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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

Form 10-K

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF

THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF

THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from _____ to _____

Commission file number 001-18761

MONSTER BEVERAGE CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware

    

47-1809393

(State or other jurisdiction of

(I.R.S. Employer

incorporation or organization)

Identification No.)

1 Monster Way
Corona, California 92879

(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (951) 739 - 6200

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

    

Trading Symbol(s)

    

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.005 par value per share

MNST

Nasdaq Global Select Market

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes þ  No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act. Yes  No þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.   Yes þ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).  Yes þ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:

Large accelerated filer þ

    

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined by Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.).     Yes No þ

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $31,534,998,627 computed by reference to the closing sale price for such stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on June 28, 2019, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter.

The number of shares of the registrant’s common stock, $0.005 par value per share (being the only class of common stock of the registrant), outstanding on February 20, 2020 was 536,896,142 shares.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:

Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed subsequent to the date hereof with the Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A in connection with the registrant’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report. Such Definitive Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the conclusion of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

Table of Contents

MONSTER BEVERAGE CORPORATION

FORM 10-K

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Item Number

Page Number

    

PART I

1.

Business

3

1A.

Risk Factors

18

1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

33

2.

Properties

33

3.

Legal Proceedings

33

4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

34

PART II

5.

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

34

6.

Selected Financial Data

37

7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

38

7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

62

8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

63

9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

63

9A.

Controls and Procedures

63

9B.

Other Information

66

PART III

10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

66

11.

Executive Compensation

66

12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

66

13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

67

14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

67

PART IV

15.

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

67

16.

Form 10-K Summary

67

Signatures

70

2

Table of Contents

PART I

ITEM 1.           BUSINESS

When this report uses the words “the Company”, “we”, “us” and “our”, these words refer to Monster Beverage Corporation and its subsidiaries, unless the context otherwise requires. Based in Corona, California, Monster Beverage Corporation is a holding company and conducts no operating business, except through its consolidated subsidiaries. The Company’s subsidiaries primarily develop and market energy drinks.

Overview

We develop, market, sell and distribute energy drink beverages and concentrates for energy drink beverages, primarily under the following brand names:

     Monster Energy®

     Monster Energy Ultra®

     Monster Rehab®

     Monster MAXX®

     Java Monster®

     Muscle Monster®

     Espresso Monster®

     Punch Monster®

     Juice Monster®

     Monster Hydro®

     Monster HydroSport Super Fuel®

     Monster Dragon Tea®

     Caffé Monster®

     Reign Total Body FuelTM

     Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel

    

     NOS®

     Full Throttle®

     Burn®

     Mother®

     Nalu®

     Ultra Energy®

     Play® and Power Play® (stylized)

     Relentless®

     BPM®

     BU®

     Gladiator®

     Samurai®

     Live+®

     Predator®

Industry Overview

The “alternative” beverage category combines non-carbonated, ready-to-drink iced teas, lemonades, juice cocktails, single-serve juices and fruit beverages, ready-to-drink dairy and coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks and single-serve still waters (flavored, unflavored and enhanced) with “new age” beverages, including sodas that are considered natural, sparkling juices and flavored sparkling beverages. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, domestic U.S. wholesale sales in 2019 for the “alternative” beverage category of the market are estimated at approximately $58.6 billion, representing an increase of approximately 5.7% over estimated domestic U.S. wholesale sales in 2018 of approximately $55.5 billion.

Reportable Segments

We have three operating and reportable segments; (i) Monster Energy® Drinks segment (“Monster Energy® Drinks”), which is primarily comprised of our Monster Energy® drinks and Reign Total Body FuelTM high performance energy drinks, (ii) Strategic Brands segment (“Strategic Brands”), which is comprised primarily of the various energy drink brands acquired from The Coca-Cola Company (“TCCC”) in 2015, as well as our affordable energy brands, and (iii) Other segment (“Other”), which is comprised of certain products sold by American Fruits and Flavors, LLC (“AFF”), a wholly-owned subsidiary, to independent third-party customers (the “AFF Third-Party Products”). Corporate and unallocated amounts that do not specifically relate to a reportable segment have been allocated to “Corporate and unallocated.”

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Our Monster Energy® Drinks segment primarily generates net operating revenues by selling ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks primarily to bottlers and full service beverage distributors. In some cases, we sell directly to retail grocery and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, drug stores, foodservice customers, value stores, e-commerce retailers and the military.

Our Strategic Brands segment primarily generates net operating revenues by selling “concentrates” and/or “beverage bases” to authorized bottling and canning operations. Such bottlers generally combine the concentrates and/or beverage bases with sweeteners, water and other ingredients to produce ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks. The ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks are then sold to other bottlers, full service distributors or retailers, including, retail grocery and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, foodservice customers, drug stores, value stores, e-commerce retailers and the military. To a lesser extent, our Strategic Brands segment generates net operating revenues by selling certain ready-to-drink packaged energy drinks to bottlers and full service beverage distributors.

Generally, the Monster Energy® Drinks segment generates higher per case net operating revenues, but lower per case gross profit margin percentages than the Strategic Brands segment.

For certain risks with respect to our energy drinks see “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors” below.

Corporate History

In the 1930s, Hubert Hansen and his sons started a business selling fresh non-pasteurized juices in Los Angeles, California. In 1977, Tim Hansen, one of the grandsons of Hubert Hansen, perceived a demand for shelf stable pasteurized natural juices and juice blends and formed Hansen Foods, Inc. (“HFI”). HFI expanded its product line from juices to include Hansen’s Natural Soda® brand sodas. In 1990, California Co-Packers Corporation (d/b/a Hansen Beverage Company) (“CCC”) acquired certain assets of HFI, including the right to market the Hansen’s® brand name. In 1992, Hansen Natural Corporation acquired the Hansen’s® brand natural soda and apple juice business from CCC. Under our ownership, the Hansen’s® beverage business significantly expanded to include a wide range of beverages within the growing “alternative” beverage category including, in particular, energy drinks. In 2012, we changed our name from Hansen Natural Corporation to Monster Beverage Corporation. In 2015, we acquired various energy brands from TCCC and disposed of our non-energy drink business. In 2016, we completed our acquisition of flavor supplier and long-time business partner AFF.

2019 Product Introductions

During 2019, we continued to expand our existing portfolio of drinks and further develop our distribution markets. During 2019, we introduced the following products:

BPM® Sour Twist
BU® Island Punch
Burn® Sour Twist
Espresso Monster® Salted Caramel
Java Monster® Farmer’s Oats
Java Monster® Swiss Chocolate (U.S. national launch)
Monster Dragon Tea® Green Tea
Monster Dragon Tea® Yerba Mate
Monster Energy Ultra Paradise®
Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® Charge
Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® Hang Time
Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® Striker
Monster MAXX® Mango Matic

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Monster MAXX® Rad Red
Monster Mule® (U.S. national launch)
Mother® Epic Swell
Mother® Tropical Blast
Nalu® Frost
Nalu® Refresh
NOS® Power Punch
NOS® Sonic Sour
Predator® Mean Green
Predator® Red Dawn
Reign Total Body FuelTM Carnival Candy
Reign Total Body FuelTM Lemon Hdz
Reign Total Body FuelTM Mang-O-Matic
Reign Total Body FuelTM Melon Mania
Reign Total Body FuelTM Orange Dreamsicle
Reign Total Body FuelTM Peach Fizz
Reign Total Body FuelTM Razzle Berry
Reign Total Body FuelTM Sour Apple
Reign Total Body FuelTM Strawberry Sublime
Relentless® Sour Twist
Ultra Energy® Apple Kiwi

In the normal course of business, we discontinue certain products and/or product lines. Those products or product lines discontinued in 2019, either individually or in aggregate, did not have a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations or liquidity.

Products – Monster Energy® Drinks Segment

Monster Energy® Drinks - a line of carbonated energy drinks. Our Monster Energy® drinks contain vitamins, minerals, nutrients, herbs and other ingredients (collectively, “supplement ingredients”) and are marketed through our full service distributor network. We offer the following energy drinks under the Monster Energy® drink product line: Monster Energy®, Lo-Carb Monster Energy®, Monster Assault®, Monster Energy® Fury®, Juice Monster® Khaos®, Juice Monster® Ripper®, Juice Monster® Pipeline Punch®, Juice Monster® Mango Loco®, Juice Monster® Pacific Punch®, Monster Energy® Absolutely Zero, Monster Energy® Import, Monster Energy® Export, Punch Monster® Baller’s Blend®, Punch Monster® Mad Dog, M3(stylized)®, Monster Energy® Super Concentrate, Monster Mule®, Monster Cuba Libre®, Monster Energy Zero Ultra®, Monster Energy Ultra Blue®, Monster Energy Ultra Red®, Monster Energy Ultra Black®, Monster Energy Ultra Paradise®, Monster Energy Ultra Sunrise®, Monster Energy Ultra Citron®, Monster Energy Ultra Violet®, Monster Energy® Gronk, Monster Energy® Valentino Rossi and Monster Energy® Lewis Hamilton 44.

Caffé Monster® Energy Coffee Drinks – a line of non-carbonated, 100% Arabica coffee, reduced fat, dairy based energy coffee drinks. We offer the following energy coffee drinks under the Caffé Monster® product line: Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Mocha.

Espresso Monster® Espresso + Energy Drinks – a line of non-carbonated dairy based espresso + energy drinks. We offer the following espresso + energy drinks under the Espresso Monster® product line: Espresso and Cream, Salted Caramel and Vanilla Espresso.

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Java Monster® Coffee + Energy Drinks – a line of non-carbonated dairy based coffee + energy drinks. We offer the following coffee + energy drinks under the Java Monster® product line: Java Monster® Farmer's Oats, Java Monster® Irish Blend®, Java Monster® Kona Blend, Java Monster® Loca Moca®, Java Monster® Mean Bean®, Java Monster® Salted Caramel, Java Monster® Swiss Chocolate and Java Monster® Vanilla Light.

Monster Dragon Tea® Energy Teas – a line of non-carbonated energy teas. We offer the following energy teas under the Monster Dragon Tea® product line: Green Tea, White Tea and Yerba Mate.

Monster Hydro® – a line of non-carbonated, lightly sweetened refreshment + energy drinks. We offer the following refreshment + energy drinks under the Monster Hydro® product line: Blue Ice®, Manic Melon®, Mean Green®, Purple Passion®, Tropical Thunder® and Zero Sugar.

Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® – a zero sugar line of non-carbonated, advanced hydration + energy drinks with BCAA’s. We offer the following advanced hydration + energy drinks under the Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® product line: Charge, Hang Time and Striker.

Monster MAXX® Energy Drinks – a line of carbonated energy drinks containing nitrous oxide. We offer the following energy drinks under the Monster MAXX® product line: Eclipse, Mango Matic, Rad Red, Solaris and Super Dry.

Monster Rehab® Tea + Energy Drinks – a line of non-carbonated energy drinks with electrolytes. We offer the following tea + energy drinks under the Monster Rehab® drink line: Monster Rehab® Tea + Lemonade + Energy, Monster Rehab® Tea + Orangeade + Energy, Monster Rehab® Peach Tea + Energy, Monster Rehab® Raspberry Tea + Energy and Monster Rehab® White Dragon Tea + Energy.

Muscle Monster® Energy Shakes – a line of non-carbonated energy shakes containing 27-grams of protein. We offer the following energy shakes under the Muscle Monster® Energy Shakes product line: Chocolate and Vanilla.

Reign Total Body FuelTM High Performance Energy Drinks – a line of high performance energy drinks with BCAA’s, B vitamins, electrolytes and CoQ10 with zero sugar. We offer the following high performance energy drinks under the Reign Total Body FuelTM product line: Carnival Candy, Lemon Hdz, Mang-O-Matic, Melon Mania, Orange Dreamsicle, Peach Fizz, Razzle Berry, Sour Apple and Strawberry Sublime.

Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel – a line of high performance energy drinks with a thermogenic performance blend in addition to BCAA’s, B vitamins, electrolytes, and CoQ10 with zero sugar. We offer the following high performance energy drinks under the Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel product line: Jalapeno Strawberry, Red Dragon and True BLU.

Products – Strategic Brands Segment

BPM® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the BPM® product line: Focus Berry Red, Hydrate Citrus Green, Sour Twist and Zero Orange.

BU® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the BU® product line: Island Punch and Original.

Burn® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Burn® product line: Apple Kiwi, Blue, Cherry, Lemon Ice, Mango, Original, Passion Punch, Sour Twist and Zero.

Full Throttle® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Full Throttle® product line:  Blue Agave and Citrus.

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Gladiator®  a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drink under the Gladiator® product line: Original.

Live+® – a line of carbonated energy drinks.  We offer the following energy drinks under the Live+® product line:  Ascend, Ignite and Persist.

Mother®  a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Mother® product line: Epic Swell, Frosty Berry, Kicked Apple®, Original, Passion, Sugar Free and Tropical BlastTM.

Nalu® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Nalu® product line: Exotic, Frost, Original, Passion and Refresh.

NOS® – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the NOS® product line: Charged Citrus, Cherried Out, GT Grape, Nitro Mango, Original, Power Punch, Sonic Sour, Sugar Free and Turbo.

Play® and Power Play® (stylized) – a line of carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Play® and Power Play® (stylized) product line: Apple Kiwi, Mango, Passion Fruit, Original and Sugar Free.

Predator® – a line of affordable carbonated energy drinks. We offer the following energy drinks under the Predator® product line: Gold Strike, Mean Green, Purple Rain and Red Dawn.

Relentless® – a line of carbonated energy drinks.  We offer the following energy drinks under the Relentless® product line: Apple Kiwi, Cherry, Lemon Ice, Mango, Origin, Passion Punch, Sour Twist and Zero.

Samurai® – a line of carbonated energy drinks.  We offer the following energy drinks under the Samurai® product line: Fruity and Strawberry.

Ultra Energy® – a line of carbonated energy drinks.  We offer the following energy drinks under the Ultra Energy® product line: Apple Kiwi, Fury, Mango, Original and Passion Punch.

Products – Other Segment

AFF sells a limited number of products to independent third-party customers.

Other Products

We continue to evaluate and, where considered appropriate, introduce additional products, flavors and types of beverages to complement our existing product lines. We may also evaluate, and where considered appropriate, introduce additional types of consumer products we consider to be complementary to our existing products and/or to which our brand names are able to add value.

Products – Packaging

Our products are packaged in a variety of different package types and sizes including, but not limited to, aluminum cans, aluminum cap cans, sleek aluminum cans, aluminum cans with re-sealable ends as well as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and to a limited extent glass bottles.

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Manufacture and Distribution

We do not directly manufacture finished goods, but instead outsource the manufacturing process to third-party bottlers and contract packers.

AFF develops and manufactures the primary flavors for our Monster Energy® Drinks segment. We also purchase flavors, concentrates, sweeteners, juices, supplement ingredients, cans, bottles, caps, labels, trays, boxes and other ingredients for our beverage products from ingredient suppliers, which are delivered to our various third-party bottlers and co-packers. In some cases, certain common supplies may be purchased by our various third-party bottlers and co-packers. Depending on the product, the third-party bottlers or co-packers add filtered water and/or other ingredients (including supplement ingredients) for the manufacture and packaging of the finished products into our approved containers in accordance with our recipes and formulas. Depending on the beverage, the bottler/packer may also add carbonation to the products as part of the production process.

For our Strategic Brands segment, we primarily purchase concentrates and/or beverage bases from ingredient suppliers, which are then sold to certain of our various third-party bottlers/distributors. The third-party bottlers/distributors are responsible for the manufacture and packaging of the finished products, including the procurement of all other required ingredients and packaging materials. For certain limited products in the Strategic Brands segment, we may purchase flavors, concentrates, sweeteners, juices, supplement ingredients, cans, bottles, caps, labels, trays, boxes and other ingredients for our Strategic Brand products from our suppliers, which are delivered to our various third-party bottlers and co-packers. In some cases, certain common supplies may be purchased by our various third-party bottlers and co-packers. Depending on the product, the third-party bottlers or co-packers add filtered water and/or other ingredients (including supplement ingredients), for the manufacture and packaging of the finished products into our approved containers in accordance with our recipes and formulas. Depending on the beverage, the bottler/co-packer may also add carbonation to the products as part of the production process.

Co-Packing Arrangements

All of our finished goods are manufactured by various third-party bottlers and co-packers situated throughout the United States and abroad, under separate arrangements with each party. The majority of our co-packaging arrangements are generally on a month-to-month basis or are terminable upon request and do not generally obligate us to produce any minimum quantities of products within specified periods.

In some instances, subject to agreement, certain equipment may be purchased exclusively by us and/or jointly with our co-packers, and installed at their facilities to enable them to produce certain of our products. In certain cases, such equipment remains our property and is required to be returned to us upon termination of the packing arrangements with such co-packers, unless we are reimbursed by the co-packer at the then book value or via a per-case credit over a pre-determined number of cases that are produced at the facilities concerned.

