Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Note 1 - Nature of Operations and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Note 1 - Nature of Operations and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2023
Notes to Financial Statements  
Business Description and Basis of Presentation [Text Block]



Nature of Operations


Natural Health Trends Corp., a Delaware corporation (whether or not including its subsidiaries, the “Company”), is an international direct-selling and e-commerce company. Subsidiaries controlled by the Company sell personal care, wellness, and “quality of life” products under the “NHT Global” brand.


The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries have an active physical presence in the following markets: the Americas, which consists of the United States, Canada, Cayman Islands, Mexico and Peru; Greater China, which consists of Hong Kong, Taiwan and China; Southeast Asia, which consists of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand; South Korea; Japan; India; and Europe. The Company also operates in Russia and Kazakhstan through an engagement with a local service provider.


Principles of Consolidation


The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and all of its wholly-owned subsidiaries. All significant inter-company balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.


Use of Estimates


The preparation of financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period.


The most significant accounting estimates inherent in the preparation of the Company’s financial statements include estimates associated with revenue recognition, as well as those used in the determination of liabilities related to sales returns, commissions and income taxes. Various assumptions and other factors prompt the determination of these significant estimates. The process of determining significant estimates is fact specific and takes into account historical experience and current and expected economic conditions. The actual results may differ materially and adversely from the Company’s estimates. To the extent that there are material differences between the estimates and actual results, future results of operations will be affected.


Cash and Cash Equivalents


Cash and cash equivalents include the Company’s investments in money market funds, government and municipal debt securities, and corporate debt securities. The Company considers all highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. Debt securities classified as cash equivalents are required to be accounted for in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 320, Investments - Debt and Equity Securities. As such, the Company determined its investments in debt securities held at December 31, 2023 should be classified as available-for-sale and carried at fair value with unrealized gains and losses reported in stockholders’ equity. The cost of debt securities is adjusted for amortization of premiums and discounts to maturity. This amortization is included in other income and expense. Realized gains and losses, as well as interest income, are also included in other income and expense. The fair values of securities are based on quoted market prices to the extent available or alternative pricing sources and models utilizing market observable inputs.


The Company includes credit card receivables due from certain of its credit card processors in its cash and cash equivalents as the cash proceeds are received within two to five days.


The Company maintains substantially all of its cash balances at several institutions located in the United States, Hong Kong and China which at times may exceed insured limits. As of December 31, 2023, there was $890,000 in bank accounts located in Hong Kong in excess of insured limits. As of December 31, 2023, cash and cash equivalents included $3.7 million held in bank accounts located in China subject to foreign currency controls. The Company has not experienced any losses on such accounts. See Note 5 for additional information regarding the Company's investments in cash equivalents held in brokerage accounts.


Restricted Cash


The Company periodically maintains a cash reserve with certain credit card processing companies to provide for potential uncollectible amounts and chargebacks. Those cash reserves held by credit card processing companies located in South Korea are reflected in noncurrent assets since they require the Company to provide 100% collateral before processing transactions, which must be maintained indefinitely.




Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value, using the first-in, first-out method. The Company reviews its inventory for obsolescence and any inventory identified as obsolete is reserved or written off. The Company’s determination of obsolescence is based on assumptions about the demand for its products, product expiration dates, estimated future sales, and management’s future plans.


Property and Equipment


Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, generally three to five years for office equipment, office software and capitalized internal-use software development costs and five to seven years for furniture and fixtures. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the lease term or the estimated useful life of the assets. Expenditures for maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred. Depreciation and amortization expenses are included in the statement of operations as selling, general and administrative expenses. Such expense totaled $164,000 and $204,000 during 2023 and 2022, respectively.


The Company reviews property and equipment for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. Recoverability of these assets is measured by comparison of its carrying amounts to future undiscounted cash flows the assets are expected to generate. If property and equipment are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized equals the amount by which the carrying value of the asset exceeds its fair value.


