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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
June 18, 2014
11:26 EDTTHS, CAG, SJM, KRFT, DFConAgra sinks after cutting EPS outlook for Q4
Shares of packaged foods company ConAgra (CAG) are sinking after the company lowered its fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share outlook below prior expectations. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, ConAgra cut its Q4 adjusted EPS view to approximately 55c compared to its prior view of slightly in excess of 60c per share. The consensus forecast of analysts for Q4 EPS prior to the report was 62c. The lower-than-expected comparable EPS is largely the result of a 7% quarterly volume decline for the Consumer Foods segment, as well as weak profits for the Private Brands segment. Gary Rodkin, CEO of ConAgra Foods, commented," We are disappointed with the Consumer Foods volume performance, which negatively impacted comparable EPS. As we have communicated, we are in the process of improving product mix and promotion strategies in the Consumer Foods segment for better results and greater effectiveness, and we expect our volume performance to improve in fiscal 2015 as a result of this. Given the profit challenges in our Private Brands segment, we are also focused on margin improvement initiatives to offset the impact of pricing concessions. Even though our earnings are below expectations, we exceeded our fiscal 2014 operating cash flow and debt reduction targets." WHAT'S NOTABLE: For FY15, the company expects a year of "'stabilization and recovery" that delivers mid-single-digit comparable EPS growth. The company expects that comparable EPS growth in fiscal 2016 and 2017 will accelerate to a high-single-digit rate as the company benefits from stronger underlying operations, generates sizable productivity and administrative savings and continues to realize substantial synergies from the Ralcorp transaction. The company, which remains committed to a strong dividend policy in the future, plans to continue its current $1.00 per share annual dividend payment. ConAgra said its current profit projections for the Private Brands segment are below original plans for the next several years. ANALYST REACTION: This morning, KeyBanc downgraded ConAgra to Hold from Buy. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, ConAgra fell $2.25, or about 7%, to $30.60 on nearly twice its average daily trading volume. Including today's pull back, the stock is down approximately 11% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Shares of ConAgra peer Dean Foods (DF) are down about 2%, while Kraft Foods (KRFT) is down modestly. The J.M. Smucker Company (SJM) is virtually unchanged and TreeHouse Foods (THS) is down over 1.3%.
News For CAG;DF;SJM;THS;KRFT From The Last 14 Days
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March 25, 2015
08:45 EDTKRFTKraft Heinz Company targets $2B of debt pay-down within two years
The company targets net leverage of below 3.0x to be achieved in the medium term. Expects to refinance $8B of Preferred Equity as soon as it is callable in June 2016 with new Investment Grade debt. Expects to refinance $9.5B of existing secured Heinz high-yield debt with new Investment Grade debt at transaction close.
08:40 EDTKRFTKraft Heinz Company outlines structure of the new board
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08:25 EDTKRFTMondelez volatility flat into H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods merger
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08:22 EDTKRFTBuffett says has looked at 'all the companies' in Kraft's space
Buffett was answering a question posed by CNBC's Becky Quick regarding whether Campbell Soup (CPB), Mondelez (MDLZ) or others could be targets for Berkshire (BRK.A) following its Heinz and Kraft (KRFT) deals.
08:13 EDTKRFTKraft brands have a lot of potential to expand internationally, Buffett says
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08:13 EDTKRFTBuffett says 'we look at everything' in terms of M&A targets
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08:07 EDTKRFTBuffett says will hold about 320M shares of newly combined Kraft-Heinz
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08:03 EDTKRFTBuffett says Kraft Foods deal 'in the works' for four weeks or so
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07:28 EDTKRFTOptions expected to be active
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06:19 EDTKRFTKraft Foods to host conference call
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06:08 EDTKRFTKraft Foods, H.J. Heinz merge to form The Kraft Heinz Company
Privately held H.J. Heinz Company and publicly held Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create The Kraft Heinz Company, forming the third largest food and beverage company in North America. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both Heinz and Kraft's boards, Kraft shareholders will own a 49% stake in the combined company, and current Heinz shareholders will own 51% on a fully diluted basis. Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of $16.50 per share. The aggregate special dividend payment of approximately $10B is being fully funded by an equity contribution by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and 3G Capital. The special cash dividend payment represents 27% of Kraft's closing price as of March 24. Together the new company will have eight $1B-plus brands and five brands between $500M-$1B. Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said, "I am delighted to play a part in bringing these two winning companies and their iconic brands together. This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value. I'm excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve." When the transaction closes, Alex Behring, Chairman of Heinz and the Managing Partner at 3G Capital, will become the Chairman of The Kraft Heinz Company. John Cahill, Kraft Chairman and CEO, will become Vice Chairman and chair of a newly formed operations and strategy committee of the board. Bernardo Hees, CEO of Heinz, will be appointed CEO of The Kraft Heinz Company. The Kraft Heinz Company will be co-headquartered in Pittsburgh and the Chicago area. The synergy potential includes an estimated $1.5B in annual cost savings implemented by the end of 2017. Synergies will come from the increased scale of the new organization, the sharing of best practices and cost reductions, the companies said. The transaction is expected to be EPS accretive by 2017. Once the transaction is complete, The Kraft Heinz Company plans to maintain Kraft's current dividend per share, which is expected to increase over time. Kraft has no plans to change its dividend prior to closing. The special cash dividend of $10B in the aggregate to existing Kraft shareholders will be paid upon closing and will be funded by an equity investment by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Shares of the company will continue to be publicly traded. As the cash consideration is fully funded by common equity from Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, the merger is not expected to increase the debt levels of The Kraft Heinz Company. The transaction is subject to approval by Kraft shareholders, receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second half of 2015. Lazard served as exclusive financial advisor for Heinz, and Centerview Partners served as exclusive financial advisor for Kraft.
