Type: Evaluation Essays
Sample donated: Amelia Newton
Last updated: October 3, 2019
Running head: GMCR GMCR: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Analysis and Audit Plan Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4 University of Some State Abstract Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has become a force to reckon with in the specialty coffee industry, with incredible growth in the last ten years, due in large part to its commitment to customers, employees, and social responsibility.This paper will concentrate on the financial records reviewed and will analyze (a) GMCR’s annual report and 10-K; (b) industry information, including key economic factors, life cycle, evaluation of factors for success, key business risks, accounting considerations, legal and regulatory concerns, and social concerns; (c) the company’s financial strength, including assessment and likelihood of change, sources and value of capital, response by capital markets, comparison with others in the industry, and quality of earnings, and present an audit plan including transactions and transaction cycles, risk areas, the potential for fraudulent reporting, reduction of assessed control risk, allocation of audit effort, and the suggested form of audit report. GMCR: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ history dates back to 1980, when its founder, Bob Stiller, purchased a cup of coffee from a coffee shop in Waitsfield, Vermont and decided to buy into the coffee shop.
Between 1980 and 1992, GMCR introduced organic coffee to their coffee shops, composted coffee grounds, launched a mail order system, developed earth-friendly coffee filters, began building a 10,000 square foot manufacturing facility, and took the company employees on a company trip to their coffee growing community in Costa Rica. GMCR went public in 1993, began making a profit in 1995, and has grown from that first cup of coffee in 1980 into a large manufacturer of organic and fair trade coffees. Analysis of Annual Report and 10-K Located in Waterbury, Vermont, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (“GMCR”) is in the coffee industry.
GMCR markets coffee, packaging materials, and brewing systems as its primary products and uses coffee beans, flavorings, and packaging materials as its raw materials.Through the assistance of its subsidiaries, GMCR is able to manufacture its patented one cup brewing system without the assistance of third party manufacturing facilities (Annual Report, 2009). GMCR has been very successful in the industry, and is expanding rapidly. The company shows a long-standing commitment to social and environmental responsibility, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a highly-engaged workforce, all of which contribute to its competitive advantage. (Annual Report, 2009). GMCR’s annual report clearly highlights its corporate social responsibility initiatives, its outstanding financial results in 2009, and its growing family of brands and products.The annual report also draws attention to the company’s multi-channel, multi-brand approach, its commitment to a better world, and awards and recognition the company has received.
(Annual Report, 2009). In 2009 GMCR had over $800 million in net sales and over $800 million in total assets, and employed 1,499 people on a full-time basis and 18 people on a part-time basis. (Annual Report, 2009). Its subsidiaries include Keurig, Tully’s Coffee, and Timothy’s World Coffee.
GMCR retails its Keurig K-cup products at Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and Wal-mart. It also sources, roasts, and packages organic coffee blends for Newman’s Own Organics.These products are then sold in stores such as Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club, or served in restaurants such as McDonald’s. The company also has licensing or other types of agreements with such companies as Celestial Seasonings, Caribou Coffee, Emeril’s, and Kahlua. (Annual Report, 2009). The company’s 10-K is not as graphic and pleasing to the eye as the annual report. However, it is much more detailed, and approaches the data from an informational as opposed to a marketing perspective.
The 10-K provides much more information, but it is unlikely that uninformed investors would take the time to read it. (Form 10-K, 2009). Industry Information Key economic factorsCoffee consumption in the US and Europe equals approximately one-third of the tap water consumed annually, with annual production of approximately seven million tons estimated in 2010 (http://www. coffeefacts. com). Worldwide, nearly 25 million small producers derive their income from coffee; the economies of Africa, Indonesia, and South and Central America are especially dependent on coffee production. The majority of this production takes place in Brazil, where approximately five million people are involved in the cultivation and harvest of over 5 billion coffee plants without the aid of modern machinery. (Rice, 2003, p.
