G & K Services, Inc Class A (GKSR) - Description of business

Company Description
G&K Services, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, is a market leader in providing branded identity apparel and facility services programs that enhance image and safety in the workplace. We serve a wide variety of North American industries including automotive, warehousing, distribution, transportation, energy, manufacturing, food processing, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, retail, restaurants and hospitality, and many others providing them with rented uniforms and facility services products such as floor mats, dust mops, wiping towels, restroom supplies and selected linen items. We also sell uniforms and other apparel items to customers in our direct sale programs. The existing North American rental market is approximately $6.5-$7.0 billion, while the existing portion of the direct sale market targeted by us is approximately $4.5-$5.0 billion in size.Through internal growth and acquisitions, we have steadily expanded our operations into additional geographic markets. We operate over 140 locations in North America. These locations service customers in 86 of the top 100 metropolitan markets (MSAs) in the United States and Canada, including all of the top 30 MSAs.We target our marketing efforts towards customers and industries in geographic locations that are expanding and are in need of a corporate image, safety or facility services program. Our marketing efforts focus on our high levels of product quality, our consistent customer-centric service through multiple sales channels and program management abilities. Management believes that both existing and potential customers large and small are willing to pay a premium price to a service provider that can consistently support their image and safety needs.Customers, Products and ServicesWe serve over 160,000 customers, from Fortune 100 companies to fast-growing small and midsize firms. No single customer represents more than 1.5% of our total revenues. We serve customers in virtually all industries including automotive, warehousing, distribution, transportation, energy, manufacturing, food processing, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, retail, restaurants and hospitality, and many others. Over one million people wear our uniforms every day.Our full-service business apparel and facility services programs provide rental-lease or purchase options to meet varied customer needs including heavy-industrial, light-manufacturing, service businesses, corporate casual and executive apparel markets. In addition, we offer cleanroom garments and process control services to meet the needs of high-technology customers.We believe that customers use branded identity apparel programs to meet a variety of critical business needs that enhance image and safety in the workplace, including:•   Company safety and security — uniforms help identify employees working for a particular company or department.    •   Brand awareness — uniforms promote a company’s brand identity and employees serve as “walking billboards.”    •   Image — uniforms help companies project a professional image through their employees and frame the perception of credibility, knowledge, trust and a commitment to quality to their customers. Uniformed employees are perceived as trained, competent and dependable.    •   Employee retention — uniforms enhance worker morale and help build a teamwork attitude in addition to being an employee benefit.    •   Worker protection — uniforms help protect workers from difficult environments such as heavy soils, heat, flame or chemicals.    •   Product protection — uniforms and facility services help protect products against contamination in the food, pharmaceutical, electronics and health care industries.We provide our apparel-rental customers with a full range of services and solutions. A consultative approach is used to advise and assist our customers in creating specialized solutions including determining garment application and choosing the appropriate fabrics, styles and colors to meet their branding, identity and safety needs. We can quickly source and access new and used garments to provide rapid response as customer needs change due to increases, decreases or turnover in their work force. Professional cleaning, finishing, repair, embellishment and replacement of uniforms in use is a normal part of the rental service. Soiled uniforms are picked up at the customer’s location and returned clean and in good condition on a weekly cycle.Uniform rental programs can provide significant customer advantages over ownership. Renting eliminates investment in uniforms; offers flexibility in styles, colors and quantities as customer requirements change; assures consistent professional cleaning, finishing, repair and replacement of items in use; and provides freedom from the expense and management time necessary to administer a uniform program or operate an in house laundry.Our facility services programs provide a wide range of dust control, maintenance and hygiene products and services. They include several floor mat offerings (traction control, logo, message, scraper and anti-fatigue), dust and wet mops, wiping towels, fender covers, selected linen items and several restroom hygiene products. These products support customers’ efforts in maintaining a clean, safe and attractive environment within their facilities.We also offer direct sale and custom-embroidered logo apparel programs to meet customer branded identity needs. The direct sale programs can be used for departments and/or customers that require highly customized and branded apparel or for workers who don’t start at the same location each day and need uniform apparel they can care for themselves. It can be a more economical approach for high turnover positions and can be used for employee rewards and recognition, trade shows or events or customer and vendor appreciation programs.We also offer comprehensive direct sale uniform programs to large national account customers through our Lion Uniform Group (Lion). Lion serves many different industries and specializes in serving the security, airline and convenience store/retail industries. They handle all aspects of the uniform program including design, sourcing, distribution, embellishment, information reporting and program management.AcquisitionsOur industry is consolidating from many family owned and small local providers to several large providers. We are participating in this industry consolidation. Our rental acquisition strategy is focused on acquisitions that expand our geographic presence and/or expand our local market share and to further leverage our existing plants.We made several small acquisitions in each of the