Barfresh Food Group, Inc. (OTCQB:BRFH) Business Update Conference Call March 30, 2016 4:30 PM ET
Riccardo Delle Coste - Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Joseph Cugine - President
Joseph Tesoriero - Chief Financial Officer
William Gregozeski - Greenridge Global
Elliot Penn - Lazarus Investment
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for participating in today’s Corporate Update Call for the Barfresh Food Group. Joining us today is Barfresh Food Group’s Founder and CEO, Riccardo Delle Coste; Joe Cugine, President and Joe Tesoriero, Chief Financial Officer of Barfresh Food Group.
Following the prepared remarks, we will open the call for your questions. After managements prepared remarks, there will be a question and answer session.
The discussion today will include forward-looking statements except for historical information herein, matters discussed on the call are forward looking within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about the Company's commercial progress and future financial performance.
These forward-looking statements are identified by the use of words such as "grow", "expand", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "believe", "expect", "plan", "should", "hypothetical", "potential", "forecast" and "project", among others. All statements, other than the statement of historical fact that address activities, events or developments that the Company believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements.
Such forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions made based on experience, expected future developments and other factors that the Company believes are appropriate under the circumstance. These statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Company and may not materialize. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance. The contents of the call should be considered in conjunction with the warnings, risk factors and cautionary statements contained in the Company's recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q. Furthermore, the Company does not intend, and is not obligated, to update publicly any forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
Now, with that, I would like to turn the call over to the founder and CEO of Barfresh Food Group, Mr. Riccardo Delle Coste. Thank you, you may begin.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Thank you, and good afternoon everyone and thanks for joining us today. Earlier today, we filed our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31 marking our transition to a calendar year end as we announced on December 14.
For those of you that are new to our story, I’ll start with a brief company overview to help you understand our business, afterwards, our bringing up to speed and our exciting progress.
Barfresh is a manufacturer and distributor of frozen ready-to-blend beverage packs, producing smoothies, shakes and frappes. Our proprietary solution uses controlled pre-packaged portions that allow food service operators the ability to offer blended beverages to their guest.
Our ready-to-blend ingredient pack contains all the ingredients needed to make a smoothie, shake or frappes. Our smoothies contain real fruit to juice, yogurt or sorbet, and even the ice cubes. All the operator needs to do is add water to the frozen contents of the ingredient pack and blend. Our website includes a video demonstration of the blending process, so you can see just how easy it is to make.
Food service operators love our product. There is no waste. It’s consistent and all you need is blend up. This allows for a simple, low cost operating platform with high margin sales for our customers. Further, our product allows them to introduce new, healthier beverages on their menus with little to no capital investment required, so they can start making profits from day one.
Traditionally, smoothies have been notoriously difficult for operators to produce given issues with spoilage, flavor, and even the unavailability of ice behind the service counter. Our ready to blend products solve all these problems and is allowing many customers to access this fast-growing segment of the market for the first time. Hopefully, that gives those of you that are less familiar with Barfresh a good overview.
Now, let’s turn to the business update. We’ve been very busy in the past few quarters and have now established the solid foundations for our business. We’ve made great progress with our newly formed partnerships with PepsiCo and Sysco, which our President Joe Cugine will expand on.
We’ve also made great progress with our manufacturing and logistics infrastructure needed to capitalize on the expected significant increase in demand which Joe Tesoriero, our Chief Financial Officer will expand on.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, after many years of working with national accounts including market research, consumer surveys, flavor selection, product development, consumer focus groups, operation and testing and many revisions and approvals, we are now in the final stages and expect to rollout multiple regional in-market test of our products in a number of key national accounts beginning this summer.
I’ll now turn the call over to our President, Joe Cugine.
Thank you, Ricardo and thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to listen to our, what I think is a great story. It’s terrific to be able to speak to our investors and potential investors.
I’ve been the President for about one year now and in that time, we really focused on building what Ricardo whatever he set up and that’s getting the building blocks in place. So, we’ve been focused in the last twelve months on people, process and partnerships. We hired a great executive staff which many of you have heard us talk about in prior meetings, but talented executives across the food service industry have joined us at the senior team.
We’ve also hired a full complement of sales executives across the country, we have 40 sales reps in the country that live and breathe up and down the street everyday selling our products. We’ve got all the markets covered and we’ve really done an really wonderful job of increasing and enhancing the quality of our team.
So we feel terrific about that. So that’s in place. We are making over 300 demonstrations a week, every week now demonstrating our products for the customers and our win rate is very high when we demonstrate.
The second is the process. We work hard at putting the right – creating the right products, enhancing the products – our product quality in terms of calories and sugar content. We’ve increased - improved the film in our bag and we’ve enhanced the whole packaging of our product.
Joe will talk about great manufacturing partners that we are bringing on. So we are built for speed here. We are ready to go. We can take any size customer in the US, because we can make product and we’ve got the team to sell the product.
And lastly, we wanted to increase – we only want to have 40 people, but we want a broad audience to sell our products.
So we decided let’s go get an army of sales people to partner with us and we were able to do that with both Sysco, the largest distributor in the world with over 8000 sales reps and then PepsiCo, the largest consumer product beverage company in the world, in the United States, second in the world, $70 billion company, who are our partners.
There is a thousand people in PepsiCo and I will talk more about both of those partnerships. So all of that is in place and the reason I am saying that is that we are absolutely now growth ready and what’s happened in the last – this first quarter, what’s happened just last week, we had more wins last week and we had the last ten weeks to mine and that’s what’s happening.
And that’s why I’ve never been so excited. I’ve been in this business for 30 years. I ran a $3 billion division of PepsiCo and I have never in my career been as excited about what the future holds.
When you build the business from the ground then you see what we desire to occur is actually now occurring. It’s very, very heartwarming for us to see this and our partners are very, very excited. Let me talk about that now.
Sysco, we have – we struggled in the past candidly. Sysco has 400,000 items in their menu. So there – we struggled to get, how do you get mind share of the Sysco sales reps. there is 8000 of them. We sat down with the senor team. The President of the Sysco is a close friend of mine, a former colleague of mine at PepsiCo and we talked about our partnership and we talk both – talk candidly about, we weren’t happy with where the partnership is going and candidly they said they weren’t happy.
They think our product is so special and so unique. We talked about what can we do differently and they said, leave it to us and they came out with this program called cutting-edge solution and that is they’ve taken 15 products, five of which are our smoothies. Out of 400,000 products, I mean, the magnitude of this is, is unbelievable.
They are focusing on the 15 products and they are making each president of this each 72 opcos, they are calibrating their performance against those 15 products they are all exclusive Sysco products and they want –and they are unique category leaders that Sysco wants to move to more throughout their system. So they have had – they’ve scheduled, they call the cutting-edge solution.
It’s a 12 months process that every sales rep is required to deliver certain amount of their customers and convert into these products.
Again, if every one of the sales reps gave us one order that’s $12 million. One customer, they all – each sales reps has about 150 products. So, this immediately has transformed us from being struggling to get attention to we can handle all the calls that are coming in.
We rolled out on March 18, they had 72 rollout meetings with their entire sales organizations. I went to the one at Giants Stadium for Sysco New York and I presented for four hours. I presented 200 sales reps in four sessions of 50 sales reps in each session and there was three companies presenting and I was one of them.
So when I got 20 minutes to talk to these people, we sampled our products every sales rep was there and this process was emulated across the country.
So we had – we will have representation in 72 opcos across the US on March – the week of March 15, most of them were done on March 18. And we counted about 4000 leads, just from those first initial meetings, people sitting there, trying our products to sales reps, and said, oh, I got a great account for you.
I got this restaurant, or this casino or this college or this bar. So, our teams are fully engaged now everyday writing with Sysco reps, selling customers. As I said, we have 30 on the street sales reps and then we have leadership and they are making about 300 demonstrations every single week.
So, Sysco, I feel we are in a great place with Sysco. We have presidents calling us up asking what else can they do for us. Sysco has created videos, they’ve created sales materials, they’ve created an incentive contest all on their own dime with their organizations to drive these 15 products.
