During the past year, we continued to execute on our acquisition strategy, completing 3 transactions. Following the Rowland Coffee and the Sara Lee food service beverage acquisitions earlier in the year, we took our first step in March towards achieving a meaningful presence in China by acquiring a minority interest in Seamild, an established leader in China's rapidly growing oats category. We're excited about partnering with this successful family-run business. Additionally, we continue to invest in our key productivity initiatives. Significant progress was made on the new state-of-the-art food manufacturing facility being built in Orville, Ohio and the expansion of our 2 coffee facilities in New Orleans. Lastly, we further demonstrated our commitment to enhancing shareholder value by repurchasing over 4 million shares of common stock, representing approximately 4% of the shares outstanding. And we increased our annual dividends by 15%. As we close the book on 2012 and turn our attention to fiscal 2013, we are encouraged about the future of our industry, our business and the strength of our brands. Softening commodity cost should help moderate retail pricing and bring back some of the volume declines that the retail food industry experienced this past year. Consumers continue to find their way through difficult times, and we must continue to listen to them, be flexible and adapt along with them.
To accomplish this, our focus for fiscal 2013 includes the following key initiatives: First, we are investing heavily in our portfolio of leading brands with a significant planned increase in marketing and innovation. Building on the success achieved in 2012, we have a robust new product pipeline across brands and expect to launch approximately 100 new items in 2013. Additionally, we continue to expand our use of digital marketing and social media as consumers' needs are evolving rapidly in this space. Secondly, we expect to further capitalize and build upon our recent acquisitions while exploring additional brand portfolio expansion opportunities in both North America and China. Third, we are committed to better managing key day-to-day and promotional price points to meet our consumer needs and address competition, including an increased focus on narrowing price gaps. Fourth, we are achieving a more efficient supply chain through our restructuring initiatives in coffee, food spreads and pickles. In 2012, these projects delivered cost savings that exceeded our annual expectations, and we expect an additional step-up in savings in 2013. Fifth, we're making great progress on our sustainability efforts, and we'll share many of these successes in our 2012 corporate responsibility report being published later this summer. And finally, our ability to generate significant free cash flow allows us to continue our track record of enhancing shareholder value as share repurchases and dividends will remain a key use of cash.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV