Martinne's Feed
May 2, 2013

Maker’s Mark mistake fuels big Beam profit

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – A public relations disaster pumped up Beam Inc’s (BEAM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) first-quarter profit.

Sales of Maker’s Mark soared 44 percent after the company announced it would lower the alcohol content in its bourbon because of a limited supply of whiskey.

May 2, 2013

Kellogg, Hillshire sales light as Americans skip sweets

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Kellogg Co (K.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Hillshire Brands (HSH.N: Quote, Profile, Research) reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales on Thursday, as budget-conscious U.S. consumers cut back on desserts, sending the food companies’ shares lower.

Kellogg, which makes Keebler cookies, posted a quarterly profit in line with estimates and stood by its full-year outlook. Hillshire, which owns Sara Lee frozen cakes, reported a better-than-expected profit and said 2013 earnings would be at the high end of its forecast.

May 2, 2013

Kellogg, Hillshire Brands results disappoint

May 2 (Reuters) – Kellogg Co and Hillshire Brands
reported quarterly results on Thursday in line or better
than Wall Street estimates, but both food companies’ shares fell
in early trading.

U.S. packaged food stocks have gained more than 21 percent
this year as investors look for defensive, high-yield
investments and hope for more deal-making following the buyout
of H.J. Heinz Co.

Apr 25, 2013

Starbucks raises outlook but shares fall

April 25 (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp reported higher
quarterly profit on Thursday that matched Wall Street estimates
and it raised its full-year earnings forecast.

The world’s biggest coffee chain cited increased sales in
the United States, its top market, despite an industry-wide
spending downturn in February due to a U.S. payroll tax increase
that lowered take-home pay.

Apr 25, 2013

Continental Grain heads toward Smithfield proxy fight

April 25 (Reuters) – Continental Grain Co, a large
shareholder in Smithfield Foods Inc, moved toward a
proxy fight with the meat company on Thursday, saying it will
seek shareholder support in connection with a turnaround plan it
says could lift Smithfield’s shares to $40 in three years.

In a presentation filed on Thursday with U.S. securities
regulators, Continental repeated its view that Smithfield should
split into three companies, use the proceeds to buy back shares,
restructure its business, and institute a dividend in line with
peers. It should also immediately add three new directors,
Continental Grain said.

Apr 18, 2013

PepsiCo first-quarter profit beats; stands by 2013 outlook

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, as price increases helped margins, but the company stood by its full-year forecast as it invests in its business.

The maker of Pepsi sodas, Tropicana juices, Frito-Lay snacks and Quaker oatmeal has been boosting its advertising and marketing and cutting costs to improve performance, especially in its North American beverage business, which was losing market share to rival Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

Apr 18, 2013

PepsiCo 1st-qtr profit beats; stands by 2013 outlook

April 18 (Reuters) – PepsiCo Inc posted
better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, as price
increases helped margins, but the company stood by its full-year
forecast as it invests in its business.

The maker of Pepsi sodas, Tropicana juices, Frito-Lay snacks
and Quaker oatmeal has been boosting its advertising and
marketing and cutting costs to improve performance, especially
in its North American beverage business, which was losing market
share to rival Coca-Cola Co.

Apr 16, 2013

Coca-Cola to return some distribution to U.S. franchisers

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Less than three years after spending billions of dollars to acquire most of its U.S. distribution operations, Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) is starting to sell it off again.

Getting out of the capital-intensive, low-return business of delivering bottles and cans of soda to stores, restaurants and vending machines will improve margins. That, and a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, sent shares of the world’s largest soft-drink maker up nearly 6 percent.

Apr 16, 2013

Coca-Cola profit surprises, announces U.S. bottler deal

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – Coca-Cola Co (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and announced a deal to unload some distribution territory to five independent U.S. bottlers, sending its shares up more than 5 percent in morning trading.

The move by the maker of Sprite, Fanta and Minute Maid is “a major step in the transformation of its U.S. production and distribution,” said Stifel Nicolaus analyst Mark Swartzberg.

Apr 15, 2013

J.C. Penney borrows $850 million to boost inventory

By Martinne Geller

(Reuters) – J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has borrowed $850 million from its $1.85 billion revolving credit facility to help buy inventory as the department store operator revamps its business strategy after a failed turnaround.

The company said on Monday it will use the proceeds to fund its working capital needs and capital expenditures, including buying inventory as it overhauls its home goods department, an effort it expects to complete next month.