228). By 2003, the number of retail specialty coffee shops, cafes, kiosks, coffee carts, and roasters in the United States reached over 17,000, equating to nearly $9 billion in sales.According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, 16 percent of adults in the United States drink coffee from one of these specialty outlets daily. (“Organo Gold”, 2008). The price of coffee is impacted by several factors. Meteorological events can affect the quality of a harvest or even wipe out entire plantations. The political and economic stability of the coffee-growing regions can have a profound effect on availability, and subsequently price per pound. Coffee is traded on the commodities exchanges and prices are affected by trading in futures and options.
In the recent past prices for coffee have fluctuated wildly, marked by a severe downturn in 2001 with the ending of the trade embargo with Vietnam and the flooding of the market with cheaper Robusta beans.The downturn severely affected coffee growers worldwide and the market as a whole has yet to recover from that slump. (“Coffee Sector”, 2004). Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ specialty coffee is not purchased on the commodity exchanges, and is therefore an entirely different economic product than the wholesale coffee traded in these exchanges. GMCR acquires its coffee from the Fair Trade market. Fair Trade certification provides the consumer with the assurance that farmers are offered a fair price for their beans with a guaranteed minimum, thus allowing farmers to invest in their crops, their communities, and their future. This also allows GMCR to more accurately account for present and future coffee costs.
(Equal Exchange, 2010). Life cycleGreen Mountain Coffee Roasters is in the late Growth Stage of its life cycle and about to enter into the early Established Stage; profits are strong, but so is competition. As the company expands its market base, it inevitably takes on greater risks. Effective management will be required for continued growth and mitigation of emerging risks. Issues such as the economy, competitors or changing customer trends can quickly end GMCR’s market dominance. The coffee market as a whole will have to be strictly monitored to hedge any possible changes in market factors which will require the constant examination of market factors from consumer trends to geopolitical dynamics.
Evaluation of factors for success The most important contributor to continued success is customer retention across all divisions.Customer loyalty can be developed and maintained by consistently offering high quality products and backing up those products with superior customer service. With the growth of socially responsible consumer purchasing, GMCR is well positioned.
Also crucial is brand recognition. GMCR and its subsidiaries need to become synonymous with high quality coffee obtained fairly and responsibly. Its coffee brewers and peripheral equipment must be known for their quality and reliability. With the placement of single cup brewing systems in a large number of hotel chains, GMCR is becoming highly visible to the average consumer. The Fair Trade and corporate responsibility aspects of GMCR’s products should be emphasized.The concepts of “organic” and “fairly traded” are of great importance to a large segment of the specialty coffee consumers, and this emphasis has allowed GMCR to enjoy market dominance in this niche of the market. Competition and marketing strategies should be studied, to enable GMCR’s management to understand what can make GMCR more appealing to its customers, and to capitalize on differences.
GMCR has engaged in effective marketing strategies that have emphasized the importance of and commitment to Fair Trade Coffee. The company should explore new aspects and facets of its market base and keep abreast of trends and potentially lucrative new market opportunities in the specialty coffee market.Although the economic benefits have yet to be realized, the single cup coffee brewing system and related periphery have boosted company visibility to the mainstream market. Key business risks The future success of GMCR depends heavily on future sales and royalties of the K-cup systems. This may lead to greater pressure on sales and therefore increased control risks.
The company is also affected by general industry and market conditions impacting other companies in the specialty coffee market. Economic and political conditions, including the global economy, should be closely monitored on U. S. soil as well as abroad. Future revenues may depend on interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations over which GMCR may have little control.GMCR must hedge against these changes in order to stay competitive. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters must effectively compete with well organized, well funded, and globally recognizable specialty coffee icons such as Starbucks and Peets.
Accounting considerations The company has several subsidiaries which have their own minutiae of successful management. The interactions and corporate structures of these subsidiary-parent corporations are important to the way the accounting information is used and shared. Any Electronic Data Interchange between GMCR and the vendor must be analyzed for risks common to these business-to-business types of transactions.Any exchange of accounting information between the parent corporation and its subsidiaries must be analyzed for risks to that data inherent in that type of exchange.
