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace. Our goal is to be a solutions provider, not merely a components supplier. We refer to this customer-facing mindset as commercial excellence, and we are continually looking for strategic opportunities to invest or divest, where necessary, in order to meet those objectives. In conjunction with this customer-centric focus, we continually review our operations to ensure we can efficiently and effectively produce and deliver products to customers. We are also striving to simplify our administrative operations to drive further efficiencies. We call this aspect of our business operational excellence.

Customers and Markets

We sell our products and solutions to plumbing, heating and mechanical wholesale distributors and dealers, original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), specialty product distributors, and major do-it-yourself (“DIY”) and retail chains.

Wholesalers. Approximately 62%, 60% and 61% of our net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively, were to wholesale distributors for commercial and residential applications.

OEMs. Approximately 15% of our net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021 were to OEMs. In the Americas, our typical OEM customers are water heater manufacturers and equipment and water systems manufacturers needing flow control devices and other products. Our sales to OEMs in Europe are primarily to boiler manufacturers and radiant system manufacturers. Our sales to OEMs in APMEA are primarily to water heater, air conditioning, and appliance manufacturers.

Specialty. Approximately 19%, 21% and 19% of our net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively, were through our specialty channel. The specialty channel primarily includes sales related to high-efficiency boilers and water heaters, water filtration and conditioning products and solutions, specialty floor and tile products, food service products and leak detection products.

DIY Chains. Approximately 4%, 4% and 5% of our net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively, were to DIY chains. The DIY channel primarily includes sales related to valves and a portion of our water quality products.

In 2023, 2022 and 2021, no customer accounted for more than 10% of our total net sales. Our top ten customers accounted for $440.4 million, or 21.4%, of our total net sales in 2023; $431.7 million, or 21.8%, of our total net sales in 2022; and $371.5 million, or 20.5%, of our total net sales in 2021. Thousands of other customers constituted the balance of our net sales in each of those years.

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Marketing and Sales

For product sales in the Americas, we rely primarily on commissioned manufacturers’ representatives to market our product lines, some of which maintain a consigned inventory of our products. These representatives sell primarily to plumbing and heating wholesalers and contractors or supply DIY stores. Our specialty channel products in the Americas are sold through independent representatives, dealers and distributors. We also sell products directly to wholesalers, OEMs and private label accounts primarily in Europe and APMEA, and, to a lesser extent, in the Americas.

We aim to inform and educate our channel partners, installers and end-use customers on how to maximize our product solutions. We do so through a variety of traditional and digital marketing avenues, including social media, trade shows, and advertising. We pride ourselves in providing industry leading product education through four distinct training vehicles: Online Courses, on-location Lunch and Learns, Live and Virtual Instructor Led Training, and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for designers.

Manufacturing

We have integrated and automated manufacturing capabilities, including a state-of-the-art foundry dedicated exclusively to the production of products that qualify as “lead-free” under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act; and machining capabilities, plastic extrusion, and injection molding and assembly operations. Our foundry operations include metal pouring systems, automatic core making, and brass and bronze die-castings. Our machining operations feature computer-controlled machine tools, high-speed chucking machines with robotics, robotic assembly capability, laser-cutting technology, and automatic screw machines for machining bronze, brass and steel components. Our heating and hot water product manufacturing capabilities include all phases of light and heavy gauge metal fabrication, incorporating the latest technology for welding and brazing, as well as laser cutting; automated and robotic applications; and metal finishing, which includes chemical passivation of stainless steel. We have invested in recent years to expand our manufacturing capabilities and to adopt the most efficient and productive equipment. We are committed to maintaining our manufacturing equipment at a level consistent with current technology in order to maintain high levels of quality and manufacturing efficiencies. In 2023, we continued to invest in our systems, our manufacturing facilities and our commercial and operational excellence initiatives.

Capital expenditures and depreciation for each of the last three years were as follows:

Years Ended December 31,

    

2023

    

2022

    

2021

(in millions)

Capital expenditures

$

29.7

$

28.1

$

26.7

Depreciation

$

30.1

$

27.6

$

31.4

Purchased Raw Materials and Components

Our products are made using various purchased components and raw materials, including primarily bronze, brass, cast iron, stainless steel, steel, and plastic. Substantially all of the raw materials we require to manufacture our products are purchased from outside sources. The commodity markets have experienced tremendous volatility over the past several years, particularly with respect to copper and stainless steel, and we have experienced high inflationary pressures in these markets. Tariffs impact the total cost of our products and the components and raw materials that go into manufacturing them. Increased tariff costs could adversely impact the gross margin we earn on our products. Because we internationally source a significant amount of raw materials and components, several months of raw materials and work in process are moving through our supply chain at any point in time. We are not able to predict whether component costs or commodity costs, including copper and stainless steel, will significantly increase or decrease in the future. If component costs or commodity costs increase in the future and we are not able to reduce or eliminate the effect of the cost increases by reducing production costs or implementing price increases, our profit margins could decrease. If component costs or commodity costs were to decline, we may experience pressure from customers to reduce our selling prices. The timing of any price reductions and decreases in commodity costs may not align. As a result, our margins could be affected.

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With limited exceptions, we have multiple suppliers for our components and raw materials. We believe our relationships with our key suppliers are good and that an interruption in supply from any one supplier would not materially affect our ability to meet our immediate demands while another supplier is qualified. We regularly review our suppliers to evaluate their capabilities. If a supplier is unable to meet our demands, we believe that in most cases our inventory of components and raw materials will allow for sufficient time to identify and obtain the necessary commodities and other raw materials from an alternate source. We believe that the nature of the components and raw materials used in our business are such that multiple sources are generally available in the market. However, our current and alternative suppliers are largely concentrated in China. The occurrence of natural disasters, public health crises such as pandemics or epidemics, political crises such as war, terrorism or political instability, or other events that result in widespread business or supply chain disruptions in China could have a material adverse effect on our ability to obtain necessary components and raw materials, and our business and operating results could suffer.

Refer to Item. 1A “Risk Factors” for risks related to the impact of supply chain and logistic disruptions and Item. 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for additional disclosure.

Code Compliance

Products representing a majority of our sales are subject to regulatory standards and code enforcement, which typically require that these products meet stringent performance criteria. Codes and standards in the Americas are established by industry and government organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE), NSF International (NSF), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Californian Energy Commission (CEC), the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). Many of the codes and standards are incorporated into state and municipal plumbing and heating, building and fire protection codes.

National regulatory standards in Europe vary by country. The major standards and/or guidelines that our products must meet are AFNOR (France), DVGW (Germany), UNI/ICIM (Italy), SVGW (Switzerland), SITAC (Sweden), WRAS (United Kingdom) and CEN (Denmark). Further, there are local regulatory standards requiring compliance as well.

We consistently advocate for the development and enforcement of plumbing codes and standards. Our product-testing capabilities and quality control processes are core competencies for us. Our manufacturing operations consistently maintain stringent quality control and testing procedures, thus ensuring products remain in continuous compliance with all requirements. Investment in product-testing capability and in plant and equipment also ensures ongoing continuous product compliance. Additionally, a majority of our manufacturing facilities are ISO 9000, 9001 or 9002 certified by the International Organization for Standardization.

Watts also proactively monitors and participates in regulatory, codes and standards development activities with the various aforementioned entities and others. We are a primary participating member of the U.S.-based voluntary industry association American Supply Association (“ASA”), which provides its members with industry information and coordinates resources for addressing regulatory issues and developing and maintaining codes and standards. Watts is also a member of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), which provides a similar function and benefit as ASA by monitoring and advocating on behalf of its members on various legislative and regulatory issues.

New Product Development and Engineering

We retain our own product development staff, design teams, and testing laboratories in the Americas, Europe and APMEA that work to enhance our existing products and develop new products and solutions with a focus on sustainable, customer-centric technological innovation and smart and connected solutions. We maintain sophisticated product development and testing laboratories and continue to invest in our smart and connected product pipeline. We employ a global new-product development process that is used to prioritize, guide and support new projects. Over the years, we have continued to bring innovation to our markets, with smart and connected advancement in our backflow product line to provide sensors for flood and freeze detection, notification, and tampering security, providing potential to avoid water loss and mitigate damage from undetected floods. Leak detection has also become an important product group helping avoid costly water-based damage and loss, providing the ability to shut off water supply remotely at the first detection of a leak with our Leak Defense system. We continue to invest in leak detection and have solutions that service both the residential market and commercial properties and multifamily units, together making water safer and cutting off water

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loss. We launched a new product, Lync’s Aegis commercial heat pump, which is a water heater powered by electricity and using R744, a refrigerant that is non-toxic and has less global warming potential than traditional refrigerants such as R134a or R410a. Aegis produces hot water with no need for supplemental heat. By simply absorbing and moving heat from the surrounding area instead of needing to generate heat, this heat pump is considered to be extremely efficient providing the opportunity to save energy and lower operating costs.

In 2023, we launched 12 new smart and connected product offerings, adding to our portfolio and expansion of our smart and connected strategy. We will continue to focus on and invest in our global new product development program to leverage new technologies, inhouse expertise and our electronics capabilities to expand our smart and connected strategy.

Competition

The domestic and international markets for energy efficient products, water conservation devices, and products that address the safety and regulation for the flow of fluids, are intensely competitive and require us to compete against some companies possessing greater financial, marketing and other resources than ours. Due to the breadth of our product offerings, the number and identities of our competitors vary by product line and market. We consider quality, brand preference, delivery times, engineering specifications, plumbing code requirements, price, technological expertise, breadth of product offerings, products that help customers’ sustainability efforts, and smart and connected products and solutions to be the primary competitive factors. We believe that new product development and product engineering are also important to success in the water industry and that our position in the industry is attributable in part to our ability to develop new and innovative products quickly and to adapt and enhance existing products. We continue to develop new and innovative products to expand our market position and are implementing manufacturing and design programs to reduce costs. We cannot be certain that our efforts to develop new products will be successful or that our customers will accept our new products. Although we own certain patents and trademarks that we consider to be of importance, we do not believe that our business and competitiveness as a whole are dependent on any one of our patents or trademarks or on patent or trademark protection generally.

Human Capital Management

We believe that our employees are our greatest asset, and we aim to provide a safe, inclusive and high-performance culture where our employees can thrive. As of December 31, 2023, we had approximately 5,100 employees globally, including 2,600 in the Americas, 2,100 in Europe and 400 in APMEA. At Watts, we strive to attract, develop, retain and engage high performing talent and we reward employee performance. By developing and promoting our talented people, we are creating value for our customers and shareholders. As the economy and our business grow, so does the need for highly qualified talent; hence we are always competing for the best people in an environment of increasingly challenged supply. To that end, we have developed, and continue to enhance and refine, a robust and comprehensive talent management strategy that spans from talent attraction to performance management, career development and retention of our top talent to succession planning across our organization. We continually strive to cultivate and support a highly engaged and productive workforce with employees from all backgrounds.

Talent Acquisition

Recruitment efforts follow a defined Talent Acquisition process to attract and hire top talent.
We provide a robust college internship program to identify and cultivate an early-in-career pipeline of talent.
We are actively engaging with a select group of historically Black colleges and universities, minority serving institutions, and professional organizations to help attract and recruit underrepresented professionals.
We engage with external professional recruiting firms to supplement our internal recruiting efforts as needed.
We employ varying sourcing strategies and technology platforms to increase the diversity of our candidate pools.
We have a global employee referral bonus program to attract qualified candidates and reward employees.
We provide training to Human Resources Business Partners and hiring managers on the Watts Talent Acquisition Process Interviewing.

