Smucker Lives Up to Its Slogan

You have to love a company that holds on, decade after decade, to the same slogan: "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." And when that company, in this age of mergers and buyouts, remains managed by members of its founding family and consistently produces solid results, all the better.

That's the way it is at Orrville, Ohio's J.M. Smucker (NYSE: SJM  ) . The company at One Strawberry Lane, where a pair of Smuckers serve as co-CEOs, announced on Friday a 42% increase in its quarterly profit to $40.8 million, from $28.7 million in the quarter that ended in July 2006. Revenues for the quarter rose 17% to $561.5 million, while per-share earnings also climbed 42% to $0.71.

Smucker's most recent quarterly results were bolstered by $43.5 million in sales from Eagle Family Foods, a producer of sweetened condensed milk, which it acquired on May 1. Eagle therefore accounted for about half of Smucker's sales increase in the quarter.

Smucker markets a host of jams, jellies, peanut butters, shortenings and oils, flours, and fruit and vegetable juices under its own corporate brand name, and under such other monikers as Jif, Crisco, Pillsbury, Eagle Brand, Hungry Brand, and White Lily. The company joins other food companies, such as Kraft (NYSE: KFT  ) , PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP  ) , and TreeHouse Foods (NYSE: THS  ) , in reporting solid results for the quarter. London-based Cadbury Schweppes (NYSE: CSG  ) , which competes with Smucker in some product areas, turned in a less-than-stellar performance.

And so in J.M. Smucker, we have a medium-sized food company that is solidly managed and consistently converts its recognized product line to sound earnings growth. Its balance sheet is strong, and its operating margin and return on equity both are in striking distance of Kraft's. Smucker also sweetens its shares with a dividend yield of 2.2%.

Investors found the company's latest results sufficiently savory on Friday to raise its share price by nearly 2%. Indeed, in the midst of this most paranoid of markets, there's a lot to be said for a basic PB-and-J company that gets it done quarter after quarter, and really is as good as its slogan says.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith's pantry does include a stock of Smucker's products, although he doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He welcomes your emails. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.  


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