The J. M. Smucker (SJM) Q1 2013 Earnings Call August 17, 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 R. Belgya - Chief Financial officer and Senior Vice President Mark T. Smucker - President Of US Retail Coffee and Director 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 Christopher Growe - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division Kenneth Goldman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division Ann H. Gurkin - Davenport & Company, LLC, Research Division Jonathan P. Feeney - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division Alexia Howard - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division Edward Aaron - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division Scott Andrew Mushkin - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division Charles Edward Cerankosky - Northcoast Research Cornell Burnette Robert Dickerson - Consumer Edge Research, LLC Farha Aslam - Stephens Inc., Research Division Michael Gabovich Presentation Operator
Following this brief introduction, I will turn the call over to Richard for opening remarks. Vince will then provide an update on our business segments, and Mark will close with additional comments on our financial results for the quarter and our outlook for the full year.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 encourage 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. We are pleased to start the new fiscal year with solid results after a challenging back half of fiscal 2012. Let me begin by summarizing some of the key highlights for the quarter. First, net sales for the quarter increased 15%, with all 3 business segments realizing top line growth. Two of our strategic growth drivers, acquisitions and product innovation, played key roles in achieving higher sales. Volume across most categories improved with total tonnage increasing 2% for the quarter, led by strong performances from our coffee brands and peanut butter. Overall, results exceeded our expectations for the quarter. Second, non-GAAP earnings per share increased 4% to $1.17 per share. Volume growth and mark-to-market gains were key drivers to this increase. We are pleased with this earnings performance, particularly as we are lapping a strong prior year profit comp in our coffee business.
Lastly, our cash from operations was a first quarter record with an increase of $167 million. Our ongoing ability to generate strong cash flow provides continuing opportunities to enhance shareholder value. To that end, last month, the board authorized an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend rate payable in September.Our first quarter results reflect the progress that continues to be made on the key areas of focus that we discussed at our year-end call. As we have stated, these were designed to address both short-term challenges as well as further position the company for long-term growth and include the following: further building our brands through increased investments in marketing support; continuing to drive our innovation pipeline; optimizing price points to meet our consumer needs and address competition; capitalizing on our recent acquisitions; and continuing to optimize our supply chain. We are pleased with what we've accomplished in these areas and Vince will expand on these as he discusses the segments in a moment. We will remain focused on these priorities as we move ahead. From an industry perspective, consumers clearly continue to feel pressed by the economy and we don't expect overnight reversals in consumer confidence. However, we are beginning to see some positive indicators in industry volume trends. While total U.S. retail food and beverage volume has been soft for an extended period, the industry has seen gradual improvements from the 52-week to the 12-week to the 4-week reporting periods with volume up slightly in the latest 4-week period. Moderating food inflation, as a result of declining commodity costs, has clearly been a factor in this improvement in the food and beverage volume. That being said, the impact of the current U.S. drought will not be fully understood and realized by the industry for a number of months. We will be monitoring this area and adjusting as appropriate. Overall, while we remain cautious, we are more optimistic about the near term than we were a few months ago. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com