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Utz Slides After Posting Loss Tied to SPAC-Accounting Issue

Utz posted a first-quarter loss driven by accounting issues related to its SPAC merger with Collier Creek Holdings.
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Utz Brands  (UTZ) - Get Utz Brands Inc Class A Report missed Wall Street's first-quarter expectations, with the snack-food maker swinging to a loss tied to the accounting for its merger with a special-purpose-acquisition company.

At last check shares of the Hanover, Pa., company were off 6.3% at $23.71.

Utz reported a net loss of $23.3 million, compared with net income of $1.7 million in the year-earlier quarter. Adjusted earnings came to 13 cents a share, missing the FactSet analyst consensus of 14 cents.

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The net loss was driven primarily by a loss generated when the company remeasured warrant liabilities. The move was in line with accounting guidance the Securities and Exchange Commission recently issued for warrants issued by SPACs, or blank-check companies.

Utz was acquired by the SPAC Collier Creek Holdings last year and began trading as a public company.

SPACs, or blank-check companies, are formed for the express purpose of finding and merging with an operating partner. The idea is to speed the operating company to the public markets and avoid the extended process of a traditional initial public offering.

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Utz had said last week that it would restate its financial statements for the fiscal 2020 third quarter and full year due to the accounting treatment related to the merger.

Net sales increased 18% to $269.2 million, short of the FactSet consensus estimate of $274.9 million. The sales increase was driven by acquisitions and favorable pricing and product mix. 

These factors were offset partly by volume declines of 4.7% due to pantry loading -- consumers stocking up on groceries -- at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and when the February snowstorms hit. 

Snack-food sales soared during the pandemic as consumers stayed home due to social-distancing guidelines.

Utz estimated the February snowstorms hurt its net sales growth rate by 2 to 3 percentage points.

Looking ahead, Utz forecast adjusted full-year earnings of 70 to 75 cents and sales of $1.16 billion. FactSet is calling for earnings of 70 cents and $1.16 billion.

In November, Founder Jim Cramer interviewed Lissette on Mad Money.

In January, Stephens analyst Tim Perz initiated coverage of Utz Brands with an overweight rating and $27 price target.