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Professional Development

Leadership & Inclusivity. In 2023, we continued our global roll-out of a multi-phased leadership and inclusivity training program for all employees that is designed to build leadership capability through a set of clear frameworks that are simple to use and easily recalled, thus encouraging our employees to practice new habits and build inclusive behaviors. This training includes three modules focused on identifying bias to make better decisions, creating teams where all people feel valued and empowering people to use their voice and contribute ideas. 
Watts Training & Development Offerings Catalog. We partner with external vendors to offer a variety of leadership and professional development opportunities such as coaching for improved performance, time management and new manager skills.
Performance Management Training. We offer a targeted training series addressing the components of performance management to help all employees to accomplish their individual goals and strategic objectives of the organization. Specific modules have been developed for all employees on goal setting, performance conversations, assessing performance, and career development.     
One Watts Performance System (“OWPS”) Training Program. We want to make sure all employees are aligned with our operating philosophies and principles. Alignment helps us identify and eliminate waste and simplify and standardize our work. We have a global training program educating all employees on our philosophies and principles, empowering them to use OWPS tools in their daily work.
LinkedIn Learning Curriculum. We provide a comprehensive suite of online LinkedIn Learning courses to supplement live, instructor-led training. Learning collections on relevant topics are provided monthly which employees can access on-demand.
Coaching. We provide global, broad-based coaching opportunities through several external partnerships that are targeted to the individual’s coaching and development needs. 

Engagement and Performance Management

Senior Leader Communication and Transparency. We actively seek opportunities for regular engagement and communication by our CEO and other senior executive leaders with our broader employee population. For example, the Quarterly Connect Meetings and the quarterly CEO videos that follow the release of our quarterly earnings are accessible to thousands of employees across the Company.
Employee Engagement Surveys. We annually conduct confidential company-wide employee engagement surveys. Feedback from these surveys provides our management team with valuable information about our workplace culture. Survey results are also reviewed with our Board and used to develop and refine other aspects of our overall human capital management strategies. In 2023, 90% of our Europe employee population and 87% of our Asia Pacific Middle East & Africa (APMEA) employees participated in a pulse survey to gain feedback on a core set of engagement items and performance drivers aligned to our business priorities. Additionally, 84% of our US Headquarters employees also participated in a Massachusetts Top Places to Work survey in 2023.
Performance Management Framework. We maintain a robust annual performance management process across the organization. Together with their managers, employees start the process by setting goals; year-end activities begin with employee self-assessments and conclude with a conversation led by the manager on goal accomplishment and defined cultural behaviors.
Safety. Employee safety is one of our highest priorities and we strive for zero hazards and zero injuries by educating and training employees on safety best practices through awareness campaigns and related engagement initiatives.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (“DEI”)

An integral part of our mission to build a high performance, values-driven culture is creating an inclusive culture that welcomes and celebrates employees from all backgrounds. Our path to innovation starts and ends with our employees, who are fundamental to the vibrancy and success of Watts. Everything we accomplish depends on creating an environment that is engaging and supportive and enables employees to perform to their potential.

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Watts’s DEI mission is to cultivate and sustain a workplace that prioritizes and integrates this inclusive culture in everything we do to fuel innovation, empower our people to reach their full potential and foster stronger connections with our partners. To support this mission, we have incorporated this inclusive culture into the Watts strategic pillars, cultural behaviors, global performance management and talent review frameworks as well as the Global Leadership Team’s goals. We have established partnerships with and conducted recruitment activities at universities to drive female and under-represented minority (URM) outreach and rolled out leadership and inclusivity training throughout the global organization, as our comprehensive approach to diversity, equity and inclusion focuses on awareness and education, recruiting and retention and advancement programs for all our leaders and employees to help make sure we are attracting and retaining the most qualified talent. Additionally, we operationalized a Diverse Candidate Slate Policy in the U.S. for managerial levels. The policy and outreach goals simply expand the pool of qualified applicants from which we can draw, but does not impact ultimate hiring, retention or advancement decisions based on the most qualified candidate.

We also established a regular cadence for pay equity review and added benefits including additional paid parental leave and family planning in the U.S. and mental health resources globally through our Employee Assistance Program.

In addition, we monitor employee perception on inclusion and diversity through employee feedback, and we create awareness with our employees about DEI-related topics through the company intranet, in employee meetings, through our public website and through a DEI calendar of events designed to increase solidarity, engagement and support. We formed employee resource groups, which are voluntary, employee-led groups open to all that provide a forum for employees to share common interests and experiences, gain professional development support, engage with our leadership teams, and drive initiatives to improve DEI at Watts.

Sustainability

Focus on Sustainability

We have demonstrated our focus on environmental sustainability by reducing our impact on the environment in multiple areas of our global business and by providing innovative products and solutions that can help customers to reduce their impact on the environment. We are also focused on building a sustainable company by adhering to responsible business practices, prioritizing employee safety and providing our employees with opportunities for personal and professional growth, including through programs and initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. We also strive to have a positive impact on the communities in which we live and work and other communities in need through community involvement, educational partnerships and charitable giving.

Sustainability Leadership

The Governance and Sustainability Committee of our Board of Directors has primary responsibility for the oversight of our ESG efforts and strategy. The Governance and Sustainability Committee reviews the Company’s ESG performance and strategic plans four times a year at its regularly scheduled quarterly meetings and receives additional updates from the Company’s Chief Sustainability Officer as needed. At the management level, our General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer, who reports directly to our Chief Executive Officer, has general oversight responsibility for all sustainability matters. Our General Counsel and Chief Sustainability Officer also chairs our global Sustainability Steering Committee, which is made up of senior company leaders and is responsible for formulating our sustainability strategy and overseeing the execution of our environmental, social and governance initiatives.

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Climate Change Impact

Climate change and the increasing focus on sustainability have also created opportunities for our business. The growing interest in energy efficient products has increased demand for our high-efficiency boilers and water heaters, our Aegis heat pumps, under floor heating systems, smart thermostats, and our Microflex insulated pipes. Concern around water conservation has led to increased interest in products that are designed to reduce water consumption, such as our ACV Assure monitoring system, Intelliflow water shut off device, ZeroWaste reverse osmosis filters, OneFlow anti-scale system, Hygienic Pro drains and our Trident™ and Leak Defense leak detection and water shutoff systems. We have also seen increased interest in our products and services that are designed to protect our customers from contaminated water and safeguard biodiversity, such as backflow preventers, HF Scientific ballast water testing systems, Intellistation® digital water mixing systems, and Lync® brand solutions. Severe weather events that cause damage to, or destruction of, water systems and plumbing devices have also resulted in increased demand for replacement products and repair kits.

Environmental Stewardship

We believe we have made substantial progress in reducing the environmental impact of our operations. Recent initiatives have resulted in a reduction on our global water consumption and our greenhouse gas emissions, including through the implementation of smart monitoring systems in many of our high water use facilities to promote early leak and surge detection and investments in various energy reduction projects. With respect to our product handprint, we provide a portfolio of products, components and systems that conserve water, save energy, reduce waste and preserve water quality and safety. In addition, our goal is to embed sustainability throughout the lifecycle of our products to create safe, efficient, long-lasting products made with high-recycling-value materials wherever possible.

Social Responsibility

We are focused on creating both economic and social value and strive to have a positive impact on our global community. During 2023, we supported those in need through donations of money and products to several non-profit charitable organizations and through the volunteer efforts of our employees. One example was our ongoing partnership with the Planet Water Foundation. During 2023, we worked with Planet Water to fund the construction of four AquaTowers and AquaSan systems during their World Water Day campaign in order to provide clean, safe drinking water for people in Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Governance, Business Ethics, and Compliance

We believe that good corporate governance and an environment of high ethical standards are important for us to achieve business success and to create value for our stockholders. Our Board is committed to high governance standards and continually works to improve them. We periodically review our corporate governance policies and practices and compare them to those suggested by various authorities on corporate governance and employed by other public companies and consider changes to our corporate governance policies and practices in light of such guidance and interpretations. We have adopted a Code of Business Conduct applicable to all officers, employees and Board members worldwide that serves as the foundation for our ethics and compliance program, and drives policy development, training initiatives, and reinforcement of our values throughout the global organization.

Recognition

In 2023, we were recognized for the fifth year in a row as one of Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies and we were also selected by Newsweek as one of America’s Greenest Companies. We were also named one of America’s Climate Leaders by USA Today.

More information about our sustainability efforts is included in our latest Sustainability Report, available at https://investors.wattswater.com/sustainability. The material on our website, including in our Sustainability Report is for informational purposes only and is not included as part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Product Liability, Environmental and Other Litigation Matters

We are subject to a variety of potential liabilities connected with our business operations, including potential liabilities and expenses associated with possible product defects or failures and compliance with environmental laws. We maintain product liability and other insurance coverage, which we believe to be generally in accordance with industry practices. Nonetheless, such insurance coverage may not be adequate to protect us fully against substantial damage claims. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and Note 16 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Environmental Remediation

We have been named as a potentially responsible party with respect to a limited number of identified contaminated sites. The levels of contamination vary significantly from site to site as do the related levels of remediation efforts. Environmental liabilities are recorded based on the most probable cost, if known, or on the estimated minimum cost of remediation. Accruals are not discounted to their present value, unless the amount and timing of expenditures are fixed and reliably determinable. We accrue estimated environmental liabilities based on assumptions, which are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties. Circumstances that can affect the reliability and precision of these estimates include identification of additional sites, environmental regulations, level of clean-up required, technologies available, number and financial condition of other contributors to remediation and the time period over which remediation may occur. We recognize changes in estimates as new remediation requirements are defined or as new information becomes available. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and Note 16 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Asbestos Litigation

We are defending lawsuits in different jurisdictions, alleging injury or death as a result of exposure to asbestos. The complaints in these cases typically name a large number of defendants and do not identify any of our particular products as a source of asbestos exposure. To date, discovery has failed to yield evidence of substantial exposure to any of our products and no judgments have been entered against us.

Other Litigation

Other lawsuits and proceedings or claims, arising from the ordinary course of operations, are also pending or threatened against us.

Available Information

We maintain a website with the address www.wattswater.com. The information contained on our website is not included as a part of, or incorporated by reference into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Other than an investor’s own internet access charges, we make available free of charge through our website our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we have electronically filed such material with, or furnished such material to, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).

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Information about Our Executive Officers and Directors

Set forth below are the names of our executive officers and directors, their respective ages and positions with our Company and a brief summary of their business experience for at least the past five years:

Executive Officers

    

Age

    

Position

Robert J. Pagano, Jr.

61

Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairperson of the Board and Director

Shashank Patel

63

Chief Financial Officer

Monica Barry

53

Chief Human Resources Officer

Andre Dhawan

60

Chief Operating Officer

Kenneth R. Lepage

53

General Counsel, Chief Sustainability Officer & Secretary

Elie A. Melhem

60

President, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East & Africa

Non-Employee Directors

Rebecca J. Boll(1)(3)

52

Director

Christopher L. Conway(2)(3)

68

Director

Michael J. Dubose(2)(3)

68

Director

David A. Dunbar(1)(3)

62

Lead Independent Director

Louise K. Goeser(2)(3)

70

Director

W. Craig Kissel(2)(3)

73

Director

Joseph T. Noonan

42

Director

Merilee Raines(1)(3)

68

Director

Joseph W. Reitmeier(1)(3)

59

Director

(1)Member of the Audit Committee

(2)Member of the Compensation Committee

(3)Member of the Governance and Sustainability Committee

Robert J. Pagano, Jr. has served as Chief Executive Officer, President and a director of the Company since May 2014 and as Chairperson of the Board of Directors since February 2022. He also served as interim Chief Financial Officer from October 2014 to April 2015 and from April 2018 to July 2018. Mr. Pagano previously served as Senior Vice President of ITT Corporation and President, ITT Industrial Process from April 2009 to May 2014. Mr. Pagano originally joined ITT in 1997 and served in several additional management roles during his career at ITT, including as Vice President Finance, Corporate Controller, and President of Industrial Products. ITT Corporation is a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered critical components and customized technology solutions for the energy, transportation and industrial markets. Prior to joining ITT, Mr. Pagano worked at KPMG LLP. Mr. Pagano is a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Pagano has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc. since August 2017. Applied Industrial Technologies is a distributor of bearings, power transmission products, fluid power components and other industrial supplies and provides engineering, design and systems integration for industrial and fluid power applications, as well as customized mechanical, fabricated rubber and fluid power shop services. Mr. Pagano has also served on the Board of Directors of The Water Council since October 2021. The Water Council is a non-profit organization focused on water research, education and economic development to solve critical water challenges by driving innovation in freshwater technology and advancing water stewardship.

