The J. M. Smucker Management Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The J. M. Smucker (SJM)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

June 07, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Sonal P. Robinson - Director of Corporate Finance, Vice President of Investor Relations and Assistant Secretary

Richard K. Smucker - Chief Executive officer and Director

Vincent C. Byrd - President, Chief Operating Officer and Director

Mark T. Smucker - President Of Us Retail Coffee And Director

Mark R. Belgya - Chief Financial officer and Senior Vice President

Steven T. Oakland - President Of International, Foodservice And Natural Foods

Paul Smucker Wagstaff - Director and President of U.S. Retail Consumer Foods

Analysts

Eric R. Katzman - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Andrew Lazar - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Eric Gottlieb - Stephens Inc., Research Division

David Driscoll - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Edward Aaron - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Jason English - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Mitchell B. Pinheiro - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Kenneth Goldman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Alexia Howard - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Akshay S. Jagdale - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Robert Dickerson - Consumer Edge Research, LLC

Christopher Growe - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the J.M. Smucker Company's Fourth Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, I would like to inform you that this conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference over to Sonal Robinson, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Ms. Robinson.

Sonal P. Robinson

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Thank you for joining us today.

On the call with me are Richard Smucker, Chief Executive Officer; Vince Byrd, President and Chief Operating Officer; Mark Belgya, Chief Financial Officer; Steve Oakland, President, International, Foodservice and Natural Foods; Mark Smucker, President, U.S. Retail Coffee; and Paul Smucker Wagstaff, President, U.S. Retail Consumer Foods.

After this brief introduction, I will turn the call over to Richard for an overview of fiscal 2012 and initial thoughts as we head into 2013. Vince will then provide commentary on our business segments, and Mark will close with additional comments on our financial results and our outlook for 2013.

During the call today, we may make forward-looking statements that reflect the company's current expectations about future plans and performance. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates, and actual results may differ materially due to risk and uncertainties. I invite you to read the full disclosure statement in the press release concerning forward-looking statements.

Let me also remind you that the company uses non-GAAP results for the purpose of evaluating performance internally. Additional discussion on non-GAAP information is detailed in our press release located on our website at smuckers.com. A replay of this call will also be available on the website. If you have any follow-up questions or comments after today's call, please contact me or Mark Belgya.

I will now turn the call over to Richard.

Richard K. Smucker

Thank you, Sonal. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us.

As we look back over the past year, one marked by unprecedented levels of commodity cost increases and an uncertain macroeconomic environment, we are pleased to have delivered another year of record sales and year-over-year earnings per share growth. Let me begin by recapping our key accomplishments during the past fiscal year.

Sales increased 15% to more than $5.5 billion for the year, as each of our business segments achieved strong sales growth. In addition, non-GAAP earnings per share increased to $4.73 compared to $4.69 in the prior year. Through responsible pricing leadership, we addressed cost inflation exceeding $500 million for the year, resulting in prices increasing by double digits in several categories. Like many other food companies, the combination of these higher prices and economic uncertainty impacted our overall value. 2012 marked a record year for the company's innovation efforts. Sales from new products exceeded $300 million representing over 5% of net sales. The continued success of our K-Cup offering contributed significantly to these sales, exceeding our plan for the year. Notably, IRI recently recognized our K-Cup introduction as the #1 new beverage launch in calendar 2011. Innovation also played a key role in gaining the #2 market share position in the baking mixes and frosting category.

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.

As we have consistently stated, we take a long-term view of our business, and we continue to be well positioned for long-term growth. Our 5-year compounded annual growth rates are 21% for sales and 10% for earnings per share, exceeding our long-term growth targets of 6% and 8%-plus, respectively. This performance is a result of the hard work and commitment of our dedicated team in executing our strategy. We thank them for their contributions and look forward to continued growth this year and beyond.

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