CAMDEN, NJ, February 16, 2000—Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) today reported diluted earnings per share of $.65 for its fiscal second quarter ended January 30, 2000, up 33 percent versus $.49 a year earlier. Net earnings increased to $281 million compared to $219 million in the comparable quarter a year ago. Net sales in the quarter increased 5 percent to $1.9 billion, up 7 percent before the impact of currency and divestitures. During the quarter, cash flow from operations increased more than 100 percent versus a year ago to $465 million, and the Company bought back $128 million of its common stock.
“Our key priorities this year are to restore earnings growth and to invest in innovation that will build our brands for the long term,” said Dale F. Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our second quarter results demonstrate progress on both fronts. Earnings have rebounded strongly, led by the recovery of U.S. soup volumes and continued margin improvements. Across the portfolio, new products rolled out this fiscal year are gaining strong consumer acceptance. Weakness in condensed soups resulted in U.S. soup consumption being down 2 percent for the quarter. However, we had continued good performance in our ready-to-serve soups.”
Soup and Sauces
Sales for the quarter rose to $1.4 billion, an increase of 7 percent before the impact of currency. Operating earnings increased 40 percent to $406
Worldwide wet soup shipments increased 9 percent, while U.S. wet soup shipments were up 12 percent, reflecting the strong recovery in soup volumes over the same quarter last year.
During the quarter, ready-to-serve soups delivered good volume gains, led by “Swanson” broths and new products that were introduced nationally earlier in the year — “Campbell’s” ready-to-serve Tomato soup in a resealable plastic container and “Campbell’s Soup To Go!”, a ready-to-serve line of soups in single-serve microwavable bowls. In addition, “Campbell’s Chunky” soups, which continue to successfully leverage the brand’s partnership with the National Football League, posted solid gains, as did “Campbell’s Simply Home” soups.
Outside the U.S., strong volume gains in France, Germany, and Australia were partially offset by lower shipments in Canada and the U.K. Overall, international wet soup volume was up 1 percent. In France, new “Liebig Soup Creative” vegetable soups in resealable plastic bottles have been well received by consumers and are contributing to Liebig’s continued volume growth.
Beyond soup, the Company reported improved results in its sauce business mainly from continued positive momentum in “Prego” pasta sauces in the U.S. and “Homepride” sauces in the U.K., which continued to perform well on the strength of new “Pasta Bakes.” “Franco-American” pasta volume declined in the quarter. In beverages, “V8 Splash” continued to innovate its line-up with the introduction of calcium-fortified drinks in single-serve aseptic packages.
Biscuits and Confectionery
Sales in the quarter increased 3 percent to $419 million. Operating earnings were $78 million, a 9% increase from a year ago.
Pepperidge Farm reported increased earnings in the quarter, driven by strong gains in frozen products, including pot pies, garlic toast, and French toast. Sales were lower due to continued competitive pressures in the cheese cracker category. Arnotts delivered improved sales and earnings, reflecting volume growth in its core biscuit business in Australia, as well as improved cost productivity.
Godiva Chocolatier reported double-digit sales and earnings growth in the quarter, driven by robust sales results in retail stores, benefiting from a record Christmas season and new store openings.
Away From Home
Sales for the quarter increased 6 percent to $143 million driven by strong soup sales in traditional food service outlets. Operating earnings were down 4 percent to $17 million, reflecting investments behind new initiatives. Away From Home continued to expand “Campbell’s” branded soup presence through soup “kettle” merchandisers in cafeterias as well as test programs in quick-service restaurants, convenience stores and airports.
Forward Looking Statement
This release contains certain forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s operations, economic performance and financial condition, including, among other things, statements relating to new product introductions, productivity gains and cost savings programs, and sales, earnings, and volume growth. These statements reflect the Company’s current plans and expectations. They rely on a number of assumptions and estimates that could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the Company’s actual results to vary materially from the results anticipated.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is the world’s largest maker and marketer of soup. The Company’s soups are sold under the global “Campbell’s” brand, as well as “Erasco” in Germany and “Liebig” in France. Among its other strong food brands are “Pepperidge Farm” cookies and crackers, “V8” and “V8 Splash” juices, “Pace” Mexican sauces, “Prego” pasta sauces, “Swanson” broths, “Homepride” sauces in the United Kingdom, “Arnott’s” biscuits in Australia, and “Godiva” chocolates around the world.