As H.J. Heinz
The market had expected Heinz to deliver per share earnings of $0.74. Well, Heinz trounced that forecast, increasing year-over-year EPS by 22.5% to $0.87. Net revenue increased by 3.5%, but the company managed to grow net income by 21.9%, primarily through currency hedges designed to mitigate fluctuating dollar risks. Not a bad strategy, considering the U.S. dollar has strengthened considerably in the past few months.
Heinz separates its overall revenue growth into five categories: volume, price, organic sales growth (which is volume and price combined), foreign exchange, and M&A. Quarterly volume dropped by 1.3%, but the company was able to gain 7.1% in price increases, leading to an organic sales growth rate of 5.8%. The stronger U.S. dollar led to a 3.3% decline in foreign exchange effects to revenue, while acquisitions and divestitures delivered a 1% increase in revenue.
Heinz also breaks down growth by region, with North America delivering a 9.4% increase in year-over-year revenue driven primarily by price increases. European sales were up 1.8% while Asia Pacific sales were down 2.4 %.
Heinz' volume and pricing results are in line with its foodie peers. Kraft Foods
To me, this currency exchange hedging is big stuff and shows some strong management insight. An increasing number of global companies like Coca-Cola
At a 4.4% dividend, Heinz shareholders are guaranteed decent income even if the market continues to drop. The company has a little more debt than I like in a company (the Long-Term Debt to Equity ratio is 2.54) and the P/E of 13.8 isn't exactly cheap in this market. I'm also a little concerned about future pricing power as global economic conditions decline. I'm not buying Heinz here, but I'll definitely keep it on my radar screen for future considerations.
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Fool contributor Colleen Paulson does not hold positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article and loves when those big ketchup bottles at Heinz Field light up in anticipation of a Steelers' score. The Fool's disclosure policy always hedges it bets.