For our Monster Energy® Drinks segment, we are generally responsible for arranging for the purchase and delivery to our third-party bottlers and co-packers of the containers in which our beverage products are packaged.

Our products are packaged in a number of locations, both domestically and internationally, which enables us to produce products closer to the markets where they are sold, with the objective of reducing freight costs as well as transportation-related product damages. As distribution volumes increase in both our domestic and international markets, we will continue to source additional packing arrangements closer to such markets to further reduce freight costs.

Our ability to estimate demand for our products is imprecise, particularly with new products, and may be less precise during periods of rapid growth, particularly in new markets. If we materially underestimate demand for our products and/or are unable to secure sufficient ingredients or raw materials including, but not limited to, aluminum cans, aluminum cap

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cans, sleek aluminum cans, aluminum cans with re-sealable ends, PET plastic bottles, caps, labels, flavors, juice concentrates, coffee, tea, supplement ingredients, other ingredients and certain sweeteners, and/or procure adequate packing arrangements and/or obtain adequate or timely shipment of our products, we might not be able to satisfy demand on a short-term basis. (See “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors”).

Our production arrangements are generally of short duration or are terminable upon request. For many of our products, including certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, our Java Monster® product line, our Espresso Monster® product line, our Caffé Monster®  product line, our Monster Hydro® product line, our Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® product line, our Muscle Monster® product line, our Monster MAXX® product line, our Juice Monster® product line, our Reign Total Body FuelTM product line, our Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel product line and certain of our other products, there are limited co-packing facilities in our domestic and international markets with adequate capacity and/or suitable equipment to package our products. We believe a short disruption or delay in production would not significantly affect our revenues; however, as alternative co-packing facilities in our domestic and international markets with adequate long-term capacity may not be available for such products, either at commercially reasonable rates and/or within a reasonably short time period, if at all, a lengthy disruption or delay in production of any of such products could significantly affect our revenues.

We continue to actively seek alternative and/or additional co-packing facilities around the world (including in Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, China, Europe, India, Mexico, the Middle East and the United States) with adequate capacity and capability for the production of our various products to minimize transportation costs and transportation-related damages as well as to mitigate the risk of a disruption in production and/or importation.

Distribution Agreements

During 2019, we continued to expand distribution of our products in both our domestic and international markets.

Distribution levels vary by product and geographic location. Net sales outside the United States were $1.33 billion, $1.09 billion and $909.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Monster Energy® Distribution Agreements

We have entered into agreements with various bottlers/distributors providing for the distribution of our products during initial terms of up to twenty years, which may be renewed thereafter for additional terms ranging from one to five years, subject to certain terms and conditions which may vary depending on the form of the agreement. Such agreements remain in effect for their then-current term as long as our products are being distributed, but are subject to specified termination rights held by each party, which may include by way of example, and depending on the form of agreement, termination upon: mutual agreement; material breach of the agreement by, or an insolvency of, either party; deadlock; change of control; changes in legal or regulatory conditions and termination of certain related agreements. Additionally, we are entitled to terminate certain distribution agreements at any time without cause upon payment of a termination fee, including a limited number of distribution agreements with TCCC network bottlers that were entered into prior to 2015.

Certain of our material distribution arrangements for our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, as amended from time to time, are described below:

(a)Amended and Restated Distribution Coordination Agreement with TCCC, pursuant to which we have designated, and in the future may designate, subject to TCCC’s approval, territories in Canada and the United States in which bottlers from TCCC’s network of wholly or partially-owned and independent bottlers (the “TCCC North American Bottlers”) will distribute and sell, or continue to distribute and sell, our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks.

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(b)Amended and Restated Distribution Agreement with Coca-Cola Refreshments (“CCR”), pursuant to which CCR distributes, directly and through certain sub-distributors, our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks in a large portion of the United States. As of March 1, 2018, all of the territory previously falling under the Amended and Restated Distribution Agreement with CCR has been assigned by CCR to various TCCC network bottlers in the United States, including Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. and Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC.
(c)Amended and Restated International Distribution Coordination Agreement with TCCC, pursuant to which we have designated, and in the future may designate, countries, or territories within countries, in which we wish to appoint TCCC network bottlers to distribute and sell our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, subject to TCCC’s approval. In February 2020, the Amended and Restated International Distribution Coordination Agreement with TCCC was renewed for an additional five year term.
(d)Additionally, we have entered into distribution agreements for certain of our Monster Energy® products with various TCCC network bottlers, both in the United States and internationally.

As of December 31, 2019, all distribution territories in the U.S. have been transitioned to TCCC network bottlers.

Strategic Brands Distribution Agreements

We have entered into distribution coordination agreements with TCCC pursuant to which we have designated, and in the future may designate, subject to TCCC’s approval, territories in which TCCC network bottlers will distribute our Strategic Brands energy drinks.

We have entered into agreements with various TCCC network bottlers, both in the United States and internationally, providing for the distribution and sale of our Strategic Brands energy drinks.

Raw Materials and Suppliers

The principal raw materials used in the manufacturing of our products are aluminum cans, aluminum cap cans, sleek aluminum cans, aluminum cans with re-sealable ends, PET plastic bottles, caps, as well as flavors, juice concentrates, glucose, sugar, sucralose, milk, cream, protein, coffee, tea, supplement ingredients and other packaging materials, the costs of which are subject to fluctuations.

AFF is the primary flavor supplier for our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. We also purchase flavors from other suppliers as well as juices, supplement ingredients, glucose, sugar, sucralose, other sweeteners and other ingredients from independent suppliers located in the United States and abroad.

For our Strategic Brands energy drinks, we purchase flavors, concentrates and/or beverage bases from flavor suppliers including TCCC in the United States and abroad, and may purchase certain other ingredients from independent suppliers located in the United States and abroad.

With regard to our Java Monster®, Espresso Monster®, Caffé Monster® and Muscle Monster® product lines, the dairy, protein and retort co-packing industries are subject to shortages and increased demand from time to time, which may result in production disruption and/or higher prices.

For certain flavors purchased from third-party suppliers and used in a limited number of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks and/or our Strategic Brands energy drinks, these third-party flavor suppliers own the proprietary rights to certain of their flavor formulas. We do not have possession of the list of such flavor ingredients or formulas used in the production of certain of our products and certain of our blended concentrates, and we may be unable to obtain comparable

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flavors or concentrates from alternative suppliers on short notice. Our third-party flavor suppliers generally do not make such flavors and/or blended concentrates available to other third-party customers.

We have identified alternative suppliers for many of the ingredients contained in many of our beverages. However, industry-wide shortages of certain flavors, fruits and fruit juices, coffee, tea, dairy-based products, supplement ingredients and sweeteners have been, and could from time to time in the future be, encountered, which could interfere with and/or delay production of certain of our products.

We continually endeavor to develop back-up sources of supply for certain of our flavors and concentrates purchased from third-party suppliers, as well as to negotiate arrangements with our existing suppliers, which would enable us to obtain access to certain of such concentrates or flavor formulas under certain circumstances. We have been partially successful in these endeavors. Additionally, in a limited number of cases, contractual restrictions and/or the necessity to obtain regulatory approvals and licenses may limit our ability to enter into agreements with alternative suppliers, manufacturers and/or distributors.

Competition

The beverage industry is highly competitive. The principal areas of competition are pricing, packaging, development of new products and flavors as well as promotional and marketing strategies. Our products compete with a wide range of drinks produced by a relatively large number of companies, many of which have substantially greater financial, marketing and distribution resources than we do.

Important factors affecting our ability to compete successfully include brand and product image, taste and flavor of products, trade and consumer promotions, rapid and effective development of new and unique cutting edge products, ingredients, attractive and different packaging, brand exposure and marketing as well as pricing. We also rely on our bottlers and full service beverage distributors to allocate more attention to our products than those of our competitors, provide stable and reliable distribution and secure adequate shelf space in retail outlets. Competitive pressures in the “alternative”, energy, coffee and “functional” beverage categories could cause our products to maintain or to lose market share or we could experience price erosion, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

We have experienced and continue to experience competition from new entrants in the energy drink and energy shot categories. A number of companies who market and distribute iced teas, coffees, juice cocktails, enhanced waters and sports drinks in various larger volume packages in glass and plastic bottles (including Bai, Sobe Life Water, BODYARMOR, Vitamin Water, CORE, Snapple, Arizona, Fuse, Ocean Spray, Honest Tea, Gold Peak Tea, Powerade, Gatorade Bolt 24 and Starbucks) and 12- and 16-ounce cans (such as Mountain Dew Kickstart and Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel), have added supplement ingredients to their products with a view to marketing their products as “functional” or energy beverages or as having “functional” benefits. We believe that many of those products contain lower levels of supplement ingredients, principally deliver refreshment and are positioned differently from our energy or “functional” drinks.

We are also subject to increasing levels of regulatory issues including in relation to the registration and/or taxation of our products in certain new international markets, which may put us at a competitive disadvantage. (See “Government Regulation” below for additional information).

We compete not only for consumer preference, but also for maximum marketing and sales efforts by multi-brand licensed bottlers, brokers and distributors, many of which have a principal affiliation with competing companies and brands. Our products compete with all liquid refreshments and in many cases with products of much larger and in some cases better financed competitors, including the products of numerous nationally and internationally known producers such as TCCC, PepsiCo, Inc. (“PepsiCo”), Keurig Dr. Pepper, Inc. (“KDP”) and Red Bull GmbH. We also compete with companies that

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are smaller or primarily local in operation. Our products also compete with private-label brands such as those carried by grocery store chains, convenience store chains and club stores.

Domestically, our energy drinks compete directly with Red Bull, Rockstar, Amp, Venom, VPX Redline, Rip It, Xenergy, 5-Hour Energy Shots, MiO Energy, Stacker 2, VPX Bang, V8 + Energy, Uptime, hi*ball, CELSIUS, C4, Coca-Cola Energy and many other brands. PepsiCo also markets and/or distributes additional products in that market segment such as Pepsi Max, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Kickstart and Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel. Internationally, our energy drinks compete with Red Bull (including non-carbonated Red Bull in China and Asia), Rockstar, V-Energy, Lucozade, Coca-Cola Energy and numerous local and private-label brands that usually differ from country to country, such as HELL, Amper, Shock, Tiger, Boost, TNT, Shark, Dragon, Score, Sting, Hot 6, Battery, Bullit, Flash Up, Black, Non-Stop, Bomba, Semtex, Vive 100, Dark Dog, Speed, Guarana, M-150, Lipovitan, Bacchus, Volt, Bolt, Mr. Big, Boom, Raptor, Amp, Fusion, Hi-Tiger, Eastroc Super Drink, Carabao, Power Horse, XL, Crazy Tiger, Effect, Missile, Nocco, Adrenaline Rush, Real Gold, War Horse, BLU, and a host of other international brands.

Our Reign Total Body FuelTM and Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel high performance energy drinks compete with VPX Bang, Adrenaline Shoc, C4, CELSIUS, Rockstar XDURANCE and Quake in the performance energy category.

Our Java Monster®, Espresso Monster® and Caffé Monster® product lines compete directly with Starbucks Frappuccino, Starbucks Doubleshot, Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Plus Coffee, Starbucks Tripleshot and other Starbucks coffee drinks, Costa Coffee, Rockstar Roasted, Dunkin Donuts, Gold Peak, Stok, High Brew, McCafé, hi*ball, Douwe Egberts Coffee, Emmi CAFFÈ, Bang Keto Coffee, Nescafe and International Delight.

Our Muscle Monster® product line competes directly with Muscle Milk, Core Power, Premier Protein, Kellogg’s Special K Protein, Bolthouse Farms Protein, EAS AdvantEDGE, EAS Myoplex and Gatorade G Series 03 Recover.

Our Monster Hydro® and Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® product lines compete directly with Vitamin Water, Sparkling Ice, Bai, Propel, Vita Coco, Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade Bolt 24 and BODYARMOR.

Sales and Marketing

Our sales and marketing strategy for all our beverages is to focus our efforts on developing brand awareness through image-enhancing programs and product sampling. We use our branded vehicles and other promotional vehicles at events where we offer samples of our products to consumers. We utilize “push-pull” methods to enhance shelf and display space exposure in sales outlets (including racks, coolers and barrel coolers), advertising, in-store promotions and in-store placement of point-of-sale materials to encourage demand from consumers for our products. We also support our brands with prize promotions, price promotions, competitions, endorsements from selected public and sports figures, sports personality endorsements, sampling and sponsorship of selected athletes, teams, series, bands, esports, causes and events. In-store posters, outdoor posters, social media, concerts, print, radio and television advertising (directly and through our sponsorships and endorsements) and coupons may also be used to promote our brands.

We believe that one of the keys to success in the beverage industry is differentiation, making our brands and products visually appealing and distinctive from other beverages on the shelves of retailers. We review our products and packaging on an ongoing basis and, where practical, endeavor to make them different and unique. The labels and graphics for many of our products are redesigned and refreshed from time to time to maximize their visibility and identification, wherever they may be placed in stores, which we continue to reevaluate from time to time.

Where appropriate, we partner with our bottlers/distributors and/or retailers to assist our marketing efforts.

We increased expenditures for our sales and marketing programs by approximately 10.9% in 2019 compared to 2018. This increase was primarily due to increased expenditures for social media, sponsorships and endorsements as well

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as advertising. As of December 31, 2019, we employed 2,422 employees in sales and marketing activities, of which 1,273 were employed on a full-time basis.

Customers

Our customers are primarily full service beverage bottlers/distributors, retail grocery, drug and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, foodservice customers, value stores, e-commerce retailers and the military. Percentages of our gross sales to our various customer types for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are reflected below. Such information includes sales made by us directly to the customer types concerned, which include our full service beverage bottlers/distributors in the United States. Such full service beverage bottlers/distributors in turn sell certain of our products to some of the same customer types listed below. We limit our description of our customer types to include only our sales to our full service bottlers/distributors without reference to such bottlers/distributors’ sales to their own customers.

    

2019

2018

2017

U.S. full service bottlers/distributors

 

58%

61%

63%

International full service bottlers/distributors

 

33%

31%

28%

Club stores, mass merchandisers and e-commerce retailers

 

7%

6%

7%

Retail grocery, specialty chains and wholesalers

 

1%

1%

1%

Other

 

1%

1%

1%

Our customers include Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc., Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC, Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution, LLC, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages LLC, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, Inc., Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc. (USA), Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, LLC, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Coca-Cola İçecek and certain other TCCC network bottlers, Asahi Soft Drinks, Co., Ltd., Kalil Bottling Group (until March 5, 2019), Big Geyser, Inc. (until April 5, 2019), Wal-Mart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club) and Costco Wholesale Corporation.  A decision by any large customer to decrease amounts purchased from us or to cease carrying our products could have a material negative effect on our financial condition and consolidated results of operations.

TCCC, through certain consolidated subsidiaries (the “TCCC Subsidiaries”), accounted for approximately 2%, 3% and 18% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. As part of TCCC’s North America Refranchising initiative (the “North America Refranchising”), the territories of certain TCCC Subsidiaries have been transitioned to certain independent TCCC bottlers/distributors and bottlers/distributors which TCCC accounts for under the equity method (the “TCCC Related Parties”). Accordingly, our percentage of net sales to the TCCC Subsidiaries significantly decreased for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. accounted for approximately 13% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC accounted for approximately 11%, 12% and 6% of the Company’s net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Coca-Cola European Partners accounted for approximately 10%, 10% and 9% of the Company’s net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

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Seasonality

Sales of ready-to-drink beverages are somewhat seasonal, with the second and third calendar quarters accounting for the highest sales volumes. We believe that the volume of sales in the beverage industry is affected by weather conditions. However, the energy drink category appears to be less seasonal than traditional beverages. Quarterly fluctuations may also be affected by other factors including the introduction of new products, the opening of new markets, particularly internationally, where temperature fluctuations may be more pronounced, the addition of new bottlers and distributors, changes in the mix of the sales of our finished products and increased or decreased advertising and promotional expenses.

Intellectual Property

We presently have more than 12,900 registered trademarks and pending applications in various countries worldwide, and we apply for new trademarks on an ongoing basis. We regard our trademarks, service marks, copyrights, domain names, trade dress and other intellectual property as very important to our business. We consider Monster®, Monster Energy®, Graphic®, Monster Energy Ultra®, Monster Dragon Tea®, Unleash the Beast!®, Mutant®, Monster Rehab®, Java Monster®, Muscle Monster®, Punch Monster®, Juice Monster®, Graphic Hydro® (stylized), Monster HydroSport Super Fuel®, Espresso Monster®, Caffé Monster®, Monster MAXX®, Reign Total Body Fuel™, Reign InfernoTM, BU®, Nalu®, NOS®, Full Throttle®, Burn®, Mother®, Ultra Energy®, Play® and Power Play® (stylized), Relentless®, Predator®, Live+® and BPM® to be our core trademarks. We also own the intellectual property of our most important flavors for certain of our Monster Energy® Brand energy drinks in perpetuity.

