Heinz reports some weak spots in sales ending in April 2013

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The new H.J. Heinz Co. management has some challenges ahead, following a year in which total sales for the Pittsburgh food company rose just 0.2 percent and both its North American consumer products division and the European operation reported sales declines.

Heinz, which was acquired for about $28 billion in June by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, on Tuesday reported an overall sales increase of $21 million to hit $11.53 billion in the fiscal year ended April 28, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Net income of $1.01 billion, or $3.14 per share, compared with $923 million, or $2.85 per share, the previous year. Earnings per share from continuing operations were $3.37, compared with $3.01 a year earlier.

Heinz said sales in its North American consumer products division fell $46 million, or 1.4 percent, to $3.2 billion, with volume gains in ketchup, mayonnaise, Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, Classico pasta sauces and Delimex frozen snacks offset by the company's decision to exit its T.G.I. Friday's frozen meals and volume dips in sales of Smart Ones frozen products and T.G.I. Friday's frozen snacks.

Heinz Europe also reported a sales decline, hit in part by foreign exchange rates and weak economies. But gains came in the Asia/Pacific region and the U.S. Foodservice segment that services restaurants and hospitals. The company division that covers markets such as Brazil, Mexico and the Middle East produced a 14 percent sales gain.

In the fourth quarter, Heinz said it closed a factory in South Africa and took a $3.5 million pre-tax charge.


Teresa F. Lindeman: tlindeman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2018.


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