Income Taxes


The Company recognizes income taxes under the liability method of accounting for income taxes. Deferred income taxes are recognized for differences between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities at enacted statutory tax rates in effect for the years in which the temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. Deferred tax expense or benefit is a result of changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities. Valuation allowances are established when necessary to reduce deferred tax assets to the amounts expected to be ultimately realized based on the more likely than not recognition criteria. The Company recognizes tax benefits from uncertain tax positions only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on the technical merits of the position. The Company has evaluated its tax positions and determined that there are no significant uncertain tax positions for the current year or years prior. The tax benefits recognized in the financial statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate resolution.  The Company recognizes interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits as a component of income tax expense.  Deferred taxes are not provided for state income tax purposes on the portion of undistributed earnings of subsidiaries outside of the United States when these earnings are considered permanently reinvested.


Amounts Held in eWallets


The Company requires commission payments of certain members in Hong Kong and other markets to be first recorded into an electronic wallet (eWallet) account in lieu of being paid out directly to members. The eWallet functionality allows members to place new product orders utilizing eWallet available balance and/or request commission payout via multiple payment methods. Amounts held in eWallets are reflected on the balance sheet as a current liability.


Foreign Currency


The functional currency of the Company’s international subsidiaries is generally their local currency. Local currency assets and liabilities are translated at the rates of exchange on the balance sheet date, and local currency revenues and expenses are translated at average rates of exchange during the period. Equity accounts are translated at historical rates.  The resulting translation adjustments are recorded directly into stockholders' equity.


Aggregate transaction gains or losses, including gains or losses related to foreign-denominated cash and cash equivalents and the re-measurement of certain intercompany balances, are included in the statement of operations as other income and expense. Loss on foreign exchange totaling $292,000 and $272,000 was recognized during 2023 and 2022, respectively.


Commissions Expense


Independent members earn commissions based on total personal and group bonus volume points per weekly sales period.  Each of the Company’s products are designated a specified number of bonus volume points, which is essentially a percentage of the product’s wholesale price.  The Company accrues commissions when earned and as the related revenue is recognized and pays commissions on product sales generally two weeks following the end of the weekly sales period.


In some markets, the Company also pays certain bonuses on purchases by up to three generations of personally sponsored members, as well as bonuses on commissions earned by up to seven generations of personally sponsored members. Independent members may also earn incentives based on meeting certain qualifications during a designated incentive period, which may range from several weeks to up to a year.  The Company estimates and accrues all costs associated with the incentives as the members meet the qualification requirements.


From time to time the Company makes modifications and enhancements to the Company’s compensation plan to help motivate members, which can have an impact on member commissions. The Company also enters into performance-based agreements for business or market development, which may result in additional compensation to specific members.


Net Income Per Common Share


Diluted net income per common share is determined using the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period, adjusted for the dilutive effect of common stock equivalents. The dilutive effect of non-vested restricted stock is reflected by application of the treasury stock method. Under the treasury stock method, the amount of compensation cost for future service that the Company has not yet recognized, if any, is assumed to be used to repurchase shares.


Certain Risks and Concentrations


In contrast to the Company’s business in other parts of the world, the Company’s China subsidiary has not implemented a direct sales model in China. The Chinese government permits direct selling only by organizations that have a license and has also adopted anti-pyramid selling and multi-level marketing legislation. The Company previously submitted a preliminary application for a direct selling license in China in August 2015, but in 2019 a Chinese governmental authority recommended that the Company withdraw its application. The Company understands that the governmental authorities recommended that other companies with pending direct selling license applications also withdraw their applications. The Company applied to withdraw its application in November 2019, and the governmental authorities approved the withdrawal of its application shortly thereafter. The Company operates an e-commerce direct selling platform in Hong Kong and recognizes the revenue derived from sales to both Hong Kong and Chinese members as being generated in Hong Kong. Products purchased by members in China are delivered to third parties that act as the importers of record under agreements to pay applicable duties. In addition, through a Chinese entity, the Company sells products in China using an e-commerce retail platform. The Chinese entity operates separately from the Hong Kong entity, and a Chinese member may elect to participate separately or in both.