We have registered Monster®, Monster Energy®, Graphic®, Monster Energy Ultra®, Unleash the Beast!®, Mutant®, Monster Rehab®, Java Monster®, Muscle Monster®, Punch Monster®, Juice Monster®, M Hydro®, Espresso Monster®, Caffé Monster®, Monster MAXX®, BU®, Nalu®, Burn®, Mother®, Play®, Power Play® (stylized), Relentless®, Ultra Energy®, BPM®, Live+®, Reign®, Reign Total Body Fuel® and Reign InfernoTM outside of the United States in certain jurisdictions.

We protect our trademarks by applying for registrations and registering our trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and with government agencies in other countries around the world, particularly where our products are distributed and sold.  We assert copyright ownership of the statements, graphics and content appearing on the packaging of our products and in our marketing materials.  We aggressively pursue individuals and/or entities seeking to profit from the unauthorized use of our trademarks and copyrights, including, without limitation, wholesalers, street vendors, retailers, online auction site sellers and website operators. In addition to initiating civil actions against these individuals and entities, we work with law enforcement officials where appropriate.

Depending upon the jurisdiction, trademarks are valid as long as they are in use and/or their registrations are properly maintained and they have not been found to have become generic.  Registrations of trademarks can generally be renewed as long as the trademarks are in use.

We also enforce and protect our trademark rights against third parties infringing or disparaging our trademarks by opposing registration of conflicting trademarks and initiating litigation as necessary.

Government Regulation

The production, distribution and sale in the United States of many of our products are subject to various U.S. federal and state regulations, including but not limited to: the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FD&C Act”); the Occupational Safety and Health Act; various environmental statutes; the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“California Proposition 65”) and a number of other federal, state and local statutes and regulations applicable to the production, transportation, sale, safety, advertising, marketing, labeling and ingredients of such products. Outside the

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United States, the production, distribution and sale of many of our products are also subject to numerous statutes and regulations.

We also may in the future be affected by other existing, proposed and potential future regulations or regulatory actions, including those described below, any of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors – Changes in government regulation, or failure to comply with existing regulations, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations” below for additional information.

Furthermore, legislation may be introduced in the United States and other countries at the federal, state and municipal level in respect of each of the subject areas discussed below.  Public health officials and health advocates are increasingly focused on the public health consequences associated with obesity, especially as it affects children, and are seeking legislative change to reduce the consumption of sweetened beverages. There also has been an increased focus on caffeine content in beverages, as discussed below, and we are seeing some attention to other ingredients in energy drinks.

Product Formulation, Labeling and Advertising. Globally, we are subject to a number of regulations applicable to the formulation, labeling and advertising of our products. In California, we are subject to California Proposition 65, a law which requires that a specified warning be provided before exposing California consumers to any product that contains in excess of threshold amounts of a substance listed by California as having been found to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. California Proposition 65 does not require a warning if the manufacturer of a product can demonstrate that the use of the product in question exposes consumers to an average daily quantity of a listed substance that is below that threshold amount, which is determined either by scientific criteria set forth in applicable regulations or via a “safe harbor” threshold that may be established by the state, or the substance is naturally occurring, is the result of necessary cooking, or is subject to another applicable exception. If we are required to add warning labels to any of our products or place warnings in certain locations where our products are sold, it will be difficult to predict whether, or to what extent, such a warning would have an adverse impact on sales of our products in those locations or elsewhere.

In addition, in May 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”) revised regulations with respect to serving size information and nutrition labeling on food and beverage products, including a new requirement to disclose the amount of added sugars in such products. These changes went into effect on January 1, 2020, though FDA announced that it will not enforce these provisions for the first six months after that date. Further, in December 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture promulgated regulations requiring that, by January 1, 2022, the labels of certain bioengineered foods must include a disclosure that the food is bioengineered. We may incur significant costs to alter our existing packaging materials to comply with these and other new regulations. Additionally, these new regulations may impact, reduce and/or otherwise affect the purchase and consumption of our products by consumers.

Further, the City of San Francisco enacted an ordinance that would require health warnings on advertisements for certain sugar-sweetened beverages, though enforcement has been delayed due to a lawsuit challenging the ordinance. In January 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the ordinance, concluding that a First Amendment challenge to the ordinance was likely to succeed on the merits.  In September 2019, two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced legislation to amend the ordinance. The district court expressed its intent to assess the possible mootness of the current ordinance in light of the legislative proposal, but has granted the parties’ requests to delay further action pending expected legislative consideration of the proposed amendment.

In July 2012, we received a subpoena from the Attorney General for the State of New York in connection with an investigation relating to the advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and sale of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. We cannot predict the outcome of this inquiry and what effect, if any, it may have on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

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Other countries, such as the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Yemen, Colombia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the People’s Republic of China are also considering new labeling requirements, which may require us to amend our labels and warning statements. The United Kingdom Government has also suggested that it may review food labeling laws following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (“Brexit”).

Age and Other Restrictions on Energy Drink Products. Proposals to limit or restrict the sale and/or advertising of energy drinks to minors and/or persons below a specified age, and/or restrict the venues in which energy drinks can be sold, and/or to restrict the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps) to purchase energy drinks have been raised and/or enacted in certain U.S. states, counties, municipalities and/or in certain foreign countries. For example, in the United States, bills seeking to impose an age restriction on the sale of energy drinks have been introduced in the South Carolina and Connecticut legislatures.  Outside of the United States, for example, Latvia, Lithuania and Turkey prohibit the sale of energy drinks to persons under the age of 18; Canada prohibits the promotion of energy drinks to children 12 years and under; Latvia and Scotland prohibit the sale of energy drinks in educational establishments; and Turkey prohibits the sale or advertising of energy drinks in “collective consumption areas.” Latin American countries such as Chile, Colombia and Brazil are considering age and other sales restrictions on energy drinks, as are other European countries such as the United Kingdom, Romania and Bulgaria, and in the Middle East, there have been discussions of an age restriction for energy drinks.

Excise Taxes on Energy Drinks. Legislation that would impose an excise tax on sweetened beverages has been proposed in the U.S. Congress, in some state legislatures and by some local governments, with excise taxes generally ranging between $0.01 and $0.02 per ounce of sweetened beverage.  Berkeley, California became the first jurisdiction to pass such a measure, and a general tax of $0.01 per ounce on certain sweetened drinks, including energy drinks, became effective on January 1, 2015. Other U.S. jurisdictions (including Albany, Oakland and San Francisco, California; Boulder, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington) have passed similar measures, some of which have been challenged in litigation. The imposition of such taxes on our products would increase the cost of certain of our products or, to the extent levied directly on consumers, make certain of our products less affordable. Excise taxes on sweetened beverages already are in effect in certain foreign countries where we do business, such as France, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and Mexico.  Other countries, including Brazil, are considering similar measures. In addition, legislation has been proposed in certain jurisdictions that would specifically impose excise taxes on energy drinks. For example, Estonia, Poland and Ukraine are considering proposals that would impose an excise tax on energy drinks. Such targeted legislation has been passed in other countries. For instance, on January 1, 2020, a reform to a Mexican excise tax went into effect that expanded the definition of an “energy drink” subject to this tax to include products with any amount of caffeine (the prior version of the tax required a threshold of 20 milligrams of caffeine per 100 millimeters for the tax to be applicable) and “taurine or glucuronolactone or thiamine and/or any other substance that produces similar stimulating effects.”  Hungary has instituted an excise tax to which our products are subject. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began applying a selective tax of 100% on energy drinks in 2017, Qatar and Oman began applying the tax in 2019, and there are indications that a similar measure may be enacted in Kuwait.

Limits on Caffeine Content. Legislation has been proposed to limit the amount of caffeine that may be contained in beverages, including energy drinks. Some jurisdictions where we do business have prescribed limited caffeine content for beverages. For example, on January 1, 2013, new requirements took effect in Canada that limited the amount of caffeine contained in any beverage in a single-serving can or bottle to less than 180 milligrams, and imposed limits on the concentration levels for caffeine. We adjusted the caffeine levels in certain of our Monster Energy® products that are sold in Canada to address these regulations, although the majority of our products were unaffected.  In Europe, examples of caffeine restrictions include the Netherlands where there is a limit of 35mg/100ml, and Norway introduced, as of January 1, 2020 (subject to transition periods), a limit of 32mg/100ml.  Caffeine limit restrictions or restrictions on combining caffeine with other ingredients or in particular product sectors (such as performance beverages/sport drinks) have also been implemented or proposed in other jurisdictions, including Turkey, India and Pakistan’s Punjab region. Such restrictions

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could require reformulations of certain of our products. However, we may not be able to satisfactorily reformulate our products in all jurisdictions that adopt similar legislation.

Limitations on Container Size. We package our products in a variety of different package types and sizes including, for certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, aluminum cans larger than 16 fluid ounces. Certain jurisdictions, such as the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Yemen, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, are considering container size limitations on energy drinks and other beverages which may require us to change the size of our products sold in these countries.  Other countries, like England, have considered and rejected proposed can size limitations although it is open to such markets to revisit these and other similar proposals.

Compliance with Environmental Laws

Our facilities in the United States are subject to federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. Our operations in other countries are subject to similar laws and regulations that may be applicable in such countries. Compliance with these provisions has not had, nor do we expect such compliance to have, any material adverse effect upon our capital expenditures, net income or competitive position.

Container Deposits. Various municipalities, states and foreign countries require that a deposit be charged for certain non-refillable beverage containers. The precise requirements imposed by these measures vary by jurisdiction. Other deposit, recycling or product stewardship proposals have been, and may in the future be, introduced in certain U.S. states, counties, municipalities and in certain foreign countries.

In California, we are required to collect redemption values from our customers and to remit such redemption values to the State of California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery based upon the number of cans and bottles of certain carbonated and non-carbonated products sold. In certain other states and countries where our products are sold, we are also required to collect deposits from our customers and to remit such deposits to the respective jurisdictions based upon the number of cans and bottles of certain carbonated and non-carbonated products sold in such states.

Employees

As of December 31, 2019, we employed a total of 3,529 employees, of which 2,655 were employed on a full-time basis. Of our 3,529 employees, we employed 1,107 in administrative and operational capacities and 2,422 persons in sales and marketing capacities.

Available Information

As a public company, we are required to file our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements on Schedule 14A and other information (including any amendments) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).  You can find the Company’s SEC filings at the SEC’s website, which contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, at http://www.sec.gov.

Our Internet address is www.monsterbevcorp.com.  Information contained on our website is not part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Our SEC filings (including any amendments) will be made available free of charge at www.monsterbevcorp.com, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to,

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the SEC. In addition, you may request a copy of these filings (excluding exhibits) at no cost by writing to, or telephoning us, at the following address or telephone number:

Monster Beverage Corporation

1 Monster Way

Corona, CA 92879

(951) 739-6200

(800) 426-7367

ITEM 1A.        RISK FACTORS

In addition to the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and the consolidated financial statements and related notes, you should carefully consider the following risks. If any of the following risks actually occur or continue to occur, our business, reputation, financial condition and/or operating results could be materially adversely affected. The risk factors summarized below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition and/or operating results.

The Company and TCCC have extensive commercial arrangements and, as a result, the Company’s future performance is substantially dependent on the success of its relationship with TCCC.

We have transitioned all third parties’ rights to distribute the Company’s products in the U.S. to members of TCCC’s distribution network, which largely consists of independent bottlers/distributors. In addition, TCCC has become our preferred distribution partner globally with members of TCCC’s network distributing our products internationally, including in Africa, Asia, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. As we continue our international expansion, we expect TCCC’s distribution network to continue as our preferred distribution partner globally. As a result, we have reduced our distributor diversification and are now substantially dependent on TCCC’s domestic and international distribution platforms.

TCCC has a substantial equity investment in the Company. The Company, TCCC and certain affiliates are parties to various agreements in which TCCC and certain affiliates have agreed, subject to certain exceptions, not to compete in the energy drink category in certain territories prior to the termination of the applicable distribution coordination agreement with TCCC. The Company’s distribution agreements with TCCC distributors also provide, subject to certain exceptions, that the applicable distributor will not distribute competitive energy drink products.

While we believe that these agreements incentivize TCCC to take steps to ensure that our products receive the appropriate attention in the TCCC distribution system, there can be no assurance of this as disagreements as to the interpretation of the provisions in such agreements may arise and TCCC is a much larger company with many strategic priorities. In October 2018, the Company and TCCC mutually agreed to submit to arbitration before the American Arbitration Association the issue of whether TCCC is permitted to manufacture, market, sell or distribute three energy drink products it developed.  On June 28, 2019, the arbitration tribunal issued a final award in favor of TCCC.  TCCC launched Coca-Cola Energy in Europe in 2019 and in the United States in 2020.  As TCCC proceeds to launch Coca-Cola Energy in additional territories, we may encounter difficulties in maintaining distributor attention, market share or position in the energy drink category in such territories, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.

In addition, TCCC does not control all members of its distribution system, many of which are independent companies that make their own business decisions that may not always align with TCCC’s interests. Moreover, it is possible that we may fail to recognize the expected benefits of the new distribution arrangements regardless of TCCC’s priorities or the priorities of the members of TCCC’s distribution system.

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We derive virtually all of our revenues from energy drinks, and competitive pressure in the energy drink category could adversely affect our business and operating results.

Our focus is in the energy drink category, and our business is vulnerable to adverse changes impacting the energy drink category and business, which could adversely impact our business and the trading price of our common stock.

Virtually all of our sales are derived from our energy drinks, including our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, our Reign Total Body FuelTM energy drinks and our Strategic Brands energy drinks (including our affordable brand energy drinks, principally Predator®). Any decrease in the sales of our Monster Energy® brand and other energy drinks could significantly adversely affect our future revenues and net income. Historically, we have experienced substantial competition from new entrants in the energy drink category as well as from the energy shot category. Domestically, our energy drinks compete directly with Red Bull, Rockstar, Amp, Venom, VPX Redline, Xenergy, Xyience, MiO Energy, Rip It, Starbucks Doubleshot, Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Plus Coffee, Starbucks Tripleshot, Costa Coffee, Nescafe, Rockstar Roasted, VPX Bang, V8+ Energy, UPTIME, hi*ball, CELSIUS, C4, Quake, Adrenaline Shoc, Coca-Cola Energy, 5-Hour Energy Shots, Stacker 2, and many other brands.  In addition, certain large companies, such as PepsiCo, market and/or distribute products in that market segment, such as Pepsi Max, Gatorade Bolt 24, Mountain Dew, Mountain Dew Amp Game Fuel and Mountain Dew Kickstart.

Internationally, our energy drinks compete with Red Bull (including non-carbonated Red Bull in China and Asia), Rockstar, V-Energy, Lucozade, Coca-Cola Energy and numerous local and private-label brands that usually differ from country to country, such as HELL, Amper, Shock, Tiger, Boost, Speed, TNT, Shark, Hot 6, Shark Energy, Dragon, Score, Sting, Battery, Bullit, Flash Up, Black, Non-Stop, Bomba, Semtex, Vive 100, Dark Dog, Guarana, M-150, Lipovitan, Bacchus, Volt, Bolt, Mr. Big, Boom, Raptor, Amp, Fusion, Hi-Tiger, Eastroc Super Drink, Carabao, Power Horse, XL, Crazy Tiger, Effect, Missile, NOCCO, Adrenaline Rush, Real Gold, War Horse, BLU and a host of other international brands.

Our Java Monster®, Espresso Monster®  and Caffé Monster® product lines compete directly with Starbucks Frappuccino, Starbucks Doubleshot, Starbucks Doubleshot Energy Plus Coffee, Starbucks Tripleshot and other Starbucks coffee drinks, Costa Coffee, Nescafe, Douwe Egberts Coffee, Emmi CAFFÈ, Bang Keto Coffee, Rockstar Roasted, Dunkin Donuts, Gold Peak Tea, Stok, High Brew, McCafé, hi*ball and International Delight.

Our Muscle Monster® product line competes directly with Muscle Milk, Core Power, Premier Protein, Kellogg’s Special K Protein, Bolthouse Farms Protein, EAS AdvantEDGE, EAS Myoplex, Gatorade G Series 03 Recover and PowerBar.

Our Monster Hydro® and Monster HydroSport Super Fuel® product lines compete directly with Vitamin Water, Sparkling Ice, Bai, Propel, Vita Coco, Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade Bolt 24 and BODYARMOR.

Our Reign Total Body FuelTM and Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel high performance energy drinks compete with VPX Bang, Adrenaline Shoc, C4, Quake, Rockstar XDURANCE and CELSIUS in the performance energy category.