And of this – again, the 15 products, the only beverage, that we are the only beverage and rest of them are center of the plate items. So we are definitely the sexiest product and they are very excited to go out sell this product and they recognize now – since we have such exposure, the massive profitability that this category brings and the profitability that could beat each sales rep.
A sale kind of accounts to make $3000 more. They can get kind of account in one day. So this is a big, big idea that now people – their filter has been opened and we are front in center. So I feel terrific about where we are going with Sysco and we are going to have a terrific year.
This summer is going to be amazing, getting picking up those up and down the street customers. We are also getting in some large customers. Just in the last week, yesterday we presented at the Yankee Stadium at City Yankees. We presented to the Giants last week, we are winning casinos, this is all coming from – we never got these leads before. We just not getting in front of these kind of customers and now we are getting in front of them and I think that’s going to be terrific.
The second pillar here on the partnership is PepsiCo. We’ve signed a contract October 26 of last year. As you know, I worked with PepsiCo for many years. Tim Trant, our Chief Customer Officer was a Senior Executive Vice President at PepsiCo. He ran the entire thousand person sales force. He has left PepsiCo and he now works for us as our Customer Officer.
So Tim and I, we have terrific relationships within PepsiCo. We spent the last three or four months educating each of the thousand sales reps. We had webinars and then subsequent to that, we have met with every single PepsiCo person in the last 90 days in a meeting, a large meeting and individual group meeting.
Each of the individual people at PepsiCo has sampled our product. They understand the proposition. They understand the category we are playing in and the massive benefits they derive by partnering with us. And I got to tell you, knowing PepsiCo so well and how many initiatives they have it’s shocking to me how it’s resonating in their organization.
We are – they are unbelievably engaged, what they’ve done far more than I would have expected to-date. So, and that goes from the web closes to the customers on the ground to the president of the company, saying this is a massive advantage for us versus our competition.
Coke doesn’t have a product like this. We think this is more and more significant things in our toolkit, in our product portfolio. So, throughout top, throughout bottom of the organization, they are fully, fully engaged. We just won three casinos in Las Vegas in the last two weeks, thanks to PepsiCo.
They brought us in. We are going into some – the large channel leading national accounts that you all know and spent time in every week. We are in test with these customers. Thanks to the connections with PepsiCo. The velocity of leads we are getting, we will get – we are winning regional accounts, 15, 20, 50, 100 store chains, we are winning because of the contact with PepsiCo.
All we really need in our products is to get in front of the customer. Once we do, 60% of the time plus we win the account. We just want to get in front of those sets of customers before given our small sales force and the wide array of customers that are out there.
Well, now with Pepsi’s 1000 people and Sysco engaged, we are now getting in front of many more of these customers and their growth rates will reflect that.
And then there is national accounts which PepsiCo has got some national accounts for us as well and then I’ll talk about the account that we have embarked upon. So we have been working with national accounts, Ricardo and I really for the last two, two-and-a-half years.
PepsiCo has enhanced that pipeline dramatically. So in the last 30 days, I’ve been within - I’ve been in front of 10 national accounts, five of which are the top 10 in the country that we are going to be doing some business with starting with the test, they take a little bit longer in the lead time.
But again, if one of them has $20 million, $30 million, $40 million, $50 million in revenue per year and we don’t add any G&A, Pepsi handles that. So my 40% sales force should never get any larger. Whether we are $1 million or we are a $100 million business, there is a very nice flow through once we get these larger customers.
So for example, Aramark, great partner, large customer of PepsiCo, we are in a multi-state hospital test. The top hospitals in Houston and Chicago and Philadelphia, thanks to Tim Trant, are now rolling out our Barfresh smoothies and we think – they got to be great success for a location and if that happens, Aramark has 700 or 800 hospitals.
So, those types of things are going to lead to bigger things and we are penetrating at all levels. We’ve got a plethora of tests going on that we believe warrants us lead to bigger, bigger business. We’ve got some regional chains that we’ve been working with that are going to give us a national rollout in the summer time.