GMCR also enters into interest rate swaps to hedge against unfavorable changes in rates. These derivative instruments qualify for hedge accounting if the hedging relationship is expected to be highly effective. Both the analysis of procedural control and the relationship the board of directors has with the process of making that judgment will also be an important accounting consideration. The greatest accounting consideration will be the acquisition of Dietrich’s Coffee Company. The correct valuation of goodwill for a company like Dietrich’s will be difficult.Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangibles need to be tested for impairment at least annually and more frequently if conditions warrant. It will be important for management to develop and communicate the controls set in place for this type of analysis and the subsequent material changes made to the valuation of goodwill.
The relationship that management has with the board of directors will be of importance when evaluating any changes to the valuation of goodwill. Legal and regulatory concerns Green Mountain Coffee Roasters must be aware of all United States and international laws and regulations concerning the importation of agricultural products.Coffee is one of the most commonly traded products, second in value only to oil. It is vital that GMCR understand the effects of the dismantlement of the International Coffee Agreements’ price regulation and subsequent price fluctuations. GMCR must also be aware of the influence of the World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund over coffee prices. Although the United States pulled out of the International Coffee Agreement in 1989, the pressure to enact a similar agreement has been brought by the United Nations. Should this agreement be re-ratified, the effects on coffee prices would be of vital importance to a company like GMCR.
International regulations, both present and future, are something GMCR must keep a close watch on even though the coffee GMCR purchases are not sold on the open market but rather on the Fair Trade market. (“Depressed Coffee Prices”, 2003). GMCR must also be well versed in the regulations concerning Organic Certification in the United States and the nation of origin.
The requirements for organic certification vary from country to country and usually involve production standards for cultivation, storage, processing, packaging and shipping. In the United States the certification is overseen by the government and the use of the term “organic” is legally restricted. Coffee is also subject to the same agricultural, food safety, and government regulations that apply to non-certified products.It is vitally important, therefore, that GMCR understand the regulations and standards that allow the organic certification to be attributed to its products. (“National organic program”, 2010). GMCR must also be aware of the regulations regarding brewing devices manufactured for the United States market. The Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972 governs the production and sale of the type of devices sold by GMCR. The act gives the CPSC the power to develop safety standards and pursue recalls for products that represent unreasonable or substantial risk of injury or death to the consumer.
The Consumer Product Safety Council regulated the safety standards to which GMCR must adhere so that it can sell in the US.The standards cover everything from the allowable amounts of voltage used to the type of paint that is placed on the product. The products must pass rigorous testing before being sold to consumers. (http://www. cpsc.
gov). Social concerns Selling and promoting certified organic and Fair Trade coffee are the most important social matters currently facing GMCR. Corporate social responsibility is of paramount importance to GMCR’s customers. The purchase and subsequent sale of these products not only distinguishes GMCR from other specialty coffee retailers, but also allows the company to hold a significant market share with individuals who are concerned with the plight of the independent coffee farmer.GMCR’s corporate social responsibility promotes customer loyalty among those who are concerned with the issues surrounding the cultivation, harvest, and sale of coffee on the world market. Selling a large selection of Fair Trade coffee distinguishes GMCR from chains such as Starbucks and allows GMCR to reach out to a socially responsible consumer. According to Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International, Fair Trade farmers sell only about 20% of their coffee at Fair Trade prices. Growing concern for the coffee farmers’ situation has prompted some consumers to petition large specialty retailers such as Starbucks and Peet’s to offer at least one Fair Trade coffee option at retail outlets.
Concerned consumers have lobbied for social justice on behalf of the coffee farmer as well as their ability to produce coffee that is environmentally sustainable. Since 2000, consumers have been demanding that Starbucks offer brewed as well as whole bean Fair Trade coffee. To the frustration of many concerned consumers, many Starbucks cafes will brew a pot of Fair Trade coffee only if specifically asked. Meanwhile, Fair Trade coffee has yet to be promoted as the brewed Coffee of the Day, which is the only way to ensure real volume for Fair Trade farmers.
It is for this reason that a significant portion of GMCR’s market share has become more adamant and loyal to specialty coffee retailers that offer Fair Trade Coffee. (Equal Exchange, 2010). Analysis of financial strengthAssessment and likelihood of change Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has experienced tremendous growth between September 2004 and September 2009. Net sales have grown from 137,444,000 to 803,045,000 over this period, which represents an increase of over 480 percent (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009). Likewise, operating income has grown from 14,853,000 to 95,713,000 over this same period (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009). This equates to greater than 540 percent growth in operating income. Net income for the organization has increased from 7,825,000 in 2004 to 55,882,000 in 2009 (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009), representing growth of over 600 percent in regards to net income.Selling and operating expenses have increased over 310 percent, from 29,738,000 to 123,948,000 (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009); general and administrative expenses have increased nearly 400 percent during this time period, from 9,493,000 in 2004 to 47,103,000 in 2009 (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009).
Also of note is the 564 percent increase in cost of goods sold over this same period. While the coffee industry is somewhat volatile, with fluctuating purchase prices, GMCR has attempted to pass these ebbs and flows onto their customers. However, as is evident by analyzing both cost of goods sold and gross profit, GMCR has not been able to increase selling prices to the same extent that its purchasing costs have increased.In 2004, COGS was approximately 61 percent of net sales; however, by 2009 COGS had risen to nearly 70 percent of net sales (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009). This in turn led to an eight percent decrease in gross profit, from 39. 3 percent of net sales in 2004 to 31. 1 percent of net sales in 2009 (Forms 10-K, 2004-2009). To a large extent, this decrease in gross profit is primarily attributable to the period from September 2007 to September 2009.
From 2007 to 2008, net sales increased 46. 4 percent, while COGS increased 53. 6 percent. Likewise, from 2008 to 2009, net sales increased 60. 5 percent, while COGS increased 71.
1 percent. Over this two year period, COGS grew nearly 17 percent more rapidly than net sales.This is an important trend to follow, as it shows the continual slimming of gross profits.
Although GMCR experienced a reduction in gross profit (as a percentage of net sales) from 2007 to 2008, operating income and net income continued to rise from 2007 through 2009. In 2004 and 2005, operating income was 10. 8 percent and 9. 8 percent of net sales, respectively (Form 10-K, 2005). However, in the 52 weeks ending September 2006, GMCR experienced a decline in operating income from 9. 8 percent to 8.
0 percent of net sales (Form 10-K, 2006). GMCR was able to achieve growth of 8. 1 percent, 8. 5 percent, and 11. 9 percent (as a percent of net sales) in 2007, 2008, and 2009 (Form 10-K, 2009).While in 2004 and 2005 net income was 5. 7 percent and 5.
5 percent of net sales respectively, GMCR experienced a decline to 3. 7 percent of net sales in the 52 weeks ended September 2006 (Form 10-K, 2006). However, net income increased from 8,443,000 in 2006 to 55,882,000 in 2009 (Form 10-K, 2009). As a percentage of net sales, net income increased from 3.
7 percent in 2006 to 7. 0 percent in 2009. As previously indicated, COGS was increasing at a disproportionate rate in comparison to gross profit, therefore GMCR faced the necessity of decreasing costs in other manners in order to achieve increases in operating income as well as net income.GMCR was able to decrease both selling and operating expenses as well as general and administrative expenses in order to increase operating and net income. Selling and operating expenses decreased from 21. 3 percent (as a percent of net sales) in 2007 to 15. 4 percent in 2009 (Form 10-K, 2009). General and administrative expenses also decreased, from 8.
9 percent in 2007 to 5. 9 percent in 2009 (Form 10-K, 2009). While this data depicts that at present GMCR is financially strong, it also points to the fact that if COGS continues to rise, this financial strength will quickly lead to financial weakness. The cost of coffee is a factor outside of GMCR’s control. The majority of coffee is produced in developing nations, and in many instances is the largest export for many of these nations.If the cost of coffee continues to rise and GMCR is unable to raise the selling price for its K-cups, its gross profit margin will continue to shrink.
