Kraft Heinz runs out of beans as sales stagnate in "slow start to the year" sending shares dipping

Rebecca Smith
The maker of Heinz ketchup scrapped its bid for Unilever earlier this year
The maker of Heinz ketchup scrapped its bid for Unilever earlier this year (Source: Getty)

US food giant Kraft Heinz reported lower than expected quarterly profit and sales, noting a "slow start to the year".

The figures

Sales dropped three per cent in the first quarter, down to $6.36bn (£4.93bn) from $6.57bn a year ago. Analysts were expecting sales of $6.45bn.

Organic net sales took more of a tumble than expected, falling 2.7 per cent versus the same three-month period from the year before.

Kraft Heinz reported adjusted earnings of 84 cents per share, which was shy of analysts' estimates of 86 cents per share.

The firm's shares fell as much as 4.3 per cent in extended trading.

Why it’s interesting

While Kraft Heinz shares have risen around two per cent this year so far, in February shares fell on its sales dropping and net profit missing forecasts.

And today, the firm said the tepid results reflected sluggish demand in North America, as sales in the US fell 3.5 per cent to $4.6bn.

The US giant has been in the spotlight after its failed $140bn takeover of Unilever, which ranked the third biggest M&A collapse in history, according to Thomson Reuters figures. It “amicably agreed” to withdraw the bid just two days after details of the deal leaked.

Unilever conducted a comprehensive strategic review in the wake of the bid, and announced a share buyback of €5bn this year, and confirmed plans to sell its spread business.

What the company said

Kraft Heinz chief executive Bernardo Hees said:

Although our top line results in the first quarter reflect a slow start to the year, we remain on track with our key initiatives.

We are delivering product innovations, renovations and geographic expansion that positions Kraft Heinz to drive organic sales growth for the balance of 2017 and beyond. We also have good visibility on costs, savings and what we must do to deliver another year of profitable growth for The Kraft Heinz Company.

Related articles