PARSIPPANY, NJ. — The sale of the Back to Nature brand to the Barilla Group in December by B&G Foods, Inc. foreshadowed the potential for additional divestments by the company.
“We are actively reviewing other divestiture possibilities to sharpen the portfolio focus and reduce leverage and debt,” said Kenneth Charles Keller, president and chief executive officer, during a Feb. 28 conference call to discuss fiscal 2022 financial results.
Mr. Keller did not go into specifics, but called the portfolio reshaping an exercise where the company is trying to improve its margin profile and the growth prospects of the core business.
A securities analyst on the call asked about the status of the Green Giant frozen business and Mr. Keller said, “the jury to me is not out on Green Giant. We’re still working to improve the business. We’re still evaluating longer term — do we want to scale up in frozen? It’s an active discussion that we’re having internally.”
B&G Foods’ recorded a loss of $11.4 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2022. The result compares unfavorably to fiscal 2021 when the company earned $67.4 million, equal to $1.03 per share on the common stock.
Sales rose to $2.16 billion from $2.06 billion the year prior.
A non-cash impairment charge of $106.4 million related to the company’s decision to sell the Back to Nature business and input cost inflation were the primary reasons for the loss, according to the company.
“Total fiscal year '22 input cost inflation impact finished at greater than plus 20%,” Mr. Keller said. “We are starting to see some moderation in key commodities, including soybean oil, wheat, corn, but costs still remain at historically high levels. In addition, freight transportation and warehousing costs moderated from last summer highs, although still above last year.”
Bruce C. Wacha, chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance, said raising prices was the primary tool the company used to combat inflation.
“… but the structural delays involved in implementing price increases, resulting from customer advanced notice requirements, limited our ability to fully offset these costs for much of the year,” he said.
Brands that had positive sales growth during the year included Crisco, up 27%; Clabber Girl, up 22%; Cream of Wheat, up 21%; and Ortega up 2%.
Full-year sales for Green Giant, including the Le Sueur business, fell 3.6% and B&G’s spices and seasonings business experienced a sales decline of 3.2%. The decrease in spices and seasonings sales was driven in part by comparisons against the very strong fiscal 2021, according to the company.
For fiscal 2023, B&G Foods is guiding sales in a range of $2.13 billion to $2.17 billion and adjusted EBITDA to be between $310 million to $330 million.“Our guidance assumes pricing benefit throughout the year and modest volume declines, coupled with elevated cost environment and more modest levels of inflation throughout the portfolio,” Mr. Wacha said. “While the economy is still turbulent, we believe that we have seen the worst of the escalation in inflationary pressures and that unlike last year, pricing is finally being given the opportunity to catch up the costs.”