A last hurrah for Hillshire

by Monica Watrous    View Me on Google+
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Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches and Hillshire Farm lunchmeat propelled sales during the company's fourth quarter.

CHICAGO – The Hillshire Brands Co. overcame higher input costs to deliver better-than-expected full-year results prior to its pending integration with Tyson Foods.

"I am very proud of the entire Hillshire team and the terrific job they have done with our brands,” said Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Hillshire Brands. “We delivered against our goal of building a different kind of food company, one that is simultaneously innovative and lean. This approach has created significant value for our shareholders and a fulfilling work experience for our people."

Innovation and increased distribution drove volume growth during the quarter. Strength in Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, Hillshire Farm lunchmeat and Ball Park burgers and hot dogs contributed to an 8.5% increase in retail net sales during the quarter.

On the food service side, net sales advanced more than 16% and outperformed industry growth rates in meat and bakery. New Jimmy Dean roller grill sausages and pre-sliced Luxe Layer pies propelled Hillshire’s performance in the convenience store channel.

For the fiscal year ended June 28, income from continuing operations was $212 million, equal to $1.72 per share on the common stock, up 15% from $184 million, or $1.50 per share, in the previous year.

Net sales increased to $4,085 million, up 4.2% from $3,920 million the year before.

Fourth-quarter income from continuing operations slipped to $27 million, equal to 22c per share on the common stock, down 30% from $35 million, or 29c per share, in the comparable period.

Net sales for the quarter advanced nearly 11% to $1,064 million from $962 million in the prior-year quarter.

On July 1, Hillshire entered into a definitive agreement under which Tyson Foods would acquire all outstanding shares of Hillshire for $63 per share in an all-cash transaction, including debt, valued at approximately $8.55 billion. Despite a recent hiccup in which the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division requested additional information regarding the deal, the companies expect the transaction to be completed by the end of September.

Because of the pending acquisition, Hillshire declined to provide guidance on the following year.
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