Kellogg earnings nearly unchanged in 2011
BakingBusiness.com, Feb. 2, 2012
by Eric Schroeder

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — The Kellogg Co. posted net income of $1,231 million, equal to $3.40 per share on the common stock, for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2011, down narrowly from net income of $1,247 million, or $3.32 per share, in fiscal 2010.

Fiscal-year operating profit dipped to $1,976 million from $1,990 million. Internal operating profit, which excludes the effects of foreign currency translation, declined by 2.9%. The anticipated decline was the result of the company’s supply-chain initiatives, the reinstatement of incentive compensation costs and continued high levels of commodity inflation.

Fiscal-year net sales increased 6.5% to $13,198 million from $12,397 million. Shares of Kellogg were trading at $50.67 per share on the New York Stock Exchange in the mid-morning of Feb. 2, which compared with a close of $49.31 per share on Feb. 1.

“In 2011 we started to build a foundation upon which we can grow,” said John Bryant, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg, when fiscal-year reports were given Feb. 2. “We are pleased to have again posted very strong revenue growth, and we have continued to make the investments necessary for future growth.

“Without the impact of the compensation costs and the supply-chain investment, our underlying operating profit increased in line with the company’s long-term target of mid single-digit growth. We will further improve our supply chain in 2012, but, as importantly, we will also focus our efforts on increasing investment in brand building and launching even stronger innovation.”

Kellogg North America in the fiscal year had operating profit of $1,553 million, down from $1,565 million in the previous fiscal year, and net sales of $8,873 million, up 6% from $8,402 million in fiscal 2010. Internal net sales grew 4% in North America Retail Cereal, 5% in North America Retail Snacks and 10% in the North America Frozen and Specialty Channels business.

Fiscal-year operating profit grew to $176 million from $153 million in Latin America and to $106 million from $74 million in Asia Pacific. Fiscal-year operating profit in Europe fell to $338 million from $364 million.

Kellogg International saw fiscal-year sales growth of 8%. Sales increased in every international segment. Europe sales increased to $2,334 million from $2,230 million while Latin America sales increased to $1,049 million from $923 million and Asia Pacific sales increased to $942 million from $842 million.

In the fourth quarter, Kellogg companywide reported net income of $232 million, or 65c per share, which was up 23% from $189 million, or 51c per share in the previous year’s fourth quarter. Fourth-quarter sales increased 5% to $3,015 million from $2,860 million.

Kellogg reaffirmed its guidance for growth of 4% to 5% in internal net sales growth in fiscal-year 2012. The company anticipates 2012 fiscal-year currency-neutral earnings per share to grow between 2% and 4%, an estimate that factors in the impacts of continued investments in supply chain, an update of the company’s SAP platform, an increase in the level of investment in brand building and a benefit from a three-year $2.5 billion share repurchase program.

“While we recognize that 2011 and 2012 are transition years, we are confident that we are making the right investments in the company, and in future growth,” Mr. Bryant said.