The increasing number of competitive products and limited amount of shelf space in retail stores may adversely impact our ability to gain or maintain our share of sales in the marketplace. In addition, certain actions of our competitors, including unsubstantiated and/or misleading claims, false advertising claims and tortious interference in our business, as well as competitors selling misbranded products, could impact our sales. Competitive pressures in the energy drink category could impact our revenues, cause price erosion and/or lower market share, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

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The Company, in several markets, owns multiple potentially competing brands in the energy drink category, which could adversely impact our business and results of operations in those markets.

Our various Monster Energy® brand energy drinks compete with one another, and, in several markets, our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks and Strategic Brands compete with each other. We may encounter difficulties managing different and potentially competing brands in such shared markets, which could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

TCCC is a significant shareholder of the Company and may have interests that are different from the Company’s other shareholders (including current shareholders of the Company).

As of February 20, 2020, TCCC owned common shares of the Company representing approximately 19% of the total number of the Company’s outstanding common shares. TCCC has also nominated one director to the Company’s board of directors.

TCCC’s ownership could also have an effect on the Company’s ability to engage in a change in control transaction. TCCC is obligated for a period of time to vote all of its common shares of the Company in excess of 20% of the outstanding common shares in the same proportion as all common shares not owned by TCCC with respect to a proposal for a change of control. However, if TCCC were to oppose such a change-in-control transaction, a bidder would be required to secure the support of holders of 62.5% of the Company’s common shares not owned by TCCC (assuming that TCCC increased its ownership to 20% of the Company’s common shares) to achieve a vote of a majority of the Company’s outstanding shares for a change-in-control transaction. In addition, TCCC would have a bidding advantage if the Company’s board of directors were to seek to sell the Company in the future because TCCC would not need to pay a control premium on the shares it owns at such time. TCCC and the Company would also be permitted to terminate TCCC’s distribution coordination agreements with the Company after a change in control of the Company. In such event, TCCC would receive a termination fee if TCCC terminated the distribution coordination agreements following a change in control of the Company involving certain TCCC competitors, or if the Company terminated following a change in control of the Company involving any third-party.

The interests of TCCC may be different from or conflict with the interests of the Company’s other shareholders and, as a result, TCCC’s influence may result in the delay or prevention of potential actions or transactions, including a potential change of management or control of the Company, even if such action or transaction may be beneficial to the Company’s other shareholders. Moreover, TCCC’s ownership of a significant amount of the Company’s outstanding common shares could result in downward pressure on the trading price of the Company’s common shares if TCCC were to sell a large portion of its shares or as a result of the perception that such a sale might occur.

Changes in government regulation, or failure to comply with existing regulations, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Legislation has been proposed and/or adopted at the U.S. federal, state and/or municipal level and proposed and/or adopted in certain foreign jurisdictions to restrict the sale of energy drinks (including, prohibiting the sale of energy drinks at certain establishments or pursuant to certain governmental programs), limit the content of caffeine and other ingredients in beverages, require certain product labeling disclosures and/or warnings, impose excise taxes, limit product size or impose age restrictions for the sale of energy drinks. For a discussion of certain of such legislation, see “Part I, Item 1 – Business – Government Regulation.” Furthermore, additional legislation may be introduced in the United States and other countries at the federal, state, local and municipal level in respect of each of the foregoing subject areas.  For instance, on January 1, 2020, a reform to a Mexican excise tax went into effect that expanded the definition of an “energy drink” subject to this tax to include products with any amount of caffeine (the prior version of the tax required a threshold of 20 milligrams of caffeine per 100 millimeters for the tax to be applicable) and “taurine or glucuronolactone or thiamine and/or any other substance that produces similar stimulating effects.”  Public health officials and health advocates are increasingly focused on the

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public health consequences associated with obesity, especially as it affects children, and are seeking legislative change to reduce the consumption of sweetened beverages.  There also has been increased focus on caffeine content in beverages, and we are seeing some attention to other ingredients in energy drinks. To the extent any such legislation is enacted in one or more jurisdictions where a significant amount of our products are sold, individually or in the aggregate, it could result in a reduction in demand for, or availability of, our energy drinks, and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The production, distribution and sale in the United States of many of our products are also currently subject to various federal and state regulations, including, but not limited to: the FD&C Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Act; various environmental statutes; data privacy laws; California Proposition 65; and various other federal, state and local statutes and regulations applicable to the production, transportation, sale, safety, advertising, labeling and ingredients of such products. Outside the United States, the production, distribution and sale of many of our products are also subject to numerous statutes and regulations.  If a regulatory authority finds that a current or future product, its label, or a production run is not in compliance with any of these regulations, we may be fined, or the products in question may have to be recalled, removed from the market, reformulated and/or have the packaging changed, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We cannot predict the effect of possible inquiries from and/or actions by attorneys general, other government agencies and/or quasi-government agencies into the production, advertising, marketing, promotion, labeling, ingredients, usage and/or sale of our energy drink products.

We are subject to the risks of investigations and/or enforcement actions by state attorneys general and/or other government and/or quasi-governmental agencies relating to the advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and/or sale of our energy drinks, and we are a party, from time to time, to various government and regulatory inquiries and/or proceedings.  Defending these proceedings can result in significant ongoing expenditures and the diversion of our management’s time and attention from the operation of our business, which could have a negative effect on our business operations.

In addition, from time to time, government and/or quasi-governmental agencies may investigate the safety of caffeine and energy drinks. For example, in January 2013, the Company received and responded to inquiries from U.S. legislators in response to FDA’s investigation into the safety of caffeine in food products, particularly its effects on children and adolescents. These legislators ultimately released a report in January 2015, recommending, inter alia, that the energy drink industry not market to consumers under the age of 18 and not market their products for hydration, and that the FDA develop and release definitions and guidance for this market sector.  In addition, other organizations, such as the European Food Safety Authority, have also published reports, studies, articles and opinions on caffeine and energy drinks.  If an inquiry by a state attorney general or other government or quasi-government agency finds that our products and/or the advertising, marketing, promotion, ingredients, usage and/or sale of such products are not in compliance with applicable laws or regulations, we may become subject to fines, product reformulations, container changes, changes in the usage or sale of our energy drink products and/or changes in our advertising, marketing and promotion practices, each of which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Litigation regarding our products, and related unfavorable media attention, could expose us to significant liabilities and reduce demand for our products, thus negatively affecting our financial results.

We have been and are a party, from time to time, to various litigation claims and legal proceedings, including, but not limited to, intellectual property, fraud, unfair business practices, false advertising, product liability, breach of contract claims, securities actions and shareholder derivative actions.  In particular, we have been and are currently named as a defendant in personal injury lawsuits which allege that consumption of our products has been responsible for wrongful deaths and/or injuries. We do not believe that our products are responsible for such wrongful deaths and/or injuries, and we intend to vigorously defend such lawsuits.

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Other lawsuits have been filed against us claiming that certain statements made in our advertisements and/or on the labels of our products were false and/or misleading or otherwise not in compliance with food standards under local law, and/or that our products are not safe. Putative class action lawsuits have also been filed against certain of our competitors asserting that certain claims in their advertisements amount to false advertising.  We do not believe any statements made by us in our promotional materials or set forth on our product labels are false or misleading or noncompliant with local law, or that our products are in any way unsafe and we vigorously defend these lawsuits.

Any of the foregoing matters or other litigation, the threat thereof, or unfavorable media attention arising from pending or threatened product-related litigation could consume significant financial and managerial resources and result in decreased demand for our products, significant monetary awards against us, an injunction barring the sale of any of our products and injury to our reputation.  Our failure to successfully defend or settle any litigation or legal proceedings could result in liabilities that, to the extent not covered by our insurance, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, revenue and profitability, and could cause the market value of our common stock to decline.

Criticism of our energy drink products and/or criticism or a negative perception of energy drinks generally, could adversely affect us.

An unfavorable report on the health effects of caffeine, or criticism or negative publicity regarding the caffeine content and/or any other ingredients in our products or energy drinks generally, including product safety concerns, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Articles critical of the caffeine content and/or other ingredients in energy drinks and/or articles indicating certain health risks of energy drinks have been published in recent years. We believe the overall growth of the energy drink market in the U.S. may have been negatively impacted by the ongoing negative publicity and comments that continue to appear in the media questioning the safety of energy drinks, and suggesting limitations on their ingredients (including caffeine), and/or the levels thereof, and/or imposing minimum age restrictions for consumers. In early 2018, certain retailers in the United Kingdom announced the introduction of voluntary retailer measures to prevent the sale of energy drinks to individuals under the age of 16. If reports, studies or articles critical of caffeine and/or energy drinks continue to be published or are published in the future, or additional voluntary measures are taken, they could adversely affect the demand for our products.

Increased competition in the beverage industry and changing retail landscape could hurt our business.

The beverage industry is highly competitive. The principal areas of competition are pricing, packaging, development of new products, flavors, product positioning as well as promotion and marketing strategies. Our products compete with a wide range of drinks produced by a relatively large number of manufacturers, some of which have substantially greater financial, marketing and distribution resources than we do.

Important factors affecting our ability to compete successfully include the taste and flavor of our products, trade and consumer promotions, rapid and effective development of new and unique cutting edge products, attractive and different packaging, branded product advertising and pricing. Our products compete with all liquid refreshments and in some cases with products of much larger and substantially better financed competitors, including the products of numerous nationally and internationally known producers such as TCCC, PepsiCo, Red Bull GmbH and KDP. We also compete with companies that are smaller or primarily national or local in operations. Our products also compete with private-label brands such as those carried by grocery store chains, convenience store chains and club stores.

The rapid growth in sales through e-commerce retailers, e-commerce websites, mobile commerce applications and subscription services, and closures of physical retail operations, may result in a shift away from physical retail operations to digital channels and a reduction in impulse purchases.  As we build our e-commerce capabilities, we may not be able to develop and maintain successful relationships with existing and new e-commerce retailers without experiencing a deterioration of our relationships with key customers operating physical retail channels.  Further, the ability of consumers to compare prices on a real-time basis using digital technology puts additional pressure on us to maintain competitive prices.  

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Sales in gas chains may also be affected by improvements in fuel efficiency and increased consumer preferences for electric or alternative fuel-powered vehicles, which may result in fewer trips by consumers to gas stations and a corresponding reduction in purchases by consumers in convenience gas retailers. If we are unable to successfully adapt to the rapidly changing retail landscape, our share of sales, volume growth and overall financial results could be negatively affected.

Due to competition in the beverage industry, there can be no assurance that we will not encounter difficulties in maintaining our current revenues, market share or position in the beverage industry. If our revenues decline, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our inability to innovate successfully and to provide new cutting edge products could adversely affect our business and financial results.

Our ability to compete in the highly competitive beverage industry and to achieve our business growth objectives depends, in part, on our ability to develop new flavors, products and packaging. The success of our innovation, in turn, depends on our ability to identify consumer trends and cater to consumer preferences. If we are not successful in our innovation activities, our business, financial condition and results of operation could be adversely affected.

Uncertainty in the financial markets and other adverse changes in general economic or political conditions in any of the major countries in which we do business could adversely affect our industry, business and results of operations.

Global economic uncertainties, including foreign currency exchange rates, affect businesses such as ours in a number of ways, making it difficult to accurately forecast and plan our future business activities. There can be no assurance that economic improvements will occur, or that they would be sustainable, or that they would enhance conditions in markets relevant to us. In addition, we cannot predict the duration and severity of disruptions in any of our markets or the impact they may have on our customers or business, as our expansion outside of the United States has increased our exposure to any developments or crises in African, Asian, European and other international markets. Unfavorable economic conditions and financial uncertainties in our major international markets and unstable political conditions, including civil unrest and governmental changes, in certain of our other international markets could undermine global consumer confidence and reduce consumers’ purchasing power, thereby reducing demand for our products.  Included in the foregoing are uncertainties surrounding the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on January 31, 2020 (commonly referred to as “Brexit”) and any resulting increases in tariffs, importation restrictions, out of stocks, volatility in currency exchange rates, including the valuation of the euro and the British pound in particular, changes in the laws and regulations applied in the United Kingdom or impacts on economic and market conditions in the United Kingdom, the European Union and its member states and elsewhere.

Changes in consumer product and shopping preferences may reduce demand for some of our products.

The beverage industry is subject to changing consumer preferences and shifts in consumer preferences may adversely affect us. There is increasing awareness of and concern for health, wellness and nutrition considerations, including concerns regarding caloric intake associated with sugar-sweetened beverages and the perceived undesirability of artificial ingredients. Some consumer advocacy groups and others have expressed concerns regarding certain ingredients in diet sodas, which are contained in certain of our energy drinks.  This may reduce demand for our beverages, which could reduce our revenues and adversely affect our results of operations.

Consumers are seeking greater variety in their beverages. Our future success will depend, in part, upon our continued ability to develop and introduce different and innovative beverages that appeal to consumers. In order to retain and expand our market share, we must continue to develop and introduce different and innovative beverages and be competitive in the areas of taste, quality and price, although there can be no assurance of our ability to do so. There is no assurance that consumers will continue to purchase our products in the future. Product lifecycles for some beverage brands, products and/or packages may be limited to a few years before consumers’ preferences change. The beverages we currently

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market are in varying stages of their product lifecycles, and there can be no assurance that such beverages will become or remain profitable for us. We may be unable to achieve volume growth through product and packaging initiatives. We may also be unable to penetrate new markets. Additionally, as shopping patterns are being affected by the digital evolution, with customers embracing shopping by way of mobile device applications, e-commerce retailers and e-commerce websites or platforms, we may be unable to address or anticipate changes in consumer shopping preferences. If our revenues decline, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our continued expansion outside of the United States exposes us to uncertain conditions and other risks in international markets.

We have continued expanding our operations internationally into a variety of new markets, including launches in China and various African and Middle Eastern countries. Our gross sales to customers outside of the United States were approximately 33%, 31% and 28% of consolidated gross sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. As our growth strategy includes further expanding our international business, if we are unable to continue to expand distribution of our products outside the United States, our growth rate could be adversely affected. In many international markets, we have limited operating experience and in some international markets we have no operating experience. It is costly to establish, develop and maintain international operations and develop and promote our brands in international markets. Our percentage gross profit margins in many international markets are expected to be less than the comparable percentage gross profit margins obtained in the United States. We face and will continue to face substantial risks associated with having foreign operations, including: economic and/or political instability in our international markets; unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates; restrictions on or costs relating to the repatriation of foreign profits to the United States, including possible taxes and/or withholding obligations on any repatriations; and tariffs and/or trade restrictions. These risks could have a significant impact on our ability to sell our products on a competitive basis in international markets and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, our operations outside of the United States are subject to risks relating to appropriate compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in local jurisdictions, potential difficulties in staffing and managing local operations, higher product damages, particularly when products are shipped long distances, potentially higher incidence of fraud and/or corruption, credit risk of local customers and distributors and potentially adverse tax consequences.

Global or regional catastrophic events could impact our operations and affect our ability to grow our business.

Because of our increasingly global presence, our business could be affected by unstable political conditions, civil unrest, large-scale terrorist acts, especially those directed against the United States or other major industrialized countries where our products are distributed, the outbreak or escalation of armed hostilities, major natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, earthquakes or floods, or widespread outbreaks of infectious diseases.  Such catastrophic events could impact our operations and our supply chain, including the production and/or distribution of our products.  Materials and/or personnel may need to mobilize to other locations. Our headquarters and a large part of our operations are located in California, a state at greater risk of earthquakes and wildfires.  Some of the raw materials we use, including certain sizes of cans, are available from limited suppliers, and a regional catastrophic event impacting such suppliers could adversely impact our operations.  In addition, such events could disrupt global or regional economic activity, which could affect consumer purchasing power and consumers’ ability to purchase our products, thereby reducing demand for our products. If our operations are disrupted or we are unable to grow our business as a result of these factors, our growth rate could decline and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our business and operations, and the operations of our suppliers, may be adversely affected by the recent coronavirus (or COVID-19) outbreak.

We and our suppliers currently globally source certain ingredients for our products from third-party manufacturers in Wuhan (Hubei Province) and other parts of China, manufacture finished goods through third-party bottlers and co-packers

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in China and have employees in China.  The recent outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus (or COVID-19), and other adverse public health developments, could adversely affect our business and cause disruptions due to the closure or suspension of activities at such third-party manufacturers as well as at our co-packing facilities and our China office. Certain aspects of our operations currently in China may need to be moved, even temporarily, to other locations.  In addition, the outbreak, together with any accompanying special government measures, including general movement restrictions, travel restrictions and business closures imposed to slow its spread, could adversely impact the growth of our business in China and affect demand for our products, negatively impacting our results of operations and financial condition.

Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates may adversely affect our operating results.