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Shashank Patel has served as Chief Financial Officer of the Company since July 2018. Mr. Patel previously worked at Xylem Inc. from the time of its spin-off from ITT Corporation in 2011 until June 2018. While at Xylem, Mr. Patel served as Vice President, Finance for Xylem Applied Water Systems, Dewatering and the America’s Commercial Team from July 2017 to June 2018, Integration Leader for the Sensus business from August 2016 to June 2017, Vice President, Finance for Global Operations from April 2016 to July 2016, Interim Chief Financial Officer of Xylem from July 2015 to March 2016, and Vice President, Finance for the Applied Water Systems division from 2011 to July 2015. Mr. Patel also served in several leadership roles in finance, operations and engineering at ITT from 1996 until the spin-off of Xylem in 2011. Xylem is a global designer, manufacturer and equipment and service provider for water and wastewater applications. Mr. Patel has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Federal Signal Corporation since October 2021. Federal Signal Corporation designs, manufactures and supplies a suite of products and integrated solutions for municipal, governmental, industrial and commercial customers.

Monica Barry has served as Chief Human Resources Officer of the Company since October 2021. Ms. Barry previously served as Vice President, Talent Management, Organizational Development and Corporate Human Resources Business Partner with Colfax Corporation from February 2020 to September 2021. Colfax is a global diversified technology company that provides specialty medical technologies and fabrication technology products and services. Ms. Barry served as Vice President, Global Talent, Learning & Development and Inclusion from July 2015 to January 2020 and as Vice President, Human Resources, Health Sector from August 2012 to October 2015 for Johnson Matthey, PLC. Johnson Matthey is a provider of catalyst systems for emission control within vehicles, products and processing services for the efficient use and transformation of natural resources, active pharmaceutical ingredients for a variety of treatments and drugs, and emerging opportunities in battery materials and fuel cells. From 2010 to 2012, Ms. Barry served as Director Human Resources, North America Supply Chain & Labor Relations for The Campbell Soup Company. Prior to 2010, Ms. Barry held several human resources and operations management positions with FMC Corporation.

Andre Dhawan has served as Chief Operating Officer of the Company since August 2022. Mr. Dhawan previously worked at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, a subsidiary of Vontier Corporation and formerly a subsidiary of Danaher Corporation and Fortive Corporation. While at Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Mr. Dhawan served as President, Americas from July 2020 to July 2022 and President, EMEA & APAC from July 2015 to July 2020. Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a global manufacturer of fueling and convenience store equipment and technology. Mr. Dhawan also served as President, EMEA for Xylem Inc. from 2013 to 2014 following its spin-off from ITT Corporation. From 1998 to 2012, Mr. Dhawan served in a number of progressively more senior leadership positions within ITT Corporation.

Kenneth R. Lepage has served as General Counsel and Secretary of the Company since August 2008 and as Chief Sustainability Officer since May 2021. Mr. Lepage also previously served as Chief Human Resources Officer of the Company from April 2020 to October 2021 and from December 2009 to October 2015. Mr. Lepage originally joined the Company in September 2003 as Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Lepage was a Junior Partner at the law firm of Hale and Dorr LLP (now Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP).

Elie A. Melhem has served as President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa since February 2016. Mr. Melhem originally joined the Company in July 2011 as President, Asia Pacific. Mr. Melhem was previously the Managing Director of China for Ariston Thermo Group, a global manufacturer of heating and hot water products, from 2008 to July 2011. Prior to joining Ariston, Mr. Melhem spent eleven years with ITT Industries in China where he held several management positions, including serving as President of ITT’s Residential and Commercial Water Group in China and President of ITT’s Water Technology Group in Asia.

Rebecca J. Boll has served as a director of the Company since February 2024. Ms. Boll has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Fluence Energy, Inc. since 2020. Fluence is a leading provider of energy storage products and services and cloud-based software for the renewable energy and energy storage markets, and its service offerings include delivery services and recurring operational services, as well as financing structuring services. Ms. Boll previously served as Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Strategy for the Building Management business unit at Schneider Electric from 2018 to 2020. Prior to this position, Ms. Boll held several management positions at General Electric from 2005 to 2018, including Chief Technology Officer of GE Licensing and Technology Ventures; Executive General Manager, Edge Computing and Software Solutions, Automation & Controls; and Commercial Leader, GE2GE, Automation & Controls. Prior to joining General Electric, Ms. Boll held management positions at Northrop Grumman, Allied Domecq and Leo Burnett Advertising, and she served as an electronic combat officer, AWACS, in the United States Air Force.

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Christopher L. Conway has served as a director of the Company since June 2015. Mr. Conway was President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of CLARCOR Inc. from December 2011 until it was acquired in February 2017. Mr. Conway is now retired. Mr. Conway originally joined CLARCOR in 2006 and served in several senior management roles prior to becoming President and Chief Executive Officer, including Chief Operating Officer, President of CLARCOR’s PECOFacet division, President of Facet USA, Inc., an affiliate of CLARCOR, and Vice President of Manufacturing of Baldwin Filters, Inc., another affiliate of CLARCOR. CLARCOR was a diversified marketer and manufacturer of mobile, industrial and environmental filtration products sold in domestic and international markets. Prior to joining CLARCOR, Mr. Conway served for two years as the Chief Operating Officer of Cortron Corporation, Inc., a manufacturing start-up based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Conway also served for seven years in various management positions at Pentair, Inc., an international provider of products, services, and solutions for its customers' diverse needs in water and other fluids, thermal management, and equipment protection.

Michael J. Dubose has served as a director of the Company since December 2020. Mr. Dubose served as President of the Fisher Healthcare Division of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. from March 2019 until his retirement in August 2023. Thermo Fisher Scientific engages in the provision of analytical instruments, equipment, reagents and consumables, software and services for research, analysis, discovery, and diagnostics. Mr. Dubose previously served as Vice President of National Accounts and Cross Border Business Globally for W.W. Grainger, Inc. from 2010 to March 2019. W.W. Grainger is a leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products, with operations primarily in North America, Japan and Europe. Prior to this position, he served as a Regional Vice President of Staples, Inc. from 2008 to 2010. Prior to 2008, Mr. Dubose held senior management positions with Corporate Express Inc., Alliant Foodservice Inc. and Baxter International Inc.

David A. Dunbar has served as a director of the Company since February 2017 and as Lead Independent Director of our Board of Directors since July 2023. Mr. Dunbar has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Standex International Corporation since January 2014, and as Chairman since October 2016. Standex is a global, multi-industry manufacturer comprised of five broad business segments: Electronics, Engraving, Scientific, Engineering Technologies and Specialty Solutions. Mr. Dunbar previously served as President of the valves and controls global business unit of Pentair Ltd. from October 2009 to December 2013. The unit was initially owned by Tyco Flow Control and Tyco Flow Control and Pentair merged in 2012. Pentair is a global provider of products and services relating to energy, water, thermal management and equipment protection. Prior to his tenure at Pentair, Mr. Dunbar held a number of senior positions at Emerson Electric Co., including President of each of the following: Emerson Process Management Europe; Machinery Health Management; and Emerson Climate Technologies Refrigeration.

Louise K. Goeser has served as a director of the Company since March 2018. Ms. Goeser served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Siemens S.A. de C.V. from March 2009 until her retirement in May 2018. In this position, Ms. Goeser was responsible for Siemens Mesoamérica, which is the Mexican, Central American and Caribbean unit of multinational Siemens AG, a global engineering company operating in the industrial, energy and healthcare sectors. Ms. Goeser previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford of Mexico from January 2005 to November 2008. Prior to this position, she served as Vice President, Global Quality for Ford Motor Company from 1999 to 2005. Prior to 1999, Ms. Goeser served as General Manager, Refrigeration and Vice President, Corporate Quality at Whirlpool Corporation and held various leadership positions with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Ms. Goeser has served as a member of the Board of Directors of MSC Industrial Direct Co., Inc. since December 2009. MSC is a North American distributor of metal working and maintenance, repair, and operations products and services. Ms. Goeser previously served as a member of the boards of directors of Talen Energy from June 2015 to December 2016, PPL Corporation from March 2003 to June 2015, and Witco Corporation from 1997 to 1999.

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W. Craig Kissel has served as a director of the Company since October 2011. Mr. Kissel served as Lead Independent Director of our Board of Directors from February 2022 to July 2023 and served as the Chairperson of our Board of Directors from October 2014 to February 2022. Mr. Kissel previously was employed by American Standard Companies Inc. from 1980 until his retirement in September 2008. American Standard was a leading worldwide supplier of air conditioning and heating systems, vehicle control systems, and bathroom china and faucet ware. During his time at American Standard, Mr. Kissel served as President of Trane Commercial Systems from 2004 to June 2008, President of WABCO Vehicle Control Systems from 1998 to 2003, President of the Trane North American Unitary Products Group from 1994 to 1997, Vice President of Trane Marketing of the North American Unitary Products Group from 1992 to 1994 and held various other management positions at Trane from 1980 to 1991. From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Kissel served as Chairman of American Standard’s Corporate Ethics and Integrity Council, which was responsible for developing the company’s ethical business standards. Mr. Kissel also served in the U.S. Navy from 1973 to 1978. Mr. Kissel served as a director of Chicago Bridge & Iron Company from May 2009 until its merger with McDermott International, Inc. in May 2018 and then Mr. Kissel served as a member of the board of directors of McDermott International until June 2020. McDermott International is a global provider of technology, engineering and construction solutions for the energy industry.

Joseph T. Noonan has served as a director of the Company since May 2013. Mr. Noonan is currently an angel investor and advisor to consumer, software and technology-enabled companies. Mr. Noonan served as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Linger Home, Inc., a direct-to-consumer home textile brand, from August 2018 to January 2020. From November 2013 to January 2018, Mr. Noonan served as Chief Executive Officer of Homespun Design, Inc., an online marketplace for American-made furniture and home accents. Mr. Noonan previously worked as an independent digital strategy consultant from November 2012 to November 2013. Mr. Noonan was employed by Wayfair LLC from April 2008 to November 2012. During his time at Wayfair, Mr. Noonan served as Senior Director of Wayfair International from June 2011 to November 2012, Director of Category Management and Merchandising from February 2009 to June 2011 and Manager of Wayfair’s Business-to-Business Division from April 2008 to February 2009. Wayfair is an online retailer of home furnishings, décor and home improvement products. Prior to joining Wayfair, Mr. Noonan worked as a venture capitalist at Polaris Partners and as an investment banker at Cowen & Company.

Merilee Raines has served as a director of the Company since February 2011. Ms. Raines served as Chief Financial Officer of IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. from October 2003 until her retirement in May 2013. Prior to becoming Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Raines held several management positions with IDEXX Laboratories, including Corporate Vice President of Finance, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer, Director of Finance, and Controller. IDEXX Laboratories develops, manufactures and distributes products and provides services primarily for the companion animal veterinary, livestock and poultry, dairy and water testing industries. Ms. Raines served as a member of the Board of Directors of Affymetrix, Inc., a provider of life science and molecular diagnostic products that enable analysis of biological systems at the gene, protein and cell level, from January 2015 until it was acquired in March 2016. Ms. Raines also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Aratana Therapeutics, Inc., a pet therapeutics company focused on licensing, developing and commercializing biopharmaceutical products for companion animals, from February 2014 until it was acquired in July 2019. Ms. Raines served as a member of the Board of Directors of Benchmark Electronics, Inc., a worldwide provider of engineering services, integrated technology solutions and electronic manufacturing services from May 2018 to June 2021. Ms. Raines has served as a member of the Board of Directors of TransMedics Group, Inc., a medical technology company providing novel systems for the preservation and transport of organs to be used for transplant, since January 2021, and as a member of the Board of Directors of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the formulation, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for diseases and conditions of the eye, since September 2021.

