The maker of LaCroix claims it's seeing 'growth never before thought possible' — now it's under scrutiny from regulators who want proof

  • LaCroix’s parent company National Beverage is coming under pressure from regulators amid claims that it’s achieving “growth never before thought possible.”
  • The US Securities and Exchange Commission wants details around two proprietary measures that National Beverage has cited repeatedly in filings.
  • The regulatory agency says National Beverage hasn’t properly explained the methodology underlying both metrics.
  • Watch National Beverage trade in real time here.

For evidence that LaCroix has carved a serious foothold into the beverage market, all it takes is a trip to one’s local grocery store.

Consumers are increasingly turning away from soda in favour of healthier alternatives, and, as a result, the fruit-flavored seltzer offered by LaCroix is flying off the shelves.

This success has emboldened executives at National Beverage, the publicly traded company that makes LaCroix. The company’s chairman and CEO, Nick Caporella, has gone as far as to say the company has “magnified” proprietary sales metrics and achieved “growth never before thought possible.”

And while that’s music to the ears of investors, who have enjoyed the company’s 103% stock gain since the start of 2007, the US Securities and Exchange Commission wants answers.

Back in January, the regulatory agency asked National Beverage to clarify the methodology used in calculating the two measures it was citing, according to a Tuesday report from The Wall Street Journal.

The two metrics are velocity per outlet and velocity per capita, which sound catchy but which the SEC says haven’t been adequately explained in company releases.

The commission reportedly asked National Beverage to provide “a discussion of these measures along with comparative amounts or explain why you do not believe this disclosure is necessary.” National Beverage ultimately declined to elaborate on the metrics, according to The Journal.

“This information is as secretive as the formulas of our beverages and should not be disclosed to our competition,” Gregory Cook, the company’s controller, wrote in a response to the SEC.

Now that this exchange has come to light, it further adds to the mysterious aura surrounding LaCroix. Consumers have long wondered what’s inside those pastel cans, and now those with an interest in the stock have a new mystery to sip on.

National Beverage fell as much as 8.1% Wednesday following the Journal report. Its shares are still up 6.1% for the year.

Read the full Wall Street Journal piece here.

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