At some point GMCR will no longer be able to continue to lower both selling and operating expenses as well as general and administrative expenses. At that point, GMCR will experience a financial decline and the financial markets will react accordingly. It is important to recognize that at present GMCR has not saturated the specialty coffee market. As GMCR’s growth strategy is to build their brand and profitability by growing their business, GMCR should remain profitable and financially strong at present and over the next year. Sources and value of capitalGMCR uses two main sources of capital: public stock offerings, and a revolving credit agreement with Bank of America. In 2009 GMCR issued 5,750,000 shares of common stock with a value of $67. 25 per share (Form 10-K, 2009).
The proceeds from this sale were approximately $369. 8 million after deducting the underwriting discount and other offering expenses (Form 10-K, 2009). Another $8. 2 million of revenue was generated from the issuance of shares under the employee stock purchase plan (Form 10-K, 2009). On June 29, 2009, GMCR exercised its right to increase its current Bank of America loan with an additional $50 million borrowed at 10% per annum.As of September 2009, the total balance outstanding on this loan was $78 million.
Also as of that date, GMCR’s debt ratio was 0. 27, and its debt-to-equity ratio was 0. 38. Both of these ratios are significantly stronger than they were as of September 2008, when its debt ratio stood at 0.
61 and its debt-to-equity ratio was 1. 56. GMCR was able to strengthen both of these ratios by keeping profits within the organization rather than offering dividends to its shareholders. (Forms 10-K, 2007-2009). Response by capital markets and comparison with others in the industry Capital markets have responded tremendously well to GMCR over the last year.GMCR stock has increased from approximately $25 per share as of January 2009 to nearly $85 per share in January 2010 (http://www.
investorguide. com). This represents an increase of 240 percent over this period. As comparison, Kraft (KFT) stock has remained relatively stagnant over this same period, decreasing from $28 per share to $27.
70 per share (http://www. investorguide. com). Coffee Holding Company (JVA) stock increased from $0. 60 per share to $4. 40 per share, or over 633 percent. As for “per share price”, Peet’s Coffee and Tea (PEET) held the closest value to GMCR, from $20. 00 per share to $33.
30 per share (http://www. investorguide. com). Quality of earningsWhile GMCR’s quality of earnings appears to be strong, its liquidity ratios raise red flags. During 2006, 2007, and 2008, GMCR’s current ratio remained relatively static: 1.
75, 1. 54, and 2. 09; however, it more than doubled in 2009, to 4.
34. GMCR’s quick ratio for the years 2006, 2007, and 2008 also hovered in the same vicinity, rising from 0. 93 to 0. 86 and subsequently decreasing to 0. 92 in 2008.
However, during 2009 the quick ratio more than tripled to 3. 23. Finally, GMCR’s cash ratio was 0. 03 in 2006, 0. 05 in 2007, and 0. 01 in 2008. However, in 2009 the cash ratio drastically increased to 1. 95; this increase represents 194 times that of 2008.
These ratios indicate drastic changes from 2008 to 2009.However, it is apparent that for the three years prior to 2009, these ratios remained very similar. Fluctuations in financial ratios of this magnitude from year to year indicate the possibility of fraudulent financial reporting. Likewise, prior to further investigation it cannot be in good conscience stated that GMCR exhibits quality of earnings. (Forms 10-K, 2007-2009). Audit Plan Transactions and transaction cycles The material types of transactions with which GMCR is involved include raw materials (including green and roasted coffees), single cup brewers, other accessories (cups, etc.
), and financial agreements that are a part of normal business.The transaction cycle runs on a 52-week cycle which ends during the last week of September according to the financial statements. (Annual Report, 2009). Risk areas One high-risk area an auditor should be concerned with is the “green” or organic coffee line. This could be classified as high-risk because it could be considered “trendy”, meaning it could be popular for an extended period of time, but as competition gets higher and cost of the coffee decreases, the “trend” could lose its hype and the company’s sales could decline. Another high risk over which GMCR should keep tight controls is its significant investment in the success of the single cup system.GMCR has sold these systems at cost to various hotels and businesses to increase exposure for the rest of their products such as the home coffee brewing systems and coffee products.
However, if the desire for the single cup system within the United States wanes and sales decline, the value of its stock will decline and many shareholders may review selling their shares before incurring losses. The low-risk area is the type of business itself, coffee. Coffee is a business that continues to grow year after year. As mentioned earlier, GMCR has merged with many different coffee companies in order to expand its inventory selection to keep up with today’s growing coffee market.GMCR began to increase its annual sales with the signing of a five-year contract with Exxon Mobil Corporation in November 2000, in which it agreed to provide Green Mountain Coffee to over 900 convenience store locations in the United States (“Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. signs 5-year exclusive agreement,” 2000). This was just the beginning for GMCR, which continued to affiliate with other companies, entering into an agreement in 2004 to roast and package coffee for all Bruegger cafes and bakeries. GMCR even established custom blends for Bruegger’s that were unavailable for other retailers.
GMCR contracted to sell Newman’s Own Organic Blend to over 600 McDonald’s locations throughout the Northeast in 2005 and in 2007 extended this agreement with McDonald’s. (“International Directory”, n. d. ).Potential for fraudulent reporting There is potential for fraudulent reporting to occur by misstatement of net sales and cost of goods sold.
This misstatement would cause gross profit and gross profit margins to decrease while allowing return on assets and equity to increase. There is also potential for fraud in the business transaction aspects of GMCR. While GMCR merges with other companies and continues to expand its business, there is opportunity for fraud or misstatement to occur in the financial reporting of these transactions. It is imperative that GMCR’s consolidated financials be reviewed for any misstatements or inappropriate allocations of intercompany transactions.Another opportunity for fraud could potentially develop from the actual purchase of the Fair Trade coffee from the coffee farmers; there is the risk that management could record payments to coffee farmers for more than what was actually paid to the farmers.
This type of fraud is intentional, and is used to better the reputation of the company as well as assisting in generating more accounts to purchase and sell Green Mountain Coffee through other companies. This fraud is also intentional fraud by management as a way to embezzle money from GMCR by making the cost of goods sold reported on the financial statements higher than it actually is. Reduction of assessed control risk With GMCR’s continued growth and mergers with other companies, it would not be appropriate to reduce the control risk within GMCR.GMCR continues to enter into contracts with companies like Bruegger’s, McDonald’s, and Exxon Mobil, and this continued growth and expansion of GMCR implies that tests of controls should stay in place to prevent fraud and continue the company’s growth. In 2009, there was a 56 percent increase in net sales ($197 million) in one fiscal quarter over that same quarter in 2008. This information is vital in the assessed control risk of the GMCR. (Fuhrman, E. , 2009).
Allocation of audit effort Green Mountain Coffee Roasters locations are mainly within the United States. The audit efforts should primarily be aimed at the financial records, likely located at the company’s corporate offices in Waterbury, Vermont.However, a physical audit should still be performed on all inventory on hand and compared to the inventory control system. This audit effort will help auditors in determining whether any misstatements have occurred in the inventory. Form of audit report The audit report issued would likely be an unqualified audit report with explanatory paragraph or modified wording, as it is expected that the GMCR audit will be satisfactory and financial statements will be fairly presented.
The explanatory paragraph or modified wording would explain that based upon the continued growth of the company, the assessed control risk needs to be maintained at a high level to decrease the potential of fraud or misstatement in important financial business transactions.As depicted, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is on solid financial ground. However, with highly volatile raw materials GMCR must constantly reevaluate its strategy and plans for the future. GMCR has experienced tremendous growth over the past ten years, and continues to align itself with third party retailers as well as acquiring similar entities. Thus, GMCR’s internal controls must be significant in order to protect the accuracy of its consolidated financials. In order for GMCR to remain successful, it is imperative that both internal and external auditors bear these factors in mind when performing audits for the foreseeable future. References Arens, A.
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