Hayward Holdings is a global designer, manufacturer, and marketer of a broad portfolio of pool equipment and associated automated systems.
As the Hayward Holdings class action lawsuit alleges, defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Hayward Holdings and its management had engaged in a channel-stuffing scheme designed to artificially boost Hayward Holdings’ short-term sales and earnings; (ii) Hayward Holdings had flooded its channel partners with inventory that they did not want or need at a level that far outpaced then-existing consumer demand; (iii) Hayward Holdings’ channel partners were suffering from an inventory glut as a result of the channel-stuffing scheme that would require a massive de-stocking in the second half of 2022; (iv) Hayward Holdings’ channel-stuffing scheme had cannibalized future sales, materially impairing Hayward Holdings’ ability to sell to its customers; (v) the demand for pool equipment had slowed down, which, combined with flooding channel partners with more inventory, led to an inventory glut and the need for these channel partners to reduce inventory levels; and (vi) as a result of the above, Hayward Holdings’ projected 2022 financial results were not achievable and lacked a reasonable basis in fact.
On July 28, 2022, Hayward Holdings announced financial results for the second fiscal quarter of 2022, shocking analysts and investors by revealing that Hayward Holdings was expecting its channel partners to reduce their inventory on hand by approximately four to six weeks in the second half of 2022. As a result, Hayward Holdings reduced its 2022 guidance to reflect massive inventory reduction in the second half of the year. Notably, during an earnings call held that same day, defendant CEO Kevin Holleran admitted that the inventory bottleneck traced back to inventory decisions made “at the end of 2021” – i.e., before the Class Period. As a result, the price of Hayward Holdings common stock fell nearly 24%, damaging investors.