We are exposed to foreign currency exchange rate risk with respect to our sales, expenses, profits, assets and liabilities denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. We may enter into forward currency exchange contracts with financial institutions to create an economic hedge to specifically manage a portion of the foreign exchange risk exposure associated with certain consolidated subsidiaries’ non-functional currency denominated assets and liabilities. We have not used instruments to hedge against all foreign currency risks and are therefore not protected against all foreign currency fluctuations. As a result, our reported earnings may be affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Moreover, any favorable impacts to profit margins or financial results from fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates are likely to be unsustainable over time. Foreign currency transaction losses were $4.1 million, $4.0 million and $3.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Default by or failure of one or more of our counterparty financial institutions could cause us to incur significant losses.

As part of any hedging activities that we may conduct, we may enter into transactions involving derivative financial instruments, including forward contracts, commodity futures contracts, option contracts, collars and swaps, with various financial institutions. We also have significant amounts of cash, cash equivalents and other investments on deposit or in accounts with banks or other financial institutions both in the United States and abroad, exposing us to risk of default by or failure of such counterparty financial institutions. This risk of counterparty default or failure is greater during periods of economic downturn or uncertainty in financial markets. If one of our counterparties became insolvent or filed for bankruptcy, our ability to recover losses incurred due to the default or to retrieve assets deposited or held in accounts with such counterparty may be limited by the counterparty’s liquidity or applicable laws governing insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings. Default by or failure of one or more of our counterparties could cause us to incur significant losses and negatively impact our results of operations and financial condition.

We rely on bottlers and other contract packers to manufacture our products. If we are unable to maintain good relationships with our bottlers and contract packers and/or their ability to manufacture our products becomes constrained or unavailable to us, our business could suffer.

Our acquisition of AFF in 2016 brought our primary flavor supplier in-house for the majority of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. However, we also procure flavors from other independent flavor suppliers. We do not manufacture finished goods, but instead outsource manufacturing of our finished goods to bottlers and other contract packers. As a result, in the event of a disruption and/or delay, we may be unable to procure alternative packing facilities at commercially reasonable rates and/or within a reasonably short time period. In addition, there are limited alternative packing facilities in our domestic and international markets with adequate capacity and/or suitable equipment for many of our products, including certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks, our Muscle Monster® product line, our Java Monster® product line, our Espresso Monster® product line, our Caffé Monster® product line, our Monster Hydro® product line and certain of our other products. For example, in recent years, sales of our Java Monster® and Muscle Monster® product lines were adversely impacted by production capacity constraints resulting from production and maintenance issues with certain of our co-packers. While this disruption in production did not significantly affect our revenues, a lengthy disruption or delay in the production of any of our products could significantly adversely affect our revenues from such products, because alternative co-packing facilities in the United States and abroad with adequate long-

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term capacity may not be available for such products either at commercially reasonable rates and/or costs and/or within a reasonably short time period, if at all. In addition, recently there has been a consolidation of co-packers.  If we are unable to maintain good relationships with our largest co-packers, or if our costs of co-packing increase, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

We rely on bottlers and distributors to distribute our products. If we are unable to maintain good relationships with our existing bottlers and distributors and/or secure such bottlers and distributors, our business could suffer.

Many of our bottlers/distributors are affiliated with and manufacture and/or distribute other soda, carbonated and non-carbonated brands and other beverage products (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). In many cases, such products compete directly with our products.

Unilateral decisions could be taken by our bottlers/distributors, convenience and gas chains, grocery chains, specialty chain stores, club stores and other customers to discontinue carrying certain or all of our products that they are carrying at any time, which could cause our business to suffer.

The TCCC North American Bottlers, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and Coca-Cola İçecek are our primary domestic and international distributors of our products. As a result, if we are unable to maintain good relationships with the TCCC North American Bottlers, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and/or Coca-Cola İçecek; or if the TCCC North American Bottlers, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa and/or Coca-Cola İçecek; do not effectively focus on marketing, promoting, selling and distributing our products, sales of our products could be adversely affected. As TCCC proceeds to launch Coca-Cola Energy in additional territories, we may encounter difficulties in maintaining distributor attention, market share or position in the energy drink category in such territories, which could adversely affect our business and operating results.

A decision by certain TCCC North American Bottlers (including Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. and Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC), Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Coca-Cola İçecek, Wal-Mart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club), or any other large customer to decrease the amount purchased from us or to cease carrying our products could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and consolidated results of operations.

The marketing efforts of our distributors are important for our success. If our brands prove to be less attractive to our existing bottlers and distributors, if we fail to attract additional bottlers and distributors, and/or our bottlers/distributors do not market, promote and distribute our products effectively, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Increases in costs and/or shortages of raw materials and/or ingredients and/or fuel and/or costs of co-packing could harm our business.

The principal raw materials used by us are aluminum cans, sleek aluminum cans, aluminum cap cans, aluminum cans with re-sealable ends, PET plastic bottles, caps, flavors, juice concentrates, glucose, sugar, sucralose, milk, cream, protein, coffee, tea, cocoa, supplement ingredients and other packaging materials, the costs and availability of which are subject to fluctuations. For certain flavors purchased from third-party suppliers and used in a limited number of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks and/or our Strategic Brands energy drinks, these third-party flavor suppliers own the proprietary rights to certain of their flavor formulas. We do not have possession of the list of such flavor ingredients or formulas used in the production of certain of our products and certain of our blended concentrates, and we may be unable to obtain comparable flavors or concentrates from alternative suppliers on short notice. Our third-party flavor suppliers

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generally do not make such flavors and/or blended concentrates available to other third-party customers. We have identified alternative suppliers for certain of the ingredients contained in many of our beverages. However, industry-wide shortages of certain flavors, fruits and fruit juices, coffee, tea, cocoa, dairy-based products, supplement ingredients and sweeteners have been, and could from time to time in the future be, encountered, which could interfere with and/or delay production of certain of our products. Ingredient sourcing delays following the coronavirus (or COVID-19) outbreak could also interfere with and/or delay production of certain of our products. In addition, certain of our co-packing arrangements allow such co-packers to increase their fees based on certain of their own cost increases. We are uncertain whether the prices of any of the above or any other raw materials or ingredients, certain of which have recently risen, will continue to rise or may rise in the future. We are unsure whether we will be able to pass any of such increases on to our customers. Although we generally do not use hedging agreements or alternative instruments to manage the risks associated with securing sufficient ingredients or raw materials, from time to time, we, through our aluminum can suppliers, enter into purchase agreements for the purchase of aluminum, as well as enter into purchase agreements for portions of our annual anticipated requirements for certain of our other raw materials such as glucose, sugar and sucralose. In 2018, the United States imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum as well as on goods imported from China and certain other countries.  Additional tariffs imposed by the United States on a broader range of imports, or further retaliatory trade measures taken by China or other countries in response, could result in an increase in supply chain costs.

Our failure to accurately estimate demand for our products could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We may not correctly estimate demand for our existing products and/or new products. Our ability to estimate demand for our products is imprecise, particularly with regard to new products, and may be less precise during periods of rapid growth, particularly in new markets. If we materially underestimate demand for our products or are unable to secure sufficient ingredients or raw materials including, but not limited to, aluminum cans, aluminum cap cans, sleek aluminum cans, aluminum cans with re-sealable ends, PET plastic bottles, caps, labels, sucralose, flavors, supplement ingredients, juice concentrates, certain sweeteners, coffee, tea, cocoa, protein and packaging materials or experience difficulties with our co-packing arrangements, including production shortages or quality issues, we might not be able to satisfy demand on a short-term basis. Moreover, industry-wide shortages of certain juice concentrates, supplement ingredients and sweeteners have been and could, from time to time in the future, be experienced, resulting in production fluctuations and/or product shortages. We generally do not use hedging agreements or alternative instruments to manage this risk. Such shortages could interfere with and/or delay production of certain of our products and could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

If we do not maintain sufficient inventory levels, if we are unable to deliver our products to our customers in sufficient quantities, and/or if our customers’ or retailers’ inventory levels are too high, our operating results could be adversely affected.

If we do not accurately anticipate the future demand for a particular product or the time it will take to obtain new inventory, our inventory levels may be inadequate and our results of operations may be negatively impacted. If we fail to meet our shipping schedules, we could damage our relationships with distributors and/or retailers, increase our distribution costs and/or cause sales opportunities to be delayed or lost. In order to be able to deliver our products on a timely basis, we need to maintain adequate inventory levels of the desired products. If the inventory of our products held by our distributors and/or retailers is too high, they will not place orders for additional products, which could unfavorably impact our future sales and adversely affect our operating results.

The costs of packaging supplies are subject to price increases from time to time, and we may be unable to pass all or some of such increased costs on to our customers.

Many of our packaging supply contracts allow our suppliers to alter the costs they charge us for packaging supplies based on changes in the costs of the underlying commodities that are used to produce those packaging supplies, such as aluminum for cans, PET plastic for bottles and pulp and paper for cartons and/or trays. These changes in the prices we pay

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for our packaging supplies occur at certain predetermined times that vary by product and supplier. In some cases, we are able to fix the prices of certain packaging supplies and/or commodities for a reasonable period. In other cases, we bear the risk of increases in the costs of these packaging supplies, including the underlying costs of the commodities that comprise these packaging supplies. We do not use derivative instruments to manage this risk. If the costs of these packaging supplies increase, we may be unable to pass these costs along to our customers through corresponding adjustments to the prices we charge, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our intellectual property rights are critical to our success, and the loss of such rights could materially adversely affect our business.

We own numerous trademarks that are very important to our business. We also own the copyright in, and to, a portion of the content on the packaging of our products. We regard our trademarks, copyrights and similar intellectual property as critical to our success and attempt to protect such intellectual property through registration and enforcement actions. However, there can be no assurance that other parties will not infringe or misappropriate our trademarks, copyrights and similar proprietary rights. In 2019, Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“VPX”) announced its intention to launch its own line of “Reign”-branded energy drinks in 16-ounce cans to be sold in convenience stores.  We filed an expedited motion for a preliminary injunction to stop this product launch and to prevent this infringement of our trademarks, and in January 2020 the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation that the injunction be granted in our favor.  A number of proceedings are currently ongoing to adjudicate claims, including claims for false advertising and trademark infringement, brought by the Company against VPX and by VPX against the Company.  Certain proceedings could result in an injunction barring us from selling “Reign Total Body Fuel” branded energy drinks and/or require changes to be made to our current trade dress.  If we lose some or all of our intellectual property rights, or an injunction prevents us from selling any of our products, our business may be materially adversely affected.

Negative publicity (whether or not warranted) concerning product safety or quality, human and workplace rights, obesity or other issues could damage our brand image and corporate reputation, and may cause our business to suffer.

Our success depends on our ability to build and maintain the brand image for our existing products, new products and brand extensions and maintain our corporate reputation. There can be no assurance that our advertising, marketing and promotional programs and our commitment to product safety and quality and human rights will have the desired impact on our products’ brand image and on consumer preferences and demand. Product safety, quality and/or ingredient content issues, efficacy or lack thereof (real or imagined), our environmental impact, or allegations of product contamination, even if false or unfounded, could tarnish the image of the affected brands and may cause consumers to choose other products. Consumer demand for our products could diminish significantly if we, our employees,  bottlers/distributors, suppliers or business partners fail to preserve the quality of our products, act or are perceived to act in an unethical, illegal, discriminatory, unequal or socially irresponsible manner, including with respect to the sourcing, content or sale of our products, service and treatment of our customers, or the use of customer data.  Furthermore, our brand image or perceived product quality could be adversely affected by litigation, unfavorable reports in the media (internet or elsewhere), studies in general and regulatory or other governmental inquiries (in each case whether involving our products or those of our competitors) and proposed or new legislation affecting our industry.  Negative postings or comments on social media or networking websites about the Company or any one of our brands, even if inaccurate or malicious, could generate adverse publicity that could damage the reputation of our brands or the Company.  Business incidents, whether isolated or recurring and whether originating from us, our bottlers/distributors, suppliers or business partners, that erode consumer trust can significantly reduce brand value or potentially trigger boycotts of our products and can have a negative impact on our reputation and financial results.  The impact of such incidents may be exacerbated if they receive considerable publicity, including rapidly through social or digital media (including for malicious reasons) or result in litigation.

In addition, from time to time, there are public policy endeavors that are either directly related to our products and packaging or to our business. These public policy debates can occasionally be the subject of backlash from advocacy groups

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that have a differing point of view and could result in adverse media and consumer reaction, including product boycotts. Similarly, our sponsorship relationships could subject us to negative publicity as a result of actual or alleged misconduct by individuals or entities associated with organizations we sponsor or support.  Likewise, campaigns by activists connecting us, or our supply chain, with human and workplace rights or animal rights issues could adversely impact our corporate image and reputation. We have made a number of commitments to respect human rights, including the policies and initiatives described in our California Transparency in Supply Chains Act & United Kingdom Modern Slavery Act statement, available on our website at www.monsterbevcorp.com/sr-transparency.php. Allegations, even if untrue, that we are not respecting one or more of the 30 human rights found in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights; actual or perceived failure by our suppliers or other business partners to comply with applicable labor and workplace rights laws, including child labor laws, or their actual or perceived abuse or misuse of migrant workers; and adverse publicity surrounding obesity and health concerns related to our products, water usage, environmental impact, labor relations or the like could negatively affect our Company’s overall reputation and brand image, which in turn could have a negative impact on our products’ acceptance by consumers.

If we encounter product recalls, our business may suffer and we may incur material losses.

We may be required from time to time to recall products entirely or from specific co-packers, markets, retailers or batches if such products become contaminated, damaged, mislabeled or otherwise materially non-compliant with applicable regulatory requirements. A material product recall could adversely affect our profitability and our brand image. We do not maintain recall insurance.

If we are not able to retain the full-time services of senior management, there may be an adverse effect on our operations and/or our operating performance until we find suitable replacements.

Our business is dependent, to a large extent, upon the services of our senior management. We do not maintain key person life insurance on any members of our senior management. The loss of services of either Rodney Sacks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hilton Schlosberg, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Financial Officer, or any other key members of our senior management could adversely affect our business until suitable replacements can be found. There may be a limited number of personnel with the requisite skills to serve in these positions, and we may be unable to locate or employ such qualified personnel on acceptable terms.

Climate change may negatively affect our business.

There is concern that a gradual increase in global average temperatures due to increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere could cause significant changes in weather patterns around the globe and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. While warmer weather has historically been associated with increased sales of our products, changing weather patterns could result in decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions, and/or outbreaks of diseases or other health issues, which may limit availability and/or increase the cost of certain key ingredients, juice concentrates, supplements and other ingredients used in our products and could impact the food security of communities around the world.  Increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions could also impair production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain (including, without limitation, the availability of, and/or result in higher prices for, juice concentrates, natural flavors and other ingredients) and/or impact demand for our products. Natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes or floods, may affect our operations and the operation of our supply chain, impact the operations of our bottlers/distributors and unfavorably impact our consumers’ ability to purchase our products. The predicted effects of climate change may also result in challenges regarding availability and quality of water, or less favorable pricing for water, which could adversely impact our business and results of operations. In addition, public expectations for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in increased energy, transportation and raw material costs, and may require us to make additional investments in facilities and equipment. As a result, the effects of climate change could have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations. Sales of our products may also be influenced to some extent by weather conditions in the markets in which we operate. We, our bottlers and our

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contract packers use a number of key ingredients in the manufacture of our beverage products that are derived from agricultural commodities such as sugar, coffee, tea and cocoa. Increased demand for food products and decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns and other factors may limit the availability or increase the cost of such agricultural commodities and could impact the food security of communities around the world.  Weather conditions may influence consumer demand for certain of our beverages, which could have an effect on our operations, either positively or negatively.

Potential changes in accounting standards or practices and/or taxation may adversely affect our financial results.

We cannot predict the impact that future changes in accounting standards or practices may have on our financial results. New accounting standards could be issued that change the way we record revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities. These changes in accounting standards could adversely affect our reported earnings. Increases in direct and indirect income tax rates could affect after-tax income. Equally, increases in indirect taxes (including environmental taxes pertaining to the disposal of beverage containers and/or indirect taxes on beverages generally or energy drinks in particular) could affect our products’ affordability and reduce our sales.

Fluctuations in our effective tax rate could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to income and other taxes in both the U.S. and certain foreign jurisdictions. Therefore, we are subject to audits for multiple tax years in various jurisdictions at once.

We are in various stages of examination with certain states and certain foreign jurisdictions including the United Kingdom and Ireland. Our 2016 through 2018 U.S. federal income tax returns are subject to examination by the IRS. Our state income tax returns are subject to examination for the 2014 through 2018 tax years.

At any given time, events may occur which change our expectation about how any such tax audits will be resolved and thus, there could be significant variability in our quarterly and/or annual tax rates, because these events may change our plans for uncertain tax positions.

Additional changes in the U.S. tax regime or the manner in which U.S. multinational corporations are taxed on foreign earnings, including changes in how existing tax laws are interpreted or enforced, could adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. For example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) has recommended changes to numerous long-standing international tax principles through its base erosion and profit shifting (“BEPS”) project. These changes, to the extent adopted, may increase tax uncertainty, result in higher compliance costs and adversely affect our provision for income taxes, results of operations and/or cash flow.  In connection with the OECD’s BEPS project, companies are required to disclose more information to tax authorities on operations around the world, which may lead to greater audit scrutiny of profits earned in various countries. Economic and political pressures to increase tax revenues in jurisdictions in which we operate, or the adoption of new or reformed tax legislation or regulation, may make resolving tax disputes more difficult and the final resolution of tax audits and any related litigation could differ from our historical provisions and accruals, resulting in an adverse impact on our financial condition or results of operations.

Volatility of stock price may restrict sale opportunities.

Our stock price is affected by a number of factors, including stockholder expectations, financial results, the introduction of new products by us and our competitors, general economic and market conditions, estimates and projections by the investment community and public comments by other parties as well as many other factors including litigation, many of which are beyond our control. We do not provide guidance on our future performance, including, but not limited to, our revenues, margins, product mix, operating expenses or net income. We may be unable to achieve analysts’ net revenue and/or earnings forecasts, which are based on their own projected revenues, sales volumes and sales mix of many product types and/or new products, certain of which are more profitable than others, as well as their own estimates of gross margin

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and operating expenses. There can be no assurance that we will achieve any such projected levels or mix of product sales, revenues, gross margins, operating profits and/or net income. As a result, our stock price is subject to significant volatility, and stockholders may not be able to sell our stock at attractive prices. In addition, periods of volatility in the market price of our stock could result in the initiation of securities class action litigation against us. During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, the high of our stock price was $66.38 and the low was $47.84.

Provisions in our organizational documents and control by insiders may prevent changes in control even if such changes would be beneficial to other stockholders.

Our organizational documents may limit changes in control. Furthermore, as of February 20, 2020, Mr. Sacks and Mr. Schlosberg together may be deemed to beneficially own and/or exercise voting control over approximately 10.1% of our outstanding common stock. As of February 20, 2020, TCCC owned approximately 19% of our common stock. Consequently, Mr. Sacks, Mr. Schlosberg and TCCC could exercise significant control over matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders, including electing directors, amending organizational documents and disapproving extraordinary transactions such as a takeover attempt, even though such actions may be favorable to the other common stockholders.

Our investments in marketable securities are subject to risks which may cause losses and affect the liquidity of these investments.

At December 31, 2019, we had $798.0 million in cash and cash equivalents and $546.0 million in short-term and long-term investments. We have historically invested these amounts in U.S. treasuries, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, U.S. government agency securities and municipal securities (which may have an auction reset feature), variable rate demand notes and money market funds meeting certain criteria. Certain of these investments are subject to general credit, liquidity, market and interest rate risks. These risks associated with our investment portfolio may have an adverse effect on our future results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.

We may be required to record a significant charge to earnings if our goodwill or intangible assets become impaired.

Under GAAP, we are required to review our intangible assets for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value may not be recoverable. Factors that may be considered a change in circumstances indicating that the carrying value of our intangible assets may not be recoverable include, declining or slower than anticipated growth rates for certain of our existing products, a decline in stock price and market capitalization, and slower growth rates in our industry.

We may be required to record a significant charge to earnings during the period in which we determine that our intangible assets have been impaired. Any such charge would adversely impact our results of operations. As of December 31, 2019, our goodwill totaled approximately $1.33 billion and other intangible assets totaled approximately $1.05 billion.

If we fail to maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting on a consolidated basis, our stock price and investor confidence in the Company could be materially and adversely affected.

We are required to maintain both disclosure controls and procedures as well as internal control over financial reporting that are effective for the purposes described in “Part II, Item 9A – Controls and Procedures.” If we fail to maintain such controls and procedures, our business, results of operations, financial condition and/or the value of our stock could be materially harmed.

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We must continually maintain, protect and/or upgrade our information technology systems, including protecting us from internal and external cybersecurity threats.

Information technology enables us to operate efficiently, interface with customers, maintain financial accuracy and efficiency and accurately produce our financial statements. If we do not appropriately allocate and effectively manage the resources necessary to build and sustain the proper technology infrastructure, we could be subject to transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, the loss of customers, business disruptions, and/or the loss of and/or damage to intellectual property through security breaches, including internal and external cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity attacks are evolving and include, but are not limited to, malicious software (malware, ransomware and viruses), phishing and social engineering, attempts to gain unauthorized access to networks, computer systems and data, malicious or negligent actions of employees (including misuse of information they are entitled to access) and other forms of electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in business systems, an inability to process customer orders and/or lost customer orders, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information and corruption of data.

We rely on relationships with third parties, including suppliers, distributors, bottlers, contract packers, contractors, cloud data storage and other information technology service providers and other external business partners, for certain functions or for services in support of our operations. These third-party service providers and partners, with whom we may share data, are subject to similar risks as we are relating to cybersecurity, privacy violations, business interruption, and systems, as well as employee failures.  While we have procedures in place for selecting and managing our relationships with third-party service providers and other business partners, we do not have control over their business operations or governance and compliance systems, practices and procedures, which increases our financial, legal, reputational and operational risk.  These third parties may experience cybersecurity incidents that may involve data we share with them or rely on them to provide to us.

We believe that we have adopted appropriate measures including ongoing cybersecurity risk assessments to mitigate potential risks to our technology and our operations from these information technology-related disruptions. However, given the unpredictability of the timing, nature and scope of such disruptions, we could potentially be subject to operational interruption, damage to our brand image and private data exposure.

Moreover, if our data management systems, including our SAP enterprise resource planning system, do not effectively collect, store, process and report relevant data for the operation of our business (whether due to equipment malfunction or constraints, software deficiencies, cybersecurity attack and/or human error), our ability to effectively plan, forecast and execute our business plan and comply with applicable laws and regulations will be impaired, perhaps materially. Any such impairment could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and the timeliness with which we report our internal and external operating results.

If we fail to comply with data privacy and personal data protection laws, we could be subject to adverse publicity, government enforcement actions and/or private litigation, which may negatively impact our business and operating results.

We receive, process, transmit and store information relating to certain identified or identifiable individuals (“personal data”), including current and former employees, in the ordinary course of business. As a result, we are subject to various U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations relating to personal data. These laws are subject to change, and new personal data legislation may be enacted in other jurisdictions at any time. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) became effective in May 2018 for all member states. The GDPR includes operational requirements for companies receiving or processing personal data of residents of the European Union different from those that were previously in place and also includes significant penalties for noncompliance.  Additionally, the California Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”), which was enacted in June 2018 and came into effect on January 1, 2020, provides a new private right of action and statutory damages for certain data breaches and imposes operational requirements on companies that process personal data of California residents, including making new disclosures to consumers about data collection, processing and sharing practices and allowing consumers to opt out of certain data sharing with third parties.

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Changes introduced by the GDPR and the CCPA, as well as other changes to existing personal data protection laws and the introduction of such laws in other jurisdictions, subject the Company to, among other things, additional costs and expenses and may require costly changes to our business practices and security systems, policies, procedures and practices. There can be no assurances that our security controls over personal data, training of personnel on data privacy and data security, vendor management processes, and the policies, procedures and practices we implement will prevent the improper processing or breaches of personal data.  Data breaches or improper processing, or breaches of personal data in violation of the GDPR, the CCPA and/or of other personal data protection or privacy laws and regulations, could harm our reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence, subject us to government enforcement actions (including fines), or result in private litigation against us, which may result in potential loss of revenue, increased costs, liability for monetary damages or fines and/or criminal prosecution, thereby negatively impacting our business and operating results.

ITEM 1B.        UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2.           PROPERTIES

Our principal properties include our corporate headquarters as well as our Southern California warehouse and distribution center.

Our owned corporate facilities located at 1 Monster Way, Corona, California 92879, consist of (i) an approximately 141,000 square-foot, free-standing, six-story building (ENERGY STAR certified), (ii) an approximately 147,625 square-foot three-story parking structure and storage facility, which houses our approximately 14,000 square-foot quality control laboratory, (iii) an approximately 75,426 square foot, free-standing, three-story building (pursuing ENERGY STAR certification), (iv) an approximately 20,661 square-foot, free-standing, single-story building and (v) an approximately 49,617 square-foot, free-standing, two-story building.

Our owned Southern California warehouse and distribution center is located in Rialto, California, consisting of an approximately 1,000,000 square-foot building which is LEED certified.

During 2019, we acquired a manufacturing plant and adjoining land in Athy, County Kildare, Ireland. We intend to utilize the facility to produce and supply ingredients for certain of our international markets.

During 2019, we purchased approximately 7.66 acres of land in San Fernando, California.  We intend to construct a new production facility on such land in order to consolidate AFF’s operations into a single location.  

In addition, we lease many smaller office and/or warehouse spaces, both domestically and in certain international locations.

ITEM 3.          LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

The Company is currently a defendant in a number of personal injury lawsuits, claiming that the death or other serious injury of the plaintiffs was caused by consumption of Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. The plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege strict product liability, negligence, fraudulent concealment, breach of implied warranties and wrongful death. The Company believes that each complaint is without merit and plans a vigorous defense. The Company also believes that any damages, if awarded, would not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

Furthermore, from time to time in the normal course of business, the Company is named in other litigation, including consumer class actions, intellectual property litigation and claims from prior distributors. Although it is not possible to

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predict the ultimate outcome of such litigation, based on the facts known to the Company, management believes that such litigation in aggregate will likely not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

The Company evaluates, on a quarterly basis, developments in legal proceedings and other matters that could cause an increase or decrease in the amount of the liability that is accrued, if any, or in the amount of any related insurance reimbursements recorded. As of December 31, 2019, the Company’s consolidated balance sheet included accrued loss contingencies of approximately $15.5 million.

ITEM 4.          MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

PART II

ITEM 5.          MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Principal Market

The Company’s common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the same symbol, “MNST”.  As of February 20, 2020, there were 536,896,142 shares of the Company’s common stock outstanding held by approximately 193 holders of record. The holders of record do not include those stockholders whose shares are held of record by banks, brokers and other financial institutions.

Stock Price and Dividend Information

We have not paid cash dividends to our stockholders since our inception and do not anticipate paying cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

On August 7, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program for the purchase of up to $500.0 million of the Company’s outstanding common stock (the “August 2018 Repurchase Plan”). During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company purchased 2.9 million shares of common stock at an average purchase price of $54.68 per share, for a total amount of $159.6 million (excluding broker commissions), which exhausted the availability under the August 2018 Repurchase Plan. Such shares are included in common stock in treasury in the accompanying consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2019.

On February 26, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a share repurchase program for the purchase of up to $500.0 million of the Company’s outstanding common stock (the “February 2019 Repurchase Plan”). During the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company purchased 8.1 million shares of common stock at an average purchase price of $57.16 per share, for a total amount of $463.3 million (excluding broker commissions), under the February 2019 Repurchase Plan. Such shares are included in common stock in treasury in the accompanying consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2019. As of February 28, 2020, $36.6 million remained available for repurchase under the February 2019 Repurchase Plan.

On November 6, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors authorized a new share repurchase program for the purchase of up to $500.0 million of the Company’s outstanding common stock (the “November 2019 Repurchase Plan”). No shares were purchased during the year ended December 31, 2019 under the November 2019 Repurchase Plan.  As of February 28, 2020, $500.0 million remained available for repurchase under the November 2019 Repurchase Plan.

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During the year ended December 31, 2019, 1.4 million shares of common stock were purchased from employees in lieu of cash payments for options exercised or withholding taxes due for a total amount of $84.5 million. While such purchases are considered common stock repurchases, they are not counted as purchases against our authorized share repurchase programs. Such shares are included in common stock in treasury in the accompanying consolidated balance sheet at December 31, 2019.

The following tabular summary reflects the Company’s repurchase activity during the quarter ended December 31, 2019:

    

    

    

    

Maximum Number (or

Approximate Dollar

Total Number of

Value) of Shares that

Shares Purchased

May Yet Be Purchased

Total Number

as Part of Publicly

Under the Plans or

of Shares

Average Price

Announced Plans

Programs (In

Period

Purchased

per Share¹

or Programs

thousands)²

Oct 1 – Oct 31, 2019

3,138,415

$

55.67

3,138,415

$

91,479

November 6, 2019 Authorization

$

500,000

Nov 1 – Nov 30, 2019

 

979,601

$

56.00

 

979,601

$

536,606

¹Excluding broker commissions paid.

²Net of broker commissions paid.

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Performance Graph

The following graph shows a five-year comparison of cumulative total returns:1

Graphic

1Annual return assumes reinvestment of dividends. Cumulative total return assumes an initial investment of $100 on December 31, 2014. The Company’s self-selected peer group is comprised of TCCC, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (through July 9, 2018), Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc. (after July 10, 2018), National Beverage Corporation, Jones Soda Company and PepsiCo, Inc.

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ITEM 6.           SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The consolidated statements of operations data set forth below with respect to each of the fiscal years ended December 31, 2017 through 2019 and the balance sheet data as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included herein, and should be read in conjunction with those financial statements and notes thereto, and with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included as Part II, Item 7 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of operations data for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014 and the balance sheet data as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015 are derived from the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements not included herein.

(in thousands, except
per share
information)

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

Net sales1

 $

4,200,819

 $

3,807,183

 $

3,369,045

 $

3,049,393

 $

2,722,564

Gross profit1

 $

2,518,585

 $

2,295,375

 $

2,137,690

 $

1,942,000

 $

1,632,301

Gross profit as a percentage to net sales

60.0%

60.3%

 

63.5%

 

63.7%

 

60.0%

Operating income1,2

 $

1,402,939

 $

1,283,619

 $

1,198,787

 $

1,085,338

 $

893,653

Net income1,2

 $

1,107,835

 $

993,004

 $

820,678

 $

712,685

 $

546,733

Net income per common share:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Basic

 $

2.04

 $

1.78

 $

1.45

 $

1.21

 $

0.97

Diluted

 $

2.03

 $

1.76

 $

1.42

 $

1.19

 $

0.95

Cash, cash equivalents and investments

 $

1,343,925

 $

958,163

 $

1,203,921

 $

600,530

 $

2,935,375

Total assets

 $

5,150,352

 $

4,526,891

 $

4,791,012

 $

4,153,471

 $

5,571,277

Stockholders’ equity

 $

4,171,281

 $

3,610,901

 $

3,895,212

 $

3,329,709

 $

4,809,410

¹ Includes $46.3 million, $44.3 million, $43.4 million, $40.3 million and $62.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, related to the recognition of deferred revenue.

2 Includes $11.3 million, $26.6 million, $35.4 million, $79.8 million and $224.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, related to expenditures attributable to the costs associated with terminating existing distributors.

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ITEM 7.          MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) is provided as a supplement to – and should be read in conjunction with – our financial statements and the accompanying notes (“Notes”) included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current expectations, estimates and projections about our business and operations. Our actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated and expressed in such forward-looking statements. See “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors.”

This overview provides our perspective on the individual sections of MD&A. MD&A includes the following sections:

Our Business – a general description of our business, the value drivers of our business, and opportunities and risks facing our Company, stock repurchases, acquisitions and divestitures;
Results of Operations – an analysis of our consolidated results of operations for the three years presented in our financial statements;
Sales – details of our sales measured on a quarterly basis in both dollars and cases;
Inflation – information about the impact that inflation may or may not have on our results;
Liquidity and Capital Resources – an analysis of our cash flows, sources and uses of cash and contractual obligations;
Accounting Policies and Pronouncements – a discussion of accounting policies that require critical judgments and estimates including newly issued accounting pronouncements;
Forward-Looking Statements – cautionary information about forward-looking statements and a description of certain risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the Company’s historical results or our current expectations or projections; and
Market Risks – information about market risks and risk management. (See “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Part II, Item 7A – Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risks”).