Joseph W. Reitmeier has served as a director of the Company since February 2016. Mr. Reitmeier has served as Executive Vice President and Advisor of Lennox International Inc. since January 2024. Mr. Reitmeier previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Lennox International from July 2012 until December 2023, as Vice President of Finance for the Commercial business segment of Lennox International from 2007 to July 2012, and as Director of Internal Audit of Lennox International from 2005 to 2007. Lennox International is a leading global provider of climate control solutions and it designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of products for the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration markets. Before joining Lennox International, Mr. Reitmeier held financial leadership roles at Cummins Inc. and PolyOne Corporation.

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Item 1A.   RISK FACTORS.

Industry Risk Factors

Economic cycles, particularly those involving reduced levels of commercial and residential starts and remodeling, may have adverse effects on our revenues and operating results.

We have experienced and expect to continue to experience fluctuations in revenues and operating results due to economic and business cycles. The businesses of most of our customers, particularly plumbing and heating wholesalers and OEM manufacturers, are cyclical. Therefore, the level of our business activity has been cyclical, fluctuating with economic cycles. An economic downturn may also affect the financial stability of our customers, which could affect their ability to pay amounts owed to their vendors, including us. We also believe our level of business activity is influenced by commercial and residential starts and renovation and remodeling, which are, in turn, heavily influenced by interest rates, consumer debt levels, changes in disposable income, employment growth and consumer confidence. Credit market conditions may prevent commercial and residential builders or developers from obtaining the necessary capital to continue existing projects or to start new projects. Increases in prevailing interest rates or disruptions in financial markets and banking systems could make credit and capital markets difficult for us or our customers to access and could significantly raise the cost of new debt for us or our customers. This may result in the delay or cancellation of orders from our customers or potential customers and may adversely affect our revenues and our ability to manage inventory levels, collect customer receivables and maintain profitability. Economic conditions and financial markets in the United States and globally have experienced significant volatility in recent periods. If these market conditions persist, we may see diminished liquidity and credit availability, inability to access capital markets, and the bankruptcy, failure, collapse, or sale of various entities that could directly or indirectly impact our business, including certain of our customers and

suppliers. If economic conditions worsen in the future, our revenues and profits could decrease or trigger goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets, or long-lived asset impairments and could have a material adverse effect

on our financial condition and results of operations.

Changes in the costs of raw materials and purchased components, including imposition of or changes in tariff rates, as well as supply chain and logistics disruptions, could reduce our profit margins and adversely affect our ability to meet our customer delivery commitments.

Our products are made using various purchased components and raw materials, including primarily bronze, brass, cast iron, stainless steel, steel and plastic. Substantially all of the raw materials we require to manufacture our products are purchased from outside sources. The costs and availability of raw materials and components may be subject to change due to, among other things, interruptions in production by suppliers, changes in worldwide prices, demand levels, exchange rates and imposition of or changes in tariff rates. We typically do not enter into long-term supply agreements. Our inability to obtain supplies of raw materials and purchased components for our products at favorable costs could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations by decreasing our profit margins. Commodity prices, particularly copper and stainless-steel prices, have experienced tremendous volatility over the past several years, mainly due to global macroeconomic trends, including global price inflation, supply chain disruption and international conflicts. Should commodity costs or purchased component costs increase substantially, we may not be able to recover such costs, through selling price increases to our customers or other product cost reductions, which would have a negative effect on our financial results. If commodity costs or purchased component costs decline, we may experience pressure from customers to reduce our selling prices. Additionally, we continue to purchase components and finished goods from international sources. In limited cases, these components or finished goods are single-sourced. The availability of components and finished goods from international sources could be adversely impacted by a range of factors such as a public health crisis, extreme weather events, suppliers’ allocations to other purchasers, threats of wars and global geo-political instability, and new laws, tariffs or regulations that might cause short term / long term supply chain disruptions.

As a global manufacturer and distributor, we are facing additional risks related to ongoing disruptions and increased costs in our supply chain and logistics. Although recent global supply chain disruptions have normalized, labor shortages have affected our manufacturing and distribution processes, as well as those of our suppliers. The ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza have added strain to the European markets and the global economy, as well as exacerbated inflation, particularly energy inflation.

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We face intense competition and, if we are not able to respond to competition in our markets, our revenues and profits may decrease.

Competitive pressures in our markets could adversely affect our competitive position, leading to a possible loss of market share or a decrease in prices, either of which could result in decreased revenues and profits. We encounter intense competition in all areas of our business. To remain competitive, we will need to invest continually in manufacturing, product development, marketing, customer service and support and our distribution networks. We may not have sufficient resources to continue to make such investments and we may be unable to maintain our competitive position. In addition, we may have to reduce the prices of some of our products to stay competitive, potentially resulting in a reduction in the profit margin for, and inventory valuation of, these products. Some of our competitors are based in foreign countries and have cost structures and prices in foreign currencies. Accordingly, currency fluctuations could cause our U.S. dollar costed products to be less competitive than our competitors’ products costed in other currencies.

We are subject to risks associated with changing technology, product innovation, manufacturing techniques, operational flexibility and business continuity, which could place us at a competitive disadvantage.

The successful implementation of our business strategy requires us to continually evolve our existing products and introduce new products to meet customers’ needs in the industries we serve, as evidenced by our investments in our smart and connected strategy. Many of our products are characterized by stringent performance and specification requirements that mandate a high degree of manufacturing, engineering, and technological expertise. If we fail to meet these requirements, or if our product offerings, including our smart and connected products, are not accepted by the market, our business could be at risk. We believe that our customers rigorously evaluate their suppliers on the basis of a number of factors, including product quality, price competitiveness, technical and manufacturing expertise, development and product design capability, new product innovation, reliability and timeliness of delivery, operational flexibility, impact on the environment, customer service and overall management. Our success will depend on our ability to continue to meet customers’ changing specifications with respect to these criteria. Further, we must continue to effectively adapt our products and services to a changing technological and regulatory environment to drive growth and defend against disruption caused by competitors, regulators or other external forces impacting our business and operations. If we are unable to be agile and responsive to disruption in the development of new products, services and technologies, including technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be adversely affected. We cannot ensure that we will be able to address technological advances or introduce new products that may be necessary to remain competitive within our business. We cannot ensure that we can adequately protect any of our technological developments to produce a sustainable competitive advantage. Furthermore, we may be subject to business continuity risk in the event of an unexpected loss of a material facility or operation. We cannot ensure that we adequately protect against such loss.

Economic and other risks associated with international sales and operations could adversely affect our business and future operating results.

Since we sell and manufacture our products worldwide, our business is subject to risks associated with doing business internationally. Our business and future operating results could be harmed by a variety of factors, including:

unexpected geo-political events in foreign countries in which we operate, which could adversely affect manufacturing and our ability to fulfill customer orders; and threats or outbreaks of war, terrorism, governmental instability, or international tensions and conflicts, including the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, which could cause supply chain disruptions impacting our ability to manufacture products, service our customers or negatively impact our profit margins;
our failure to comply with anti-corruption laws and regulations of the U.S. government and various international jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the United Kingdom’s Bribery Act of 2010;
trade protection measures and import or export duties or licensing requirements, which could increase our costs of doing business internationally;
expropriation, nationalization or other protectionist activities;

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potentially negative consequences from changes in tax laws, which could have an adverse impact on our profits;
difficulty in staffing and managing widespread operations, which could reduce our productivity;
costs of compliance with differing labor regulations, especially in connection with restructuring our overseas operations;
laws of some foreign countries, which may not protect our intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the U.S.;
unexpected changes in regulatory requirements, which may be costly and require time to implement;
difficulty of enforcing agreements, collecting receivables and protecting intellectual property and other assets through non-U.S. legal systems;
foreign exchange rate fluctuations, which could also materially affect our reported results. A portion of our net sales and certain portions of our costs, assets and liabilities are denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars. Approximately 36%, 34% and 38% of our net sales in 2023, 2022 and 2021, respectively, were from sales outside of the U.S. We cannot predict whether currencies such as the euro, Canadian dollar, Chinese yuan, or other currencies in which we transact will appreciate or depreciate against the U.S. dollar in future periods or whether future foreign exchange rate fluctuations will have a positive or negative impact on our reported results; and
The occurrence or reoccurrence of regional epidemics, a global pandemic or other public health crises, such as COVID-19, which may adversely affect our operations, financial condition, and results of operations. The extent to which a public health crisis impacts our business going forward will depend on factors such as the duration and scope; governmental, business, and individuals' actions in response to the public health crisis; and the impact on economic activity, including the possibility of recession or financial market instability. Measures to contain a public health crisis may intensify other risks described in these Risk Factors.

Company Risk Factors

Our business, reputation and financial performance may be adversely affected by cyber-security attacks, information technology failures and other business disruptions.

Our business may be impacted by disruptions, including cyber-security attacks or information technology failures, threats to physical security, as well as damaging weather, fire or other acts of nature. We depend heavily on the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our information technology infrastructure and systems, including third-party data centers and third-party cloud services to manage our business objectives and operations, support our customers’ requirements and protect proprietary and other sensitive information, including personal information. Any damage to, or failure of, our systems or a third-party hosting facility or other service that we use, could severely impact our ability to conduct our business operations, attract new customers, maintain existing customers, or result in a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting, any of which could materially adversely affect our future operating results. While we have taken steps designed to reduce interruptions by implementing internal controls, a cybersecurity risk management program, network and data center resiliency, and redundancy and recovery processes, these measures may be inadequate.

Cyber-security attacks, in particular, are evolving as threat actors become increasingly sophisticated in using techniques and tools (including artificial intelligence) to circumvent security controls. Such attacks include, but are not limited to, malicious software, misconfigurations, bugs, attempts to gain unauthorized access to data (including through social engineering/phishing or the use of malware/ransomware), and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information and corruption of data. Cybersecurity may also be breached due to employee error, malfeasance, system errors or vulnerabilities, including vulnerabilities of our customers, distributors, vendors, suppliers, and their products. We have been impacted by certain cyber-security attacks, either directly or indirectly via our supply chain or third-party vendors, and may continue to experience them going forward, potentially with more frequency. While to date no attacks have had a material impact on our operations or financial results, we cannot guarantee that material attacks will not occur in the future. We also have a

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portion of our workforce working remotely, which may heighten these risks. In addition, we have designed products and services that connect to and are part of the “Internet of Things” which may also be vulnerable to cyber-security breaches. As we continue to design and develop smart and connected products, services and solutions that leverage our hosted or cloud-based resources, the Internet-of-Things and other wireless/remote technologies, and include networks of distributed and interconnected devices that contain sensors, data transfers and other computing capabilities, our customers' data and systems may be subjected to harmful or illegal content or attacks, including potential cybersecurity threats. Additionally, we may not have adequately anticipated or precluded such cybersecurity threats through our product design or development. Consequently, these products, services and solutions also may be subjected to harmful or illegal content or attacks that develop vulnerabilities or critical security issues that cannot be disclosed without compromising security. If we need to address multiple vulnerabilities simultaneously, we may also need to make prioritization decisions in determining which vulnerabilities or security defects to fix first, and the timing of these fixes, which could result in compromised security. These vulnerabilities and security defects could expose us or our customers to a risk of loss, disclosure, or misuse of data; adversely affect our operating results; result in litigation (including class actions), liability, or regulatory action (including under laws related to privacy, data protection, data security, network security, and consumer protection); deter customers or sellers from using our products, services and solutions; result in significant incident response, system restoration or remediation costs; and otherwise harm our business and reputation. We maintain a cybersecurity risk management program and have adopted measures and incurred cost with the intention of mitigating potential risks associated with information technology disruptions and cybersecurity threats; however, there is no assurance that these measures will be fully implemented, complied with or effective at preventing or detecting cyber-attacks or security breaches, or other vulnerabilities, which may allow them to persist in the environment over long periods of time. In addition, cybersecurity and data privacy and protection laws and regulations are evolving and present increasing compliance challenges, which may increase our costs, affect our competitiveness and expose us to substantial fines or other penalties. Further, customers and third-party providers increasingly demand rigorous contractual provisions regarding privacy, cybersecurity, data protection, confidentiality, and intellectual property, which may also increase our overall compliance burden and related costs. Finally, we cannot guarantee that any costs and liabilities incurred in relation to an attack or incident will be covered by our existing insurance policies or that applicable insurance will be available to us in the future on economically reasonable terms or at all.

