Heinz Presses Ahead on its 'Simple' Path

24 November 2005

Food processing giant H J Heinz reports a rise in second fiscal quarter profits and significant progress in the sale of its non-core European brands and businesses. Q2 profit totalled $203.8 million (€173.6m; £118.9m), up from around $199m during the same period last year.

President/ceo William Johnson is happy with the results and with the strategy of "simplifying" the company. Excluding reorganization charges, expenses for strategic reviews and other costs, Heinz earned $212m in the quarter and remains on course to report $2.35 to $2.45 in earnings per share by the end of the fiscal year.

The company also expects to finish the year with between $900m and $1 billion in cashflow, giving it more flexibility in dealing with rising costs and debt.

Heinz announced in May a far reaching review of its operations and put up for sale its seafood, vegetable and frozen foods businesses together with its New Zealand poultry unit.

Also under the hammer are such European brands as Weight Watchers, Linda McCartney vegetarian products, John West Foods and Aunt Bessie's pies and puddings.

The company is focusing on its flagship ketchup range, canned foods/soups and babyfoods.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff