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Walgreens Boots Alliance Reports Fiscal Year 2021 Earnings

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Fourth Quarter Results Exceed Expectations, Reflecting Strong Operational Performance and Surpassing Vaccination Goals

Fourth quarter and fiscal year highlights

  • Fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations were $0.41, an increase of 6.4 percent from the year-ago quarter; adjusted EPS1,2 increased 29.5 percent to $1.17, up 28.1 percent on a constant currency basis

  • Fourth quarter sales from continuing operations increased 12.8 percent year-over-year, to $34.3 billion, up 11.8 percent on a constant currency basis

  • Fiscal 2021 EPS from continuing operations was $2.30 compared with $0.20 in the year-ago period; adjusted EPS increased 14.6 percent to $4.91, up 13.7 percent on a constant currency basis

  • Fiscal 2021 sales from continuing operations increased 8.6 percent to $132.5 billion, up 7.5 percent on a constant currency basis

  • Net cash provided by operating activities in fiscal 2021 was $5.6 billion, an increase of $70 million compared with fiscal 2020; Free cash flow was $4.2 billion, up $65 million year-over-year

Company delivered strong operational performance in the fourth quarter

  • Results exceeded expectations across business segments

  • Walgreens surpassed COVID-19 vaccination goal, providing 13.5 million vaccinations in the quarter and 34.6 million in fiscal 2021

  • The company's Transformational Cost Management Program delivered in excess of $2 billion in annual cost savings by fiscal 2021, a year ahead of schedule

  • Company leadership to discuss strategic priorities for the future and fiscal 2022 guidance at Virtual Investor Conference today

DEERFIELD, Ill., October 14, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA) today announced financial results for the fiscal year and fourth quarter that ended Aug. 31, 2021.

Chief Executive Officer Roz Brewer said, "Our fourth quarter and fiscal year results exceeded expectations, driven by strong performance in our core business. Comparable U.S. pharmacy and retail sales both saw robust growth and recovery continued in our UK business as COVID-19 restrictions eased in the quarter. I remain extremely proud of our team members' unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of our patients, customers and communities. The role of the pharmacist and local pharmacy is now more vital than ever."

Brewer added, "I look forward to sharing more about the future of WBA at our Virtual Investor Conference today."

Overview of Fourth Quarter Results

WBA fiscal 2021 fourth quarter sales from continuing operations increased 12.8 percent from the year-ago quarter to $34.3 billion, up 11.8 percent on a constant currency basis1, reflecting strong growth in both the International and United States segments.

Operating income from continuing operations increased 49.7 percent to $910 million in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating income from continuing operations increased 22.9 percent on a reported currency basis to $1.2 billion, an increase of 22.1 percent on a constant currency basis. The increase reflects strong gross profit growth across pharmacy and retail in the United States and higher International segment sales and profitability due to strong operational performance and ongoing recovery in the UK, where COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in July.

Net earnings from continuing operations in the fourth quarter were $358 million, up 6.4 percent from the year-ago quarter, reflecting increased operating income in both segments. This was partially offset by higher tax provisions related to the enactment of the UK tax rate increase. Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations increased 29.6 percent to $1.0 billion, up 28.1 percent on a constant currency basis compared with the year-ago quarter.

EPS2 from continuing operations increased 6.4 percent to $0.41, compared with the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EPS from continuing operations increased 29.5 percent to $1.17, reflecting an increase of 28.1 percent on a constant currency basis.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter and free cash flow was $867 million, an $808 million decrease compared with the year-ago quarter primarily due to the divestiture of the Alliance Healthcare business.

Overview of Fiscal Year Results

Fiscal 2021 sales from continuing operations increased 8.6 percent from the year-ago period to $132.5 billion, up 7.5 percent on a constant currency basis1.

Operating income from continuing operations in fiscal 2021 increased to $2.3 billion compared with $982 million in the year-ago period. This was partly driven by $2 billion non-cash impairment charges in the year-ago period. This was partially offset by a $1.5 billion charge from the company's equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted operating income from continuing operations increased 8.2 percent on a reported basis to $5.1 billion, up 7.7 percent on a constant currency basis. The increase reflects strong adjusted gross profit growth across the United States and International segments, and cost savings from the Transformational Cost Management Program.

