RPM International Inc.
10-K on 07/27/2020   Download
SEC Document
SEC Filing
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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 May 31, 2020

OR

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

For the transition period from        to        

Commission File No. 1-14187

 

RPM INTERNATIONAL INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

Delaware

02-0642224

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

(IRS Employer

Identification No.)

P.O. Box 777, 2628 Pearl Road, Medina, Ohio

44258

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:

(330273-5090

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

 

Title of Each Class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01

RPM

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 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, 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 is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  

The aggregate market value of the Common Stock of the Registrant held by non-affiliates (based upon the closing price of the Common Stock as reported on the New York Stock Exchange on November 30, 2019, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $9,456,281,333.  For purposes of this information, the 1,511,224 outstanding shares of Common Stock which were owned beneficially as of November 30, 2019 by executive officers and Directors of the Registrant were deemed to be the shares of Common Stock held by affiliates.

As of July 23, 2020, 129,859,093 shares of Common Stock were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement to be used in connection with the Registrant’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on October 8, 2020 (the “2020 Proxy Statement”) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Except as otherwise stated, the information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K is as of May 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

PART I

 

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

10

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

18

Item 2.

Properties

18

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

20

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

21

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

22

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

23

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

24

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

40

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

42

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

100

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

100

Item 9B.

Other Information

100

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

101

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

102

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

102

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

102

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

102

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

Item 15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

103

Exhibit Index

104

SIGNATURES

109

Schedule II

110

 

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PART I

 

 

Item 1.  Business.

THE COMPANY

RPM International Inc., a Delaware corporation, succeeded to the reporting obligations of RPM, Inc., an Ohio corporation, following a 2002 reincorporation transaction. RPM, Inc. was originally incorporated in 1947 under the name Republic Powdered Metals, Inc. and changed its name to RPM, Inc. in 1971.

As used herein, the terms “RPM,” the “Company,” “we,” “our” and “us” refer to RPM International Inc. and all our consolidated subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise. Our principal executive offices are located at 2628 Pearl Road, P.O. Box 777, Medina, Ohio 44258, and our telephone number is (330) 273-5090.

BUSINESS

Our subsidiaries manufacture, market and sell various specialty chemical product lines, including high-quality specialty paints, infrastructure rehab and repair products, protective coatings, roofing systems, sealants and adhesives, focusing on the maintenance and improvement needs of the industrial, specialty and consumer markets. Our family of products includes those marketed under brand names such as API, Carboline, CAVE, DAP, Day-Glo, Dri-Eaz, Dryvit, Ekspan, Euclid, EUCO, Fibergrate, Fibregrid, Fibrecrete, Flecto, Flowcrete, Grupo PV, Hummervoll, illbruck, Kemtile, Key Resin, Nudura, Mohawk, Prime Resins, Rust-Oleum, Specialty Polymer Coatings, Stonhard, Strathmore, TCI, Toxement, Tremco, Tuf-Strand, Universal Sealants, Viapol, Watco and Zinsser.  As of May 31, 2020, our subsidiaries marketed products in approximately 165 countries and territories and operated manufacturing facilities in approximately 124 locations in the United States, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Approximately 31% of our sales are generated in international markets through a combination of exports to and direct sales in foreign countries. For the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020, we recorded net sales of $5.5 billion.

Available Information

Our Internet website address is www.rpminc.com. We make available free of charge on or through our website our Annual Reports 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 such reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Segment Information

Effective June 1, 2019, we realigned certain businesses and management structure to recognize how we allocate resources and analyze the operating performance of our businesses. Among other things, the realignment of certain businesses occurred as a result of the 2020 Margin Acceleration Plan (“2020 MAP to Growth”) that was approved and initiated between May and August 2018.  As we began to execute on our operating improvement initiatives, we identified ways to realign certain businesses, and concluded that moving to an expanded reporting structure could help us to better manage our assets and improve synergies across the enterprise.  

This realignment changed our reportable segments beginning with our first quarter of fiscal 2020.  As such, we now report under four reportable segments instead of our three previous reportable segments.  Our four reporting segments are: the Construction Products Group (“CPG”) reportable segment, Performance Coatings Group (“PCG”) reportable segment, Consumer Group (“Consumer”) reportable segment and Specialty Products Group (“SPG”) reportable segment.  These four reportable segments also represent our operating segments.  In connection with the realignment, we shifted our Kirker business out of Consumer into SPG, and also shifted our Dryvit and Nudura businesses out of SPG into CPG. The newly formed CPG also includes our Tremco, Tremco illbruck, Euclid Chemical, Viapol, Vandex and Flowcrete businesses. PCG includes Stonhard, Carboline, USL and Fibergrate businesses, while Consumer comprises the Rust-Oleum and DAP businesses.  

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Within each operating segment, we manage product lines and businesses which generally address common markets, share similar economic characteristics, utilize similar technologies and can share manufacturing or distribution capabilities.  The table below describes the breakdown of the percentage of consolidated net sales and description of the product lines/business for each of our four reportable segments:

 

Name of Reportable

Segment

Percentage of

Consolidated Net Sales

Description of Product Lines/Businesses

CPG

Approximately 34%

Construction sealants and adhesives, coatings and chemicals, roofing systems, concrete admixture and repair products, building envelope solutions, insulated cladding, flooring systems, and weatherproofing solutions

PCG

Approximately 20%

High-performance flooring solutions, corrosion control and fireproofing coatings, infrastructure repair systems, fiberglass reinforced plastic gratings and drainage systems

Consumer

Approximately 35%

Rust-preventative, special purpose, and decorative paints, caulks, sealants, primers, cement cleaners, floor sealers and woodcare coatings and other branded consumer products

SPG

Approximately 11%

Industrial cleaners, restoration services equipment, colorants, nail enamels, exterior finishes, edible coatings and specialty glazes for pharmaceutical and food industries, and other specialty original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) coatings

 

See Note R, “Segment Information,” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, for financial information relating to our four reportable segments and financial information by geographic area.

CPG Segment

Our CPG segment products and services are sold throughout North America and also account for the majority of our international sales. Our construction product lines and services are sold directly to contractors, distributors and end-users, such as industrial manufacturing facilities, public institutions and other commercial customers. Our CPG segment generated $1.9 billion in net sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020 and includes the following major product lines and brand names:

 

Waterproofing, coatings and institutional roofing systems used in building protection, maintenance and weatherproofing applications marketed under our Tremco, AlphaGuard, Endure, OneSeal, PowerPly, TremPly, TremLock, Vulkem and TREMproof brand names;

 

sealants, air barriers, tapes and foams that seal and insulate joints in various construction assemblies and glazing assemblies marketed under our Tremco, Dymonic, ExoAir and Spectrem brand names;

 

new residential home weatherization systems marketed under our TUFF-N-DRI, Watchdog Waterproofing and Enviro-Dri brand names;

 

specialized roofing and building maintenance and related services marketed by our Weatherproofing Technologies subsidiary;

 

sealing and bonding solutions for windows and doors, facades, interiors and exteriors under our illbruck brand name;

 

flooring, waterproofing and in-plant glazing solutions under our Tremco brand name;