We also may experience unplanned system interruptions or outages of our primary ERP system as it continues to age, which may affect our ability to support and maintain the system in an effective manner. Any disruptions, delays or deficiencies related to our primary ERP system could lead to substantial business interruption, including our ability to perform routine business transactions, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial results. 

Given the unpredictability of the timing, nature and scope of such disruptions, we could potentially be subject to production downtimes, operational delays, other detrimental impacts on our operations or ability to provide products to our customers, the compromising of confidential or otherwise protected information, misappropriation, destruction or corruption of data, security breaches, other manipulation or improper use of our systems, networks or our products, financial losses from remedial actions, loss of business or potential liability, and/or damage to our reputation, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.

We are in the process of replacing our current primary ERP system with a new ERP system, and this system implementation is expected to occur in phases over the next several years. Any software implementation requires significant investment of human and financial resources and we may experience significant delays, increased costs and other difficulties. Any significant disruption or deficiency in the design and implementation of our software systems, including our new ERP, could adversely affect our ability to process orders, ship product, send invoices and track payments, fulfill contractual obligations or otherwise operate our business. While we invest significant resources in planning and project management, significant issues may arise, which could have a material adverse effect on our competitive position, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition. In addition, our current primary ERP system will continue to be used over the course of the phased implementation and we may experience system interruptions or deficiencies as described in the paragraph above.

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Implementation of our strategic initiatives, including acquisition and dispositions, and integration of acquired businesses may not be successful, which could affect our ability to increase our revenues or our profitability.

One of our strategies is to increase our revenues and profitability and expand our business through acquisitions that will provide us with complementary products and solutions and enhance our existing product offerings. In addition, from time to time, we may divest assets or businesses based on an evaluation of our business portfolio. We cannot be certain that we will be able to identify, acquire or profitably manage additional companies or successfully integrate such additional companies without substantial costs, delays or other problems. The identification, evaluation, and negotiation of potential acquisitions and other strategic transactions such as divestitures may divert the attention of management and entail various expenses, whether or not such transactions are ultimately completed. We have faced increasing competition for acquisition candidates, which has resulted in significant increases in the purchase prices of many acquisition candidates. This competition, and the resulting purchase price increases, may limit the number of acquisition opportunities available to us, possibly leading to a decrease in the rate of growth of our revenues and profitability. Also, companies acquired recently and in the future may not achieve anticipated revenues, cost synergies, profitability or cash flows that justify our investment, or divestitures may not realize the expected benefits or synergies of such transactions. In addition, acquisitions may involve a number of risks, including, but not limited to:

difficulties in integrating operations, business processes, systems and company culture;
challenges in conforming standards, controls, procedures and accounting and other policies, business cultures and compensation structures;
adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers or customers;
inadequate internal control over financial reporting and our ability to bring such controls into compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in a timely manner;
adverse short-term effects on our reported operating results, as a result of incurring acquisition-related debt, pre-acquisition potential tax liabilities, acquisition expenses, and the amortization of acquisition-acquired assets;
inability to effectively transfer liabilities, contracts, facilities and employees to the purchaser, identify and separate the intellectual property to be divested from the intellectual property that we wish to keep and reduce fixed costs previously associated with the divested assets or business; we may still retain liabilities associated with the divested businesses and other indemnification obligations;
diversion of management’s attention;
investigations of, or challenges to, acquisitions by competition authorities;
loss of key personnel at acquired companies;
unanticipated management or operational problems or legal liabilities; and
potential goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets, or long-lived asset impairment charges.

We are subject to risks related to product defects, which could result in product recalls and could subject us to warranty claims in excess of our warranty provisions or which are greater than anticipated due to the unenforceability of liability limitations.

We cannot be certain that our quality controls and procedures, including the testing of raw materials and safety testing of selected finished products, will reveal latent defects in our products or the materials from which they are made, which may not become apparent until after the products have been sold into the market. We also cannot be certain that our suppliers will always eliminate latent defects in products we purchase from them. Accordingly, there is a risk that product defects will occur, which could require a product recall. Product recalls can be expensive to implement and, if a product recall occurs during the product’s warranty period, we may be required to replace the defective product. In addition, a product recall may damage our relationship with our customers and we may lose market share with our customers. Our insurance policies may not cover the costs of a product recall.

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Our standard warranties contain limits on damages and exclusions of liability for consequential damages and for misuse, improper installation, alteration, accident or mishandling while in the possession of someone other than us. We may incur additional operating expenses if our warranty provision does not reflect the actual cost of resolving issues related to defects in our products. If these additional expenses are significant, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We use important intellectual property in our business. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property or if a third party makes assertions against us or our customers relating to intellectual property rights, our business could be adversely affected.

We own important intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. We cannot guarantee, however, that we will be able to secure all desired protection, nor that the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property will be adequate, to prevent infringement of our rights or misappropriation or theft of our technology, trade secrets or know-how. For example, effective patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection may be unavailable or limited in some of the countries in which we operate. In addition, while we generally enter into confidentiality agreements with our employees and third parties to protect our trade secrets, know-how, business strategy and other proprietary information, such confidentiality agreements could be breached or otherwise may not provide meaningful protection for our trade secrets and know-how related to the design, manufacture or operation of our products. If it became necessary for us to resort to litigation to protect our intellectual property rights, any proceedings could be burdensome and costly, and we may not prevail. Further, adequate remedies may not be available in the event of an unauthorized use or disclosure of our trade secrets and manufacturing expertise. Finally, for those products in our portfolio that rely on patent protection, once a patent has expired, the product is generally open to competition. Products under patent protection usually generate higher revenues and profitability than those not protected by patents. If we fail to successfully enforce our intellectual property rights, our competitive position could suffer, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

In addition, our competitors may develop technologies that are similar or superior to our proprietary technologies or design around the patents we own or license. Further, as we expand our operations in jurisdictions where the protection of intellectual property rights is less robust, the risk of others duplicating our proprietary technologies increases, despite efforts we undertake to protect them. Foreign governments may adopt regulations, and foreign governments or courts may render decisions, requiring compulsory licensing of intellectual property rights, or foreign governments may require products to meet standards that serve to favor local companies or provide reduced protection relative to other countries.

We face risks from product liability and other lawsuits, which may adversely affect our business.

We have been and expect to continue to be subject to various product liability claims or other lawsuits, including, among others, alleging that our products include inadequate or improper instructions for use or installation, inadequate warnings concerning the effects of the failure of our products, alleged manufacturing or design defects, or allegations that our products contain asbestos. If we do not have adequate insurance or contractual indemnification, damages from these claims would have to be paid from our assets and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. Like other manufacturers and distributors of products designed to control and regulate fluids and gases, we face an inherent risk of exposure to product liability claims and other lawsuits in the event that the use of our products results in personal injury, property damage or business interruption to our customers. We cannot be certain that our products will be completely free from defect. In addition, in certain cases, we rely on third-party manufacturers for our products or components of our products. We cannot be certain that our insurance coverage will continue to be available to us at a reasonable cost, or, if available, will be adequate to cover any such liabilities. For more information, see Item 1. “Business—Product Liability, Environmental and Other Litigation Matters” and Note 16 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

We face risks from costs for environmental compliance and/or to address potential liabilities under environmental laws and regulations.

Our operations and facilities in all jurisdictions in which we operate are subject to federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations related to pollution and the protection of the environment, health and safety, including, but not limited to those governing air emissions, discharges to water, water usage, the generation, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes and other materials, and the remediation of contaminated sites. A failure by us to comply with applicable requirements or maintain the permits required for our operations could result in civil or criminal fines,

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penalties, enforcement actions, third-party claims for property damage and personal injury, requirements to clean up property or to pay for the costs of cleanup or regulatory or judicial orders enjoining or curtailing operations or requiring corrective measures, including the installation of pollution control equipment or remedial actions.

Certain environmental laws and regulations impose on present and former owners and operators of facilities and sites, and on potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) for sites to which parties may have sent waste for disposal, requirements to investigate and remediate contamination. PRP designation typically requires the funding of site investigations and subsequent remedial activities. Such liability can be imposed without regard to fault and, under certain circumstances, may be joint and several, which may result in one PRP being held responsible for the entire obligation. Liability may also include damages to natural resources. On occasion, we are involved in the investigation and/or remedial activities at sites that we currently own or operate or formerly owned or operated, or sites to which we sent waste for disposal, and we have been and could continue to be named as a PRP at such other sites.

The discovery of additional contamination, including at acquired facilities, the imposition of more stringent environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including cleanup requirements, or the insolvency, or other grounds for refusing to participate, of other responsible parties could require us to incur capital expenditures or operating costs materially in excess of our accruals, increase costs of compliance, decrease demand for our products, create reputational harm or require us to manufacture with alternative technologies and materials. Future investigations we undertake may lead to discoveries of contamination that must be remediated, and decisions to close facilities may trigger remediation requirements that are not currently applicable. We may also face liability for alleged personal injury or property damage due to exposure to hazardous substances used or disposed of by us, contained within our current or former products, or present in the soil or groundwater at our current or former facilities. We could incur significant costs in connection with such liabilities. See Item 1. “Business—Product Liability, Environmental and Other Litigation Matters” and Note 16 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Climate change, and legislation or regulations addressing climate change, may have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

The impacts of climate change are highly unpredictable and vary depending on geographical location, but could include changing temperatures, droughts, water shortages, wildfires, changes in weather and rainfall patterns, changes in sea levels, and changing storm patterns and intensities. These impacts present several potential challenges to water and energy related products, such as potential degradation of water quality and changes in water conservation or energy efficiency requirements, particularly during periods of increased precipitation, flooding, or water shortages. Inclement weather and extreme weather events may have varying impacts on our business. Certain events may disrupt the operations of our customers, creating customer shutdowns that prevent or defer sales of our product, while other events may drive increased demand for our products, which may create volatility in our financial results. Additionally, these events may disrupt our own operations and the operations of our suppliers, including the operation of manufacturing plants, the transportation of raw materials from our suppliers, and the transportation of products to our customers, any of which may increase our costs, reduce our productivity and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Additionally, concern over climate change has and may continue to result in new or increased legal and regulatory requirements to reduce or mitigate the effects of climate change, including limitations on greenhouse gas emissions, or to disclose our efforts regarding such matters, which could increase our costs or require additional investments in our facilities and equipment, and require us to make significant new disclosures regarding the climate-related impacts of our business. New legislation and regulatory requirements may also impact our customers and suppliers, which could affect demand for our products or our ability to source key materials. In addition, our customers and suppliers may impose their own requirements with respect to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, that may require us to incur additional costs to comply with such requirements. Any failure to comply with those requirements may also affect demand for our products or our ability to source key materials. We also establish our own goals with respect to reducing our impact on the environment. Any failure to achieve our own goals, or any perception of a failure to act responsibly with respect to the environment or to effectively respond to regulatory requirements concerning climate change, or failure to accurately report on our progress toward achieving our goal or in environmental and sustainability programs can lead to adverse publicity or litigation, resulting in an adverse effect on our business or damage to our reputation.

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Increased scrutiny of, and evolving expectations regarding, sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) matters could increase our costs, harm our reputation and adversely impact our financial results.

Companies are facing increasing and evolving scrutiny related to ESG practices and disclosures from certain investors, government entities, customers, employees, and other stakeholders or third parties. With this increased focus, public reporting regarding ESG practices is becoming more broadly expected, which could lead to increased scrutiny of our ESG practices or lack thereof. Such increased scrutiny may result in increased costs, increased risk of litigation or reputational damage relating to our ESG practices or performance, enhanced compliance, or disclosure obligations, or other adverse impacts on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. While we may at times engage in voluntary initiatives (such as voluntary disclosures or goals), such initiatives may be costly and may not have the desired effect. For example, we may commit to certain initiatives and we may not ultimately be able to achieve such initiatives due to cost, technological constraints or other factors that are within or outside of our control. Even if we achieve our initiatives, our actions may subsequently be determined to be insufficient by various stakeholders or other third parties. If our ESG practices and reporting do not meet investor, regulator, customer, employee, or other stakeholder or third party expectations, which continue to evolve, our brand, reputation and/or business relationships may be negatively impacted, and we may be subject to investor or regulator engagement regarding such matters. Certain market participants, including major institutional investors, use third-party benchmarks, ratings, or scores to measure our ESG practices in making investment and voting decisions. Unfavorable ratings or scores of us or our industry may lead to negative investor sentiment and the diversion of investment to other companies or industries, which could have a negative impact on our stock price and our access to and cost of capital. As ESG best practices, reporting standards, and disclosure requirements continue to develop, we may incur increasing costs related to ESG monitoring and reporting. In addition, new ESG rules and regulations have been adopted and may continue to be introduced in various states and other jurisdictions. Our failure to comply with any applicable rules or regulations could lead to penalties and adversely impact our reputation, customer attraction and retention, access to capital, and employee retention. Such ESG matters may also impact our suppliers, customers, and business partners, which may augment or cause additional impacts on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Our ability to achieve savings through our restructuring and business transformation activities may be adversely affected by management’s ability to fully execute such plans as a result of local regulations, geo-political risk or other factors within or beyond the control of management.

We have implemented a number of restructuring and business transformation activities, which include steps that we believe are necessary to enhance the value and performance of the Company, including reducing operating costs and increasing efficiencies throughout our manufacturing, sales and distribution footprint. Factors within the control of management, or factors beyond management’s control such as local labor regulations or legal or political intervention, may change the total estimated costs or the timing of when the savings will be achieved under the plans. Further, if we are not successful in completing the restructuring or business transformation activities timely or if additional or unanticipated issues such as labor disruptions, inability to retain key personnel during and after the transformation or higher exit costs arise, our expected cost savings may not be met and our operating results could be negatively affected. In addition, our restructuring and transformation activities may place substantial demands on our management, which could lead to diversion of management’s attention from other business priorities and result in a reduced customer focus.

The requirements to evaluate goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets and long-lived assets for impairment may result in a write-off of all or a portion of our recorded amounts, which would negatively affect our operating results and financial condition.

As of December 31, 2023, our balance sheet included goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets, amortizable intangible assets and property, plant and equipment of $693.0 million, $65.5 million, $150.6 million and $248.2 million, respectively. In lieu of amortization, we are required to perform an annual impairment review of both goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets. In 2023, 2022 and 2021, none of our goodwill reporting units or our indefinite lived tradenames were impaired. We are also required to perform an impairment review of our long-lived assets if indicators of impairment exist. In 2022, we recognized a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $1.3 million related to a technology intangible asset. This impairment was due to market value expectations indicating the carrying amounts of these assets were in excess of the fair value. In 2023 and 2021 none of our long-lived assets were impaired.

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There can be no assurances that future goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets or other long-lived asset impairments will not occur. We perform our annual test for indications of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets impairment in the fourth quarter of our fiscal year or sooner if indicators of impairment exist.

The loss or financial instability of major customers could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

In 2023, our top ten customers accounted for approximately 21% of our total net sales with no one customer accounting for more than 10% of our total net sales. Our customers generally are not obligated to purchase any minimum volume of products from us and are able to terminate their relationships with us at any time. In addition, increases in the prices of our products could result in a reduction in orders from our customers. A significant reduction in orders from, or change in terms of contracts with, any significant customers could have a material adverse effect on our future results of operations.

Our credit facility may limit our ability to pay dividends, incur additional debt and make acquisitions and other investments.

Our revolving credit facility contains operational and financial covenants that restrict our ability to make distributions to stockholders, incur additional debt and make acquisitions and other investments unless we satisfy certain financial tests and comply with various financial ratios. If we do not maintain compliance with these covenants, our creditors could declare a default under our revolving credit facility, and our indebtedness could be declared immediately due and payable. Our ability to comply with the provisions of our indebtedness may be affected by changes in economic or business conditions beyond our control. Further, one of our strategies is to increase our revenues and profitability and expand our business through acquisitions. We may require capital in excess of our available cash and the unused portion of our revolving credit facility to make large acquisitions, which we would generally obtain from access to the credit markets. There can be no assurance that if a large acquisition is identified that we would have access to sufficient capital to complete such acquisition. Should we require additional debt financing above our existing credit limit, we cannot be assured such financing would be available to us or available to us on reasonable economic terms.

Our inability to attract and retain key personnel may adversely affect our business.

Our success depends on our ability to recruit, retain and develop highly-skilled management and key personnel. Competition for these individuals in our industry is intense and we may not be able to successfully recruit, train or retain qualified personnel, or to effectively implement successions to existing personnel. If we fail to retain and recruit the necessary personnel or arrange for successors to key personnel, our business could materially suffer.

Investment Risk Factors

One of our stockholders can exercise substantial influence over our Company.

As of December 31, 2023, Timothy P. Horne beneficially owned 5,938,290 shares of Class B common stock. Our Class B common stock entitles its holders to ten votes for each share, and our Class A common stock entitles its holders to one vote per share. As of December 31, 2023, Timothy P. Horne beneficially owned approximately 17.9% of our outstanding shares of Class A common stock (assuming conversion of all shares of Class B common stock beneficially owned by Mr. Horne into Class A common stock) and approximately 99.7% of our outstanding shares of Class B common stock, which represents approximately 68.3% of the total outstanding voting power. As long as Mr. Horne controls shares representing at least a majority of the total voting power of our outstanding stock, Mr. Horne will be able to unilaterally determine the outcome of most stockholder votes, and other stockholders will not be able to affect the outcome of any such votes.

Conversion and subsequent sale of a significant number of shares of our Class B common stock could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

As of December 31, 2023, there were outstanding 27,352,701 shares of our Class A common stock and 5,958,290 shares of our Class B common stock. Shares of our Class B common stock may be converted into Class A common stock at any time on a one for one basis. Under the terms of a registration rights agreement with respect to outstanding shares of our Class B common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock have rights with respect to the registration of the underlying Class A common stock. Under these registration rights, the holders of Class B common stock may require, on

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up to two occasions that we register their shares for public resale. If we are eligible to use Form S-3 or a similar short-form registration statement, the holders of Class B common stock may require that we register their shares for public resale up to two times per year. If we elect to register any shares of Class A common stock for any public offering, the holders of Class B common stock are entitled to include shares of Class A common stock into which such shares of Class B common stock may be converted in such registration. However, we may reduce the number of shares proposed to be registered in view of market conditions. We will pay all expenses in connection with any registration, other than underwriting discounts and commissions. If all of the available registered shares are sold into the public market the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline.

General Risk Factors

Changes in regulations or standards could adversely affect our business.

Our products and business are subject to a wide variety of statutory, regulatory and industry standards and requirements. A significant change to regulatory requirements, whether federal, foreign, state or local, or to industry standards, could substantially increase manufacturing costs, impact the size and timing of demand for our products, require us to manufacture with alternative technologies or materials, or put us at a competitive disadvantage, any of which could harm our business and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

Our operating results could be negatively affected by changes in tax rates, the adoption of new tax legislation, or exposure to additional tax liabilities.

As a global company, we are subject to taxation in numerous countries, states and other jurisdictions. As a result, our effective rate is derived from a combination of applicable tax rates in the various places that we operate. Our future taxes could be affected by numerous factors, including changes in the mix of our profitability from country to country, the results of examinations and audits of our tax filings, adjustments to our uncertain tax positions, changes in accounting for income taxes and changes in tax laws.

In the ordinary course of our business, there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Significant judgment is required in determining our global provision for income taxes, deferred tax assets or liabilities, and in evaluating our tax positions. Our tax filings are regularly under audit by tax authorities and the ultimate tax outcome may differ from the amounts recorded and may materially affect our financial results in the period or periods for which such determination is made.

In October 2021, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) issued model rules for a new global minimum tax framework, commonly referred to as “Pillar Two,” which includes the introduction of a 15% global minimum tax to become effective beginning after January 1, 2024. To date, approximately 140 countries have tentatively signed a framework agreeing in principle to this initiative and several countries are in various stages of implementing Pillar Two proposals in local tax legislation. The OECD continues to refine the technical guidance. Our effective tax rate and cash tax payments could increase in future years as a result of these changes.

The U.S. enacted the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) in August 2022, which, among other provisions, creates a new corporate alternative minimum tax (CAMT) of at least 15% for certain large corporations that have at least an average of $1 billion in adjusted financial statement income over a consecutive three-year period effective in tax years beginning after December 31, 2022. The IRA also includes a 1% excise tax on new corporate stock repurchases beginning in 2023. We do not expect to meet the CAMT threshold in the near term nor expect the IRA to have a material impact on our financial statements. However, it is possible that the U.S. Congress could advance other tax legislation proposals in the future that could have a material impact on our financial statements.

Item 1B.   UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

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Item 1C. CYBERSECURITY

Cybersecurity Risk Management and Strategy

We have developed and implemented a cybersecurity risk management program intended to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our critical systems and information.

We design and assess our program based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework (“NIST CSF”). This does not imply that we meet any particular technical standards, specifications, or requirements. We use the NIST CSF as a guide to help us identify, assess, and manage cybersecurity risks relevant to our business.

Our cybersecurity risk management program is integrated into our overall enterprise risk management program and shares common methodologies, reporting channels, and governance processes that apply across the enterprise risk management program to other legal, compliance, strategic, operational, and financial risk areas.

Our cybersecurity risk management program includes the following:

risk assessments designed to help identify material cybersecurity risks to our critical systems, information, products, services, and our broader enterprise IT environment;

a security team principally responsible for managing (1) our cybersecurity risk assessment processes, (2) our security controls, and (3) our response to cybersecurity incidents;

the use of external service providers, where appropriate, to assess, test, or otherwise assist with aspects of our security controls;

risk review of certain third-party service providers, including software vendors, third-party cloud services, and third-party hosting services, with ongoing risk monitoring for critical vendors through an external cybersecurity intelligence service;

cybersecurity awareness training of our employees, incident response personnel, and senior management; and

a cybersecurity incident response plan that includes procedures for responding to cybersecurity incidents.

There can be no assurance that our cybersecurity risk management program and processes, including our policies, controls or procedures, will be fully implemented, complied with or effective in protecting our systems and information.

Ongoing Risks

We have not experienced any material cybersecurity incidents. We have not identified risks from known cybersecurity threats, including as a result of any prior cybersecurity incidents, that have materially affected us, including our operations, business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition. We face risks from cybersecurity threats that, if realized, are reasonably likely to materially affect us, including our operations, business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition. For a full discussion of cybersecurity risks, please see our Risk Factors in Item 1A.

Management Oversight of Cybersecurity

Our Chief Information Officer (“CIO”) and the Vice President (“VP”) of Information Security have primary responsibility for our overall cybersecurity risk management program and supervise both our internal cybersecurity personnel and our retained external cybersecurity consultants. Our CIO’s and VP of Information Security’s collectively have over 25 years of experience in leading information technology and security functions across strategy, architecture, engineering, and operations.

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The CIO and VP of Information Security supervise efforts to prevent, detect, mitigate, and remediate cybersecurity risks and incidents through various means, which may include but are not limited to risk assessments, including with the support of external advisors, briefings from internal security personnel; threat intelligence and other information obtained from governmental, public or private sources, including external consultants engaged by us; and alerts and reports produced by security tools deployed in the IT environment.

Our Cybersecurity Council, comprised of cross-functional senior leaders from operations, finance, internal audit, product management, and information technology teams, also reviews and assesses security risks and issues from a business and technology perspective across all organizations within Watts on a quarterly basis, with the guidance and input of the CIO and VP of Information Security. Our executive management team is primarily responsible for assessing and managing our material or reasonably likely to be material risks from cybersecurity threats with the advice and input of the CIO and VP of Information Security, including based on the above and from external advisors as necessary.

Board Oversight of Cybersecurity

Our Board considers cybersecurity risks as part of its risk oversight function and has delegated to the Audit Committee oversight of cybersecurity and other information technology risks.

The Audit Committee oversees management’s implementation of our cybersecurity risk management program and receives updates on the cybersecurity risk management program from the CIO and the VP of Information Security at least twice yearly. In addition, management updates the Audit Committee regarding any material or significant cybersecurity incidents, as well as incidents with lesser impact potential as necessary.

The Audit Committee reports to the full Board annually regarding cybersecurity. The full Board also receives annual briefings from the CIO and the VP of Information Security on cybersecurity, or from external experts on cybersecurity as part of the Board’s continuing education on topics that impact public companies.

Item 2.   PROPERTIES.

We maintain 35 principal manufacturing, warehouse and distribution centers worldwide, including our corporate headquarters located in North Andover, Massachusetts. Additionally, we maintain numerous sales offices and other smaller manufacturing facilities and warehouses. The principal properties in each of our three geographic segments and their location, principal use and ownership status are set forth below:

Americas:

Location

    

Principal Use

    

Owned/Leased

North Andover, MA

Corporate Headquarters

Owned

Burlington, ON, Canada

Distribution Center

Owned

Export, PA

Manufacturing

Owned

Franklin, NH

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

St. Pauls, NC

Manufacturing

Owned

Menomonee Falls, WI

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Germantown, WI

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Michigan City, IN

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Spindale, NC

Distribution Center

Owned

Fort Worth, TX

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Fort Myers, FL

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Blauvelt, NY

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Sparks, NV

Distribution Center

Leased

Vernon, BC, Canada

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Woodland, CA

Manufacturing

Leased

Groveport, OH

Distribution Center

Leased

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Europe:

Location

    

Principal Use

    

Owned/Leased

Biassono, Italy

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Hautvillers, France

Manufacturing

Owned

Landau, Germany

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Manufacturing

Owned

Sorgues, France

Distribution Center

Owned

Vildbjerg, Denmark

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Virey-le-Grand, France

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Rosières, France

Manufacturing/Distribution

Owned

Gardolo, Italy

Manufacturing

Owned

Monastir, Tunisia

Manufacturing

Leased

St. Neots, United Kingdom

Distribution

Leased

Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa:

Location

    

Principal Use

    

Owned/Leased

Ningbo, Beilun, China

Manufacturing

Owned

Shanghai, China

APMEA Headquarters

Leased

Ningbo, Beilun District, China

Distribution Center

Leased

Auckland, New Zealand

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Sales Office/Distribution

Leased

Caringbah, New South Wales, Australia

Manufacturing/Distribution

Leased

Kewdale, Western Australia, Australia

Distribution

Leased

Campbellfield, Victoria, Australia

Distribution

Leased

We believe that our properties, including machinery, tools and equipment, are in good condition, well maintained and adequate and suitable for their intended uses.

Item 3.   LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

We are from time to time involved in various legal and administrative proceedings. See Item 1. “Business—Product Liability, Environmental and Other Litigation Matters,” and Note 16 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, both of which are incorporated herein by reference.

Item 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

Not applicable.

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PART II

Item 5.   MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

Our Class A common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “WTS.”

There is no established public trading market for our Class B common stock, which is held by members of the Horne family. The principal holders of such stock are subject to restrictions on transfer with respect to their shares. Each share of our Class B common stock (10 votes per share) is convertible into one share of Class A common stock (1 vote per share).

The number of record holders of our Class A common stock as of January 28, 2024 was 58. The number of record holders of our Class B common stock as of January 28, 2024 was 10.

Aggregate common stock dividend payments in 2023 were $46.5 million, which consisted of $38.3 million and $8.2 million for Class A shares and Class B shares, respectively. Aggregate common stock dividend payments in 2022 were $39.5 million, which consisted of $32.5 million and $7.0 million for Class A shares and Class B shares, respectively. While we presently intend to continue to pay comparable cash dividends, the payment of future cash dividends depends upon the Board of Directors’ assessment of our earnings, financial condition, capital requirements and other factors.

We satisfy the minimum withholding tax obligation due upon the vesting of shares of restricted stock by repurchasing a number of shares with an aggregate fair market value on the date of such vesting that would satisfy the withholding amount due. We did not have any such repurchases in the three-month period ended December 31, 2023.

The following table includes information with respect to repurchases of our Class A common stock during the three-month period ended December 31, 2023 under our stock repurchase programs.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities (1)

    

    

    

    

(d) Maximum Number (or

(a) Total

(c) Total Number of

Approximate Dollar

Number of

(b) Average

Shares (or Units)

Value) of Shares (or

Shares (or

Price Paid

Purchased as Part of

Units) that May Yet Be

Units)

per Share

Publicly Announced

Purchased Under the

Period

Purchased(1)

(or Unit)

Plans or Programs

Plans or Programs

September 25, 2023 – October 22, 2023

 

7,069

$

175.08

 

7,069

$

165,026,242

October 23, 2023 – November 19, 2023

 

6,956

$

180.37

 

6,956

$

163,771,607

November 20, 2023 – December 31, 2023

9,028

$

199.75

9,028

$

161,968,227

Total

 

23,053

$

186.31

 

23,053

(1)On February 6, 2019, we announced that our Board of Directors had approved a repurchase program of up to $150 million of our Class A common stock, to be purchased from time to time on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, which does not have an expiration date. On July 31, 2023, the Board of Directors authorized an additional stock repurchase program of up to $150 million of our Class A common stock to be purchased from time to time on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, which also has no expiration date. The additional $150 million has been reflected in the maximum dollar value of shares that may yet be purchased in column (d) above. The timing and number of shares repurchased will be determined by the Company’s management based on its evaluation of market conditions and other factors.

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Performance Graph

Set forth below is a line graph comparing the cumulative total shareholder return on our Class A common stock for the last five years with the cumulative return of companies on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index and the Russell 2000 Index. We chose the Russell 2000 Index because it represents companies with a market capitalization similar to that of Watts Water. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our Class A common stock and each index was $100 at December 31, 2018 and that all dividends were reinvested.

Graphic

Cumulative Total Return

    

12/31/18

    

12/31/19

    

12/31/20

    

12/31/21

    

12/31/22

    

12/31/23

Watts Water Technologies, Inc.

 

100.00

156.19

192.37

309.02

234.63

336.88

S & P 500

 

100.00

131.49

155.68

200.37

164.08

207.21

Russell 2000

 

100.00

125.52

150.58

172.90

137.56

160.85

The above Performance Graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the Securities and Exchange Commission, nor shall such information be incorporated by reference into any future filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate it by reference into such filing.

Item 6.   [Reserved]

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Item 7.   MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

Overview

We are a leading supplier of products and solutions that manage and conserve the flow of fluids and energy into, through and out of buildings in the commercial, industrial and residential markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa (“APMEA”). For 150 years, we have designed and produced valve systems that safeguard and regulate water systems, energy efficient heating and hydronic systems, drainage systems and water filtration technology that helps purify and conserve water. We earn revenue and income almost exclusively from the sale of our products. Our principal product and solutions categories include:

Residential & commercial flow control and protection—includes products and solutions typically sold into plumbing and hot water applications such as backflow preventers, water pressure regulators, temperature and pressure relief valves, thermostatic mixing valves, leak detection and protection products, commercial washroom solutions and emergency safety products and equipment. Many of our flow control and protection products are now smart and connected enabled, warning of leaks, floods and freeze with alerts to Building Management System (“BMS”) and/or personal devices giving our customers greater insight into their water management and the ability to shut off the water supply to avoid waste and mitigate damage.

HVAC & gas—includes commercial high-efficiency boilers, water heaters and heating solutions, hydronic and electric heating systems for under-floor radiant applications, custom heat and hot water solutions, hydronic pump groups for boiler manufacturers and alternative energy control packages, and flexible stainless steel connectors for natural and liquid propane gas in commercial food service and residential applications. Most of our HVAC products and solutions feature advanced controls enabling customers to easily connect to the BMS for better monitoring, control and operation. HVAC is an acronym for heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

Drainage & water re-use—includes drainage products and engineered rain water harvesting solutions for commercial, industrial, marine and residential applications, including connected roof drain systems.

Water quality—includes point-of-use and point-of-entry water filtration, monitoring, conditioning and scale prevention systems for commercial, marine and residential applications.

Our business is reported in three geographic segments: Americas, Europe, and APMEA. We distribute our products through four primary distribution channels: wholesale, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), specialty, and do-it-yourself (DIY).

We believe that the factors relating to our future growth include continued product innovation that meets the needs of our customers and our end markets; our ability to continue to make selective acquisitions, both in our core markets as well as in complementary markets; regulatory requirements relating to the quality and conservation of water and the safe use of water; increased demand for clean water; and continued enforcement of plumbing and building codes. We have completed 14 acquisitions since 2013, including three in the last twelve months. Our acquisition strategy focuses on businesses that promote our key macro themes around safety and regulation, energy efficiency and water conservation. We target businesses that will provide us with one or more of the following: an entry into new markets and/or new geographies, improved channel access, unique and/or proprietary technologies, including smart and connected technologies, advanced production capabilities or complementary solution offerings.

We believe that sustainability guides and permeates every aspect of our business, including our product development strategy and design, and how we structure our operations. Our innovation strategy is focused on differentiated products and solutions that will provide greater opportunity to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace, while at the same time creating innovative products and smart solutions to protect, control, and conserve critical resources, and help our customers with their sustainability efforts through the use of our products. We continually look for strategic opportunities to invest in new products and markets or divest existing product lines where necessary in order to meet those objectives.

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Over the past several years we have been building our smart and connected products foundation by expanding our internal capabilities and making strategic acquisitions. Our strategy is to deliver superior customer value through smart and connected products and solutions. This strategy focuses on three dimensions: Connect, Control and Conserve. We are focused on introducing products that connect our customers with smart systems, control systems for optimal performance, and conserve critical resources by increasing operability, efficiency and safety. 

Products representing a majority of our sales are subject to regulatory standards and code enforcement, which typically require that these products meet stringent performance criteria. We have consistently advocated for the development and enforcement of such plumbing codes. We are focused on maintaining stringent quality control and testing procedures at each of our manufacturing facilities in order to manufacture products in compliance with code requirements and take advantage of the resulting demand for compliant products. We believe that product development, product testing capability and investment in plant and equipment needed to manufacture products in compliance with code requirements, represent a competitive advantage for us.

Global economic indicators are mixed and show some signs of softer market conditions in 2024. Elevated interest rates may impact new construction. The European economy continues to show signs of weakening, China’s economy has decelerated, and geo-political risks have heightened. Despite these anticipated challenges, we continue to invest in our business, including new products, our smart and connected solutions and our growth and productivity initiatives. We remain focused on our customers’ needs and executing on our long-term strategy.

Due to the above circumstances and as described generally in this Form 10-K, our results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2023 are not necessarily indicative of future results. Management cannot predict the full impact of the uncertainties discussed above. For further information regarding the impact on the Company, see Item 1A, “Risk Factors.”

Financial Overview

Net sales for 2023 increased 3.9%, or $76.8 million, on a reported basis and 0.8%, or $16.3 million, on an organic basis, compared to 2022, primarily driven by incremental price across all of our operating segments, partially offset by lower volumes. The reported sales increase included acquired sales of 3.0%, or $58.6 million, with $33.4 million reported within the Americas segment and $25.2 million reported with APMEA, and the favorable impact of foreign exchange of 0.1%, or $1.9 million. The foreign exchange impact was primarily driven by the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the euro, partially offset by the unfavorable impact of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar and Chinese yuan. Operating income of $350.9 million increased by $35.9 million, or 11.4%, in 2023 compared to 2022. This increase was primarily driven by favorable price, product mix, productivity, and cost savings from prior restructuring actions, partially offset by inflation, lower volume and incremental investments.

