The J. M. Smucker Company gets its bread and butter from more than just making and marketing jelly. The company's known for manufacturing its namesake Smucker's fruit spread and for selling the ubiquitous Jif peanut butter brand. But Smucker's has expanded its products portfolio to include Folgers, the #1-coffee brand in the US, as well as market leaders in espresso (Café Bustelo) and premium java (Dunkin' Donuts, licensed). Other top-shelf lines are Hungry Jack and Pillsbury baking mixes and frostings, Eagle and Carnation canned milk, and Crisco shortening and oils, among many. Smucker's brands are sold to consumers through retail outlets in the US and Canada, with some products exported.
Smucker's operations are divided among three business segments: US Retail Coffee, US Retail Foods, and International, Foodservice, and Natural Foods. The US retail market segments are distinguished by product (coffee and foods), which combined accounted for 80% of the company's sales. Products are sold through direct sales and brokers to a broad range of retailers. Wal-Mart accounted for about 26% of the company's sales in 2012 and 2011. The International, Foodservice, and Natural Foods segment comprises Smucker's portfolio of brands that are distributed both at home and abroad through retailers (grocery stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, and drug stores), as well as through foodservice suppliers and operators, such as restaurants, educational and healthcare institutions, and natural foods stores.
More than 90% of Smucker's business is in the US. The company has established a small customer base along with some manufacturing facilities in Canada, and a limited export market. Seeking a sustained and significant presence in China, Smucker in 2012 acquired a 25% interest in Guilin Seamild Biologic Technology Development Co. Seamild, as it's known, is a family-owned manufacturer and seller of oatmeal based in Guangxi province. Smucker paid about $35.9 million for its interest in Seamild, which is anticipated to provide a window on Chinese consumers and best marketing practices.
Although Smucker has posted an upswing in sales during the last five years, earnings have waned since peaking in 2010. In fiscal 2012 (ends April) Smucker reported a 4% slide in earnings atop a 15% rise in sales over 2011. Top line results were buoyed by price increases (aimed to offset higher raw material costs) and the contribution from acquisitions amid a slump in sales volume. Earnings have suffered as a result of heavier selling and general and administrative expenses coupled with restructuring, and merger and integration costs. The company also cited a loss and impairment charge related to selling its Canadian Europe's Best brand of frozen fruit and vegetables in late 2011 to The Hain Celestial Group.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Smucker's strategy focuses on growth through owning and marketing the #1 brand name food products in North America, with potential for worldwide appeal. Acquisitions and manufacturing and distribution agreements underpin these ends. Spying a rise in premium coffee consumption, in 2008 the company rocketed to the top tier of US coffee purveyors with its purchase of The Folger Coffee Company from Procter & Gamble. The $3.7 billion deal gave Smucker operations in Cincinnati, New Orleans, Kansas City, and Sherman, Texas, as well as some 1,250 employees. The Folger's deal also catapulted coffee products to Smucker's largest business segment, generating more than 40% of 2012 sales vs. 25% in 2009. Following the deal for Folger, Smucker took over Rowland Coffee Roasters, owner of the leading Hispanic brands Café Bustelo and Café Pilon, for $360 million in 2011. Smucker also purchased Sara Lee's North American Foodservice coffee and tea operations in 2012 for $420.6 million. As part of the deal, the two companies have a licensing agreement in which Sara Lee will receive $50 million over 10 years. Smucker's long-term agreements include one with Dunkin' Donuts to manufacture and market its namesake coffee brand; the pact is effective until 2034. In the single-serve coffee market, Smucker holds sway through a manufacturing and distribution deal with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Keurig. Smucker also totes royalty-free licensing agreements with General Mills, National Dairy Holdings, and Nestlé to make and sell, respectively, Pillsbury flour and baking mixes, Borden canned milk, and Carnation canned milk. – less