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Our Business

Overview

We develop, market, sell and distribute energy drink beverages and concentrates for energy drink beverages, primarily under the following brand names:

     Monster Energy®

     Monster Energy Ultra®

     Monster Rehab®

     Monster MAXX®

     Java Monster®

     Muscle Monster®

     Espresso Monster®

     Punch Monster®

     Juice Monster®

     Monster Hydro®

     Monster HydroSport Super Fuel®

     Monster Dragon Tea®

     Caffé Monster®

     Reign Total Body FuelTM

     Reign InfernoTM Thermogenic Fuel

    

     NOS®

     Full Throttle®

     Burn®

     Mother®

     Nalu®

     Ultra Energy®

     Play® and Power Play® (stylized)

     Relentless®

     BPM®

     BU®

     Gladiator®

     Samurai®

     Live+®

     Predator®

Our net sales of $4.20 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019 represented record annual net sales. Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2019 were positively impacted by approximately $101.9 million as a result of a price increase effective from November 1, 2018 in the United States (“the U.S. Price Increase”) and effective from February 1, 2019 in Canada (the “Canada Price Increase”), on certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales of approximately $69.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

The vast majority of our net sales are derived from our Monster Energy® Drinks segment. Net sales of our Monster Energy® Drinks segment were $3.90 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019.  Net sales of our Strategic Brands segment were $274.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Our Monster Energy® Drinks segment represented 92.9% and 91.9% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Our Strategic Brands segment represented 6.5% and 7.5% of our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Our Other segment represented 0.5% and 0.6% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales in the Monster Energy® Drinks segment of approximately $59.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales in the Strategic Brands segment of approximately $9.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Our growth strategy includes expanding our international business. Gross sales to customers outside the United States amounted to $1.62 billion, $1.36 billion and $1.09 billion for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Such sales were approximately 33%, 31% and 28% of gross sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Our customers are primarily full service beverage bottlers/distributors, retail grocery and specialty chains, wholesalers, club stores, mass merchandisers, convenience chains, foodservice customers, value stores, e-commerce

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retailers and the military. Percentages of our gross sales to our various customer types for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are reflected below. Such information includes sales made by us directly to the customer types concerned, which include our full service beverage bottlers/distributors in the United States. Such full service beverage bottlers/distributors in turn sell certain of our products to some of the same customer types listed below. We limit our description of our customer types to include only our sales to our full service bottlers/distributors without reference to such bottlers/distributors’ sales to their own customers.

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

U.S. full service bottlers/distributors

 

58%

61%

63%

International full service bottlers/distributors

 

33%

31%

28%

Club stores, mass merchandisers and e-commerce retailers

 

7%

6%

7%

Retail grocery, specialty chains and wholesalers

 

1%

1%

1%

Other

 

1%

1%

1%

Our customers include Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc., Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC, Great Lakes Coca-Cola Distribution, LLC, Coca-Cola Southwest Beverages LLC, The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England, Inc., Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc. (USA), Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, LLC, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola Amatil, Swire Coca-Cola (China), COFCO Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, Coca-Cola İçecek and certain other TCCC network bottlers, Asahi Soft Drinks, Co., Ltd., Kalil Bottling Group (until March 5, 2019), Big Geyser, Inc. (until April 5, 2019), Wal-Mart, Inc. (including Sam’s Club) and Costco Wholesale Corporation. A decision by any large customer to decrease amounts purchased from us or to cease carrying our products could have a material negative effect on our financial condition and consolidated results of operations.

TCCC, through the TCCC Subsidiaries, accounted for approximately 2%, 3% and 18% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively. As part of TCCC’s North America Refranchising, the territories of certain TCCC Subsidiaries have been transitioned to certain independent TCCC bottlers/distributors and/or TCCC Related Parties. Accordingly, our percentage of net sales to the TCCC Subsidiaries significantly decreased for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc. accounted for approximately 13% of our net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.

Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling, LLC accounted for approximately 11%, 12% and 6% of the Company’s net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Coca-Cola European Partners accounted for approximately 10%, 10% and 9% of the Company’s net sales for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

We continue to incur expenditures in connection with the development and introduction of new products and flavors.

Value Drivers of our Business

We believe that the key value drivers of our business include the following:

International Growth – The introduction, development and sustained profitability of our Monster Energy® brand internationally remains a key value driver for our corporate growth. One or more of our products are distributed in approximately 153 countries and territories worldwide.

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Profitable Growth – We believe “functional” value-added brands supported by marketing and innovation and targeted to a diverse consumer base, drive profitable growth. We continue to broaden our family of products to provide more alternatives to consumers and launched Reign Total Body FuelTM high performance energy drinks in the first quarter of 2019. We are focused on increasing the profit margins for both our Monster Energy® Drinks segment and our Strategic Brands segment, and believe that tailored branding, packaging, pricing and distribution channel strategies help achieve profitable growth. We are implementing these strategies with a view to continuing profitable growth.
Cost Management – The principal focus of cost management will continue to be on reducing input procurement and production costs on a per-case basis, including raw material costs and co-packing fees, as well as reducing freight costs by securing additional co-packing facilities strategically localized. Another key area of focus is to decrease promotional allowances, selling and general and administrative costs, including sponsorships, sampling, promotional and marketing expenses, as a percentage of net sales.
Efficient Capital Structure – Our capital structure is designed to optimize our working capital in order to finance expansion, both domestically and internationally. We believe that with our strong capital position, our ability to raise funds, if necessary, at a relatively low effective cost of borrowings, provides a competitive advantage. The reduction of days outstanding for accounts receivable and inventory days on hand will remain an area of focus.

We believe that, subject to increases in the costs of certain raw materials being contained, these value drivers, when implemented and/or achieved in the United States and internationally, will result in: (1) improving or maintaining our product gross profit margins; (2) providing additional leverage over time through reduced expenses as a percentage of net operating revenues; and (3) enhancing our cost of capital. The ultimate measure of success is and will be reflected in our current and future results of operations.

Gross and net sales, gross profit, operating income, net income and net income per share represent key measurements of the above value drivers. These measurements will continue to be a key management focus in 2020 and beyond (See “Part II, Item 7 – Results of Operations – Results of Operations for the Year Ended December 31, 2019, Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2018”).

As of December 31, 2019, the Company had working capital of $1.66 billion compared to $1.20 billion as of December 31, 2018. The increase in working capital was primarily the result of the $1.12 billion of net income earned during the year ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2019, our net cash provided by operating activities was approximately $1.11 billion as compared to $1.16 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. Principal uses of cash flows in 2019, were purchases of investments, repurchase of our common stock, development of our Monster Energy® brand internationally and acquisitions of property and equipment. These principal uses of cash flows are expected to be and remain our principal recurring use of cash and working capital funds in the future (See “Part II, Item 7 – Liquidity and Capital Resources”).

Opportunities, Challenges and Risks

Looking forward, our management has identified certain challenges and risks for the beverage industry and the Company, including our significant commercial relationship with TCCC and TCCC’s status as a significant shareholder of the Company, in each case as described above under “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors.”

In addition, legislation has been proposed and/or adopted at the U.S., state, county and/or municipal level and proposed and/or adopted in certain foreign jurisdictions to restrict the sale of energy drinks (including prohibiting the sale of energy drinks at certain establishments or pursuant to certain governmental programs), limit caffeine content, require

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certain product labeling disclosures and/or warnings, impose taxes, limit product sizes or impose age restrictions for the sale of energy drinks. In addition, articles critical of the caffeine content in energy drinks and their perceived benefits and articles indicating certain health risks of energy drinks have been published. The proposal and/or adoption of such legislation and the publication of such articles, or the future proposal and/or adoption of similar legislation or publication of similar articles, may adversely affect our Company. In addition, uncertainty and/or volatility in our domestic and/or our international economic markets could negatively affect both the stability of our industry and our Company. Furthermore, our growth strategy includes expanding our international business, which exposes us to risks inherent in conducting international operations, including the risks associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Consumer discretionary spending also represents a challenge to the successful marketing and sale of our products. Increases in consumer and regulatory awareness of the health problems arising from obesity and inactive lifestyles continue to represent a challenge. We recognize that obesity is a complex and serious public health problem. Our commitment to consumers begins with our broad product line and a wide selection of diet, light and low calorie beverages within our energy drink product lines. We continuously strive to meet changing consumer needs through beverage innovation, choice and variety. (See “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors”).

Our historical success is attributable, in part, to our introduction of different and innovative beverages which have been positively accepted by consumers. Our future success will depend, in part, upon our continued ability to develop and introduce different and innovative beverages that meet consumer preferences, although there can be no assurance of our ability to do so. In order to retain and expand our market share, we must continue to develop and introduce different and innovative beverages and be competitive in the areas of price, quality, method of distribution, brand image and intellectual property protection. The beverage industry is subject to changing consumer preferences that may adversely affect us if we misjudge such preferences.

In addition, other key challenges and risks that could impact our Company’s future financial results include, but are not limited to:

the risks associated with the realization of benefits from our relationship with TCCC;
the impact of TCCC’s bottlers/distributors distributing Coca-Cola brand energy drinks;
changes in consumer preferences and demand for our products;
economic uncertainty in the United States, Europe and other countries in which we operate;
the risks associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations;
maintenance of our brand image, product quality and corporate reputation;
increasing concern over various environmental, human rights and health matters, including obesity, caffeine consumption and energy drinks generally, and changes in regulation and consumer preferences in response to those concerns;
profitable expansion and growth of our family of brands in the competitive market place (See “Part I, Item 1 – Business – Competition” and “Part I, Item 1 – Business – Sales and Marketing”);
costs of establishing and promoting our brands internationally;
increase in costs of raw materials used by us;
restrictions on imports and sources of supply, duties or tariffs, changes in related government regulations and disruptions in the timely import or export of our products and/or ingredients due to port strikes, related labor issues or other importation impediments;
protection of our existing intellectual property portfolio of trademarks and copyrights and the continuous pursuit to develop and protect new and innovative trademarks and copyrights for our expanding product lines;
limitations on available quantities of aluminum cans in general as well as certain package containers and lids such as the aluminum 24-ounce cap can and resealable lids;
limitations on co-packing availability, particularly for retort production as well for 550ml products utilizing BRE resealable lids;

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the impact of Brexit on our business in Europe and the United Kingdom; and
the imposition of additional regulation, including regulation restricting the sale of energy drinks, limiting caffeine content in beverages, requiring product labeling and/or warnings, imposing excise taxes and/or sales taxes, and/or limiting product size and/or age restrictions.

See “Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors” for additional information about risks and uncertainties facing our Company.

We believe that the following opportunities exist for us:

domestic and international growth potential of our products;
growth potential of the energy drink category, both domestically and internationally;
planned and future new product and product line introductions with the objective of increasing sales and/or contributing to higher profitability;
the introduction of new package formats designed to generate strong revenue growth;
package, pricing and channel opportunities to increase profitable growth;
effective strategic positioning to capitalize on industry growth;
broadening distribution/expansion opportunities in both domestic and international markets;
launching and/or relaunching our products and new products into new domestic and international markets and channels; and
continued focus on reducing our cost base.

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Results of Operations

The following table sets forth key statistics for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

(In thousands, except per share amounts)

    

    

    

    

Percentage

Percentage

Change

Change

 

2019

2018

2017

19 vs. 18

18 vs. 17

Net sales1

 $

4,200,819

 $

3,807,183

 $

3,369,045

10.3%

13.0%

Cost of sales

 

1,682,234

 

1,511,808

 

1,231,355

11.3%

22.8%

Gross profit*1

 

2,518,585

 

2,295,375

 

2,137,690

9.7%

7.4%

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales

 

60.0%

 

60.3%

 

63.5%

  

  

Operating expenses2

 

1,115,646

 

1,011,756

 

938,903

10.3%

7.8%

Operating expenses as a percentage of net sales

 

26.6%

 

26.6%

 

27.9%

  

  

Operating income1,2

 

1,402,939

 

1,283,619

 

1,198,787

9.3%

7.1%

Operating income as a percentage of net sales

 

33.4%

 

33.7%

 

35.6%

  

  

Other income, net

 

13,023

 

9,653

 

2,836

34.9%

240.4%

Income before provision for income taxes1,2

 

1,415,962

 

1,293,272

 

1,201,623

9.5%

7.6%

Provision for income taxes

 

308,127

 

300,268

 

380,945

2.6%

(21.2%)

Income taxes as a percentage of income before taxes

 

21.8%

 

23.2%

 

31.7%

  

  

Net income1,2

 $

1,107,835

 $

993,004

 $

820,678

11.6%

21.0%

Net income as a percentage of net sales

 

26.4%

 

26.1%

 

24.4%

  

  

Net income per common share:

 

  

 

  

 

  

  

  

Basic

 $

2.04

 $

1.78

 $

1.45

14.6%

23.1%

Diluted

 $

2.03

 $

1.76

 $

1.42

15.2%

23.8%

Case sales (in thousands) (in 192‑ounce case equivalents)

 

448,770

 

410,886

 

359,957

9.2%

14.1%

¹ Includes $46.3 million, $44.3 million and $43.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, related to the recognition of deferred revenue.

2 Includes $11.3 million, $26.6 million and $35.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, related to distributor termination costs.

*Gross profit may not be comparable to that of other entities since some entities include all costs associated with their distribution process in cost of sales, whereas others exclude certain costs and instead include such costs within another line item such as operating expenses. We include out-bound freight and warehouse costs in operating expenses rather than in cost of sales.

Results of Operations for the Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2018.

Net Sales. Net sales were $4.20 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $393.6 million, or 10.3% higher than net sales of $3.81 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2019 were positively impacted by approximately $101.9 million as a result of the U.S. Price Increase and the Canada Price Increase, on certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales of approximately $69.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment were $3.90 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $405.6 million, or 11.6% higher than net sales of $3.50 billion for the year ended December 31,

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2018. Net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment increased primarily due to (i) sales of our Reign Total Body FuelTM high performance energy drinks, introduced in the first quarter of 2019, (ii) the price increases described above, and (iii) increased worldwide sales by volume of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks as a result of increased consumer demand. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment of approximately $59.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Net sales for the Strategic Brands segment were $274.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of approximately $10.9 million, or 3.8% lower than net sales of $285.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on net sales for the Strategic Brands segment of approximately $9.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Net sales for the Other segment were $21.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of approximately $1.1 million, or 4.6% lower than net sales of $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Case sales, in 192-ounce case equivalents, were 448.8 million cases for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately 37.9 million cases or 9.2% higher than case sales of 410.9 million cases for the year ended December 31, 2018. The overall average net sales per case (excluding net sales of AFF Third-Party Products of $21.9 million and $22.9 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, as these sales do not have unit case equivalents) increased to $9.31 for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was 1.1% higher than the average net sales per case of $9.21 for the year ended December 31, 2018.  The increase in the average net sales per case was primarily attributable to a price increase effective from November 1, 2018 in the United States and effective from February 1, 2019 in Canada, on certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks.

Gross Profit. Gross profit was $2.52 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $223.2 million, or 9.7% higher than the gross profit of $2.30 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in gross profit dollars was primarily the result of the $405.6 million increase in net sales of our Monster Energy® Drinks segment for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales decreased to 60.0% for the year ended December 31, 2019 from 60.3% for the year ended December 31, 2018. The decrease for the year ended December 31, 2019 was primarily the result of geographical and product sales mix. Such decrease was partially offset by the sales price increases discussed above.

Operating Expenses. Total operating expenses were $1.12 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $103.9 million, or 10.3% higher than total operating expenses of $1.01 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to increased payroll expenses of $36.0 million (of which $6.2 million was related to an increase in stock-based compensation), increased expenditures of $25.1 million for professional service fees, including legal and accounting costs, increased expenditures of $13.4 million for sponsorships and endorsements, and increased expenditures of $19.1 million in other marketing expenses. The increase in operating expenses was partially offset by decreased expenditures of $15.4 million related to the costs associated with distributor terminations. Operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019 included a $15.5 million provision in connection with an intellectual property claim brought by the descendants of Hubert Hansen in relation to the Company’s use of the Hubert Hansen name prior to the transaction with TCCC, that closed in 2015.

Operating Income. Operating income was $1.40 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $119.3 million, or 9.3% higher than operating income of $1.28 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. Operating income as a percentage of net sales was 33.4% and 33.7% for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018, respectively. Operating income was $229.2 million and $180.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, in connection with our operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa (“EMEA”), Asia Pacific and South America.

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Operating income* for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment was $1.57 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $195.0 million, or 14.2% higher than operating income of $1.37 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in operating income for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment was primarily the result of the $405.6 million increase in net sales of our Monster Energy® Drinks segment for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Operating income* for the Strategic Brands segment was $164.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of approximately $12.5 million, or 7.1% lower than operating income of $176.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Operating income* for the Other segment was $3.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of approximately $1.7 million, or 31.9% lower than operating income of $5.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

*Exclusive of corporate and unallocated expenses.

Other Income, net. Other non-operating income, net, was $13.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, as compared to other non-operating income, net, of $9.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Foreign currency transaction losses were $4.1 million and $4.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Interest income was $17.8 million and $13.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Provision for Income Taxes. Provision for income taxes was $308.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $7.9 million, or 2.6% higher than the provision for income taxes of $300.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The effective combined federal, state and foreign tax rate decreased to 21.8% from 23.2% for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The decrease in effective tax rate was primarily attributable to an increase in equity compensation deductions.  The decrease in the effective tax rate was partially offset by increased income taxes in certain foreign jurisdictions.

Net Income. Net income was $1.11 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $114.8 million, or 11.6% higher than net income of $993.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. The increase in net income was primarily due to the $223.2 million increase in gross profit. The increase in net income was partially offset by the increase in operating expenses of $103.9 million and an increase in the provision for income taxes of $7.9 million.

