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Woodstream may not be a household name, but its brands make life more pleasant for millions of Americans every year. The company produces, markets, and distributes a wide range of insect- and pest-control products, from traditional wooden mouse traps to Wi-Fi enabled zap traps that send mobile alerts when they’ve successfully killed a rodent. In addition, Woodstream makes electric fencing for livestock containment and is the global market leader in bird feeders. It sells both direct-to-consumer online and through major retailers.

All these businesses are, by nature, seasonal. “Retailers begin stocking our brands in their lawn-and-garden section in March or April, then typically carry them through the summer or fall, depending on the product line,” explains Andrew Church, CFO of Woodstream. “We manufacture goods all year long in two factories in the U.S. We also use contract manufacturers, primarily in Asia. Their heavy season is November through January, getting us ready for shipments that will peak in the spring.”

This means that every year the company’s expenditures accelerate in winter, and it takes several months for revenues and customer collections to catch up. “Early in the year, Woodstream is a net borrower,” Church says. “We draw on a seasonal revolving credit facility as we’re ramping up production. Then, when we start collecting on receivables, cash inflows exceed outflows. By mid spring, we’ve totally paid off our revolver debt.”

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Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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