PITTSBURGH and CHICAGO — The Kraft Heinz Co. stock sank to a record low following the release of second-quarter earnings that executives described as “unacceptable.” Shares of the company trading on Nasdaq closed on Aug. 8 at $28.22, down 8.6 percent from $30.87 the day before and down 34 percent since the beginning of the year.
Net income attributable to common shareholders of the Kraft Heinz Co. in the second quarter ended June 29 was $449 million, equal to 37 cents per share on the common stock, down 40 percent from $754 million, or 62 cents per share, in the prior-year period.
Kraft Heinz recorded non-cash goodwill and intangible asset impairment charges in the recent quarter totaling $598 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $1,600 million, down from $1,949 million. The decline in adjusted EBITDA was attributed to inflation in the supply chain and higher costs to support sales growth.
Net sales totaled $6,406 million, down 4.2 percent from $6,690 million.
“The valuation of our stock is now among the lowest in the industry, and you deserve straight talk from me about how this business is run,” Miguel Patricio, the company’s new chief executive officer, told securities analysts during an Aug. 8 earnings call.
Patricio, who previously held senior leadership roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev and the Coca-Cola Co., joined Kraft Heinz as CEO and interim president of the US business in July, ousting Bernardo Hees, who had led the company since its creation in 2015.
“When I became CEO last month, I established three immediate goals with the board,” he said. “The first, which should be obvious, is to get to know our business, our consumers, our customers and our colleagues. The second is to execute our existing 2019 business plan. And the third and most important is to lead a comprehensive review to develop a new strategic agenda for the next three to five years.
“It is critical that we get the organization to concentrate on setting our strategic direction and laying the foundation for our future now. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions about our business, not thinking about the short term or next quarter. And we need to take the time to seek out external and internal inspiration and build on best practices, both within Kraft Heinz and from other world-class brands.”
Net income for the six months ended June 29 totaled $854 million, or 70 cents per share on the common stock, down 51 percent from $1,757 million, or $1.44, in the same period of the previous year. Net sales were $12,365 million, down 4.8 percent from $12,994 million.
“In terms of sales for the first half, we outlined in February the sources of our organic net sales decline,” said David H. Knopf, chief financial officer. “These included unfavorable promotional timing in both the United States and Canada as well as difficult comparisons versus an exceptionally strong prior year in UK soups. In addition to that, we also saw a negative impact from lower inventory levels at retail in North America that we did not anticipate, as well as lost sales due to trade negotiations in parts of continental Europe as we implemented good, better, best pricing in ketchup between our Heinz and newly repatriated Kraft brands.
“From a total company perspective, organic net sales were down 1.5 percent in the first half, including an adverse impact of approximately 1.2 percentage points from retail inventory reductions, primarily in the US and Canada. Volume mix was relatively flat in the first half as the reduction in retail inventory levels more than offset consumption growth in the United States, Canada and Latin America.”
Management declined to provide full-year guidance but said it expects improved year-on-year top- and bottom-line performance in the second half.
“Since I’ve been here just for 40 days, I wouldn’t feel comfortable about giving a guidance that I still do not have the necessary confidence about that number,” Patricio said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to overachieve by second half, if I’m going to underachieve or I will achieve.”