 

high-performance resin flooring systems, epoxy floor paint and coatings, concrete repair and protection products and decorative concrete for industrial and commercial applications sold under our Flowcrete, Key Resins and RPM Belgium brand names;

 

rolled asphalt roofing materials, waterproofing products, and chemical admixtures marketed under our Viapol, Vandex and Betumat brand names;

 

concrete and masonry admixtures, concrete fibers, curing and sealing compounds, structural grouts and mortars, epoxy adhesives, injection resins, polyurethane foams, floor hardeners and toppings, joint fillers, industrial and architectural coatings, decorative color/stains/stamps, and a comprehensive selection of restoration materials marketed under the Euclid, CAVE, Toxement, Viapol, Dural, EUCO, Eucon, Fiberstrand, Increte Systems, Plastol, Sentinel, Speed Crete, Tuf-Strand, Prime Gel, Prime Bond, Prime Coat, Prime Guard, Prime Rez, Prime Flex and Tremco PUMA Expansion Joint System brand names;

 

solutions for fire stopping and intumescent steel coating under our Firetherm, Nullifire and TREMStop brand names;

 

solutions for the manufacturing industry under our Pactan brand name;

 

highly insulated building cladding materials (Exterior Insulating and Finishing Systems, “EIFS”) principally marketed in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Poland under the Dryvit brand name;

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insulated concrete form (“ICF”) wall systems marketed and sold under the Nudura brand name; and

 

joint sealants for commercial construction manufactured and marketed under the Schul brand name.

PCG Segment

Our PCG segment products and services are sold throughout North America, as well as internationally, and are sold directly to contractors, distributors and end-users, such as industrial manufacturing facilities, public institutions and other commercial customers. Our PCG segment generated $1.1 billion in net sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020 and includes the following major product lines and brand names:

 

high-performance polymer flooring products and services for industrial, institutional and commercial facilities, as well as offshore and marine structures and cruise, ferry and navy ships marketed under our Stonhard, Hummervoll, Kemtile, Liquid Elements, Expanko and API brand names;

 

high-performance, heavy-duty corrosion-control coatings, containment linings, railcar linings, fireproofing and soundproofing products and heat and cryogenic insulation products for a wide variety of industrial infrastructure and oil and gas-related applications marketed under our Carboline, Specialty Polymer Coatings, Nullifire, Charflame, Firefilm, A/D Fire, Strathmore, Thermo-Lag, Plasite and Perlifoc brand names;

 

specialty construction products and services for bridge expansion joints, structural bearings, bridge deck and parking deck membranes, highway markings, protective coatings, trenchless pipe rehabilitation equipment and asphalt and concrete repair products marketed under our Universal Sealants, BridgeCare, StructureCare, Pitchmastic PMB, Nufins, Visul, Ekspan, Fibrecrete, Texacrete, Fibrejoint, Samiscreed, Logiball and Epoplex brand names;

 

fiberglass reinforced plastic gratings and shapes used for industrial platforms, staircases and walkways marketed under our Fibergrate, Chemgrate, Corgrate, Fibregrid and Safe-T-Span brand names; and

 

amine curing agents, reactive diluents, specialty epoxy resins and other intermediates under our Arnette Polymers brand name.

Consumer Segment

Our Consumer segment manufactures and markets professional use and do-it-yourself (“DIY”) products for a variety of mainly residential applications, including home improvement and personal leisure activities. Our Consumer segment’s major manufacturing and distribution operations are located primarily in North America, along with a few locations in Europe, Australia, South Africa and South America.  Consumer segment products are sold directly to mass merchandisers, home improvement centers, hardware stores, paint stores, craft shops and to other smaller customers through distributors. Our Consumer segment generated $1.9 billion in net sales in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020 and is composed of the following major product lines and brand names:

 

a broad line of coating products to protect and decorate a wide variety of surfaces for the DIY and professional markets which are sold under several key Rust-Oleum brand names, including Stops Rust, American Accents, Painter’s Touch, Specialty, Professional, Universal, Varathane, Watco, Epoxy Shield, Factor 4, Restore, Rock Solid, Whink, Miracle Sealants, SPS, Spraymate, Krud Kutter, Zinsser, XIM, Industrial Choice, Rust-Oleum Automotive, Sierra Performance, Hard Hat, Mathys, CombiColor, Noxyde, Blackfriar, HiChem, MultiSpec and Tremclad;

 

a broad line of specialty products targeted to solve problems for the paint contractor and the DIYer for applications that include surface preparation, mold and mildew prevention, wallpaper removal and application, and waterproofing, under our Zinsser, B-I-N, Bulls Eye 1-2-3, Cover Stain, DIF, FastPrime, Sealcoat, Jomax, Gardz, Perma-White, Shieldz, Watertite, Okon and Parks brand names;

 

cleaners sold under the Krud Kutter, Mean Green, Concrobium, Whink and Jomax brand names;

 

deck and fence restoration products under the Wolman brand name;

 

metallic and faux finish coatings marketed under our Modern Masters brand name;

 

exterior wood deck and concrete restoration systems, and flooring finishes marketed under our Restore and RockSolid brand names;

 

an assortment of other products, including hobby paints and cements marketed under our Testors brand name; and

 

a complete line of caulks, sealants, adhesives, insulating foam, spackling, glazing, and other general patch and repair products for home construction, repair and remodeling marketed through a wide assortment of DAP branded products, including, but not limited to, ‘33’, ‘53’, ‘1012’, 4000, 7000, Alex, Alex Fast Dry, Alex Plus, Alex Ultra, Alex Flex, Beats The Nail, Blend-Stick, Blockade, Butyl-Flex, Caulk-Be-Gone, Crack Shot, Custom-Patch, DAP 3.0, DAP CAP, DAPtex, Draftstop, DryDex, Dynaflex 230, Dynaflex Ultra, Dynagrip, Elastopatch, Extreme Stretch, Fast ‘N Final, FastPatch,

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Kwik Foam, Kwik Seal, Kwik Seal Plus, Kwik Seal Ultra, Mono, Mouse Shield, Patch Stick, Patch-N-Paint, Plastic Wood, Platinum Patch, Presto Patch, Quick Plug, Rapid Fuse, Rely-On, Seal ‘N Peel, SIDE Winder, Silicone Plus, Simple Seal, SMARTBOND, Storm Bond, StrongStik, Touch’N Foam, Touch’N Seal, Ultra Clear, Weldwood and Phenoseal, which is a brand of Gloucester Co., Inc., which is a subsidiary of DAP Products Inc.