And we’ve got a large, large top five national restaurant chains that we will crack the code this year and we will launch this year in one if not two or three of these accounts and that would immensely sizable and transform our company forever and that will happen in 2016.
So, we’ve taken this last year instead of just jumping in and trying to get these accounts early on, we wanted to put a process in place. We want to get the people there and we wanted to make sure that our – the people are in place, our partners were locked in trained and energized to go sell our product and partner with us and we wanted to make sure once we get these – all of this business, we can handle it.
Manufacturing partners can handle it, our bag doesn’t leak, everything is perfect. Our transportation lines are good. Our speed to market is good. We can’t have anything, anything fall apart once all the big business starts rolling in, it’s rolling in now. So, I feel we got all in place.
We’ve taken the time to do it right in my opinion and now we just – our trajectory is going to be – and again I’ve never been more excited I can. I am so excited to get out of the bed in the morning to see the results from yesterday and what accounts we called on, who we are winning, nice place to do, nice place to be and I appreciate all of your patience during this process, but hang in because great times are coming.
And so, with that talk more about process and some of our partners in the manufacturing side, I’d like to turn over to our CFO, Joe Tesoriero.
Great, thank you very much, Joe. Today I will provide an update on our operations after I first summarize some of the financial highlights for our short year ended December 31, 2015 and I’ll also give you some commentary on Q1 2016.
As Ricardo mentioned, at the top of the call, we’ve changed our fiscal year from March to December. So the financials we’ve provided in the 10-K that was filed today represents the nine months period ended December 31.
So our revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31 more than doubled to $437,000. The increase in revenue is driven by our expansion into a growing number of the Sysco distribution centers. At December 31, we had our products in 38 Sysco distribution centers and as you’ve heard in the earlier comments, we’ve now expanded to all 72 opcos nationally.
Since December, we’ve expedited the national rollout of Sysco with Barfresh’s inclusion in the cutting-edge solution platform that you’ve heard about. This initiative has allowed us to enter all 72 of the Sysco distribution centers and it has consequently lifted sales as we rolled out our products nationwide.
Preliminary sales for the first quarter of 2016 are just over $300,000 which represents a five-fold increase over the prior year quarter and reflects just the initial impact of the nationwide rollout to Sysco.
Turning to our operations. We work, as many of you know exclusively with contract manufacturers. This model allows us to have maximum flexibility to scale up our production as required and minimizes the amount of capital that need to commit.
To-date, we’ve been working with our main contract manufacturer in Salt Lake City, Utah, which provides us capacity of up to 14 million units per year. But in February of this year, we announced the strategic expansion of our manufacturing platforms through a partnership with Yarnell’s in Arkansas.
This expansion creates the needed diversification for us and the regional expansion to key Eastern US markets and allows us to manufacture an additional 100 million units annually to meet anticipated demand. We expect production at the new Yarnell’s facility to begin in the coming weeks. Our improved manufacturing platform allows us to better integrate with Sysco and other distribution partners.
So we put the elements in place already to leverage Sysco’s forward warehousing partners to improve our service to Sysco’s distribution centers which ultimately gets our product to the customer faster and more efficiently. The real value of these initiatives will become even more apparent as our volumes increase.
We expect to now realize the economies of scale in freight rates that will come with the full truckloads versus the partial truckload rates that we have been paying to-date. Similar cost savings are expected for our input materials and packaging as we can opportunistically source our inputs to take advantage of our increased volume requirements.
But even more importantly, our integration into the Sysco forward warehousing system allows us to service all Sysco distribution centers on an efficient and timely basis and also enables all distribution centers to order any quantity of cases that they require without restriction.
Finally, we have successfully raised the total of $5.9 million of equity capital, which closed on February 29, solidifying our balance sheet and allowing us flexibility to make the necessary investments in people, production assets and inventories. We are all extremely pleased with our start to 2016 and look ahead to more pronounced acceleration in revenues in the coming quarters.
