Herbalife Struggles to Find Auditor, Says Ackman Having no Impact

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Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) just hosted its conference call for Q1. While some were expecting exciting news, the conference call was mostly the usual PR pitch with nothing too shocking. We thought some of the parts focusing on finding an auditor as well as whether Bill Ackman’s campaign was having any impact on the business model. Below are some excerpts on both those points.

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) management unknown speaker on conference call:

The day after we were informed by KPMG that they were independents the audit committee quickly initiated the process to select a new dependent auditor. And as you know Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is a global company with presence in 80 countries. The independents review and analysis for each of these countries, for each of 2010, 2011 and 2012 and for each accounting firm is complex and takes for time.

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Herbalife Struggles to Find Auditor, Says Ackman Having no Impact

The selection process, which is being overseen by the audit committee has been moving quickly and is nearing completion. Would be inappropriate to discuss any additional details relating to the process or providing interim status reports until the process is complete. I would like to note that given that we did not currently have per independent auditors, we have filed our 10-Q without this as 100 review work and therefore without the required box 906 certification.

Q&A Segment

Unknown Speaker*

A question for John and a question for Des.

John could you clarify that you guys city had been a meaningful tender of the stock of KPMG incident had happened and halted these plans. So, can we assume that if we do announce a new auditor that you could resume the plans to tender for do some sort of buyback?

Unknown Speaker* Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) management

Well to be clear what I said was we’re in the process of putting together a meaningful new debt arrangement work that is completed would have been used to buy back stock and the word tender was not used in the format for which we would have repurchase the, stock was not yet defined. But management believes in the financial statements as they were issued a would believe in the future of the company. And we think of buyback is a good opportunity for value in the long-term.

There’s been a lot of concern that the Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) business is deteriorating. You think there’s any credence from just impact of the US business from adverse media and a lot of rest? Are you seeing anything with the distributors and what they’re saying are seeing? I know North American volumes were up 4% in the quarter and an appropriate run rate for the second quarter and even looking at 2013.

Another you said that April is better than the first quarter. Then can you just give us any update on how April is looking and the double digits or what you’re seeing?

Unknown Speaker*

Yes certainly happy to do so. So firstly we believe that the noise out there is not having any material effect in our business. Our distributors are totally focused on the business. And what really matters Sandy is not just the volume points but let’s look at the underlying trends in the business. What we saw in the first quarter is approximately 70,000 new distributors trying to Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) in the United States with the fourth largest increase in Herbalife US history and the percentage of supervised or activity rates was up 9%. The adoption of the 5K program now hitting 39% in the US which clearly a long-term indicator of but it stability.

And then 18 of our top 25 US markets posted growth. So these are the important underlying trends, all of the very strong and very well for the future. And then just volume points of us who have a success of growth during the quarter talk with the highest volume point ever in the US and April even stronger.

So we’re frankly very confident about the strength of our US business in the success of life ahead and what we believe is in success of quarters that we are going to see a higher volume points in the US in the first quarter.

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