SPG Segment

Our SPG segment products are sold throughout North America and many international locations, primarily in Europe and the Asia Pacific region.  Our SPG product lines are sold directly to contractors, distributors and end-users, such as industrial manufacturing facilities, public institutions and other commercial customers. The SPG segment generated $0.6 billion in net sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020 and includes the following major product lines and brand names:

 

fluorescent colorants and pigments marketed under our Day-Glo, Radiant, Viveri and Dane Color brand names;

 

shellac-based-specialty coatings for industrial and pharmaceutical uses, edible glazes, food coatings and ingredients marketed under our Mantrose-Haeuser, NatureSeal, Profile Food Ingredients and Holton Food Products brand names;

 

fire and water damage restoration products marketed under the Dri-Eaz, Unsmoke and ODORx brand names;

 

professional carpet cleaning and disinfecting products marketed under the Sapphire Scientific, Chemspec and Prochem brand names;

 

fuel additives marketed under our ValvTect brand name;

 

wood treatments marketed under our Kop-Coat and TRU CORE brand names;

 

pleasure marine coatings marketed under our Pettit, Woolsey and Z-Spar brand names;

 

wood furniture finishes and touch-up products marketed under our FinishWorks, Mohawk, Behlen, and Morrells brand names;

 

a variety of products for specialized applications, including powder coatings for exterior and interior applications marketed under our TCI brand name; and

 

nail enamel, polish and coating components for the personal care industry.

Foreign Operations

For the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020, our foreign operations accounted for approximately 31.2% of our total net sales, excluding any direct exports from the United States. Our direct exports from the United States were approximately 1.1% of our total net sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020. In addition, we receive license fees and royalty income from numerous international license agreements, and we also have several joint ventures, which are accounted for under the equity method, operating in various foreign countries. We have manufacturing facilities in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. We also have sales offices or warehouse facilities in Austria, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Namibia, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam. Information concerning our foreign operations is set forth in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Condition.

Competition

We conduct our business in highly competitive markets, and all of our major products face competition from local, regional, national and multi-national firms. Our markets, however, are fragmented, and we do not face competition across all of our products from any one competitor in particular. Several of our competitors have access to greater financial resources and larger sales organizations than we do. While third-party figures are not necessarily available with respect to the size of our position in the market for each of our products, we believe that we are a major producer of caulks, sealants, insulating foams, patch-and-repair products for the general consumer as well as for the residential building trade; roofing systems; urethane sealants and waterproofing materials; aluminum coatings; cement-based coatings; hobby paints; small project paints; industrial-corrosion-control products; fireproofing; consumer rust-preventative coatings; polymer floorings; fluorescent coatings and pigments; fiberglass-reinforced-plastic gratings; nail polish; water and fire damage restoration products; carpet cleaning systems and shellac-based coatings. However, we do not believe that we have a significant share of the total protective coatings market (on a world-wide basis). The following is a summary of the competition that our key products face in the various markets in which we compete:

6


Paints, Coatings, Adhesives and Sealants Products

The market for paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants has experienced significant consolidation over the past several decades. However, the market remains fragmented, which creates further consolidation opportunities for industry participants. Many leading suppliers tend to focus on coatings, while other companies focus on adhesives and sealants. Barriers to market entry are relatively high for new market entrants due to the lengthy intervals between product development and market acceptance, the importance of brand identity and the difficulty in establishing a reputation as a reliable supplier of these products. Most of the suppliers, including us, who provide these items have a portfolio of products that span across a wide variety of applications.

Consumer Home Improvement Products.  Within the Consumer segment, we generally serve the home improvement market with products designed for niche architectural, rust-preventative, decorative and special purpose paint and caulking and sealing applications. The products we sell for home improvement include those sold under our Rust-Oleum, Varathane, Watco, Zinsser, DAP, and Touch’N Foam brand names. Leading manufacturers of home improvement-related coatings, adhesives and sealants market their products to DIY users and contractors through a wide range of distribution channels. These distribution channels include direct sales to home improvement centers, mass merchandisers, hardware and paint stores, and sales through distributors and sales representative organizations. Competitors in this market generally compete for market share by marketing and building upon brand recognition, providing customer service and developing new products based on customer needs.

Industrial Protective Coatings Products.  Anti-corrosion protective coatings and fireproofing must withstand the destructive elements of nature and operating processes under harsh environments and conditions. Some of the larger consumers of high-performance protective and corrosion control coatings, fireproofing and intumescent steel coatings are the oil and gas, pulp and paper, petrochemical, shipbuilding, high-rise building construction, public utility and bridge and highway industries, and water and wastewater treatment plants. These markets are highly fragmented. We and our competitors compete for market share by supplying a wide variety of high-quality products and by offering customized solutions. Our protective industrial coating products are marketed primarily under our Carboline, Specialty Polymer Coatings, Plasite, Nullifire, Firefilm, Charflame, A/D Fire, Strathmore, Thermo-lag, Perlifoc and Epoplex brand names.

Roofing Systems Products

In the roofing industry, re-roofing applications have historically accounted for over three-quarters of U.S. demand, with the remainder generated by new roofing applications.  Our primary roofing brand, Tremco, was founded in 1928 on the principle of “keeping good roofs good,” and then by extension ensuring “roofing peace of mind” for our customers.  This remains true today and is what differentiates us versus our competitors’ primary strategy of run-to-failure, followed by a tear-off and replace.  We define the market in two segments: restoration and re-roofing or new roofing.  With the exception of asphalt shingles for new roofing, we market our systems and services for all of the most common roofing applications.  Our roofing systems and services provide high performance and value.  High performance ensures a long service life and ease of maintenance.  High value ensures low total cost of ownership due to ease of installation, landfill avoidance, roof longevity, elimination of facility and occupant disruption, and utilization of highly sustainable materials and systems.

Construction Products

Flooring Systems Products.  Polymer flooring systems are used in industrial, commercial and, to a lesser extent, residential applications to provide a smooth, seamless surface that is impervious to penetration by water and other substances while being easy to clean and maintain. These systems are particularly well-suited for clean environments such as pharmaceutical, food and beverage and healthcare facilities. In addition, the fast installation time and long-term durability of these systems and products make them ideal for industrial floor repair and restoration. Polymer flooring systems are based on epoxy, polyurethane and methylmethacrylate resins. Most of these flooring systems are applied during new construction, but there is also a significant repair and renovation market. Key performance attributes in polymer flooring systems that distinguish competitors for these applications include static control, chemical resistance, contamination control, durability and aesthetics. We market our flooring systems under the Stonhard, Flowcrete, Key Resin, Euclid, RPM Belgium, Expanko, Liquid Elements, Hummervoll, Kemtile and API brand names.

FRP Grating and Structural Composites.  Fiberglass reinforced plastic grating, or FRP, is used primarily in industrial and, to a lesser extent, commercial applications. FRP grating exhibits many specialized features, which make it a beneficial alternative to traditional steel or aluminum grating. These include a high strength-to-weight ratio, high corrosion resistance, electrical and thermal non-conductivity, and molded-in color, which eliminates the need for repainting. FRP grating is used for platforms, walkways, stairs and structures for a variety of applications, including those in the food and beverage, chemical processing, water-wastewater, pulp and paper, and offshore oil and gas industries. Key attributes that differentiate competitors in these markets include product quality, depth of product line, and design-and-fabrication services. Our products for these applications are sold under our Fibergrate, Chemgrate, Corgrate, Fibregrid and Safe-T-Span brand names.

