Kraft Heinz and its investors taste the food industry’s woes

THIS WAS supposed to be the quarter that Kraft Heinz showed America’s huge, struggling food companies a new model for success. A merger in 2015 had joined two of the world’s most iconic food makers. Backed by 3G Capital, a private-equity firm, the new group slashed costs at a pace that made rivals shudder and investors swoon. After a failed bid in 2017 for Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch giant, Kraft Heinz set out to prove it could not just cut fat but boost sales on its own. Bernardo Hees, the company’s boss, pointed cheerfully to new products, including Heinz Mayochup and something called Just Crack an Egg. The company was on the path to “sustainable, profitable growth”, he declared in November. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

On February 21st Kraft Heinz announced a staggering $15bn impairment, a dividend cut of more than 30% and an inquiry into its procurement by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Earnings calls are often sleepy affairs. This one was a nightmare. Some of 3G’s long-time critics are now clucking with satisfaction. Others fear 3G is tarnishing American treasures such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Warren Buffett, who partnered with 3G to combine Heinz and Kraft and last year lost nearly $3bn on the deal. Yet dramatic as Kraft Heinz’s decline may seem, 3G’s impact and the food industry’s problems extend far beyond it...



via Business Feeds

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