The Hillshire Brands Co. presented at the Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference in Boston and provided an overview of the company’s three-year strategic plan for generating profitable growth.

“We are confident that our portfolio of leading retail brands presents significant untapped potential for profitable growth in the large and growing meat-centric meals and snacks markets,” said Sean Connolly, CEO, Hillshire Brands. “With an experienced senior leadership team now in place, we are focused on executing our strategic plan to drive long-term growth and profitability though brand-building and margin-accretive innovation. Ultimately, we believe these efforts will create significant value for our shareholders.”

Hillshire Brands’ key strategic priorities center on strengthening the company’s core brands, expanding into adjacencies and augmenting the strength of its portfolio through selective acquisitions. The company’s core brands – Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Jimmy Dean, State Fair, Aidells and Gallo – form a leading platform for delivering differentiated, value-added products to consumers. The company anticipates introducing innovative new line extensions and product upgrades to further enhance its portfolio. The company is also firmly committed to supporting its products through greater marketing, advertising and promotion (MAP) spend as it seeks to expand revenue from new innovations to between 13% and 15% of total revenue by fiscal 2015; up from historic levels of 9% of revenue.

Connolly described the company’s three-year plan with the words “fix, drive and expand,” which characterize Hillshire’s focus in fiscal 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. "This year, we are already seeing progress against our plans, and continue to work aggressively to strengthen the challenged portions of our portfolio like lunchmeat and foodservice bakery," continued Connolly. “As a transition year, the initiatives we pursue in 2013 will strengthen our brands, reduce costs and fill our innovation pipeline. We are fully committed to making these investments as we position Hillshire Brands to achieve our targets for 2015 and beyond.”

Maria Henry, chief financial officer of Hillshire Brands, provided additional financial perspective on the company. She announced that the company had adjusted diluted EPS for continuing operations of $1.47 for fiscal 2012 versus $1.20 for fiscal 2011, and on a reported basis, ($0.18) for fiscal 2012 versus $0.45 for fiscal 2011. Henry reiterated fiscal 2013 guidance of net sales in line with fiscal 2012, and adjusted EPS in the range of $1.40 and $1.55.

She also reiterated Hillshire Brands’ long-term 2015 operating targets:

  • 2% - 3% volume growth

  • 4% - 5% net sales growth

  • 5% MAP spend as percent of total revenue

  • 10% operating margin

“We continue to look at 2013 as a transition year with increased potential for variability that may impact our performance,” said Henry. “Our top priority is investing in our business in order to create sustainable, long-term shareholder value, and we believe we are well-positioned to do so with our strong balance sheet and attractive underlying cash flow.”

Henry also reiterated that the company is targeting a September 13, 2012 filing date for its fiscal 2012 Form 10-K; however, based on information recently received from D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753 N.V. regarding the status of its investigation into accounting irregularities and other adjustments within its Brazilian operations, there is a possibility the filing may be delayed beyond September 13. She also reiterated that the company continues to expect that any adjustment from the Brazilian investigation will primarily impact Hillshire Brands’ discontinued operations and is not expected to impact Hillshire Brands’ fiscal 2013 results.

To view and download the slides and an audio record of Hillshire Brands’ Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference presentation, visit the Investor Relations section of the Hillshire Brands corporate website

Source: Hillshire Brands Co.