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Sealants, Waterproofing, Concrete and Masonry Products.  Sealants, which are used primarily for commercial buildings, include urethane, silicone, latex, butyl and hybrid technology products, and are designed to be installed in construction joints for the purpose of providing a flexible and air and water-tight seal. Waterproof coatings, usually urethane or asphalt based, are installed in exposed and buried applications to waterproof and protect concrete. Structural and traffic tolerant membranes, expansion joints and bearings are used in a variety of applications for bridge deck construction and restoration and the protection and preservation of balconies, pedestrian walkways and parking structures.  In the concrete and masonry additives market, a variety of chemicals and fibers can be added to concrete and masonry to improve the processability, performance, or appearance of these products. Chemical admixtures for concrete are typically grouped according to their functional characteristics, such as water-reducers, set controllers, superplasticizers and air-entraining agents. Curing and sealing compounds, structural grouts, epoxy adhesives, injection resins, floor hardeners and toppings, joint fillers, industrial and architectural coatings, decorative color/stains/stamps, and a comprehensive selection of restoration materials are used to protect, repair or improve new or existing concrete structures used in the construction industry, and rehabilitation and repair of roads, highways, bridges, pipes and other infrastructure. The key attributes that differentiate competitors for these applications include quality assurance, on-the-job consultation and value-added, highly engineered products. We primarily offer products marketed under our Tremco, EUCO, Toxement, Viapol, Betumat, CAVE, Vandex, illbruck, Tamms, AlphaGuard, OneSeal, PowerPly, TremPly, TremLock, Vulkem, TREMproof, Dymonic, Increte, TUFF-N-DRI, Universal Sealants, Nufins, StructureCare, BridgeCare, Pitchmastic PMB, Visul, Fibrecrete, Texacrete, Fibrejoint, Samiscreed, Prime Rez, Prime Gel, Prime Guard, Prime Coat, Prime Bond, Prime Flex, Logiball, Watchdog Waterproofing, PSI, Tuf-Strand, Ekspan, Sealtite and HydroStop brand names for this line of business.

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property portfolios include valuable patents, trade secrets and know-how, domain names, trademarks, trade and brand names. In addition, through our subsidiaries, we continue to conduct significant research and technology development activities. Among our most significant intangibles are our Rust-Oleum®, Carboline®, DAP®, illbruck® and Tremco® trademarks.

Rust-Oleum Corporation and some of our other subsidiaries own more than 900 trademark registrations or applications in the United States and numerous other countries for the trademark “Rust-Oleum®” and other trademarks covering a variety of rust-preventative, decorative, general purpose, specialty, industrial and professional products sold by Rust-Oleum Corporation and related companies.

Carboline Company and some of our other subsidiaries own more than 380 trademark registrations or applications in the United States and numerous other countries covering the products sold by the Carboline Company and related companies, including two United States trademark registrations for the trademark “Carboline®”.

DAP Products, Inc. and other subsidiaries of the Company own more than 400 trademark registrations or applications in the United States and numerous other countries for the “DAP®” trademark, the “Putty Knife design” trademark and other trademarks covering products sold under the DAP brand and related brands.

Tremco Incorporated and some of our other subsidiaries own more than 85 registrations for the trademark “Tremco®” in the United States and numerous countries covering a variety of roofing, sealants and coating products. There are also many other trademarks of Tremco Incorporated and some of our other subsidiaries that are the subject of registrations or applications in the United States and numerous other countries, bringing the total number of registrations and applications covering products sold under the Tremco brand and related brands to more than 570.

Our other principal product trademarks include: 2X Ultra Cover®, AlphaGuard®, Alumanation®, Betumat™, B-I-N®, Bitumastic®, Bulls Eye 1-2-3®, Chemgrate®, Dri-Eaz, Dymonic®, EnerEDGE®, Enviro-Dri®, EUCO®, ExoAir®, Expanko®, Flecto™, Fibergrate®, Floquil, Paraseal®, Permaroof®, Plasite®, Proglaze®, Sanitile®, Sealtite, Solargard®, Spectrem®, Stonblend®, Stonclad®, Stonhard®, Stonlux®, Stonshield®, Testors®, TREMproof®, TUFF-N-DRI®, Varathane®, Viapol™, Vulkem®, Watchdog Waterproofing®, Woolsey®, Zinsser® and Z-Spar®; and, in Europe, API®, Perlifoc®, Hummervoll®, USL®, Nufins®, Pitchmastic PMB®, Visul®, Flowcrete®, Nullifire®, Radglo® and Martin Mathys™. Our trademark registrations are valid for a variety of different terms of up to 15 years, and may be renewable as long as the trademarks continue to be used and all other local conditions for renewal are met.  Our trademark registrations are maintained and renewed on a regular basis as required.

Raw Materials

The cost and availability of raw materials, including packaging, materially impact our financial results.  We obtain raw materials from a number of suppliers.  Many of our raw materials are petroleum-based derivatives, minerals and metals.  The cost of raw materials has in the past experienced, and likely will continue to experience, periods of volatility which could increase the cost of manufacturing our products.  Under normal market conditions, these materials are generally available on the open market from a variety of producers; however, shortages are a possibility.  Interruptions in the supply of raw materials could have a significant impact

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on our ability to produce products.  Throughout fiscal 2020, some raw material costs have increased and we have experienced some tightening in supply on some materials.  However, despite the recent outbreak of Covid-19, raw material costs inflation seems to be moderating in a number of our key product categories.  With the exception of some challenges in our Consumer segment, our global supply chain remains strong.  Nearly all of our North American plants are operational and only some of our international plants have been closed temporarily.  Despite these facts, as we cannot predict the duration or scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, the future financial impact to gross profit margin cannot be reasonably estimated, but could be material.

Adequate supply of critical raw materials is managed by establishing contracts, procuring from multiple sources, and identifying alternative materials or technology; however, the unavailability of raw materials or increased prices of raw materials that we are unable to pass along to our customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Additionally, changes in international trade duties and other aspects of international trade policy, both in the U.S. and abroad, could materially impact the cost of raw materials.  Any increase in materials that is not offset by an increase in our prices could have an adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

Seasonal Factors

Our business is dependent, to a significant extent, on external weather factors. We historically experience stronger sales and operating results in our first, second and fourth fiscal quarters, which are the three-month periods ending August 31, November 30 and May 31, respectively, while we have experienced weaker performance in our third fiscal quarter.

Customers

Sales to our ten largest Consumer segment customers, such as DIY home centers, on a combined basis represented approximately 23%, 23%, and 22% of our total net sales for each of the fiscal years ended May 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively. Except for sales to these customers, our business is not dependent upon any one customer or small group of customers but is largely dispersed over a substantial number of customers.

Backlog

We historically have not had a significant backlog of orders believed to be firm, and we did not have a significant backlog of orders believed to be firm at May 31, 2020.

Research and Development

Our research and development work is performed at various laboratory locations. During fiscal years 2020, 2019, and 2018, approximately $76.5 million, $71.6 million, and $69.7 million, respectively, was charged to expense for research and development activities. In addition to this laboratory work, we view our field technical service as being integral to the success of our research activities. Our research and development activities and our field technical service costs are both included as part of our selling, general and administrative expenses.

Environmental Matters

We are subject to a broad range of laws and regulations dealing with environmental, health and safety issues for the various locations around the world in which we conduct our business. These laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, the following major areas:

 

the sale, export, generation, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials;

 

the emission and discharge of hazardous materials into the soil, water and air; and

 

the health and safety of our employees.

For information regarding environmental accruals, see Note P, “Contingencies and Other Accrued Losses,” of the Notes to our Consolidated Financial Statements.  For more information concerning certain environmental matters affecting us, see “Item 3 — Legal Proceedings — Environmental Proceedings” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Employees

As of May 31, 2020, we employed 14,621 persons, of whom approximately 680 were represented by unions under contracts which expire at varying times in the future.  We believe that all relations with employees and their unions are good.

9


Item 1A.  Risk Factors.

You should carefully consider the following risks, as well as the other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, in evaluating us, our business and your investment in us because these factors could cause our actual results or financial condition to differ materially from those projected in our forward-looking statements.

Ongoing operating improvement initiatives could cause us to incur significant expenses and impact the trading value of our common stock.

We have implemented, and plan to continue to implement, certain operating improvement initiatives, as described during the investor day we held on November 28, 2018, that we expect will continue to result in changes in our organizational and operational structure impacting most of our companies.  We expect to continue implementation of these initiatives beyond our original target of December 2020 because the Covid-19 pandemic limited our ability to make changes at certain of our facilities as previously planned.  We may take additional actions in furtherance of these objectives during future periods.  As of May 31, 2020, we have incurred a total of $92.9 million in expenses in connection with our operating improvement initiatives, and we anticipate incurring approximately another $18.0 in such expenses as we continue to implement our operating improvement initiatives.  We may incur further expenses as a result of these actions, and we also may experience disruptions in our operations, decreased productivity and unanticipated employee turnover.  The occurrence of any of these or other related events associated with our operating improvement initiatives could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.  

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our operations, has had an adverse effect on our business, and could adversely affect our business in the future.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.  The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our operations and will continue to affect our business, including as a result of temporary facility closures, work-from-home orders and policies, absenteeism in our facilities, inability to efficiently transport our goods, social distancing and other health and safety protocols and reduced customer demand.  Specifically, we have experienced, and expect to continue to experience in the future, temporary facility closures in response to government mandates and for the safety of our employees due to positive diagnoses for Covid-19 in certain facilities.  Temporary facility closures have impacted our productivity and have hampered the implementation of our ongoing operational improvement efforts.  We have implemented work-from-home policies for many employees.  The effects of these work-from-home policies could be negative and could impact productivity, research and development efforts, our ongoing operational improvement efforts, internal control over financial reporting, record keeping and access to books and records, and could lead to increased cyber security or data privacy risks.  We do not yet know when these work-from-home policies will change or how they may develop.  The Covid-19 outbreak has impacted the timing of our operational improvement efforts by limiting our ability to implement planned improvements at several of our facilities.  The Covid-19 outbreak has also disrupted and could adversely impact our ability to secure materials for our products or supplies for our facilities or to provide personal protective equipment for our employees, any of which could adversely affect our operations.  Even after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides, there may be long-term effects on our business practices and customers in economies in which we operate that could severely disrupt our operations and could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.  Any or all of these risks could be increased or intensified if there is a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus after the initial outbreak subsides.  As we cannot predict the duration, scope or severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to develop and change rapidly, the negative financial impact to our results cannot be reasonably estimated, but could be material.

We are the subject of an ongoing SEC enforcement action, which could divert management’s focus, result in substantial investigation expenses and have an adverse impact on our reputation, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

We were notified by the SEC on June 24, 2014 that we are the subject of a formal investigation pertaining to the timing of our disclosure and accrual of loss reserves in fiscal 2013 with respect to the previously disclosed Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and General Services Administration (“GSA”) investigation into compliance issues relating to Tremco Roofing Division’s GSA contracts.  As previously disclosed, our audit committee completed an investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the timing of our disclosure and accrual of loss reserves with respect to the GSA and DOJ investigations, and determined to restate our financial results for the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2013.  The restatement shifted accrual amounts among the three quarters, which had the effect of reducing net income by $7.2 million and $10.8 million for the quarterly periods ended August 31, 2012 and November 30, 2012, respectively, and increasing net income for the quarterly period ended February 28, 2013 by $18.0 million. These restatements had no impact on our audited financial results for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2013. The audit committee’s investigation concluded that there was no intentional misconduct on the part of any of our officers.

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In connection with the foregoing, on September 9, 2016, the SEC filed an enforcement action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against us and our General Counsel.  We have cooperated with the SEC’s investigation and believe the allegations in the complaint mischaracterize both our and our General Counsel’s actions in connection with the matters related to our quarterly results in fiscal 2013 and are without merit.  The complaint seeks disgorgement of gains that may have resulted from the conduct alleged in the complaint, and payment of unspecified monetary penalties from us and our General Counsel pursuant to Section 20(d) of the Securities Act and Section 21(d)(3) of the Exchange Act.  Further, the complaint seeks to permanently enjoin us from violations of Sections 17(a)(2) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act, Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act, and Exchange Act Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, 13a-11 and 13a-13, and to permanently enjoin our General Counsel from violations of Sections 17(a)(2) and (a)(3) of the Securities Act and Exchange Act Rules 13b2-1 and 13b2-2(a).  Both we and our General Counsel filed motions to dismiss the complaint on February 24, 2017.  Those motions to dismiss the complaint were denied by the Court on September 29, 2017.  We and our General Counsel filed answers to the complaint on October 16, 2017.  Formal discovery commenced in January 2018 and closed as of June 3, 2019, other than some remaining, limited discovery requests.  The parties engaged in written discovery, and several fact witnesses were deposed.  We are currently awaiting further instruction regarding the remaining case schedule. We intend to continue to contest the allegations in the complaint vigorously.  

Also, in connection with the foregoing, a stockholder derivative action was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, against certain of our directors and officers. The court has stayed this stockholder derivative action pending the completion of the SEC enforcement action.

The action by the SEC could result in sanctions against us and/or our General Counsel and could impose substantial additional costs and distractions, regardless of its outcome. We have determined that it is probable that we will incur a loss relating to this matter and have estimated a range of potential loss. We have accrued at the low end of the range of loss, as no amount within the range is more likely to occur, and no amount within the estimated range of loss would have a material impact on our consolidated financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

We have incurred significant legal and accounting expenditures in connection with the SEC’s investigation and ongoing enforcement action.  We are unable to predict how long the enforcement action will continue or whether it will result in sanctions against us and/or certain of our officers. A protracted enforcement action could impose substantial additional costs and distractions, regardless of its outcome.  Furthermore, publicity surrounding an enforcement action, even if ultimately resolved favorably for us, could have an adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

The use of accounting estimates involves judgment and could impact our financial results.

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.  Our most critical accounting estimates are described in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations under, “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.”  Additionally, as discussed in Note P, “Contingencies and Other Accrued Losses,” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, we make certain estimates, including decisions related to legal proceedings and various loss reserves.  These estimates and assumptions involve the use of judgment, and therefore, actual financial results may differ.  

Our operations have been and could continue to be adversely affected by global market and economic conditions in ways we may not be able to predict or control.

Global economic uncertainty continues to exist, including uncertainty relating to the Covid-19 pandemic and United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (“Brexit”). Our operations could be adversely affected by global economic conditions if global markets were to decline in the future, whether related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, recession, strained U.S. trade relations with China, or otherwise. Any future economic declines may result in decreased revenue, gross margin, earnings or growth rates and difficulty in managing inventory levels and collection of customer receivables. We also have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, increased competitive pricing pressure. In addition, customer difficulties in the future could result from economic declines or issues arising from the cyclical nature of their respective businesses and, in turn, result in decreases in product demand, increases in bad debt write-offs, decreases in timely collection of accounts receivable and adjustments to our allowance for doubtful accounts receivable, resulting in material reductions to our revenues and net earnings.

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Global economic and capital market conditions may cause our access to capital to be more difficult in the future and/or costs to secure such capital more expensive.

We may need new or additional financing in the future to provide liquidity to conduct our operations, expand our business or refinance existing indebtedness. Any sustained weakness in general economic conditions and/or U.S. or global capital markets could adversely affect our ability to raise capital on favorable terms or at all. From time to time we have relied, and we may also rely in the future, on access to financial markets as a source of liquidity for working capital requirements, acquisitions and general corporate purposes. Our access to funds under our credit facility is dependent on the ability of the financial institutions that are parties to that facility to meet their funding commitments. Those financial institutions may not be able to meet their funding commitments if they experience shortages of capital and liquidity or if they experience excessive volumes of borrowing requests within a short period of time. Moreover, the obligations of the financial institutions under our credit facility are several and not joint and, as a result, a funding default by one or more institutions does not need to be made up by the others. Longer term volatility and continued disruptions in the capital and credit markets as a result of uncertainty, changing or increased regulation of financial institutions, reduced alternatives or failures of significant financial institutions could adversely affect our access to the liquidity needed for our businesses in the longer term. Such disruptions could require us to take measures to conserve cash until the markets stabilize or until alternative credit arrangements or other funding for our business needs can be arranged.

Volatility in the equity markets or interest rates could substantially increase our pension costs and required pension contributions.

We sponsor qualified defined benefit pension plans and various other nonqualified postretirement plans. The qualified defined benefit pension plans are funded with trust assets invested in a diversified portfolio of debt and equity securities and other investments. Among other factors, changes in interest rates, investment returns and the market value of plan assets can (i) affect the level of plan funding; (ii) cause volatility in the net periodic pension cost; and (iii) increase our future contribution requirements. A significant decrease in investment returns or the market value of plan assets or a significant decrease in interest rates could increase our net periodic pension costs and adversely affect our results of operations. A significant increase in our contribution requirements with respect to our qualified defined benefit pension plans could have an adverse impact on our cash flow.

The results of our annual testing and as-required interim testing of goodwill and other intangible assets have required, and in the future may require that we record impairment charges.

As of May 31, 2020, we had approximately $1.8 billion in goodwill and other intangible assets. The Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) section 350 requires that goodwill be tested at least on an annual basis, or more frequently as impairment indicators arise, using either a qualitative assessment or a fair-value approach at the reporting unit level. We perform our annual required impairment tests, which involve the use of estimates related to the fair market values of the reporting units with which goodwill is associated, as of the first day of our fourth fiscal quarter. The evaluation of our long-lived assets for impairment includes determining whether indicators of impairment exist, which is a subjective process that considers both internal and external factors. Impairment assessment requires the use of significant judgment regarding estimates and assumptions surrounding future results of operations and cash flows.

Our required annual impairment testing for goodwill and other intangible assets, which we performed during the fourth quarter of the fiscal years ended May 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, did not result in any impairment loss.  For discussion of the approach for and results of our interim and annual impairment testing of goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets for all periods presented, please refer to the headings entitled “Goodwill” and “Other Long-Lived Assets” within the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”  and “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” sections located in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation” as well as Note A11) Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets and Note C – Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets to our consolidated financial statements as presented below.

In the future, if global economic conditions were to decline significantly, or if our reporting units experience significant declines in business, we may incur additional, substantial goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges. The amount of any such impairment charge could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.  

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Our significant amount of indebtedness could have a material adverse impact on our business.

Our total debt was approximately $2.5 billion at both May 31, 2020 and 2019, which compares with $1.3 billion in stockholders’ equity at May 31, 2020. Our level of indebtedness could have important consequences.  For example, it could:

 

require us to dedicate a material portion of our cash flow from operations to make payments on our indebtedness, thereby reducing the cash flow available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, dividend payments, stock repurchases or other general corporate requirements;

 

result in a downgrade of our credit rating, which would increase our borrowing costs, adversely affect our financial results, and make it more difficult for us to raise capital;

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

The cost and availability of raw materials, including packaging, materially impact our financial results.  We obtain raw materials from a number of suppliers.  Many of our raw materials are petroleum-based derivatives, minerals and metals.  The cost of raw materials has in the past experienced, and likely will continue to experience, periods of volatility which could increase the cost of manufacturing our products.  Under normal market conditions, these materials are generally available on the open market from a variety of producers; however, shortages are a possibility.  Interruptions in the supply of raw materials could have a significant impact on our ability to produce products.  

Adequate supply of critical raw materials is managed by establishing contracts, procuring from multiple sources, and identifying alternative materials or technology; however, the unavailability of raw materials or increased prices of raw materials that we are unable to pass along to our customers could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Additionally, changes in international trade duties and other aspects of international trade policy, both in the U.S. and abroad, could materially impact the cost of raw materials.  Any increase in materials that is not offset by an increase in our prices could have an adverse effect on our business, financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

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

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

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

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

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

Some of our operating companies, particularly in the Consumer segment, face a substantial amount of customer concentration. Our key Consumer segment customers include Ace Hardware, Amazon, CANAC, Do It Best, The Home Depot, Inc., Lowe’s, Menards, Orgill, True Value, and Wal-Mart. Within our Consumer segment, sales to these customers accounted for approximately 64%, 66% and 65% of net sales for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  On a consolidated basis, sales to these customers across all of our reportable segments accounted for approximately 23%, 23% and 22% of our consolidated net sales for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.  Sales to The Home Depot, Inc. represented less than 10% of our consolidated net sales for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, and 26% of our Consumer segment net sales for fiscal 2020 and 29% and 28% of our Consumer segment net sales for fiscal 2019 and 2018, respectively.  If we were to lose one or more of our key customers, or experience a delay or cancellation of a significant order, or incur a significant decrease in the level of purchases from any of our key customers, or experience difficulty in collecting amounts due from a key customer, our net revenues could decline materially and our operating results could be reduced materially.

The chemical and construction products industries in which we operate expose us to inherent risks of legal and warranty claims and other litigation-related costs, which could adversely impact our business.

As a participant in the chemical and construction products industries, we face an inherent risk of legal claims in the event that the exposure to or failure, use or misuse of our products results, or is alleged to result, in bodily injury and/or property damage. In the course of our business we are subject to a variety of inquiries and investigations by regulators, as well as claims and lawsuits by private parties including those related to product liability, product claims regarding asbestos or other chemicals or materials of concern in our products, product warranty, the environment, contracts, intellectual property and commercial matters, which due to their uncertain nature may result in losses, some of which may be material.  We are defending claims, and could be subject to future claims, in which significant financial damages are alleged.  These claims could consume material financial resources to defend and be a distraction to management.  Some, but not all, of such claims are insured.  We offer warranties on many of our products, as well as long term warranty programs at certain of our businesses and, as a result, from time to time we may experience higher levels of warranty expense, which is typically reflected in selling, general and administrative expenses. The nature and extent to which we use hazardous or flammable materials in our manufacturing processes creates risk of damage to persons and property that, if realized, could be material.