Net earnings from continuing operations were $2.0 billion, compared with $180 million in the year-ago period, reflecting non-cash impairment charges in the year-ago period, strong growth across both segments, and earnings from the company's equity method investment related to Option Care Health, partially offset by a charge from the company's equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen. Adjusted net earnings from continuing operations increased 12.8 percent compared with the year-ago period to $4.3 billion, up 11.9 percent on a constant currency basis.

EPS2 from continuing operations for fiscal 2021 increased to $2.30, compared with $0.20 in the year-ago period. Adjusted EPS from continuing operations was $4.91, an increase of 14.6 percent on a reported basis and an increase of 13.7 percent on a constant currency basis.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $5.6 billion in fiscal 2021, an increase of $70 million from fiscal 2020, and free cash flow was $4.2 billion, an increase of $65 million from fiscal 2020.

In line with the company’s long-term capital policy to maintain a strong balance sheet and financial flexibility, WBA reduced its leverage by approximately $6.5 billion compared with the prior fiscal year end.

Business Highlights

WBA continued to achieve strong results across its business, including:

Leading during the pandemic

  • To date Walgreens has administered more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccinations and more than 16 million COVID-19 tests.

  • Boots is one of the UK’s leading COVID-19 test providers with more than 3.7 million COVID-19 tests administered to date, the majority in partnership with the National Health Service (NHS).

  • Walgreens recognized pharmacy team members for their critical role in fighting the pandemic through new bonuses and rewards, as well as increased starting wage for U.S. hourly team members to $15.00 an hour to be fully implemented by November 2022.

Growing the core

  • Continued to accelerate Walgreens omnichannel offerings, with curbside and drive-thru pickup contributing to strong digital growth and 3.3 million same-day transactions completed in the fourth quarter.

  • MyWalgreens membership increased to 85 million members to date, up from 75 million members in the third quarter.

  • Walgreens launched 'Scarlet' bank account and debit card nationwide to promote financial security and provide rewards.

  • Continued expansion of beauty in the UK, with market share for premium makeup and skincare the highest on record, underpinned by one of the largest Boots UK marketing campaigns to date.

  • iA automated micro-fulfillment centers currently serve more than 800 Walgreens locations in Phoenix and Dallas, on track for nine operational markets by the end of fiscal 2022.

Investing for the future

  • WBA announced a majority investment in Shields, an industry leader in integrated, health system-owned specialty pharmacy care.

  • Blue Shield of California and Walgreens announced a new strategic collaboration to expand access to healthcare, lower costs and bring innovative services to enhance the consumer experience for individuals, families and communities throughout California.

  • WBA and VillageMD continued roll-out of Village Medical at Walgreens, with 52 primary care practice locations currently open, and will have more than 80 open by the end of calendar year 2021.

Business Segments

United States

The United States segment had fourth quarter sales of $28.8 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent from the year-ago quarter. Comparable sales increased 8.1 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Pharmacy sales increased 6.7 percent and comparable pharmacy sales increased 8.9 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. Within comparable pharmacy sales, prescriptions filled in the fourth quarter increased 8.8 percent from a year earlier, including a positive impact of 485 basis points from COVID-19 vaccinations. Total prescriptions filled in the quarter increased 8.6 percent to 313 million, including immunizations, adjusted to 30-day equivalents.

Retail sales increased 6.5 percent and comparable retail sales increased 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. Excluding tobacco and e-cigarettes, they increased 7.2 percent, reflecting broad based growth across all categories. In particular, health and wellness sales increased 14 percent aided by cough cold flu, at-home COVID-19 tests and vitamins.

Gross profit increased 14.9 percent compared with the year-ago quarter. Adjusted gross profit increased 13.7 percent due to strong sales growth; improved pharmacy margin, aided by COVID-19 vaccinations partially offset by reimbursement; and favorable retail margin.

Selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) increased 12.9 percent compared with year-ago quarter. Adjusted SG&A increased 13.1 percent driven by costs to support COVID-19 vaccinations and testing, and from higher growth investments, partially offset by savings from the Transformational Cost Management program.

Operating income in the fourth quarter increased 25.2 percent to $1.0 billion compared with the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating income increased 16.4 percent to $1.2 billion.

International

The International segment had fourth quarter sales of $5.5 billion, an increase of 61.8 percent from the year-ago quarter, including a favorable currency impact of 9.2 percent. Sales increased 52.6 percent on a constant currency basis, including higher sales associated with the formation of company's wholesale joint venture in Germany. Excluding this, International segment sales on a constant currency basis increased 9.3 percent, reflecting the ongoing recovery in the UK market, where COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 19.

Boots UK comparable pharmacy sales increased 11.4 percent compared with the year-ago quarter, reflecting stronger demand for pharmacy services, notably COVID-19 tests.

Boots UK comparable retail sales increased 15.0 percent compared with the year-ago quarter. Footfall on the high street recovered as lockdown measures were removed, although it remains below pre-COVID levels.

Boots.com continued to perform ahead of expectations, with digital sales in the fourth quarter more than doubling compared with pre-COVID levels.

Gross profit increased 43.0 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, including a favorable currency impact of 10.4 percent. Adjusted gross profit increased 32.7 percent on a constant currency basis, reflecting strong growth in retail sales and pharmacy services.

SG&A in the quarter increased 19.0 percent from the year-ago quarter to $1.2 billion, including an adverse currency impact of 8.2 percent, offset by lower costs associated with the Transformational Cost Management Program in the current year. Adjusted SG&A increased 17.3 percent on a constant currency basis, including higher adjusted SG&A associated with the formation of the company's wholesale joint venture in Germany.

Operating income, including a favorable currency impact of 6.1 percent, was $46 million compared with a loss of $130 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating income grew strongly on a constant currency basis to $140 million, an increase of $129 million compared with the year-ago quarter.

Virtual Investor Conference

WBA will hold a Virtual Investor Conference to discuss strategic priorities for the future, fiscal 2022 guidance and fourth quarter and fiscal 2021 earnings results beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time today, Oct. 14, 2021. A live simulcast as well as related presentation materials will be available through WBA’s investor relations website at: http://investor.walgreensbootsalliance.com. A replay of the conference will be archived on the website for at least 12 months after the event.

1.

Please see the "Supplemental Information (Unaudited) Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Measures" at the end of this press release for more detailed information regarding non-GAAP financial measures used, including all measures presented as "adjusted" or on a "constant currency" basis, and free cash flow.

2.

All references to net earnings are to net earnings attributable to WBA and all references to EPS are to diluted EPS attributable to WBA.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: This release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These include, without limitation, any statements regarding WBA’s future operations, financial or operating results, capital allocation, anticipated debt levels and ratios, future earnings, planned activities, anticipated growth, market opportunities, strategies, competition, the potential impacts on our business of the spread and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our cost-savings and growth initiatives, including statements relating to our expected cost savings under our Transformational Cost Management and store optimization programs and other expectations and targets for future periods. Words such as "expect," "outlook," "forecast," "would," "could," "should," "can," "will," "project," "intend," "plan," "goal," "guidance," "target," "aim," continue," "transform," "accelerate," "model," "longterm," "believe," "seek," "estimate," "anticipate," "may," "possible," "assume," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions, known or unknown, that could cause actual results to vary materially from those indicated or anticipated.

These risks, assumptions and uncertainties include those described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2021 and in other documents that we file or furnish with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materializes, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by such forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements we make or that are made on our behalf are qualified by these cautionary statements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made.

We do not undertake, and expressly disclaim, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.

Please refer to the supplemental information presented below for reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures used in this release to the most comparable GAAP financial measure and related disclosures.

Notes to Editors:

About Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is a global leader in retail pharmacy, impacting millions of lives every day through dispensing medicines, and providing accessible, high-quality care. With more than 170 years of trusted healthcare heritage and innovation in community pharmacy, the company is meeting customers' and patients' needs through its convenient retail locations, digital platforms and health and beauty products.

WBA has a presence in more than 9 countries, employs more than 315,000 people and has more than 13,000 stores in the U.S., Europe and Latin America.

WBA’s purpose is to inspire more joyful lives through better health. The company is proud of its contributions to healthy communities, a healthy planet, an inclusive workplace and a sustainable marketplace. WBA is a Participant of the United Nations Global Compact and adheres to its principles-based approach to responsible business.

More company information is available at www.walgreensbootsalliance.com.

(WBA-ER)

WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS

(UNAUDITED)

(in millions, except per share amounts)

Three months ended August 31,

Twelve months ended August 31,

2021

2020

2021

2020

Sales

$

34,262

$

30,371

$

132,509

$

121,982

Cost of sales

26,759

24,046

104,442

95,905

Gross profit

7,503

6,324

28,067

26,078

Selling, general and administrative expenses

6,649

5,773

24,586

25,436

Equity earnings (loss) in AmerisourceBergen

56

57

(1,139

)

341

Operating income

910

608

2,342

982

Other income

85

45

558

77

Earnings before interest and income tax provision

995

653

2,900

1,060

Interest expense (income), net

88

(151

)

905

613

Earnings before income tax provision

908

502

1,995

446

Income tax provision

586

210

667

339

Post tax earnings from other equity method investments

23

26

627

31

Net earnings from continuing operations

344

318

1,955

138

Net earnings from discontinued operations

268

39

557

286

Net earnings

613

356

2,512

424

Net (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests - continuing operations

(14

)

(19

)

(39

)

(42

)

Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests - discontinued operations

2

9

9

Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

$

627

$

373

$

2,542

$

456

Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.:

Continuing operations

$

358

$

337

$

1,994

$

180

Discontinued operations

268

36

548

277

Total

$

627

$

373

$

2,542

$

456

Basic net earnings per common share:

Continuing operations

$

0.41

$

0.39

$

2.31

$

0.20

Discontinued operations

0.31

0.04

0.63

0.31

Total

$

0.72

$

0.43

$

2.94

$

0.52

Diluted net earnings per common share:

Continuing operations

$

0.41

$

0.39

$

2.30

$

0.20

Discontinued operations

0.31

0.04

0.63

0.31

Total

$

0.72

$

0.43

$

2.93

$

0.52

Weighted average common shares outstanding:

Basic

865.1

866.5

864.8

879.4

Diluted

867.2

867.1

866.4

880.3

WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(UNAUDITED)

(in millions)

August 31, 2021

August 31, 2020

Assets

Current assets:

Cash and cash equivalents

$

1,193

$

469

Accounts receivable, net

5,663

4,110

Inventories

8,159

7,917

Other current assets

800

598

Assets of discontinued operations - current

4,979

Total current assets

15,814

18,073

Non-current assets:

Property, plant and equipment, net

12,247

12,796

Operating lease right-of-use assets

21,893

21,453

Goodwill

12,421

12,013

Intangible assets, net

9,936

10,072

Equity method investments

6,987

7,204

Other non-current assets

1,987

581

Assets of discontinued operations - non-current

4,983

Total non-current assets

65,471

69,101

Total assets

$

81,285

$

87,174

Liabilities, redeemable noncontrolling interest and equity

Current liabilities:

Short-term debt

$

1,305

$

3,265

Trade accounts payable

11,136

10,145

Operating lease obligation

2,259

2,358

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

7,260

5,861

Income taxes

94

95

Liabilities of discontinued operations - current

5,347

Total current liabilities

22,054

27,070

Non-current liabilities:

Long-term debt

7,675

12,203

Operating lease obligation

22,153

21,765

Deferred income taxes

1,850

1,367

Other non-current liabilities

3,413

3,222

Liabilities of discontinued operations - non-current (see note 2)

412

Total non-current liabilities

35,091

38,968

Redeemable noncontrolling interest

319

Total equity

23,822

21,136

Total liabilities, redeemable noncontrolling interest and equity

$

81,285

$

87,174

WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(UNAUDITED)

(in millions)

Twelve months ended August 31,

2021

2020

Cash flows from operating activities:

Net earnings

$

2,512

$

424

Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities:

Depreciation and amortization

1,973

1,927

Deferred income taxes

233

(43

)

Stock compensation expense

155

137

Equity earnings (loss) from equity method investments

498

(382

)

Goodwill and intangible impairments

49

2,016

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

414

Gain on sale of business

(322

)

Gain on sale of equity method investment

(321

)

Other

(64

)

464

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

Accounts receivable, net

(1,451

)

163

Inventories

165

63

Other current assets

(46

)

(31

)

Trade accounts payable

842

(25

)

Accrued expenses and other liabilities

1,046

1,008

Income taxes

160

(221

)

Other non-current assets and liabilities

(288

)

(16

)

Net cash provided by operating activities

5,555

5,484

Cash flows from investing activities:

Additions to property, plant and equipment

(1,379

)

(1,374

)

Proceeds from sale leaseback transactions

856

724

Proceeds from sale of business, net of cash disposed

5,527

Proceeds from sale of other assets

453

90

Business, investment and asset acquisitions, net of cash acquired

(1,431

)