So with that, I’ll hand it back to Ricardo.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Thanks very much, Joe. As you can see, a tremendous amount of work has been done in building our business. The foundation has been laid and we have a world of activity. We have a great product. We have a world-class management team and great people. We have the distribution partnership, we have our sales partnership, and we have our manufacturing partnership all in place.
The execution is underway. The PepsiCo sales teams has been trained and our teams are working together in the field. We’ve just completed the national rollout of our Sysco partnership and our teams are working together activating customers in the field. We signed our manufacturing partnership that gives us an additional 100 million units annually.
The new lines are being installed and will begin production in the coming weeks. And now, finally, we will begin selling products in national account locations starting from this summer. I have never been more certain about the reality of the enormous opportunity for success ahead.
And now with that, I’ll open the call for questions.
Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of William Gregozeski from Greenridge Global. Please go ahead.
Hey guys. Those are great update, great to hear things going so well. You have given the update, can you give a sense for what we start looking for as far as what the sales will do going forward just given the interest that you guys are getting and even the 14 million units of annual capacity going to be enough in the near term to fill that?
Riccardo Delle Coste
Yes, sure, look, so, we’ve got a number of obviously angles that are coming together all at once between our distribution partnership with Sysco they rolled out on the independence business between the national account, between PepsiCo partnership in the south will be driven through there.
You’ll see this year a gradual increase in the sales, but there will be as the national accounts come on board, we expect some dramatic increases in those sales, particularly as the launches start to take place in terms of the rollout. Is the 140 million annual production capacity enough right now it is.
However, given our current pipeline, there is potential that we will need additional contract manufacturing. We have actually started talking to additional contract manufacturers as a direct result of the national accounts that we have spoken to already and the potential numbers that could be coming through that channel.
Okay, great. Thanks, Ricardo.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Elliot Penn from Lazarus Management. Please go ahead.
Hey guys. Thanks for the update and congrats on all the progress. I was hoping you would comment on the trends you are seeing with existing customers in terms of how those accounts are growing over time and their re-order rates. Thanks.
Ricardo, you want to take that?
Riccardo Delle Coste
Yes, sure. Go ahead, Joe.
We – probably the account we’ve had the longest is Shari’s, and I have to give a shadow to Sarah Grover who was the former Chief Concept Officer for California PC Kitchen for 20 plus years, she is a huge asset for us and when I talked about people, she runs our brand marketing and strategy department.
But given her vast connections in the marketplace, she was able to get us Shari’s which is over a 100 unit chain and we’ve had them for over – probably about a year now and since that time, Elliot, we are the number three beverage in their whole chain, our smoothies.
They are doing about 35 units a week on average per store. They are delighted with the performance. The crew loves because it’s so easy. We also have Tesoro, we’ve had Tesoro for many months or actually two years and their trends are about the same, five to eight units a day, 35 to 50 units per week.
So, we feel very good that if we get a customer and we start with them more kind of the regional and large customer we set them up properly and once it gets on the menu with kind of a staples stays on there. So that’s a great thing. Once you get it on, it becomes part of the menu and there is no reason to take it up to get put another smoothie on there. We will create new flavors then if they want. But so far so good on the consistency of customers who have been with us for a while.
Great, thank you.
Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Neil Fagen [Ph] a private investor. Please go ahead.
Hey guys. Thanks for taking my call.
Riccardo Delle Coste
And I’d also like to say the detail in the prepared remarks was excellent. So, you covered a lot of ground and probably have eliminated the need for a lot of questions. But, I had three unrelated quickies here. Did I understand correctly that you’ve already been given the green light to rollout into a number of regional chains this summer?
Riccardo Delle Coste
We have – there is a number of chains that we have received varying degrees of approval full ranging from going into markets and further testing.
Okay, but, I understand there is kind of a distinction between the national accounts where you mentioned you are involved with five of the top-10 and then there is the regional account. So, are some of the regional accounts already through a testing phase and are you essentially – have you essentially achieved the status of being rolled out into their regional restaurants without any further testing? Or are the regional accounts also just entering a testing phase this summer?
