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Hain Celestial stock dips to new yearly low after SEC settlement

Hain Celestial Group (HAIN) stock plunged to the new yearly low of $18.37 on Wednesday after the organic and natural products maker settled charges related to its revenue recognition practices with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC stated Hain violated books and records as well as accounting control provisions of federal securities laws.

The agency believes that the company has been meeting its internal sales targets with the help of its end-of-quarter sales-incentives practices. This has led to internal control failures and poor documentation. Hain, which will adhere to the order, was ordered to cease and desist from further violations by the SEC.

The company’s extensive cooperation with the investigation has benefited Hain as the agency didn’t impose a monetary penalty. Hain has voluntarily made significant changes including hiring compliance staff and implementing revenue-recognition practices changes.

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The agency believed that Hain offered incentives for its two largest distributors to buy inventory for meeting its sales targets during a period spanning 2014 and 2016. The incentives included up to $500,000 of cash, discounts, and extended payment terms as well as the right to return spoiled or expired products that were made before the sale to the retailers.

In early 2017, the company announced the investigation by the SEC on the correct record period of the revenue from certain US distributors. The company has the history of realizing revenue when shipped to distributors instead of products sold through its distributors to customers.

Shares of Hain opened higher on Wednesday but tumbled to the new 52-week low in the early trade. The shares have turned positive when it is nearing the market close. The stock has fallen over 55% in the year so far and over 32% in the past three months.

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