Heinz to Conduct Strategic Review of International Brands

27 May 2005

Pittsburgh USA-headquartered processed foods giant H J Heinz on Thursday announced a sweeping strategic review of its overseas brands

The review will mirror that carried out for its North American operations a few years ago and will follow the current (although far from proven) international fashion to slash brands to a basic core. In 2002, the company sold its seafood, North American petfood, US baby food, and US private-label soup businesses.

In its slimming exercise, Heinz will train its crosswires on all activities outside of four key categories: ketchup, condiments and sauces; foodservice; infant nutrition; and quick-serve meals and snacks.

Proclaims William R Johnson, the company's multitasking chairman/president/ceo: "We are going to place our focus and resources on our big brands with number one and number two market positions and in four large developing markets."

The review will be conducted by a newly formed and grandiloquently named 'Office of the Chairman', led by the Big Enchilada himself with his four most senior lieutenants.

It will embrace Heinz seafood and frozen businesses in Europe and the Tegel poultry businesses in New Zealand. The European brands on the block include John West, Weight Watchers from Heinz and Linda McCartney in the UK, alongside Mareblu seafood in Italy and others.

The orotundly-named OOTC will: "provide a stronger focus on growth and innovation and to better leverage the global power of Heinz".

The company also announced fiscal Q 4 profits up 5.1% to $206.5 million (€164.98m; £113.43m), although the full fiscal-year numbers are less pleasing. Net fell 6.4% to $752.7m from $804.3 million a year earlier. Sales rose 5.9% to $8.91 billion from $8.41bn.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff