Kraft Foods' CEO Presents At CAGNY Conference (Transcript)

Kraft Foods (KFT)

Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference Call

February 21, 2012 10:30 am ET


Christopher Jakubik -

Irene B. Rosenfeld - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

David A. Brearton - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations


Andrew Lazar - Barclays Capital, Research Division


Andrew Lazar - Barclays Capital, Research Division

All right, everybody, if we could find our seats, we'll move on to our next presenter. Thank you. Before we get started with our next presentation, Kraft Foods, please join me in thanking Kraft for generously sponsoring today's lunch.

Now in 2011, having had a fair share of jousters, Kraft stood out as one of the bright spots in the packaged food group, partly due to the separation announcement, but also due to the solid core business trends that we've seen. And with us today, we have both leaders of what will be the global snacks in North America grocery units, respectively. Thank you all for being here. First, let me turn it over to the Head of IR, Chris Jakubik, to lay out today's agenda. Over to you, Chris. Thanks.

Christopher Jakubik

Thanks, Andrew. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us here at CAGNY. As you may have noticed, earlier today, we reported our Q4 and full year 2011 results, and they were right in line, if not, a bit better on the bottom line than the guidance update we've provided in mid-January. Along those lines, today, we'll be making a number of forward-looking statements about the company's performance. This Safe Harbor Statement here is designed to cover those statements. But I'll refrain from reading it for you because we have a full agenda. We have a full agenda today because 2012 will be another big year for Kraft.

We expect to deliver strong organic growth on both the top and bottom lines and launch 2 industry-leading companies by year-end. So today, we're here to explain how we'll achieve both those goals. Our Chairman and CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, will begin by outlining how we've been delivering and how we will continue to deliver sustainable top-tier growth. Our President of North America and soon-to-be CEO of GroceryCo, Tony Vernon, will follow with how he's building on his team's success. Just as important, he'll tell us what he's doing this year to position both the North American grocery and snacks businesses for strong standalone growth into the future. Our CFO, Dave Brearton, will then provide some color on our 2012 guidance. And to wrap things up, Irene will come back to provide an update on our separation plans. After our presentation and the Q&A session in this room, please join us for lunch next door to enjoy the creations of our master chef, Nick Spinelli. At lunch, not only will today's presenters be available, but also joining us will be John Cahill, who will become the Chairman of the North American grocery company; and Tim McLevish, an oldie, but a goodie. Tim is our former CFO, and he's been the project team leader for the spinoff. He will also become the CFO of the North American grocery company at the time of the spin.

So without further ado, let me turn it over to Irene.

Irene B. Rosenfeld

Thanks, Chris, and good morning. It was good to see so many of you in the gym this morning. I think we lowered the average age by about 20 years down to about 72. At our last investor presentation 6 months ago, we reviewed the various actions we've taken over the past 4 years to fix our base business, transform our portfolio, and most importantly, create a virtuous cycle of growth in each of our regions. The plan is working. These actions have not only positioned us for sustainable top-tier growth but have enabled us to deliver best-in-class results. We delivered in 2011, and we will deliver again in 2012.

Why am I so confident? It's because our businesses in every region around the world are benefiting from a virtuous growth cycle, and as a consequence, our results are outpacing our peers. In 2011, our Power Brands grew 8%. This in turn drove organic net revenue growth of 6.6%. That's a significant improvement over top line performance in 2010. Then, organic revenue rose a little over 3%, fueled by Power Brand growth of more than 6%. And we delivered those results during an unprecedented environment of economic and political unrest, as well as skyrocketing input costs.

Growth was especially strong in our global snacks portfolio. It now represents about half of our sales. Biscuits were up 9% globally, and they were up double-digits in Developing Markets. Russia and China led the way, each up about 40%. Developed Markets delivered mid-single-digit growth. It was led by strong performance of the LU brand in France and expansion of the Oreo and Velveeta platforms in several European markets. Core brands in North America, Oreo, Ritz, Wheat Thins and Newtons also delivered solid growth.

Global Chocolate was up 6% led by double-digit growth in our Developing Markets. Two examples, Lacta grew more than 15% in Brazil. And in India, we continued to expand our leading market positions with Cadbury Dairy Milk, 5 Star and Perk, each gaining double digits. Gum & Candy was up about 1%, led by high single-digit growth in Developing Markets. Performance was especially strong in Brazil where Trident and Halls continue to shine. Trident, for example, grew more than 20%, leveraging successful new product launches and increased distribution in the rapidly growing north-northeast region.

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