Compliance with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations could subject us to unforeseen future expenditures or liabilities, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We are subject to numerous, complicated and often increasingly stringent environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we conduct business. Governmental and regulatory authorities impose various laws and regulations on us that relate to environmental protection, the use, sale, transportation and export of certain chemicals or hazardous materials, and various health and safety matters, including the discharge of pollutants into the air and water, the handling, use, treatment, storage and clean-up of solid and hazardous wastes, the use of certain chemicals in product formulations, and the investigation and remediation of soil and groundwater affected by hazardous substances. These laws and regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, RCRA, CERCLA, TSCA, REACH and many other federal, state, provincial, local and international statutes. These laws and regulations often impose strict, retroactive and joint and several liability for the costs of, and damages resulting from, not addressing our, or our predecessors’ past or present facilities and third-party disposal sites. We are currently undertaking remedial activities at a number of our properties and could be subject to future liability as yet unknown, but that could be material.

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We have not always been and may not always be in full compliance with all environmental, health and safety laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which we conduct our business. In addition, if we violate or fail to comply with environmental, health and safety laws (including related to permitting), we could be fined or otherwise sanctioned by regulators, including enjoining or curtailing operations, remedial or corrective measures, installing pollution control equipment, or other actions. We have been and also could in the future be liable for consequences arising out of human exposure to hazardous substances or chemicals of concern relating to our products or operations. Accordingly, we cannot guarantee that we will not be required to make additional expenditures to remain in or to achieve compliance with environmental, health or safety laws in the future or that any such additional expenditures will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. If regulatory permits or registrations are delayed, restricted, or rejected, subsequent operations at our businesses could be delayed or restricted, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our businesses are subject to varying domestic and foreign laws and regulations that may restrict or adversely impact our ability to conduct our business.

Our businesses are subject to varying domestic and foreign laws and regulations that may restrict or adversely impact our ability to conduct our business.  These include securities, environmental, health, safety, tax, competition and anti-trust, trade controls, data security, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, employment and privacy laws and regulations.  These laws and regulations change from time to time and thus may result in increased costs to us related to our compliance therewith.  From time to time regulators review our compliance with applicable laws. We have not always been, and may not always be, in full compliance with all laws and regulations applicable to our business and, thus enforcement actions, fines and private litigation claims and damages, which could be material, may occur, notwithstanding our belief that we have in place appropriate risk management and compliance programs to mitigate these risks.

If our efforts in acquiring and integrating other companies or product lines or establishing joint ventures fail, our business may not grow.

As an important part of our growth strategy, we intend to continue pursuing acquisitions of complementary businesses or products and creating joint ventures. Our ability to continue to grow in this manner depends upon our ability to identify, negotiate and finance suitable acquisitions or joint venture arrangements. Execution of our acquisition strategy with respect to some companies or product lines could fail or could result in unanticipated costs to us that were not apparent despite our due diligence efforts, either of which could hinder our growth or adversely impact our results of operations.  In addition, acquisitions and their subsequent integration involve a number of risks, including, but not limited to:

 

inaccurate assessments of disclosed liabilities and the potentially adverse effects of undisclosed liabilities;

 

unforeseen difficulties in assimilating acquired companies, their products, and their culture into our existing business;

 

unforeseen delays in realizing the benefits from acquired companies or product lines, including projected efficiencies, cost savings, revenue synergies and profit margins;

 

unforeseen diversion of our management’s time and attention from other business matters;

 

unforeseen difficulties resulting from insufficient prior experience in any new markets we may enter;

 

unforeseen difficulties in retaining key employees and customers of acquired businesses; and

 

increases in our indebtedness and contingent liabilities, which could in turn restrict our ability to raise additional capital when needed or to pursue other important elements of our business strategy.

We derive a significant amount of our revenues from foreign markets, which subjects us to additional business risks that could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our foreign manufacturing operations accounted for approximately 31.2% of our net sales for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2020, not including exports directly from the U.S. which accounted for approximately 1.1% of our net sales for fiscal 2020. We plan to continue to grow our international operations and the growth and maintenance of such operations could be adversely affected by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, changes in political and economic conditions, inflation rates, trade protection measures, restrictions on foreign investments and repatriation of earnings, changing intellectual property rights, difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations and changes in regulatory requirements that restrict the sales of our products or increase our costs. Our ability to effectively manage our foreign operations may pose significant risks that could adversely affect our results of operations, cash flow, liquidity or financial condition.  

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Significant foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations may harm our financial results.

We conduct business in various regions throughout the world and are therefore subject to market risk due to changes in the exchange rates of foreign currencies in relation to the U.S. dollar.  Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, increases or decreases in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies in which we transact business could materially adversely affect our net revenues, operating income and the carrying values of our assets located outside the U.S.  For example, Brexit caused significant volatility in global stock markets and currency exchange rate fluctuations that resulted in the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies in which we conduct business.  Such strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may adversely affect our operating results.

We could be adversely affected by violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and similar anti-bribery laws of other countries, as well as trade sanctions administered by the office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of Commerce.

The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (‘‘FCPA’’) and similar anti-bribery laws of other countries generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments to governmental officials or others for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or for other unfair advantage. Our policies mandate compliance with these anti-bribery laws. We operate in many parts of the world that have experienced governmental corruption to some degree and, in certain circumstances, strict compliance with anti-bribery laws may conflict with local customs and practices.

We are required to comply with U.S. regulations on trade sanctions and embargoes administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the Commerce Department and similar multi-national bodies and governmental agencies worldwide, which are complex and often changing.  A violation thereof could subject us to regulatory enforcement actions, including a loss of export privileges and significant civil and criminal penalties and fines.

Although we have internal controls and procedures designed to ensure compliance with these laws, there can be no assurance that our controls and procedures will prevent a violation of these laws.  Violations of these laws, or allegations of such violations, could disrupt our business and result in a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.

Our operations are subject to the effect of global tax law changes, some of which have been, and may be in the future, retroactive in application.

Our operations are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign tax laws and regulations which govern, among other things, taxes on worldwide income. Any potential tax law changes may, for example, increase applicable tax rates, have retroactive application, or impose stricter compliance requirements in the jurisdictions in which we operate, which could reduce our consolidated net earnings.

In response to, for instance, an economic crisis or recession, governments may revise tax laws, regulations or official interpretations in ways that could have a significant impact on us, including modifications that could, for example, reduce the profits that we can effectively realize from our non-U.S. operations, or that could require costly changes to those operations, or the way in which they are structured. If changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations were to significantly increase the tax rates on non-U.S. income, our effective tax rate could increase, our profits could be reduced, and if such increases were a result of our status as a U.S. company, could place us at a disadvantage to our non-U.S. competitors if those competitors remain subject to lower local tax rates.

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We could be adversely affected by failure to comply with federal, state and local government procurement regulations and requirements.

We have contracts with and supply product to federal, state and local governmental entities and their contractors, and are required to comply with specific procurement regulations and other requirements relating to those contracts and sales.  Requirements in our contracts and those requirements flowed down to us in our capacity as a subcontractor or supplier, although customary in government contracts, may impact our performance and compliance costs.  Failure to comply with these regulations and requirements or to make required disclosures under contract could result in reductions of the value of contracts, contract modifications or termination for cause, adverse past performance ratings, actions under a federal or state false claims statutes, suspension or debarment from government contracting or subcontracting for a period of time and the assessment of penalties and fines, any of which could negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition and could have a negative impact on our reputation and ability to procure other government contracts in the future.

Terrorist activities and other acts of violence or war, pandemics, natural disasters and other disruptions have negatively impacted in the past and could negatively impact in the future the U.S. and foreign countries, the financial markets, the industries in which we compete, our operations and profitability.

Terrorist activities, pandemics, natural disasters and other disruptions have contributed to economic instability in the U.S. and elsewhere, and further acts of terrorism, cyber-terrorism, violence, war, pandemics or natural disasters could affect the industries in which we compete, our ability to purchase raw materials or make, sell or distribute products, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

Data privacy and data security considerations could impact our business.

The interpretation and application of data protection laws, rules and regulations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere applicable to our business (collectively, the “Data Protection Laws”) are uncertain and evolving. It is possible that the Data Protection Laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our data practices.  Complying with these various laws is difficult and could cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices in a manner adverse to our business.  Further, although we are implementing internal controls and procedures designed to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Laws, there can be no assurance that our controls and procedures will enable us to be fully compliant with all Data Protection Laws.

Despite our efforts to protect sensitive information and confidential and personal data, comply with the Data Protection Laws and implement data security measures, we may be vulnerable to security breaches and other data loss, including cyber-attacks and, in fact, we have experienced data security incidents that have impacted our operations, but have not had a material impact on our financial results.  In addition, it is not possible to predict the impact on our business of the future loss, alteration or misappropriation of information related to us, our employees, former employees, customers, suppliers or others. This could lead to negative publicity, legal claims, theft, modification or destruction of proprietary information or key information, damage to or inaccessibility of critical systems, manufacture of defective products, production downtimes, operational disruptions, data breach claims and other significant costs, which could adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business and financial condition could be adversely affected if we are unable to protect our material trademarks and other proprietary information or there is a loss in the actual or perceived value of our brands.

We have numerous valuable patents, trade secrets and know-how, domain names, trademarks and trade names, including certain marks that are significant to our business, which are identified under Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Despite our efforts to protect our trademarks, trade secrets and other proprietary rights from unauthorized use or disclosure, other parties may attempt to disclose or use them without our authorization; such unauthorized use or disclosure could negatively impact our business and financial condition.

Similarly, the reputations of our branded products depend on numerous factors, including the successful advertising and marketing of our brand names, consumer acceptance, continued trademark validity, the availability of similar products from our competitors, and our ability to maintain our products’ quality and technological advantages and claims of superior performance. A loss of a brand or in the actual or perceived value of our brands could limit or reduce the demand for our products and could negatively impact our business and financial condition.

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Although we have insurance, it may not cover every potential risk associated with our operations.

Although we maintain insurance of various types to cover many of the risks and hazards that apply to our operations, our insurance may not cover every potential risk associated with our operations. The occurrence of a significant adverse event, the risks of which are not fully covered by insurance, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, no assurance can be given that we will be able to maintain adequate insurance in the future at rates and with terms and conditions we consider reasonable.

Adverse weather conditions may reduce the demand for some of our products and could have a negative effect on our sales.

From time to time, adverse weather conditions in certain parts of the U.S. and other countries in which we do business have had an adverse effect on our sales of paint, coatings, roofing, construction products and related products. For example, unusually cold and rainy weather, especially during the general construction and exterior painting season, could have an adverse effect on sales of such products. As a result, we have historically experienced weaker sales and net income in our third fiscal quarter (December through February) in comparison to our performance during our other fiscal quarters.

 

 

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments.

Not Applicable.

 

Item 2.  Properties.

Our corporate headquarters and a plant and offices for one subsidiary are located on approximately 165 acres, which we own in Medina, Ohio. As of May 31, 2020, our operations occupied a total of approximately 21.1 million square feet, with the majority, approximately 15.9 million square feet, devoted to manufacturing, assembly and storage. Of the approximately 21.1 million square feet occupied, approximately 8.9 million square feet are owned and approximately 12.2 million square feet are occupied under operating leases.

18


Set forth below is a description, as of May 31, 2020, of our principal facilities which we believe are material to our operations:

 

 

 

 

 

Approximate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Square Feet Of

 

 

Leased or

Location

 

Business/Segment

 

Floor Space

 

 

Owned

Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

507,399

 

 

Owned

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

Tremco (CPG)

 

 

420,506

 

 

Owned

Cacapava, Brazil

 

Euclid (CPG)

 

 

383,776

 

 

Owned

Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

262,159

 

 

Owned

Cleveland, Ohio

 

Euclid (CPG)

 

 

259,053

 

 

Owned

Cleveland, Ohio

 

Day-Glo (SPG)

 

 

224,624

 

 

Owned

LaFayette, Georgia

 

Euclid (CPG)

 

 

201,109

 

 

Owned

Dayton, Nevada

 

Carboline (PCG)

 

 

184,833

 

 

Owned

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

 

Stonhard (PCG)

 

 

181,680

 

 

Owned

Cleveland, Ohio

 

Tremco (CPG)

 

 

160,300

 

 

Owned

Bodenwoehr, Germany

 

illbruck (CPG)

 

 

156,184

 

 

Owned

Vallirana, Spain

 

Carboline (PCG)

 

 

155,743

 

 

Owned

Coaldale, Alberta, Canada

 

Dryvit (CPG)

 

 

150,705

 

 

Owned

Lierstranda, Norway

 

Carboline (PCG)

 

 

145,958

 

 

Owned

Baltimore, Maryland

 

DAP (Consumer)

 

 

144,200

 

 

Owned

Hagerstown, Maryland

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

143,000

 

 

Owned

Arkel, Netherlands

 

illbruck (CPG)

 

 

140,157

 

 

Owned

Tipp City, Ohio

 

DAP (Consumer)

 

 

140,000

 

 

Owned

Zelem, Belgium

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

136,150

 

 

Owned

Attleboro, Massachusetts

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

133,650

 

 

Owned

Hudson, North Carolina

 

Wood Finishes Group (SPG)

 

 

132,300

 

 

Owned

Ellaville, Georgia

 

TCI (SPG)

 

 

129,600

 

 

Owned

Lake Charles, Louisiana

 

Carboline (PCG)

 

 

114,257

 

 

Owned

Birtley, United Kingdom

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

112,354

 

 

Owned

Lesage, West Virginia

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

112,000

 

 

Owned

Somerset, New Jersey

 

Rust-Oleum (Consumer)

 

 

110,000

 

 

Owned

Bogota, Colombia

 

Euclid (CPG)

 

 

106,824