Results of Operations for the Year Ended December 31, 2018 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2017.

Net Sales. Net sales were $3.81 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $438.1 million, or 13.0% higher than net sales of $3.37 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2018 were negatively impacted by approximately $42.2 million as a result of the adoption of ASC 606. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had a favorable impact on net sales of approximately $14.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment were $3.50 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $450.8 million, or 14.8% higher than net sales of $3.05 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. Net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment for the year ended December 31, 2018 were negatively impacted by approximately $17.4 million as a result of the adoption of ASC 606. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had a favorable impact on net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment of approximately $14.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Net sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment increased primarily due to increased sales by volume of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks as a result of increased domestic and international consumer demand.

Net sales for the Strategic Brands segment were $285.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, a decrease of approximately $14.0 million, or 4.7% lower than net sales of $299.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Net

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sales for the Strategic Brands segment for the year ended December 31, 2018 were negatively impacted by approximately $24.9 million as a result of the adoption of ASC 606. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had a favorable impact on net sales for the Strategic Brands segment of approximately $0.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Net sales for the Other segment were $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $1.3 million, or 6.1% higher than net sales of $21.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Case sales, in 192-ounce case equivalents, were 410.9 million cases for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately 50.9 million cases or 14.1% higher than case sales of 360.0 million cases for the year ended December 31, 2017. The overall average net sales per case (excluding net sales of AFF Third-Party Products of $22.9 million and $21.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, as these sales do not have unit case equivalents) decreased to $9.21 for the year ended December 31, 2018, which was 1.0% lower than the average net sales per case of $9.30 for the year ended December 31, 2017, due to the adoption of ASC 606. Without the adoption of ASC 606, the overall average net sales per case increased to $9.31 for the year ended December 31, 2018, as compared to average net sales per case of $9.30 for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Gross Profit. Gross profit was $2.30 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $157.7 million, or 7.4% higher than the gross profit of $2.14 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase in gross profit dollars was primarily the result of the $450.8 million increase in net sales of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks segment for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Gross profit as a percentage of net sales decreased to 60.3% for the year ended December 31, 2018 from 63.5% for the year ended December 31, 2017. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales, excluding the impact of ASC 606, was 60.7% for the year ended December 31, 2018.

The decrease in gross profit as a percentage of net sales was primarily attributable to (i) increases in certain input costs, principally aluminum cans, freight in and other input costs; (ii) domestic product sales mix (iii) geographical sales mix, as a result of our international sales increasing as a percentage of total net sales (our foreign operations generally have lower gross profit margins); (iv) the $42.2 million of commissions accounted for as a reduction to net sales due to the adoption of ASC 606; and (v) increases in promotional allowances as a percentage of gross sales.

Operating Expenses. Total operating expenses were $1.01 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $72.9 million, or 7.8% higher than total operating expenses of $938.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to increased out-bound freight and warehouse costs of $38.5 million, increased payroll expenses of $28.6 million (of which $4.8 million was related to an increase in stock-based compensation), increased expenditures of $14.8 million for sponsorships and endorsements, and increased expenditures of $12.1 million for other marketing expenses.  The increase in operating expenses was partially offset by the $8.8 million decrease in costs associated with distributor terminations. Commissions included in operating expenses were $16.7 million, or 65.1% lower than commissions included in operating expenses of $47.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Without the adoption of ASC 606, an additional $42.2 million of commissions would have been included in operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2018 (such commissions are included as a reduction to net sales).

Operating Income. Operating income was $1.28 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $84.8 million, or 7.1% higher than operating income of $1.20 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. Operating income as a percentage of net sales decreased to 33.7% for the year ended December 31, 2018 from 35.6% for the year ended December 31, 2017. Operating income was $180.8 million and $139.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, in connection with our operations in EMEA, Asia Pacific and South America.

Operating income* for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment was $1.37 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $106.5 million, or 8.4% higher than operating income of $1.26 billion for the year ended

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December 31, 2017. The increase in operating income for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment was primarily the result of the $455.1 million increase in net sales of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Operating income* for the Strategic Brands segment was $176.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $2.1 million, or 1.2% higher than operating income of $174.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Operating income* for the Other segment was $5.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, a decrease of approximately $0.2 million, or 4.0% lower than operating income of $5.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

*Exclusive of corporate and unallocated expenses.

Other Income, net.  Other non-operating income, net, was $9.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, as compared to other non-operating income, net, of $2.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Foreign currency transaction (losses)/gains were ($4.0) million and ($3.3) million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. Interest income was $13.8 million and $6.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Provision for Income Taxes. Provision for income taxes was $300.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, a decrease of $80.7 million, or 21.2% lower than the provision for income taxes of $380.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. The effective combined federal, state and foreign tax rate decreased to 23.2% from 31.7% for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively. The decrease in the effective tax rate was primarily due to the reduction in the U.S. federal statutory tax rate as a result of the Tax Reform Act signed into law on December 22, 2017 (before considering the potential impact of further clarification of certain matters related to the Tax Reform Act), and to a reduction in certain foreign income that is subject to U.S. taxation.  The decrease in the provision for income taxes was partially offset by the elimination of the domestic production deduction following the Tax Reform Act as well as a decrease in the stock based compensation tax deduction.

Net Income. Net income was $993.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $172.3 million, or 21.0% higher than net income of $820.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase in net income was primarily due to the $157.7 million increase in gross profit and the $80.7 million decrease in the provision for income taxes. The increase in net income was partially offset by the increase in operating expenses of $72.9 million.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

For the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the year ended December 31, 2018.

Gross Sales**. Gross sales were $4.87 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $438.2 million, or 9.9% higher than gross sales of $4.43 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. Gross sales for the year ended December 31, 2019 were positively impacted by approximately $101.9 million as a result of U.S. Price Increase and the Canada Price Increase, on certain of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on gross sales of approximately $82.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Gross sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment were $4.53 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of approximately $453.6 million, or 11.1% higher than gross sales of $4.08 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018. Gross sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment increased primarily due to (i) sales of our Reign Total Body FuelTM high performance energy drinks, introduced in the first quarter of 2019, (ii) the price increases described above, and (iii) increased sales by volume of our Monster Energy® brand energy drinks as a result of increased domestic and

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international consumer demand. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on gross sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment of approximately $72.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Gross sales for the Strategic Brands segment were $312.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of $14.4 million, or 4.4% lower than gross sales of $327.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had an unfavorable impact on gross sales in the Strategic Brands segment of approximately $9.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Gross sales for the Other segment were $21.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, a decrease of $1.1 million, or 4.6% lower than gross sales of $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Promotional allowances, commissions and other expenses, as described in the footnote below, were $666.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $44.5 million, or 7.2% higher than promotional allowances, commissions and other expenses of $622.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Promotional allowances, commissions and other expenses as a percentage of gross sales decreased to 13.7% from 14.0% for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

For the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to the year ended December 31, 2017.

Gross Sales**. Gross sales were $4.43 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of approximately $568.2 million, or 14.7% higher than gross sales of $3.86 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Gross sales for the Monster Energy® Drinks segment were $4.08 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $558.2 million, or 15.9% higher than gross sales of $3.52 billion for the year ended December 31, 2017. Gross sales of our Monster Energy® Drinks segment increased partially due to increased sales by volume as a result of increased domestic and international consumer demand.

Gross sales for the Strategic Brands segment were $327.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $8.6 million, or 2.7% higher than gross sales of $318.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Gross sales for the Other segment were $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $1.3 million, or 6.1% higher than gross sales of $21.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

No other individual product line contributed either a material increase or decrease to gross sales for the year ended December 31, 2018.

Promotional and other allowances, as described in the footnote below, were $622.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of $130.0 million, or 26.4% higher than promotional and other allowances of $492.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Promotional and other allowances as a percentage of gross sales increased to 14.0% from 12.7% for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, partially due to an increase in commissions of $42.2 million included in net sales, related to the adoption of ASC 606.

Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had a favorable impact on gross sales in the Monster Energy® Drinks segment of approximately $21.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Net changes in foreign currency exchange rates had a favorable impact on gross sales in the Strategic Brands segment of approximately $0.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

**Gross sales are used internally by management as an indicator of and to monitor operating performance, including sales performance of particular products, salesperson performance, product growth or declines and overall Company performance. The use of gross sales allows evaluation of sales performance before the effect of any promotional items, which can mask certain performance issues. We therefore believe that the presentation of gross sales provides a useful measure of our operating performance. The use of gross sales is not a measure that is recognized under GAAP and should not be considered as an alternative to net sales, which is determined in

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accordance with GAAP, and should not be used alone as an indicator of operating performance in place of net sales. Additionally, gross sales may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies, as gross sales has been defined by our internal reporting practices. In addition, gross sales may not be realized in the form of cash receipts as promotional payments and allowances may be deducted from payments received from certain customers.

The following table reconciles the non-GAAP financial measure of gross sales with the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure of net sales:

    

    

    

    

    

    

    

Percentage

Percentage

In thousands

 

Change

Change

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

19 vs. 18

18 vs. 17

Gross sales, net of discounts and returns

 $

4,867,698

 $

4,429,522

 $

3,861,368

 

9.9%

14.7%

Less: Promotional and other allowances***

 

666,879

 

622,339

 

492,323

 

7.2%

26.4%

Net Sales

 $

4,200,819

 $

3,807,183

 $

3,369,045

 

10.3%

13.0%

***Although the expenditures described in this line item are determined in accordance with GAAP and meet GAAP requirements, the presentation thereof does not conform to GAAP presentation requirements. Additionally, our definition of promotional and other allowances may not be comparable to similar items presented by other companies. Promotional and other allowances primarily include consideration given to our bottlers/distributors or retail customers including, but not limited to the following: (i) discounts granted off list prices to support price promotions to end-consumers by retailers; (ii) reimbursements given to our bottlers/distributors for agreed portions of their promotional spend with retailers, including slotting, shelf space allowances and other fees for both new and existing products; (iii) our agreed share of fees given to bottlers/distributors and/or directly to retailers for advertising, in-store marketing and promotional activities; (iv) our agreed share of slotting, shelf space allowances and other fees given directly to retailers, club stores and/or wholesalers; (v) incentives given to our bottlers/distributors and/or retailers for achieving or exceeding certain predetermined sales goals; (vi) discounted or free products; (vii) contractual fees given to our bottlers/distributors related to sales made by us direct to certain customers that fall within the bottlers’/distributors’ sales territories; and (viii) certain commissions paid based on sales to our bottlers/distributors. The presentation of promotional and other allowances facilitates an evaluation of their impact on the determination of net sales and the spending levels incurred or correlated with such sales. Promotional and other allowances constitute a material portion of our marketing activities. Our promotional allowance programs with our numerous bottlers/distributors and/or retailers are executed through separate agreements in the ordinary course of business. These agreements generally provide for one or more of the arrangements described above and are of varying durations, ranging from one week to one year. The primary drivers of our promotional and other allowance activities for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 were (i) to increase sales volume and trial, (ii) to address market conditions, and (iii) to secure shelf and display space at retail.

Sales

The table set forth below discloses selected quarterly data regarding sales for the past five years. Data from any one or more quarters is not necessarily indicative of annual results or continuing trends.

Sales of beverages are expressed in unit case volume. A “unit case” means a unit of measurement equal to 192 U.S. fluid ounces of finished beverage (24 eight-ounce servings). Unit case volume means the number of unit cases (or unit case equivalents) of finished products or concentrates, as if converted into finished products, sold by us.

Our quarterly results of operations reflect seasonal trends that are primarily the result of increased demand in the warmer months of the year. It has been our experience that beverage sales tend to be lower during the first and fourth quarters of each calendar year. In addition, our experience with our energy drink products suggests they are less seasonal than the seasonality expected from traditional beverages. Quarterly fluctuations may also be affected by other factors including the introduction of new products, the opening of new markets where temperature fluctuations are more

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pronounced, the addition of new bottlers/distributors and customers, changes in the sales mix of our products and changes in and/or increased advertising and promotional expenses. (See “Part I, Item 1 – Business – Seasonality”).

    

2019

    

2018

    

2017

    

2016

    

2015

Net Sales (in Thousands)

Quarter 1

 $

945,991

 $

850,921

 $

742,146

 $

680,186

 $

626,791

Quarter 2

 

1,104,045

 

1,015,873

 

907,068

 

827,488

 

693,722

Quarter 3

 

1,133,577

 

1,016,160

 

909,476

 

787,954

 

756,619

Quarter 4

 

1,017,206

 

924,229

 

810,355

 

753,765

 

645,432

Total

 $

4,200,819

 $

3,807,183

 $

3,369,045

 $

3,049,393

 $

2,722,564

Less: AFF third party net sales (in Thousands)

Quarter 1

 $

(5,321)

 $

(4,657)

 $

(5,539)

 $

 $

Quarter 2

 

(5,791)

 

(6,623)

 

(6,174)

 

(6,635)

 

Quarter 3

 

(5,860)

 

(6,573)

 

(5,200)

 

(5,686)

 

Quarter 4

 

(4,893)

 

(5,067)

 

(4,692)

 

(4,690)

 

Total

 $

(21,865)

 $

(22,920)

 $

(21,605)

 $

(17,011)

 $

Adjusted Net Sales (in Thousands)¹

Quarter 1

 $

940,670

 $

846,264

 $

736,607

 $

680,186

 $

626,791

Quarter 2

 

1,098,254

 

1,009,250

 

900,894

 

820,853

 

693,722

Quarter 3

 

1,127,717

 

1,009,587

 

904,276

 

782,268

 

756,619

Quarter 4

 

1,012,313

 

919,162

 

805,663

 

749,075

 

645,432

Total

 $

4,178,954

 $

3,784,263

 $

3,347,440

 $

3,032,382

 $

2,722,564

Unit Case Volume / Sales (in Thousands)

Quarter 1

 

101,284

 

92,315

 

79,992

 

72,653

 

57,779

Quarter 2

 

119,595

 

110,057

 

97,233

 

87,574

 

68,037

Quarter 3

 

121,854

 

111,038

 

96,184

 

82,767

 

81,274

Quarter 4

 

106,037

 

97,476

 

86,548

 

77,966

 

67,531

Total

 

448,770

 

410,886

 

359,957

 

320,960

 

274,621

Adjusted Average Net Sales Per Case

Quarter 1

 $

9.29

 $

9.17

 $

9.21

 $

9.36

 $

10.85

Quarter 2

 

9.18

 

9.17

 

9.27

 

9.37

 

10.20

Quarter 3

 

9.25

 

9.09

 

9.40

 

9.45

 

9.31

Quarter 4

 

9.55

 

9.43

 

9.31

 

9.61

 

9.56

Total

 $

9.31

 $

9.21

 $

9.30

 $

9.45

 $

9.91

1Excludes Other segment net sales of $21.9 million, $22.9 million and $21.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, comprised of sales of our AFF Third-Party Products to independent third parties as these sales do not have unit case equivalents.

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Table of Contents

The following represents case sales by segment for the years ended December 31:

(In thousands, except average
net sales per case)

 

2019

 

2018

 

2017

 

2016

 

2015

Net sales

 $

4,200,819

 $

3,807,183

 $

3,369,045

 $

3,049,393

 $

2,722,564

Less: AFF third-party sales

 

(21,865)

 

(22,920)

 

(21,605)

 

(17,011)

 

Adjusted net sales¹

 $

4,178,954

 $

3,784,263

 $

3,347,440

 $

3,032,382

 $

2,722,564

Case sales by segment:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Monster Energy® Drinks

 

377,551

 

338,880

 

289,105

 

256,323

 

228,628

Strategic Brands

 

71,219

 

72,006

 

70,852

 

64,637

 

34,791

Other

 

 

 

 

 

11,202

Total case sales

 

448,770

 

410,886

 

359,957

 

320,960

 

274,621

Average net sales per case

 $

9.31

 $

9.21

 $

9.30

 $

9.45

 $

9.91

1Excludes Other segment net sales of $21.9 million, $22.9 million and $21.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively, comprised of sales of our AFF Third-Party Products to independent third parties as these sales do not have unit case equivalents.

Inflation

We do not believe that inflation had a significant impact on our results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 or 2017.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Cash flows provided by operating activities. Cash provided by operating activities was $1.11 billion for the year ended December 31, 2019, as compared with cash provided by operating activities of $1.16 billion for the year ended December 31, 2018.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, cash provided by operating activities was primarily attributable to net income earned of $1.11 billion and adjustments for certain non-cash expenses, consisting of $64.8 million of depreciation and amortization and $63.4 million of stock-based compensation. For the year ended December 31, 2019, cash provided by operating activities also increased due to a $28.8 million increase in accounts payable, a $21.9 million increase in accrued promotional allowances, a $9.5 million decrease in prepaid income taxes, an $8.1 million increase in income taxes payable, a $7.2 million increase in a