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Bestfoods (BFO)

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Thursday 13 July, 2000

Bestfoods

2nd Quarter & Interim Results

Bestfoods
12 July 2000


Contact   Thomas DiPiazza (201) 894-2556
          Director Corporate Communications

BESTFOODS REPORTS SECOND-QUARTER E.P.S. GROWTH OF 11.5%

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ, July 12, 2000 -- Bestfoods today reported a second-quarter
earnings per share increase of 11.5% to $.68 per share from $.61 per share in
the same period last year. These results and those discussed below exclude a
charge of $30 million after taxes or $.11 per share related to expenses accrued
through June 30, 2000, associated with the planned acquisition of Bestfoods by
Unilever.

Net income for the quarter rose 9.9% to $193 million from $176 million in 1999.
Operating income was 10% higher, increasing to $366 million from $333 million in
last year's second-quarter.

Volumes increased 7.4%, with all of Bestfoods' operating divisions reporting
gains. About two thirds of the improvement came from recent acquisitions.
Margins overall were higher, with an especially strong gain in Europe, but the
benefit was offset by the impact of negative currency comparisons, also chiefly
in Europe.

For the quarter, worldwide sales rose 2.5% to $2.21 billion from $2.15 billion
in 1999.

Said C. R. Shoemate, chairman and chief executive officer, 'This was a good
quarter for Bestfoods, particularly in light of the significant impact
unfavorable European currency rates had on our reported sales and earnings.

'In North America, our consumer foods division turned in an excellent operating
income performance, with the recently acquired Case-Swayne foodservice
acquisition -- now part of our new International Food Solutions unit -- making
an important contribution. And our baking business in the U.S. continues to fire
on all cylinders, with volume growth across all major categories delivering a
strong double-digit earnings gain.

'Recent acquisitions also contributed to our fine performance in Latin America.
Our volumes grew well compared to the second quarter of 1999, despite continuing
difficult economic conditions in some countries, particularly Argentina and
Chile. In Asia we're seeing good growth, including excellent progress in China,
India, and Pakistan, where we're beginning to realize some of the great promise
of these big emerging markets.

'Our business in Europe is very sound and continues to progress well. Our
success there in improving our profitability lessened the impact of negative
currency rates, which nevertheless impeded Bestfoods' overall performance for
the quarter.'

For the first half of the year, earnings per share rose 12.7% to $1.24 per
share, compared to the $1.10 per share earned in 1999. During the six-month
period, net income increased 10.4% to $353 million from $320 million, and
operating income rose 9.1% to $674 million from $618 million in 1999. Worldwide
sales for the first half rose 1.8% to $4.43 billion from $4.35 billion.

Second Quarter Divisional Results

In North America, Bestfoods' consumer foods division reported a robust 13%
earnings increase in the second quarter. Sales rose 4.8% on the strength of the
Case-Swayne food ingredient acquisition. Excluding the acquisition, volumes for
the quarter were flat. Volumes for Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise were
lower in the quarter, but up 5.6% for the first six months of the year. Volumes
of new Hellmann's and Best Foods Citrus Splash salad dressing and other
dressings products, Knorr brand products, and peanut butter, including new
Skippy Doubly Delicious! peanut butter, were higher, while volumes of Mueller's
pasta and Mazola oils declined. During the quarter the division introduced
NutraBlend beverages, a line of flavored and regular soy drinks inspired by
Bestfoods' successful AdeS soy beverages in Latin America. Also introduced to
the retail trade: Mazola vegetable oil with added Vitamin E. Favorable commodity
prices contributed to the earnings gain.

The Bestfoods baking division reported a 25% gain in operating income, for its
eleventh consecutive quarter of double-digit earnings growth. Sales for the
quarter were 3.2% higher than in 1999. The gains were due to margin improvement
and higher volumes in all major product segments. Volumes for Thomas' English
muffins and Thomas' bagels were higher, and premium bread grew strongly, led by
a double-digit increase for Arnold bread. Total Entenmann's sweet baked goods
volumes were also higher, supported by national television advertising. The
successful Entenmann's Little Bites snack cakes were extended into the Central
Mountain states, Thomas' Gourmet bagels were added in the Northeast and Midwest,
and Boboli garlic bread was introduced in the Northeast and Southeast.

