New Soup Initiatives Outlined
CAMDEN, NJ, MAY 17, 2000—Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) today reported diluted earnings per share of $.32 for its fiscal third quarter ended April 30, 2000, a 14 percent decline versus $.37 a year earlier. Net earnings were $139 million compared to $162 million in the same quarter a year ago. Net sales in the quarter decreased 7 percent to $1.4 billion. The Company said the earnings performance was largely driven by a 9 percent decline in consumption of its core U.S. soups.
“Even though Campbell remains the clear market leader in soup, these results are unacceptable,” said David W. Johnson, President and Chief Executive Officer. “If U.S. soup consumption trends continue, full fiscal 2000 earnings per share could be approximately $.08 to $.12 below current published estimates. Our first priority is U.S. soup. Campbell’s management has worked ‘triple time’ to be in a position to announce a series of new initiatives that will be executed starting in July. All are consumer motivating and designed to provide competitive advantage. They involve:
- Innovation and relaunch of Campbell’s top selling condensed soups.
- Easy-open tops for all Campbell’s ready to serve soups. These tops have won consumer applause for their convenience and for expanding usage occasions. They will appear on Campbell’s “Chunky”, “Healthy Request” and “Select” soups.
- The launch of a new line of ready to serve soups in seven top-selling varieties. This will enable the consumer to choose from condensed and ready to serve varieties.
Details of these new initiatives will be discussed at a meeting in New York today.”
Detailed results of the third quarter are as follows:
Soup and Sauces
Sales for the quarter were $926.9 million, a decrease of 8 percent from the previous year’s results. Operating earnings declined 18 percent to $204 million.
The 8 percent decline in U.S. soup shipments contributed to a worldwide wet soup shipments decline of 5 percent in the quarter. Outside the U.S., wet soup volume increased 1 percent. Volume gains in France, Germany and Australia were partially offset by declines in Canada and the U.K.
Beyond soup, the Company reported lower sales for its U.S. sauce businesses, including “Prego,” “Franco-American” and “Pace.” “Homepride” sauces in the U.K. reported strong sales behind the success of its new “Pasta Bakes.” Beverage sales were lower due primarily to a consumption decline in “V8 Splash” versus record sales a year earlier.
Biscuits and Confectionery
Sales in the quarter increased 2 percent to $347.3 million. Operating earnings were $42.2 million, a 5% decrease from a year ago.
Pepperidge Farm reported lower earnings in the quarter due mainly to marketing investments, primarily behind its core “Goldfish” brand. Sales of bakery products declined, but sales of frozen products rose on the strength of pot pies, garlic bread and French toast. Arnott’s in Australia reported sales gains in the quarter.
Godiva Chocolatier delivered another excellent performance in the quarter, reporting double-digit sales and earnings growth due to record Valentine’s Day results and strong Easter sales.
Away From Home
Away From Home delivered strong sales gains for the quarter, up 8 percent to $131.5 million. Operating earnings were down less than 1 percent to $12.6 million, reflecting the division’s continued investment behind new initiatives, including the “Campbell’s” branded soup kettle program, which is expanding in food service venues such as colleges and hospitals.
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 consumption trends, 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.