The Hillshire Brands Company (NYSE: HSH) presented today at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York’s (CAGNY) annual conference. Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer, and Maria Henry, chief financial officer, provided an overview on the progress the company has made against its strategies. “We have made broad-based progress against our plan,” said Connolly. “Hillshire Brands competes in attractive and profitable categories. Our disciplined investment in brand building and innovation, coupled with our focus on cost management, positions us to generate strong and sustainable shareholder returns.” Specifically, Connolly cited the progress the company has made in increasing operating income, earnings per share and total shareholder return since it debuted as a public company in the summer of 2012. He also mentioned he expects further progress driven by a strong innovation slate that will launch in the next few months. The company’s core brands – Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Aidell’s, Gallo, Golden Island, Chef Pierre and Sara Lee – are leaders in their respective categories. To support these brands, the company has ramped up innovation, driven distribution gains and intends to increase MAP investment to five percent of sales by the end of fiscal 2015. The presentation highlighted numerous new product line extensions and adjacent innovations. Additionally, it covered capital deployment plans and touched on the company’s increased dividend and expected share repurchases of $200 million through fiscal 2015. The company also described its strategy to leverage its assets and capabilities through M&A activity. About The Hillshire Brands Company The Hillshire Brands Company (NYSE: HSH) is a leader in branded foods. The company generated approximately $4 billion in annual sales in fiscal 2013, has more than 9,000 employees, and is based in Chicago. Hillshire Brands’ portfolio includes iconic brands such as Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, State Fair, Sara Lee frozen bakery and Chef Pierre pies, as well as artisanal brands Aidells, Gallo Salame and Golden Island premium jerky. For more information on the company, please visit www.hillshirebrands.com. Forward-Looking Statements This release contains forward-looking statements regarding Hillshire Brands' business prospects and future financial results and metrics, including statements contained under the heading “CEO Perspective,” and “Outlook.” Forward-looking statements are typically preceded by terms such as “will,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “expects,” “plans,” “likely” or “believes” and other similar terms. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data and management's views and assumptions regarding future events and are inherently uncertain.
Investors must recognize that actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, and the company wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Among the factors that could cause Hillshire Brands' actual results to differ from such forward-looking statements are those described under Item 1A, Risk Factors, in Hillshire Brands' most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as factors relating to:
- The consumer marketplace, such as (i) intense competition, including advertising, promotional and price competition; (ii) changes in consumer behavior due to economic conditions, such as a shift in consumer demand toward private label; (iii) fluctuations in raw material costs, Hillshire Brands' ability to increase or maintain product prices in response to cost fluctuations and the impact on profitability; (iv) the impact of various food safety issues and regulations on sales and profitability of Hillshire Brands' products; and (v) inherent risks in the marketplace associated with product innovations, including uncertainties related to execution and trade and consumer acceptance;
- Hillshire Brands' relationship with its customers, such as (i) a significant change in Hillshire Brands' business with any of its major customers, such as Wal-Mart, its largest customer; and (ii) credit and other business risks associated with customers operating in a highly competitive retail environment;
- Hillshire Brands' spin-off of its international coffee and tea business in June 2012, including potential tax liabilities and other indemnification obligations; and
- Other factors, such as (i) Hillshire Brands' ability to generate margin improvement through cost reduction and productivity improvement initiatives; (ii) Hillshire Brands' credit ratings, the impact of Hillshire Brands' capital plans on such credit ratings and the impact these ratings and changes in these ratings may have on Hillshire Brands' cost to borrow funds and access to capital/debt markets; and (iii) the settlement of a number of ongoing reviews of Hillshire Brands' income tax filing positions and inherent uncertainties related to the interpretation of tax regulations in the jurisdictions in which Hillshire Brands transacts or has transacted business.