ORRVILLE, OHIO — For the J.M. Smucker Co., 2015 was a year of significant change, which culminated in the largest acquisition in the company history. The maker of Jif and Folgers swung to a loss in the fourth quarter, reflecting the impact of its March transaction for Big Heart Pet Brands and related financing expenses, as well as net sales declines in coffee, a business burnt by ongoing challenges.
For the fiscal year ended April 30, Smucker had net income of $344.9 million, equal to $3.33 per share on the common stock, down 39% from $565.2 million, or $5.42 per share, in fiscal 2014. Net sales for the year increased 1% to $5,692.7 million, which compared with $5,610.6 million the year before.
For the fourth quarter, Smucker reported a net loss of $90.3 million, which compared with net income of $118.5 million, or $1.16 per share, in the prior-year period. Net sales for the quarter totaled $1,447.1 million, up 17% from $1,234.3 million the year before.
|Richard Smucker, c.e.o. of J.M. Smucker Co.|
“The challenges we have spoken to over the past two quarters in our coffee business resulted in total company net sales and earnings per share performance falling short of our original expectations for the year,” said Richard Smucker, chief executive officer, during a June 4 earnings call with financial analysts. “That said we still firmly believe coffee is a great category and expect to achieve mid-single-digit percentage segment profit growth in 2016.”
For fiscal 2016, executives expect to deliver approximately $8 billion in net sales, an increase of 40% over 2015, and earnings per share in the range of $5.65 to $5.80, which includes the realization of $25 million of synergies related to the Big Heart acquisition. On March 23 the company completed the transaction, valued at approximately $5.8 billion, including approximately $2.6 billion of net debt. Big Heart Pet Brands is the largest stand-alone producer, distributor and marketer of branded pet food and pet snacks in the United States with such brands as Meow Mix, Milk-Bone and Kibbles ‘n Bits.
“We enter fiscal 2016 as a larger, stronger and more diversified company and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead,” Mr. Smucker said.
In the year ahead, Smucker is focused on integrating the pet food business and capitalizing on synergies and growth opportunities from the transaction; driving growth within its coffee business and the Jif, Smucker’s and Uncrustables brands with marketing efforts to support continued innovation across key product lines; and working on capital efficiencies to meet deleveraging activities.
Smucker expects to boost its coffee business with the recently announced partnership with Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. and Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. to manufacture, market, distribute and sell Dunkin’ K-Cup packs at retailers nationwide in the United States and Canada and on-line.
“Our initial shipments began May 1, and we’ve been extremely pleased with the customer and consumer response to date,” Mr. Smucker said. “We anticipate Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cups will be a key driver of top- and bottom-line growth for our coffee segment in fiscal 2016.”
Net sales in the U.S. Retail Coffee segment declined 4% to $2,076.1 million for the year and 1% to $468.6 million for the quarter, due to lower volume that was mostly offset by higher net price realization and favorable sales mix. Segment profit fell 14% to $549.2 million for the year and 19% to $109.9 million for the quarter, driven by lower sales volume and the impact of higher green coffee costs.
For the U.S. Retail Consumer Foods segment, net sales fell 3% to $2,104.8 million for the year and 8% to $427.5 million for the quarter, due to lower net price realization for Jif, Pillsbury and Smucker’s brands. Segment profit increased 10% to $432.9 for the year but dipped 5% to $87.3 million for the quarter, reflecting a decrease in volume and higher marketing expenses.
“We were pleased with the 2015 performance of our consumer foods segment, which achieved record profit performance,” Mr. Smucker said. “Volume performance in the segment was led by Jif, Crisco and Smucker’s Uncrustables brands with Uncrustables achieving its third consecutive year of double-digit volume growth in U.S. retail.
“New product launches across our consumer foods portfolio also contributed to 2015 results. In addition, during the year we completed the acquisition of the Sahale Snack brand providing a new snacking platform that we look to leverage throughout our businesses.”
Net sales for the International, Foodservice and Natural Foods segment were flat at $1,272.7 million for the year and rose 6% to $311.9 million for the quarter. Segment profit fell 1% to $166.7 million for the year but advanced 10% to $38.1 million for the quarter. Results were affected by foreign currency translation and Smucker’s planned rationalizations within the food service business.Smucker’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange was down 3% in mid-morning trading on June 4 from the previous close of $118.19.