The Company continually evaluates its business in China and Hong Kong for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including seeking the input of outside professionals and certain Chinese authorities. This process can and has resulted in the identification of certain matters of potential noncompliance. The Company works on a continuing basis to satisfactorily address such matters, however there can be no assurance that adequate steps are taken or that applicable laws and regulations are properly interpreted. Should the government authorities determine that the Company’s activities violate applicable laws and regulations, including China’s direct selling, pyramid selling or multi-level marketing laws and regulations, or should new laws or regulations be adopted, there could be a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.


Although the Company attempts to work closely with both national and local Chinese governmental agencies in conducting its business, the Company’s efforts to comply with national and local laws may be harmed by a rapidly evolving regulatory climate, concerns about activities resembling violations of direct selling, pyramid selling or multi-level marketing legislation, subjective interpretations of laws and regulations, and activities by individual members that may violate laws notwithstanding the Company's policies prohibiting such activities. Any determination that the Company’s operations or activities, or the activities of its individual members or employee sales representatives, or importers of record are not in compliance with applicable laws and regulations could result in the imposition of substantial fines, extended interruptions of business, restrictions on the Company’s future ability to obtain business licenses or expand into new locations, changes to its business model, the termination of required licenses to conduct business, or other actions, any of which could materially harm the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.


No single market other than Hong Kong had net sales greater than 10% of total sales. Sales are made to the Company’s members and no single customer accounted for 10% or more of its net sales. However, the Company’s business model can result in a concentration of sales to several different members and their network of members. Although no single member accounted for 10% or more of net sales, the loss of a key member or that member’s network could have an adverse effect on the Company’s net sales and financial results.


The Company’s Premium Noni Juice and Triotein™ products each account for at least 10% of the Company’s total revenue as well as the Company's line of probiotic products comprised of Enhanced Essential Probiotics and Biotic Trio. The Company currently sources each of these products from a single supplier. If demand decreases significantly, government regulation restricts their sale, the Company is unable to adequately source or deliver the products, or the Company ceases offering the products for any reason without suitable replacements, the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.


Fair Value of Financial Instruments


The carrying amounts of the Company’s financial instruments, including cash and accounts payable, approximate fair value because of their short maturities. The carrying amount of the noncurrent restricted cash approximates fair value since, absent the restrictions, the underlying assets would be included in cash and cash equivalents.


Accounting standards permit companies, at their option, to choose to measure many financial instruments and certain other items at fair value.  The Company has elected to not fair value existing eligible items.


Recent Accounting Pronouncements


In  June 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-13, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which introduced an expected credit loss model for the impairment of financial assets measured at amortized cost basis and added Topic 326 to the FASB Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”). In  November 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-11, Codification Improvements to Topic 326, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses. The amendments to ASU 2019-11 clarify, correct and make improvements to Topic 326. ASU 2016-13 as well as the updates in ASU 2019-11 were effective for interim and annual periods beginning after  December 15, 2022. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the Company's financial statements.


In November 2023, the FASB issued ASU 2023-07, Segment Reporting (Topic 280): Improvements to Reportable Segment Disclosures, which improves reportable segment disclosure requirements, primarily through enhanced disclosures about significant segment expenses. The amendments in ASU 2023-07 will be applied retrospectively and are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2023, and interim periods within fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2024, with early adoption permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of implementing this guidance, but does not expect adoption to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.


In December 2023, the FASB issued ASU 2023-09, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Improvements to Income Tax Disclosures, which enhances the transparency and decision usefulness of income tax disclosures. The amendments in ASU 2023-09 will be applied on a prospective basis and are effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2024, with early adoption permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact of implementing this guidance on its consolidated financial statements.


Other recently issued accounting pronouncements did not or are not believed by management to have a material impact on the Company’s present or future consolidated financial statements.