past three fiscal years. The pro forma effects of these acquisitions, had they been acquired at the beginning of each fiscal year, were not material, either individually or in the aggregate, to the Company. The total purchase consideration, including related acquisition costs of these transactions, was $11.5 million, $86.8 million and $24.9 million in fiscal 2006, 2005 and 2004, respectively. The fiscal 2005 purchase consideration includes $11.9 million of debt issued. Subsequently this amount was reduced in fiscal 2006 by $1.4 million. The total purchase price exceeded the estimated fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed by $5.4 million in fiscal 2006, $50.6 million in fiscal 2005 and $19.3 million in fiscal 2004.CompetitionCustomers in the corporate identity apparel and facility services industry choose suppliers primarily based upon the quality, price and breadth of products offered, the fit with their unique business environment and brand positioning needs, and the excellence of the service they receive. While we rank among the nation’s largest garment rental suppliers, we encounter competition from many companies in the geographic areas we serve. Competitors include publicly held companies such as ARAMARK Work Apparel and Uniform Services (a division of ARAMARK Corporation), Cintas Corporation, UniFirst Corporation and others. We also compete with a multitude of regional and local businesses that vary by geographic region. We believe that we compete effectively in our line of business because of the quality and breadth of our product line, the development of innovative and custom solutions for customers’ unique needs, the service excellence we provide, and our proven ability as an outsource partner. In addition, our competitors generally compete with us for acquisition candidates, which can reduce the number of acquisition candidates available to us.Manufacturing and SuppliersWe manufactured approximately 40% of the uniform garments that we placed into service in fiscal 2006. These garments are manufactured primarily at a Company owned facility located in the Dominican Republic and, to a lesser degree, at two Company owned facilities in the United States. Various outside vendors are used to supplement our additional rental needs, including garments, floor mats, dust mops, wiping towels, linens and related products. We are not aware of any circumstances that would limit our ability to obtain raw materials to support the manufacturing process or to obtain garments or other rental items to meet our customers’ needs.Environmental MattersOur operations are subject to various federal, state and/or local laws regulating the discharge of materials into the environment. This includes discharges into wastewater and air, and the generation, handling, storage, transportation and disposal of waste and hazardous substances. We generate modest amounts of waste in connection with our laundry operations, specifically detergent wastewater, wastewater sludge, waste oil and other residues. Some of these wastes are classified as hazardous wastes under these laws. We continue to make significant investments in properly handling and disposing of these wastes.Although any environmental related liability could result in significant expenditures that, if aggregated and assumed to occur within a single fiscal year, could be material to our results of operations or financial position, we believe the likelihood of such occurrence is remote. Based on information currently available and our best assessment of the ultimate amount and timing of environmental-related events, we believe that the cost of these environmental-related matters are not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position.EmployeesOur U.S. operations had a total of 7,746 employees as of July 1, 2006, consisting of 3,966 production employees and 3,780 sales, office, route and management personnel. Unions represent approximately 13.7% of our U.S. employees. Management believes its domestic employee relations are satisfactory.Our Canadian operations had a total of 1,939 employees as of July 1, 2006, consisting of 1,210 production employees and 729 sales, office, route and management personnel. Unions represent approximately 45.0% of our Canadian employees. Management believes Canadian employee relations are satisfactory.Foreign and Domestic OperationsFinancial information relating to foreign and domestic operations is set forth in Note 10 of our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this Form 10-K.Intellectual PropertyWe own a portfolio of registered trademarks, trade names and licenses, and certain U.S. and foreign process and manufacturing patents relating to our business as we currently conduct it. These proprietary properties, in the aggregate, constitute a valuable asset. Among these are the trademarks and trade names G&K Services®, G&K TeamWear®, G&K First Step® Facility Services, G&K ProSura™ food safety solutions, G&K ProTect™ personal safety protection, and G&K Exceed™ performance fabric brands, various logos and marketing themes and collateral. We do not believe, however, that our business is dependent upon any single proprietary property or any particular group of proprietary properties.Seasonality; Working CapitalWe do not consider our business to be seasonal to any extent or subject to any unusual working capital requirements.Available InformationWe make available free of charge our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports are available on our website at http://www.gkservices.com. Information included on our website is not deemed to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORSThe statements in this section, as well as statements described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, or in other SEC filings, describe risks that could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and the trading price of our securities. These risks are not the only risks that we face. Our business, financial condition and results of operations could also be materially affected by additional factors that are not presently known to us or that we currently consider to be immaterial to our operations.In addition, this section sets forth statements which constitute our cautionary statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTSThe Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a safe harbor from civil litigation for forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as “estimates,” “anticipates,” “projects,” “plans,” “expects,” “intends,” “believes,” “seeks,” “could,” “should,” “may” and “will” or the negative versions thereof and similar expressions and by the context in which they are used. Such statements are based upon our current expectations and speak only as of the date made. These statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ from those set forth in or implied by this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Factors that might cause such a difference include, but are not limited to, the possibility of greater than anticipated operating costs, including energy costs, lower sales volumes, the performance and costs of integration of acquisitions, fluctuations in costs of materials and labor, costs and possible effects of union organizing activities, loss of key management, uncertainties regarding any existing or newly-discovered expenses and liabilities related to environmental compliance and remediation, failure to achieve and maintain effective internal controls for financial reporting required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the initiation or outcome of litigation, higher assumed sourcing or distribution costs of products, the disruption of operations from catastrophic events, changes in federal and state tax laws and the reactions of competitors in terms of price and service. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after the date on which they are made.Also note that we provide the following cautionary discussion of risks uncertainties and assumptions relevant to our businesses. Actual results may differ from certain assumptions we have made causing actual events to vary from expected results. These are factors that, individually or in the aggregate, we think could cause our actual results to differ materially from expected and historical results. We note these factors for investors as permitted by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors. Consequently, you should not consider the following to be a complete discussion of all potential risks or uncertainties.General economic factors may adversely affect our financial performance.General economic conditions may adversely affect our financial performance. Higher levels of unemployment, inflation, tax rates and other changes in tax laws and other economic factors could adversely affect the demand for our products and services. Increases in labor costs, including healthcare and insurance costs, higher material costs for items such as linens and textiles, higher fuel and other energy costs, higher interest rates, inflation, higher tax rates and other changes in tax laws and other economic factors could increase our costs of rentals and other services and selling and administrative expenses and could adversely affect our operating results.Increased competition could adversely affect our financial performance.We operate in highly competitive industries and compete with national, regional and local providers. Product, design, price, quality, service and convenience to the customer are the primary competitive elements in these industries. If existing or future competitors seek to gain or retain market share by reducing prices, we may be required to lower prices, which would be detrimental to our operating results. Our competitors also generally compete with us for acquisition candidates, which can increase the price for acquisitions and reduce the number of available acquisition candidates. In addition, our customers and prospects may decide to perform certain services in-house instead of outsourcing such services. These competitive pressures could adversely affect our sales and operating results.Risks associated with the suppliers from whom our products are sourced could adversely affect our operating results.The products we sell are sourced from a wide variety of domestic and international suppliers. Global sourcing of many of the products we sell is an important factor in our financial performance. All of our suppliers must comply with applicable laws, including labor and environmental laws, and otherwise be certified as meeting our required supplier standards of conduct. Our ability to find qualified suppliers who meet our standards, and to access products in a timely and efficient manner is a significant challenge, especially with respect to suppliers located and goods sourced outside the United States. Political and economic stability in the countries in which foreign suppliers are located, the financial stability of suppliers, suppliers’ failure to meet our supplier standards, labor problems experienced by our suppliers, the availability of raw materials to suppliers, currency exchange rates, transport availability and cost, inflation and other factors relating to the suppliers and the countries in which they are located are beyond our control. In addition, United States and Canadian foreign trade policies, tariffs and other impositions on imported goods, trade sanctions imposed on certain countries, the limitation on the importation of certain types of goods or of goods containing certain materials from other countries and other factors relating to foreign trade are beyond our control. These and other factors affecting our suppliers and our access to products could adversely affect our operating results.Compliance with environmental laws and regulations could result in significant costs that adversely affect our operating results.Our operating locations are subject to stringent environmental laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those governing discharges of pollutants to the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes and the clean-up of contaminated sites. The operation of our businesses entails risks under environmental laws and regulations. We could incur significant costs, including clean-up costs, fines and sanctions and claims by third parties for property damage and personal injury, as a result of violations or liabilities under these laws and regulations. We are currently involved in a limited number of remedial investigations and actions at various locations. While, based on information currently known to us, we believe that we maintain adequate reserves with respect to these matters, our liability could exceed forecasted amounts, and the imposition of additional clean-up obligations or the discovery of additional contamination at these or other sites could result in additional costs. In addition, potentially significant expenditures could be required to comply with environmental laws and regulations, including requirements that may be adopted or imposed in the future.Under environmental laws, an owner or operator of real estate may be required to pay the costs of removing or remediating hazardous materials located on or emanating from property, whether or not the owner or operator knew of or was responsible for the presence of such hazardous materials. While we regularly engage in environmental due diligence in connection with acquisitions, we can give no assurance that locations that have been acquired or leased have been operated in compliance with environmental laws and regulations during prior periods or that future uses or conditions will not make us liable under these laws or expose us to third-party actions, including tort suits.From time to time we are subject to legal proceedings that may adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.From time to time we are party to various litigation claims and legal proceedings. Certain of these lawsuits or potential future lawsuits, if decided adversely to us or settled by us, may result in liability material to our financial condition and operating results. We discuss these lawsuits and other litigation to which we are party in greater detail below under the caption “Item 3. Legal Proceedings” and in Note 9 to our consolidated financial statements.Risks associated with our acquisition policy could adversely affect our operating results.Historically, a portion of our growth has come from acquisitions. We continue to evaluate opportunities for acquiring businesses that may supplement our internal growth. However, there can be no assurance that we will be able to locate and purchase suitable acquisitions. In addition, the success of any acquisition depends in part on our ability to integrate the acquired company. The process of integrating acquired businesses may involve unforeseen difficulties and may require a disproportionate amount of our management’s attention and our financial and other resources. Although we conduct due diligence investigations prior to each acquisition, there can be no assurance that we will discover all material liabilities of an acquired business for which we may be responsible as a successor owner or operator. The failure to successfully integrate these acquired businesses or to discover such liabilities could adversely affect our operating results.Increases in fuel and energy costs could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.The price of fuel and energy needed to run our vehicles and equipment is unpredictable and fluctuates based on events outside our control, including geopolitical developments, supply and demand for oil and gas, actions by OPEC and other oil and gas producers, war and unrest in oil producing countries, regional production patterns, limits on refining capacities, natural disasters and environmental concerns. Any increase in fuel and energy costs could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.Our Canadian results and Dominican Republic operations are influenced by currency fluctuations and other risks that could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.Certain of our foreign revenues and operating expenses are transacted in local currencies. As a result, our results of operations and certain receivables and payables are subject to foreign exchange rate fluctuations.If we are unable to preserve positive labor relationships or become the target of labor unionization campaigns, the resulting labor unrest could disrupt our business by impairing our ability to produce and deliver our products.Significant portions of our Canadian labor force are unionized, and a lesser portion of United States employees are unionized. Competitors within our industry have been the target of unionization campaigns by multiple labor unions. While we believe that our Canadian and domestic employee relations are satisfactory, we cannot assure you that we will not experience pressure from labor unions or become the target of campaigns similar to those faced by our competitors. If we do encounter pressure from labor unions, any resulting labor unrest could disrupt our business by impairing our ability to produce and deliver our products and services. In addition, significant union representation would require us to negotiate with many of our employees collectively and could adversely affect our results by restricting our ability to maximize the efficiency of our operations.If we are unable to attract and retain staff our results of operations could be adversely impacted.Our ability to attract and retain workers is important to our operations. Our ability to expand our operations is in part impacted by our ability to increase our labor force. In the event of a labor shortage, or in the event of a change in prevailing labor and/or immigration laws, we could experience difficulty in delivering our services in a high-quality or timely manner and we could be forced to increase wages in order to attract and retain employees, which would result in higher operating costs.Loss of our key management or other personnel could adversely impact our business.Our success is largely dependent on the skills, experience and efforts of our senior management and certain other key personnel. If, for any reason, one or more senior executives or key personnel were not to remain active in our company, our results of operations could be adversely affected.Unexpected events could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our operating results.Unexpected events, including fires at facilities, natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornados, war or terrorist activities, unplanned outages, supply disruptions, failure of equipment or systems or changes in laws and/or regulations impacting our business, could adversely affect our operating results. These events could result in disruption of customer service, physical damage to one or more key operating facilities, the temporary closure of one or more key operating facilities or the temporary disruption of information systems.Failure to achieve and maintain effective internal controls could adversely affect our business and stock price.Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports. All internal control systems, no matter how well designed, have inherent limitations. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation. While we continue to evaluate our internal controls, we cannot be certain that these measures will ensure that we implement and maintain adequate controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future. If we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal controls or if we or our independent registered public accounting firm were to discover material weaknesses in our internal controls, as such standards are modified, supplemented or amended, we may not be able to ensure that we can conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Failure to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment could cause us to be unable to produce reliable financial reports or prevent fraud. This may cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a material adverse effect on our stock price.ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTSNone