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Flowers Foods' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Now turning to the call, with us today we have George Deese, Flower Foods’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Allen Shiver, President; and Steve Kinsey, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

To get started, Mr. Deese.

George Deese

Thank you, Marta. Good morning to each of you and welcome to our first quarter conference call. As always, we thank you for your continued interest in Flowers Foods.

I’m pleased to report we delivered sales growth of 12% for the quarter which shows the strength of our DSD business, the Nature’s Own and Tastykake brands, and our ability to grow in new markets through acquisitions. As we discussed at our analyst day in Philadelphia in March, the marketplace continues to be challenging and promotional activity robust as volume remains under pressure in the baked foods category. Even so, our expansion markets across all regions delivered growth with a goal for half to 1% of sales each year. New products also performed and they are expected to reach 5% of sales growth. In addition, our DSD business achieved our third consecutive quarter of positive volume growth.

On the earnings side, we delivered in line with the Street expectations of $0.28 per share, but as we had told you to expect, headwinds from our input costs were a significant factor that impacted the bottom line and put pressure on our margins. We continued our efforts to improve operations and productivity levels, which will contribute to the bottom line and as move forward as our costs improve later in the year.

Now I’ll take time to give the highlights for the quarter as I see them, and Allen and Steve will fill in the details. We completed a $400 million bond offering which will be used for our future acquisitions, general corporate purposes, and working capital. We announced an expansion in our Oxford, Pennsylvania bakery that will add bread and bun capacity to help us extend our geographic reach further into that region. We introduced Nature’s Own and other Flowers bread, bun and rolls to the Philadelphia market which adds another 3 million consumers to the population base we serve; and the integration and synergies of our Tasty acquisition are right on track and sales and earnings also are tracking in line with our expectations.

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