After recovery from cyberattack, Clorox anticipates quarterly loss

After a cyberattack in August, which caused outages and disruptions in its supply chain and operations, Clorox, a US cleaning products maker, expects to post a first-quarter loss, the company announced on Wednesday.

"The company expects to experience ongoing, but lessening, operational impacts in the second quarter as it makes progress in returning to normalized operations," it said in a statement.

It is also assessing the impact the attack might have on its financial performance in fiscal 2024 "and beyond," it said.

The Oakland, California, firm is among several companies hit by cyberattacks since August, including gambling giants MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Ltd.

A breach of Clorox’s IT systems forced it to take some of its processes offline. The shutdown was part of attempts to remediate unauthorized activity on the company’s network. The company said it could see a “material impact” from a cyberattack back in September.

Sources earlier told Reuters the MGM and Caesars attacks were by a group named Scattered Spider known to be skilled at using social engineering to lock up a victim's system and hold stolen data for ransom.

Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that the same group was linked to the Clorox breach, citing sources. It wasn't clear if the hackers had demanded ransom or used social engineering.

A Clorox spokesperson said the company had informed law enforcement about the attack but had no further comment.

The FBI has said it is probing the MGM and Caesars incidents. It declined comment on Clorox.

Clorox said in August that the incident had disrupted portions of the company's IT infrastructure, forcing it to temporarily take certain systems offline and switch to processing orders manually.

The company expects a loss per share of between 35 cents and 75 cents in the quarter ended on Sept. 30, and for net sales to fall by 23% to 28% from a year earlier. It had reported profit of 68 cents per share in the year-ago period.

First-quarter gross margins, which Clorox had expected would increase, are now expected to fall, it said.

The company's shares fell 2% in extended trading after the outlook was released.

"The impact from the cybersecurity attack more than offset the benefits of pricing, cost savings and supply chain optimization," Clorox said.

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