Pinnacle Foods to drop two frozen entree brands
In doing so, officials noted that the company's Birds Eye Frozen Division will stop making Birds Eye SteamFresh frozen meals and Swanson frozen meals. A spokeswoman told R&FF the move does not affect a larger Birds Eye's Voila! complete bagged meal business, nor the company's Swanson Hungry-Man frozen entree line.
Officials said companywide net sales were $541.7 million compared to $394.2 million in last year’s third quarter. This increase was principally due to the acquisition of Birds Eye Foods, Inc. late in 2009. Net loss was $12.2 million compared to net earnings of $10.4 million in the third quarter of last year. The decrease in earnings in the quarter is largely attributable to $20.9 million of charges related to the refinancing of certain debt, which will reduce future interest expense and improves the maturity profile of the company’s debt portfolio.
During the first nine months of 2010, Pinnacle reported net sales were $1.774 billion compared with $1.230 billion in last year’s first nine months and net earnings were $5.9 million compared to $10.8 million a year ago. Net cash provided by operating activities was $145.5 million in the first nine months of 2010 compared to $66.3 million last year primarily driven by a significant improvement in working capital, officials said.
“The first nine months of 2010 has been a period of significant accomplishment for Pinnacle Foods. Our integration of the Birds Eye Foods acquisition has been seamless, we successfully refinanced a portion of our debt, and our brands are gaining share in a difficult trading environment,” said Pinnacle CEO Robert Gamgort.
Pinnacle said net sales in the Birds Eye Frozen Division were $223.1 million in the third quarter compared to $112.0 million in last year’s third quarter. The acquisition of Birds Eye Foods added $127.0 million of net sales.
Officials said Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables grew significantly when compared with the same period a year ago driven by new items, promotional increases and strong market share performance. Birds Eye Voila! complete bagged meals also showed a significant increase in sales and market share. The net sales of the remaining businesses in the division declined $15.9 million. The decrease was mainly driven by declines in Hungry Man and Swanson dinners in a category marked by significant competitive activity. Aunt Jemima results increased slightly.
Net sales in the Birds Eye Frozen Division were $778.1 million in the first nine months compared to $356.4 million in last year’s first nine months. The acquisition of Birds Eye Foods added $445.7 million of net sales, said Pinnacle. Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables and Birds Eye Voila! complete bagged meals showed sizable sales and market share increases.
The net sales of the remaining businesses in the division declined $24.0 million. Pinnacle attributed the decrease to sales declines with Hungry Man and Swanson dinners in a category marked by significant competitive activity. Partially offsetting these were increases in Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s seafood brands.