Anthony Sanzio (Media)
Leonard F. Griehs (Analysts)
CAMPBELL COMPLETES SALE OF GODIVA CHOCOLATIER BUSINESS TO YILDIZ HOLDING A.S. FOR $850 MILLION
$600 Million of Proceeds to Be Used to Fund New Share Repurchase Plan; Company Updates Guidance for Fiscal 2008
CAMDEN, N.J. March 18, 2008-Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) today announced it has completed the sale of its Godiva Chocolatier business to Yildiz Holding A.S. for $850 million. Campbell announced the agreement of sale on December 20, 2007.
Campbell also announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized using approximately $600 million of the net proceeds of the sale of Godiva to purchase company stock in open market transactions. The company expects these purchases to be substantially completed in fiscal 2008. This share repurchase authority is in addition to Campbell’s ongoing practice of buying back shares sufficient to offset shares issued under incentive compensation plans.
Following the divestiture of the Godiva business, Campbell updated its fiscal 2008 sales and earnings guidance. For fiscal 2008, the company expects its continuing operations to deliver sales growth in excess of its long-term target range of between 3 and 4 percent, due in part to the favorable impact of currency and a 53rd week of sales in the fiscal year. Campbell expects to deliver EBIT growth from continuing operations between 5 and 7 percent from the fiscal 2007 adjusted base of $1.200 billion.
Excluding items impacting comparability, the company expects adjusted net earnings per share growth between 5 and 7 percent from the fiscal 2007 adjusted base of $1.95, which is unchanged from previous guidance. While Campbell expects the divestiture will be accretive to earnings per share in fiscal 2008, the company intends to make additional investments in brand building and cost reduction initiatives.
Detailed financial information outlining the historical pro forma impact of the transaction and the anticipated use of proceeds is being made available through a public filing.
Douglas R. Conant, Campbell’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “This latest share repurchase program represents our ongoing confidence in our more focused portfolio and is a continuation of our commitment to deliver strong investor returns.”
Godiva has annual sales of approximately $500 million.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including “Campbell’s,” “Pepperidge Farm,” “Arnott’s,” and “V8.” For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website at www.campbellsoup.com.
Non-GAAP Financial Information
A reconciliation of the adjusted fiscal 2007 financial information to the reported financial information is attached to this release.
This release contains “forward-looking statements” that reflect the company’s current expectations about its future plans and performance, including statements concerning the impact of marketing investments and strategies, share repurchase, cost-saving initiatives, quality improvements, and portfolio strategies, including divestitures, on sales, earnings, and margins. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates that could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could vary materially from those anticipated or expressed in any forward-looking statement made by the company. Please refer to the company’s most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties. The company disclaims any obligation or intent to update the forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.