(718

)

Other

46

(19

)

Net cash provided by (used for) investing activities

4,072

(1,297

)

Cash flows from financing activities:

Net change in short-term debt with maturities of 3 months or less

(909

)

(161

)

Proceeds from debt

12,726

20,367

Payments of debt

(15,257

)

(21,414

)

Stock purchases

(110

)

(1,589

)

Proceeds related to employee stock plans

59

55

Cash dividends paid

(1,617

)

(1,747

)

Early debt extinguishment

(3,687

)

Other

(241

)

(157

)

Net cash used for financing activities

(9,036

)

(4,647

)

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

(66

)

(1

)

Changes in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash

525

(460

)

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period

746

1,207

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period

$

1,270

$

746

WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION (UNAUDITED)
REGARDING NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
(in millions, except per share amounts)

The following information provides reconciliations of the supplemental non-GAAP financial measures, as defined under SEC rules, presented in this press release to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (GAAP). The company has provided the non-GAAP financial measures in the press release, which are not calculated or presented in accordance with GAAP, as supplemental information and in addition to the financial measures that are calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.

These supplemental non-GAAP financial measures are presented because management has evaluated the company’s financial results both including and excluding the adjusted items or the effects of foreign currency translation, as applicable, and believes that the supplemental non-GAAP financial measures presented provide additional perspective and insights when analyzing the core operating performance of the company’s business from period to period and trends in the company’s historical operating results. These supplemental non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered superior to, as a substitute for or as an alternative to, and should be considered in conjunction with, the GAAP financial measures presented in the press release.

The company does not provide a reconciliation for non-GAAP estimates on a forward-looking basis where it is unable to provide a meaningful or accurate calculation or estimation of reconciling items and the information is not available without unreasonable effort. This is due to the inherent difficulty of forecasting the timing or amount of various items that have not yet occurred, are out of the company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted, and that would impact diluted net earnings per share, the most directly comparable forward-looking GAAP financial measure. For the same reasons, the company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward-looking non-GAAP financial measures provided without the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures may vary materially from the corresponding GAAP financial measures.

Constant currency
The company also presents certain information related to current period operating results in "constant currency," which is a non-GAAP financial measure. These amounts are calculated by translating current period results at the foreign currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year. The company presents such constant currency financial information because it has significant operations outside of the United States reporting in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and this presentation provides a framework to assess how its business performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.

Comparable sales
For the company's United States and International segments, comparable sales are defined as sales from stores that have been open for at least 12 consecutive months without closure for seven or more consecutive days, including due to looting or store damage, and without a major remodel or being subject to a natural disaster in the past 12 months as well as e-commerce sales. E-commerce sales include digitally initiated sales online or through mobile applications. Relocated stores are not included as comparable stores for the first 12 months after the relocation. Acquired stores are not included as comparable sales for the first 12 months after acquisition or conversion, when applicable, whichever is later. Comparable sales, comparable pharmacy sales, comparable retail sales, comparable number of prescriptions and comparable number of 30-day equivalent prescriptions refer to total sales, pharmacy sales, retail sales, number of prescriptions and number of 30-day equivalent prescriptions, respectively. Comparable retail sales for previous periods have been restated to include e-commerce sales. The method of calculating comparable sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, the company's method of calculating comparable sales may not be the same as other retailers’ methods.

With respect to the International segment, comparable sales, comparable pharmacy sales and comparable retail sales, are presented on a constant currency basis, which is a non-GAAP financial measure. Refer to the discussion above in "Constant currency" for further details on constant currency calculations.

Key Performance Indicators
The company considers certain metrics, including all comparable metrics, number of prescriptions, number of 30-day equivalent prescriptions and number of locations at period end, to be key performance indicators because the company's management has evaluated its results of operations using these metrics and believes that these key performance indicators presented provide additional perspective and insights when analyzing the core operating performance of the company from period to period and trends in its historical operating results. These key performance indicators should not be considered superior to, as a substitute for or as an alternative to, and should be considered in conjunction with, the GAAP financial measures presented herein. These measures may not be comparable to similarly-titled performance indicators used by other companies.

NET EARNINGS AND DILUTED NET EARNINGS PER SHARE

(in millions)

Three months ended August 31,

Twelve months ended August 31,

2021

2020

...

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