Shares of Kraft Heinz (KHC -0.40%) are up almost 5% at 1:30 p.m. EDT on June 10, following the company's after-hours filing of its annual report on Friday. While Friday-afternoon filings often have bad news in them, in this case, Kraft Heinz gave investors a few things to feel good about going forward.
First up: Kraft's 10-K report was submitted quite late; the company typically files it with the SEC and makes it available for investors in March. However, this year's version was delayed after a number of accounting problems were discovered at the company, going back as far as 2016, requiring substantial investigation to correct. Moreover, the company has been facing an ongoing probe by the SEC into its accounting practices -- the reason it was necessary to review and restate prior-period financial results.
At any rate, the market seems to be rewarding management with a vote of confidence after finally getting those restated results and last year's 10-K filed with the SEC.
The best news out of this story so far is that investors should now be able to feel confident that Kraft Heinz's financial controls are corrected, meaning we can review its financial and operating statements with a higher degree of confidence that they are accurate. That removes a tremendous amount of uncertainty that's played a huge role in sending shares of the packaged food behemoth down almost 38% this year, even after today's small recovery.
But let's be honest: This basically means we can be confident the company has a lot of work still to do. Sales were essentially flat last year, up 0.7% to $26.3 billion, and it lost $10.2 billion -- $8.36 per share -- after taking billions in writedowns to several of its biggest brands. Even when adjusting for those one-time writedowns, adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) fell 8% to $7 billion.
On balance, Kraft Heinz isn't a business in trouble, but it does continue to struggle with changing consumer tastes and will almost surely spend the next few years taking steps to become more relevant to today's consumer. That's likely going to cost a lot of money, and there's no guarantee that management will navigate the turnaround perfectly. Moreover, there's still some uncertainty in its financial results; it's mid-June, and the company hasn't yet filed its earnings results for the first quarter of 2019.
Is Kraft Heinz worth taking a flyer on? At this point, I think it could be a compelling turnaround investment, with the opportunity to earn a decent yield. The company slashed its dividend by 36% earlier this year, but with the stock having fallen substantially since, the yield is around 5%.
For investors willing to ride out the next few years as management works to right the ship, that 5% yield could make the ride easier. Just acknowledge there's the risk of another payout cut if management needs to free up even more cash flows. On balance, the risk/reward profile is getting more compelling.