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    Heinz To Refocus On Ketchup, Sell Off Non-Core Biz

    PITTSBURGH -- In an effort to boost profits, the H.J. Heinz Co. intends to focus on its best-selling foods, including its brand-name ketchup, while selling off underperforming businesses such as its seafood, vegetables, and frozen foods in Europe.

    PITTSBURGH -- In an effort to boost profits, the H.J. Heinz Co. intends to focus on its best-selling foods, including its brand-name ketchup, while selling off underperforming businesses such as its seafood, vegetables, and frozen foods in Europe.

    The company said it would concentrate on three core segments: ketchup, condiments and sauces; meals and snacks; and infant nutrition, while divesting about 16 percent of its products and 17 plants.

    Heinz said it has hired UBS AG and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to help its sell its vegetable, frozen foods, and seafood businesses in Europe, and its New Zealand poultry unit.

    Heinz said the plan will help it increase earnings per share by as much as 14 percent in the current fiscal year, excluding restructuring costs, which have totaled at least $100 million so far.

    During a conference call with media and financial analysts, Heinz chairman, president and c.e.o. William Johnson said the company was "simplifying business. We need to play where we can win."

    Johnson was referring to Heinz's seafood, vegetable, and frozen businesses in Europe (including the Petit Navire, John West and HAK brands), and the Tegel poultry business in New Zealand, which he said had "not performed as well, or as consistently, as core categories."

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