Campbell’s Soup umm umm yuck. Black Swans straight ahead $CPB

Logo of Campbell's Soup Company

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Campbell Soup came out with some watery numbers. Investors should note the following

  1. The EPS is exactly the same as last years quarter.
  2. The dividend has gone up.
  3. Long term debt has also gone up big time.
  4. The amount of shares outstanding has shrunk, so share buybacks are still a big factor. Read point three again.

Denise Morrison, Campbell’s President and CEO, said, “As we’ve previously stated, fiscal 2012 will be a year of investment as we establish the foundation for the next era of profitable growth at Campbell.

Campbell’s Soup is not establishing anything but higher debt loads which need to be worked off one day some how. Upfront they claim to be increasing prices and reducing marketing spend. Go to any professional marketer and listen to the howls of laughter. Eventually the products will implode. Usually sooner than later.

The earnings release did not address increases in long-term debt, reductions in outstanding shares.

Conclusion: Black Swan ahead.

George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective.

Campbell’s stealth disclosure style $CPB #corpgov #irchat #disclosure

Logo of Campbell's Soup Company

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Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) released much expected bad news. While they did not break any laws that I am aware off here is how they dampened investor reaction.

  1. They released in Aug when a lot of investors are away dealing with sunburn issues.
  2. They released on a Friday before a long weekend when investors are becoming distracted.
  3. They released early in the morning knowing more news would follow and drown them out.
  4. They wrote one of the most boring news releases known to man. That maybe a branding issue. Their soups are boring.
  5. Denise Morrison, Campbell’s President and CEO, said she is pleased to be finishing a difficult year. But no word of explanation on changes and improvements.

Snore snore snore. Just what you want when it’s a cloudy day. Watch for the big IR push soon as they attempt to freshen the IR message and re-engage investors without attracting a hedge fund activist who wants to rip you apart.

Disclosure:George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I do buy Campbell Soup products but my head turns easily in the grocery store. I do not hold any positions in stocks mentioned in this post. I do not have plans to initiate new positions within the next 72 hours.

 

 

 

Campbell Soup slices financial vegetables new style. Was old style wrong? $CPB #campbellsoup

Logo of Campbell's Soup Company

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Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) will outline a new strategic direction today at a meeting with investors led by Chief Operating Officer Denise Morrison, who will become the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer on Aug. 1. touts the corporate press release.

Sure new kid on block wants a good and fresh start so she is in the kitchen cutting and chopping the financial vegetables the way she likes them. You have to respect the new boss. But from an investors point of view just because you have a new boss why do you need a revised outlook and guidance policy.

Where is the board in all of this? We change the quarterback and now we get a different story. So the old statements are what “Not trust worthy” Does the SEC need to investigate to make sure Reg FD was adhered to? Does the board feel they received a true and accurate picture.

Just how many soups will Campbell be putting onto our financial shelves. Just because we have a new CEO should not fundamentally change outlook. Me thinks the board was asleep and might still be asleep.

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post. I have no plans to initiate new positions within the next 72 hours.

Campbell Soup Tastes Bad

The entrance to the sprawling Campbell Soup Co...

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Campbell Soup (CPB) revised guidance because their earnings taste bad. With just a few weeks to go before the real official numbers come out Campbell Soup started to pick a few nasty items out of their soup.

The claim from the big boss is Douglas R. Conant, Campbell’s President and CEO, said, “Our increased promotional spending in the first quarter behind U.S. soup did not produce the planned volume gains. This result was due in part to even deeper soup promotions by competitors, which we chose not to match.”

They have chosen to walk away from the fight. They have let the other guy win. They ran home to think about it.

What is worse than losing a marketing battle is not having a back up plan B. The board needs to be asking serious questions about this failure. When you scan the board membership bio’s they come up short on consumer marketing experience. The generals are losing battles. When will a Private Equity player come in to fix the soup.

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective: I hold no positions in stocks mentioned in this post.

Campbell Soup Halal Problems

Campbell Soup Company

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Campbell Soup (CPB) seems to be spooked by right-wing bloggers. In Canada they launched a Halal soup line. The right-wing has pressured Campbell Soup into saying they have no plans to launch a similar line in the US of A. CNBC’s very own Erin Burnett on her afternoon show “Street Signs” identified the US Halal market to be well over $150 billion.

Investor’s want wealth maximized.  Participating in a $150 Billion market seems like the right thing to do to expand your sales. What if shareholder rights activists started to launch lawsuits against Campbell and the Board of Directors? How can a few politically motivated bloggers influence a company with over a $12 Billion market cap. The shareholder activists would be complaining about cowardly management which misses profit opportunities.

Is this a Denise Morrison faux pas? Denise is the head of the North American soup operations and has been anointed as the next CEO. Controversy on that one also. She will replace Doug Conant this coming July 31, 2011.

Disclosure: George Gutowski writes from a caveat emptor perspective. I have no positions in stocks mentioned in this post.