In discussing our results of operations, we refer to non-GAAP financial measures, including organic sales, organic selling, general and administrative expenses, and organic operating income, that excludes the impacts of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign exchange from year-over-year comparisons. Management believes reporting these non-GAAP financial measures provides useful information to investors, potential investors and others, because it allows for additional insight into underlying trends by providing growth on a consistent basis. We reconcile the change in these non-GAAP financial measures to our reported results below.

Management’s discussion and analysis of our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows as of and for the year ended December 31, 2021 can be found in Item 7 of Part II, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.

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Acquisitions

On March 31, 2023, we completed the acquisition of the primary business assets of Enware Australia Pty Ltd (“Enware”) in an all-cash transaction. Enware is based near Sydney, Australia, and has been a leading supplier for specialty plumbing and safety equipment used in the Australian institutional and commercial end markets since 1937. The acquisition of Enware aligns with our strategy to expand geographically into countries with mature and enforced plumbing codes. Enware is expected to enhance our product offering and channel access into the Australian marketplace. The acquisition of Enware was deemed not to be material.

On October 23, 2023, we completed the acquisition of Bradley Corporation following its conversion into Bradley Company, LLC (“Bradley”) in a share purchase transaction. The aggregate net purchase price, including an estimated working capital adjustment, was approximately $301.2 million and is subject to a final post-closing working capital adjustment. We funded the transaction with $210 million of borrowings under our Credit Agreement with the remainder being funded by cash on hand. The net transaction value was approximately $266 million after deducting the estimated net present value of expected tax benefits of approximately $35 million. We accounted for the transaction as a business combination in the fourth quarter of 2023. Bradley’s annual revenues for 2023 were approximately $200 million, of which $33.4 million was included in our 2023 Consolidated Financial Statements. Please see Note 5 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding operating results of Bradley.

Bradley is based in Menomonee Falls, WI, and has been a trusted provider and manufacturer of commercial washroom and emergency safety products serving commercial (primarily institutional) and industrial end markets for over 100 years. Bradley offers a comprehensive product portfolio that includes plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories and emergency safety products to a diverse customer base. Bradley’s complementary portfolio will enable us to provide our customers with innovative water solutions, as it adds front-of-the-wall applications to our differentiated back-of-the-wall portfolio and we intend to leverage the combined strengths of our sales networks and channel relationships to facilitate cross selling and accelerate growth. The acquisition of Bradley aligns with our strategy to enhance our product offerings, drive growth and serve our customers.

Recent Developments

Effective January 1, 2024, we completed the acquisition of Josam Company following its conversion into Josam Industries, LLC (“Josam”) in a share purchase transaction funded with cash on hand. The aggregate net purchase price was approximately $98.7 million and is subject to a final post-closing working capital adjustment. The net transaction value was approximately $88.7 million after adjusting for the estimated net present value of expected tax benefits of approximately $10 million. Josam is based in Michigan City, Indiana, and is a leading provider and manufacturer of drainage and plumbing products, serving commercial, industrial, and multi-family end markets for over 100 years. Josam’s annualized sales are approximately $35 million. We will account for the transaction as a business combination in the first quarter of 2024.

On February 7, 2024, the Board of Directors elected Rebecca J. Boll to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Ms. Boll was appointed as a member of the Governance and Sustainability Committee and the Audit Committee.

On February 7, 2024, we declared a quarterly dividend of thirty-six cents ($0.36) per share on each outstanding share of Class A common stock and Class B common stock payable on March 15, 2024 to stockholders of record on March 1, 2024.

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Results of Operations

Year Ended December 31, 2023 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2022

Net Sales. Our business is reported in three geographic segments: Americas, Europe and APMEA. Our net sales in each of these segments for the years ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022 were as follows:

Year Ended

Year Ended

% Change to

 

December 31, 2023

December 31, 2022

Consolidated

 

    

Net Sales

    

% Sales

    

Net Sales

    

% Sales

    

Change

    

Net Sales

 

(dollars in millions)

 

Americas

$

1,428.1

69.5

%  

$

1,390.0

70.2

%  

$

38.1

1.9

%

Europe

 

512.1

 

24.9

 

499.1

 

25.2

 

13.0

 

0.7

APMEA

 

116.1

 

5.6

 

90.4

 

4.6

 

25.7

 

1.3

Total

$

2,056.3

 

100.0

%  

$

1,979.5

 

100.0

%  

$

76.8

 

3.9

%

The change in net sales was attributable to the following:

Change As a %

Change As a %

 

of Consolidated Net Sales

of Segment Net Sales

 

    

    

    

    

 

Americas

Europe

APMEA

Total

Americas

Europe

APMEA

Total

Americas

Europe

APMEA

 

(dollars in millions)

 

Organic

$

8.0

$

3.8

$

4.5

    

$

16.3

 

0.4

%   

0.2

%   

0.2

%  

0.8

%  

0.5

%   

0.8

%   

5.0

%

Foreign exchange

 

(3.3)

 

9.2

 

(4.0)

 

1.9

 

(0.2)

 

0.5

 

(0.2)

 

0.1

 

(0.2)

 

1.8

 

(4.5)

Acquired

 

33.4

 

 

25.2

 

58.6

 

1.7

 

 

1.3

 

3.0

 

2.4

 

 

27.9

Total

$

38.1

$

13.0

$

25.7

$

76.8

 

1.9

%  

0.7

%  

1.3

%  

3.9

%  

2.7

%  

2.6

%  

28.4

%

Our products are sold to wholesalers, OEMs, DIY chains, and through various specialty channels. The change in organic net sales by channel was attributable to the following:

Change As a %

 

of Prior Year Sales

 

    

Wholesale

    

OEMs

    

DIY

    

Specialty

    

Total

    

Wholesale

    

OEMs

    

DIY

Specialty

 

 

(dollars in millions)

Americas

$

47.0

$

(3.2)

$

(1.9)

$

(33.9)

$

8.0

 

5.9

%  

(3.1)

%  

(2.3)

%

(8.2)

%

Europe

 

(1.4)

 

5.2

 

 

3.8

 

(0.4)

 

2.9

APMEA

 

4.8

 

(0.3)

 

 

4.5

 

5.8

 

(3.8)

 

Total

$

50.4

$

1.7

$

(1.9)

$

(33.9)

$

16.3

Americas net sales increased $38.1 million, or 2.7%, in 2023 compared to 2022. The change in net sales was negatively impacted by $3.3 million, or 0.2%, of foreign currency translation, which was more than offset by $33.4 million, or 2.4%, of acquired sales related to the Bradley acquisition completed in the fourth quarter of 2023. Organic net sales increased $8.0 million, or 0.5%, primarily due to incremental price realization partially offset by lower volumes. The organic net sales increase was primarily in the wholesale channel due to growth across our core valve products, mostly offset by decreases in the specialty channel primarily due to volume declines in our gas connectors and marine instrumentation and decreases in products sold through the OEM channel into the residential end markets.

Europe net sales increased $13.0 million, or 2.6%, in 2023 compared to 2022. The change in net sales was positively impacted by $9.2 million, or 1.8%, of foreign currency translation. Organic net sales increased $3.8 million, or 0.8%, primarily due to higher price realization, partially offset by lower volumes. The growth was driven from sales in our fluid solution products, including sales of our HVAC products within the OEM markets in Germany, offset partly by a decline in our drains products.

APMEA net sales increased $25.7 million, or 28.4%, in 2023 compared to 2022. The change in net sales was negatively impacted by $4.0 million, or 4.5%, of foreign currency translation, which was more than offset by $25.2 million, or 27.9%, of acquired sales related to the Enware acquisition completed in the second quarter of 2023. Organic net sales increased $4.5 million, or 5.0%, due to higher prices realization and volumes, primarily from growth in the Middle East and Australia, partially offset by declines in China.

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The net increase in sales due to foreign exchange was mostly due to the favorable impact of the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the euro, partially offset by the unfavorable impact of the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar and Chinese yuan in 2023. We cannot predict whether foreign currencies will appreciate or depreciate against the U.S. dollar in future periods or whether future foreign exchange rate fluctuations will have a positive or negative impact on our net sales.

Gross Profit. Gross profit and gross profit as a percent of net sales (gross margin) for 2023 and 2022 were as follows:

Year Ended

 

December 31, 2023

December 31, 2022

(dollars in millions)

 

Gross profit

$

960.9

$

874.3

Gross margin

 

46.7

%  

 

44.2

%

Gross profit and gross margin increased primarily from higher prices, favorable product mix and productivity, partially offset by inflation and lower volume.

Selling, General and Administrative Expenses. Selling, general and administrative, or SG&A, expenses increased $55.8 million, or 10.2%, in 2023 compared to 2022. The increase in SG&A expenses was attributable to the following:

    

(in millions)

    

% Change

 

Organic

$

33.1

 

6.0

%

Foreign exchange

 

0.6

 

0.1

Acquired

22.1

4.0

Total

$

55.8

 

10.1

%

The organic increase was primarily due to an increase in net investments of $17.9 million, including in our smart and connected and other strategic initiatives, general inflation of $13.7 million, acquisition-related costs of $7.1 million, higher travel and marketing costs of $5.2 million and a net increase in short-term and long-term compensation accruals of $6.0 million, compared to 2022. These increases were partially offset by $6.6 million from productivity initiatives, $4.8 million of restructuring savings and $4.1 million reduction in freight costs. The increase in foreign exchange was mainly due to the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against the euro, partially offset by the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Canadian dollar and Chinese yuan. The acquired SG&A costs related to the Bradley acquisition in the Americas segment in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the Enware acquisition in the APMEA segment in the second quarter of 2023. Total SG&A expenses, as a percentage of sales, were 29.4% in 2023 compared to 27.8% in 2022.

Restructuring. In 2023, we recorded a net restructuring charge of $5.5 million, which primarily related to immaterial cost reduction actions in all regions primarily related to severance and other exit costs. In 2022, we recorded a net restructuring charge of $10.6 million, which related to a 2021 French restructuring program as well as other actions related to the decommissioning of machinery at one of our facilities in the Americas and cost reduction actions in Europe and the Americas. For a more detailed description of our current restructuring plans, see Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report Form 10-K. 

Operating Income (Loss). Operating income (loss) by geographic segment for 2023 and 2022 was as follows:

% Change to

 

    

Year Ended

    

    

Consolidated

 

          

December 31,

December 31,

          

          

Operating

2023

    

2022

          

Change

          

Income

 

(dollars in millions)

Americas

$

325.2

          

$

283.9

          

$

41.3

          

13.1

%

Europe

 

70.4

 

66.7

 

3.7

 

1.2

APMEA

 

16.1

 

14.0

 

2.1

 

0.7

Corporate

 

(60.8)

 

(49.6)

 

(11.2)

 

(3.6)

Total

$

350.9

$

315.0

$

35.9

 

11.4

%

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The increase (decrease) in operating income (loss) is attributable to the following:

Change As a % of

Change As a % of

 

Consolidated Operating Income

Segment Operating Income

 

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

 

Americas

Europe

APMEA

Corporate

Total

Americas

Europe

APMEA

Corporate

Total

Americas

Europe

APMEA

Corporate

 

(dollars in millions)

 

Organic

$

41.6

$

(4.0)

$

2.3

$

(11.2)

$

28.7

13.2

%

(1.3)

%

0.7

%

(3.6)

%

9.0

%

14.7

%

(6.0)

%

16.4

%

22.6

%

Foreign exchange

(1.1)

1.2

(0.1)

(0.4)

0.4

(0.4)

1.8

(0.7)

 

Acquired

1.2

1.0

2.2

0.4

0.3

0.7

0.4

7.1

 

Restructuring, impairment charges

 

(0.4)

 

6.5

 

(1.1)

 

 

5.0

 

(0.1)

 

2.1

 

(0.3)

 

 

1.7

 

(0.1)

 

9.8

 

(7.8)

 

Total

$

41.3

$

3.7

$

2.1

$

(11.2)

$

35.9

 

13.1

%

1.2

%

0.7

%

(3.6)