06:04 EDTDFClean Energy agrees with Dean Foods to construct natural gas station
Clean Energy (CLNE) announced an agreement with Dean Foods (DF) to construct a compressed natural gas station at its Oak Farms Dairy plant in Houston, Texas. Beginning in the second half of 2015, the station will be used to fuel the CNG vehicles deployed by Dean Foods. Over the next several months, Dean Foods will introduce 57 CNG Freightliner M2-112 straight trucks and 7 Freightliner Cascadia over-the-road tractors powered by the Cummins ISL-G and ISX12-G engines, respectively and outfitted with Agility CNG fuel tanks.
06:02 EDTKRFTKraft Foods, H.J. Heinz announce definitive merger agreement
H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods Group (KRFT) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create The Kraft Heinz Company, forming the third largest food and beverage company in North America. Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both Heinz and Kraft's boards, Kraft shareholders will own a 49% stake in the combined company, and current Heinz shareholders will own 51% on a fully diluted basis. Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of $16.50 per share. The aggregate special dividend payment of approximately $10B is being fully funded by an equity contribution by Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and 3G Capital.
March 24, 2015
19:21 EDTKRFTKraft Foods up 15% after WSJ report that 3G Capital in talks to buy company
19:18 EDTKRFT3G Capital in talks to acquire Kraft Foods, WSJ reports
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11:40 EDTTHSMcCormick hits 52-week high after Q1 results top expectations
Shares of spices, seasonings and condiments maker McCormick & Company (MKC) are advancing after the company's first quarter results surpassed analysts' consensus estimates. WHAT'S NEW: This morning, McCormick reported Q1 adjusted earnings per share of 70c excluding a 15c impact of special charges on revenue of $1.01B, topping analysts' consensus estimates of 64c and $985.12M, respectively. McCormick's Q1 sales rose 2% from the year-ago period and in constant currency, the increase was 6%. Consumer business sales rose 5% in constant currency in Q1 due to increased volume and product mix driven by product innovation, brand marketing support and expanded distribution. Industrial business sales grew 7% in constant currency, with higher volume and product mix, as well as pricing actions. WHAT’S NOTABLE: Looking ahead, the company forecast fiscal year 2015 adjusted EPS of EPS $3.44-$3.51, below its prior view of $3.51-$3.58 given in January and analysts' estimates for FY15 of $3.53. The company continues to expect 4%-6% sales growth in constant currency for FY15. Based on year-to-date results and prevailing exchange rates, currency is now expected to lower this sales growth range by 5 percentage points, which is more than the previous projection of 3 percentage points. In constant currency, adjusted operating income is expected to grow 6%-7% from adjusted operating income of $608M in 2014. McCormick also raised its anticipated special charges for the year to $30M from $20M due to a higher response rate to its voluntary retirement program and additional actions in EMEA. McCormick is also targeting cost reductions of at least $85M in FY15, which are expected to help offset higher material costs. The company sees its Comprehensive Continuous Improvement program delivering at least $65M in 2015, and sees savings from reorganization actions of $20M. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Wilson commented that Q1 operating income was unfavorably impacted by several factors including special charges, unfavorable currency rates and higher material costs. Wilson said the company anticipates that these headwinds will continue in 2015, but expect the benefit of pricing actions and cost reduction efforts to build in the upcoming quarters. PRICE ACTION: In late morning trading, McCormick rose $2.90 or 3.96% to $76.10 on more than twice its average daily trading volume. The stock hit a fresh 52-week high of $77.79 earlier in the session. Including today's advance, the shares have gained nearly 13% over the past 12 months. OTHERS TO WATCH: Other companies in the food space include TreeHouse Foods (THS), down 0.8%, B&G Foods (BGS), up 1.2%, and Pinnacle Foods (PF), up 0.1%.
06:26 EDTKRFTKraft in talks with Academy of Nutrition over endorsement claims, WSJ says
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March 23, 2015
16:33 EDTSJMJ.M. Smucker completes acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands
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March 18, 2015
17:01 EDTTHSTreeHouse names Christopher Sliva as COO
TreeHouse Foods announced that Christopher Sliva, Executive Vice President of TreeHouse Foods and President of Bay Valley Foods, has been promoted to the position of Executive Vice President and COO of TreeHouse Foods.
March 17, 2015
17:37 EDTKRFTKraft Foods voluntarilñy recalls some cases of Macaroni & Cheese Dinner
Kraft Foods Group is voluntarily recalling approximately 242,000 cases of select code dates and manufacturing codes of the Original flavor of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner – due to the possibility that some boxes may contain small pieces of metal. The recalled product is limited to the 7.25-oz. size of the Original flavor of boxed dinner with the "Best When Used By" dates of September 18, 2015 through October 11 with the code "C2" directly below the date on each individual box
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