Bestfoods Latin America reported a 18% operating income gain and a 29% sales
increase compared to the prior year's second quarter, when a currency
devaluation in Brazil severely constrained Bestfoods' performance. Volumes were
up 7.2%, excluding acquisitions, and 33% higher including the recently acquired
Arisco business in Brazil and the Molinos de la Plata dressings business in
Argentina. Bestfoods' business in Mexico had an excellent quarter, the
businesses in Brazil and Colombia showed good signs of recovery, and sales
through Bestfoods' foodservice network were strong in nearly all countries.

Bestfoods Europe's sales decreased 6.9% in the quarter. Operating income fell
1%, as the contribution of higher volumes and margin improvements was more than
offset by a negative currency impact of $14.4 million. Excluding the impact of
currencies, operating income from Europe would have increased 8.2% and sales
would have risen 2%. For the first six months of 2000, Europe's operating income
grew 16% excluding the impact of currencies.

Operating income from Bestfoods Asia rose 28%, aided by strong margin
improvement. Sales increased 10.8% led by strong growth in China -- where sales
rose 52%. Recent acquisitions in India and Pakistan continued to drive volumes
in those countries. Across the region, retail volumes for Knorr bouillon and
soup were up 9% and 24%, respectively. Foodservice volumes for the division were
19% higher than in the second quarter of 1999.

Second Quarter Highlights

On June 6, 2000, Bestfoods and Unilever announced that they had signed a
definitive merger agreement whereby Unilever will acquire all the outstanding
shares of Bestfoods for $73 per share in cash. The transaction is conditional
upon, among other things, the approvals of Unilever and Bestfoods shareholders
and regulatory approvals, including European Union and United States anti-trust
clearances. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of
2000. The combined company would have had 1999 revenues and operating income of
approximately $52.3 billion and $6.2 billion, respectively. 

New Products

Recent new products and product extensions include:

- Argentina: Knorr Pots hot savory snacks in cups 

- Austria: Knorr frozen soups in five varieties 

- Brazil: four varieties of Hellmann's flavored mayonnaise 

- Canada: Knorr Creations meal kits 

- China: Knorr chicken and mushroom and chicken and ham soups 

- Colombia and Venezuela: Knorr Desmenuzado powdered seasonings 

- France: Knorr La Recette Du Jour aseptically packaged soups. Knorr soup       
 kiosks opened in two Paris train stations 

- Hungary: Hearty Knorr soups in glass jars 

- India: Brown & Polson 'Fresh Delite' instant fruit drink powder 

- Indonesia: Knorr macaroni soup 

- Mexico: Knorr aseptically packaged soups 

- Nordic countries: Knorr TasteBreaks cup soups 

- Russia: local manufacturing of Delikat seasonings 

- United States: NutraBlend soy beverages, Mazola vegetable oil, Boboli garlic  
 bread; Thomas' Gourmet bagels

To provide the clearest possible description of our business and outlook, this
report contains forward-looking statements based on our best current information
and reasonable assumptions about anticipated developments. Statements including
such words as 'expects', 'anticipates', 'intends', 'plans', 'believes',
'estimates', and other similar expressions are intended to identify such
forward-looking statements. Because of the risks and uncertainties that always
exist in any operating environment or business, we cannot make assurances that
these expectations will prove correct. Actual results and developments may
differ materially depending upon currency values, competitive pricing,
consumption levels, costs and political and social conditions in the economies
and environments where Bestfoods operates.

ABOUT BESTFOODS: Bestfoods, formerly CPC International Inc., is among the
largest U.S. food companies, with sales of $8.6 billion in 1999.  Best known
among Bestfoods' U.S. products are:
Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise and dressings; Mazola corn oil; Skippy
peanut butter; Knorr soups, sauces, and bouillons; Entenmann's sweet baked
products; Thomas' English muffins; Arnold, Brownberry, Freihofer's, and Oroweat
breads; Boboli pizza crusts; Mueller's pasta; and Karo syrup.  Bestfoods' global
Knorr brand comprises one of the world's most extensive lines of products. 
Bestfoods is one of the nation's most international food companies, with
operations in more than 60 countries and products marketed in 110 countries. 
For more information about Bestfoods, visit the company's website on the
Internet at: http://www.bestfoods.com.

Bestfoods - Divisonal Results                              

($ millions)          Three Months Ended            Six Months Ended   
                             June 30,                     June 30,          
Net Sales              2000     1999       %         2000     1999       %
                              
North America         $ 533     $ 508      4.8      $ 956     $ 883      8.3
Europe                  840       903     (6.9)     1,795     1,898     (5.4)
Latin America           302       234     29.4        583       533      9.4
Asia                     96        87     10.8        210       186     13.4
Baking                  437       423      3.2        882       850      3.7
                              
Total Operations     $2,208     $2,155    2.5     $4,426    $4,350      1.8
                              
Operating Income                              
North America         $ 112       $ 99    13.3      $ 154     $ 144      6.4
Europe                  156        158    (1.0)       332       316      5.2
Latin America            58         49    17.8        123       110     12.3
Asia                     14         11    28.2         31        25     25.8
Baking                   33         26    24.6         61        47     28.3
Corporate Expenses       (7)       (10)  (32.3)       (27)      (24)    10.8
                              
Total Operating Income $366      $ 333    10.0      $ 674     $ 618      9.1
                              
Bestfoods and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Income
(All figures are in millions except per share amounts)

                           Three Months Ended           Six Months Ended     
                                  June 30,                 June 30,     
                               2000      1999         2000         1999
                    
Net sales                    $ 2,208  $ 2,155       $ 4,426     $ 4,350
Cost of sales                  1,158    1,131         2,314       2,308
Gross profit                   1,050    1,024         2,112       2,042
Operating expenses               684      691         1,438       1,424
Operating income                 366      333           674         618
Merger related expenses           45        -            45           -
                    
                                 321      333           629         618
                    
Financing costs                   59       50           106          97
Income before income taxes       262      283           523         521
Provision for income taxes        88       98           175         180
                    
                                 174      185           348         341
Minority stockholders' interest   11        9            25          21
                    
Net income                     $ 163    $ 176         $ 323       $ 320
                    
                    
Average common shares outstanding:                    
Basic                          274.5    279.0         275.4       279.9
Diluted                        285.1    288.0         284.9       288.9
                    
Earnings per common share:                    
Basic                          $ .59    $ .62        $ 1.16      $ 1.13
Diluted                          .57      .61          1.13        1.10
Excluding merger related expenses:                    
Basic                            .70      .62          1.27        1.13
Diluted                          .68      .61          1.24        1.10
Cash dividends declared per
   common share               $ .265   $ .245         $ .53       $ .49

This is an unaudited interim statement prepared by management and reflects all
adjustments which are, in the opinion of management, necessary to a fair
statement of results for the interim periods.

Englewood Cliffs, NJ, July 12, 2000     Philip Terenzio,
                                        Vice President & Controller

Bestfoods - Divisional Results Second Quarter Variance
($ millions)                                   
                                               Due to:               
                                   
                       2000    1999    %    Volume     Price     FX     % Inc.
                                                                       Volume
Net Sales                                   
North America         $ 533   $ 508     4.8    $ 33    $ (8)    $ -      6.5
Europe                  840     903    (6.9)     16       2     (81)     1.8
Latin America           302     234    29.4      78      (4)     (6)    33.4
Asia                     96      87    10.8      18      (8)     (1)    21.3
Baking                  437     423     3.2      14       -       -      3.2
                                   
Total Operations     $2,208  $2,155     2.5   $ 159   $ (18)  $ (88)     7.4
                                   
                                   
Operating Income                                 Volume    Margin    FX     
North America          $ 112    $ 99    13.3     $ 11      $ 2      $ -     
Europe                   156     158    (1.0)       2       10      (14)     
Latin America             58      49    17.8       12       (2)      (1)     
Asia                      14      11    28.2        1        2        -     
Baking                    33      26    24.6        6        1        -     
Corporate Expenses        (7)    (10)  (32.3)       -        3        -     
                                   
Total Operating Income $ 366    $ 333   10.0     $ 32     $ 16    $ (15)     
                                   
                                   
Bestfoods
Analysis of Change in EPS 2000 versus 1999

                                 Diluted     
          
($ Per Share)          Second Quarter     Six Months
          
Higher volumes            $ .08           $ .15
Margin improvement          .04             .09
Currency impact            (.04)           (.11)
Financing cost             (.02)           (.02)
Shares outstanding          .01             .02
Tax rate                    .01             .02
Minority interest          (.01)           (.01)
          
Total change in EPS       $ .07           $ .14
          
EPS 1999                    .61            1.10
          
EPS 2000, excluding
merger related expenses   $ .68          $ 1.24
          


                    

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