Riccardo Delle Coste
It’s a combination. We have some regional accounts that we are already started to roll it out. We’ve been on acquired testing where they did testing for a week and it’s in two stores and it’s good to go. We have many, many more accounts regional and national that are in testing or going into testing for a 30 day window to make your decision to launch. We feel very confident and what we’ve been lacking is getting enough of these regional customers in the test.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Or national customers in test. Once they get into test, the product offering, that’s where we are at our best, because the product, the simplicity and the quality of the product and the ease, operational ease are our biggest advantages.
Riccardo Delle Coste
The hardest thing is getting into the test. Once we get into the test, that’s the whole – there is always easy once we get there. Because we are so much easier on the crew.
Riccardo Delle Coste
People making the products.
And then, if we just kind of switch to the national accounts, the big boys, the five of the top ten, do we have – I am sure, each is different, but do we have a general idea of how long they want to do a test on a regional basis? And then the follow-on to that would be, if the test goes well, do we think that’s possible they could start to rollout in a step-by-step process nationally this year or would it more likely be get the test done and then work on all the logistics to rollout nationally next year?
It really depends on where we are in the [late] stage of that customer and then to go back for a second, another regional customer Topgolf, it’s a very high concept, Christine Conroy and our team with PepsiCo secured that business. They are rolling – they got in one store their full rollout. So that’s an example of customers that like it and say, well, we are going to put this everywhere and that was about a 30 day test.
The national guys – again, the cycle for national customer are big ones. It’s 15 to 18 months, I’d say, between concept origination, all the process work of meetings, maybe creating proprietary flavors, doing consumer research and focus groups, getting it through the bureaucracy of the concept and coming off the other end is probably 18 months and that includes the market test. So, again, we are in various stages of these.
This a lot of them and they are just beginning the process because the PepsiCo relationship has enabled that. There is some that we have been working on that I believe we will absolutely be in a large-scale rollout this year and I believe that at least two gigantic ones, we believe we’ll have all the systems up and running for 2017 when you tie every store in the chain.
Okay. And without using customer names, will you be able to keep us updated on how some of these regional and national accounts are progressing as we move through the year?
Riccardo Delle Coste
Absolutely, that’s something that we’ll be doing – we’ll be very pleased to be getting back to everyone and updating that progress, absolutely.
Okay. And listen, my final question, without looking for any kind of exact numbers, just looking for kind of some ballpark, have you guys got kind of a revenue level that we need to achieve to kind of get to a cash flow positive operational position, even if it’s just ballpark, where do we need to get on the revenue side before the burn stops and we kind of become neutral or turn positive?
Riccardo Delle Coste
Look, at this stage, we are not giving that guidance and the reason being is that, we got a really great model. Once we get, any one of these national accounts could make us cash flow positive. So, and that depends on – obviously the margin and as Joe mentioned earlier, when we get these national accounts and these additional volume, we really don’t add anymore – much more G&A.
So, as that volume increases it becomes way more profitable. So, we’ve steered away from giving guidance right now, but I can tell you that, just one of the national accounts that we are working on would make us profitable and cash flow positive.
Okay. Wonderful and listen, just a final question, when we enter these regional and national marketing test programs, are the customers paying the full price for the product or are we more or less financing the test by either not charging them or charging them…
Riccardo Delle Coste
Full price, okay.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Customer buys the product and what typically happens in the final stages of the testing and what Joe was mentioning earlier has been a whole new ground where we perform best is in the in-store. When they put the product in the store, that’s pretty much the pre-rollout - that’s the pre-rollout step. They run it through the system as inputs being rolled out.
That’s how they do that final – the final checks and balances. The final testing is by putting us through their paces in the entire system. That means, making the products familiar to their distributor, distributor sending to them, they have the full cost in. So that goes with the whole process. So it’s really the panultimate stage to rollout, so they pay full price.
Riccardo Delle Coste
Thanks everybody. Hope you are as excited we are and we look forward to sharing more developments as they occur.
Thank you ladies and gentlemen. This does conclude our teleconference for today. You may now disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation and have a wonderful day.
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