business of approximately $950 million to create the largest private
label packaged food business in North America, with approximately $4.5
billion in combined annual private label sales. Ralcorp fits well with
ConAgra Foods' Recipe for Growth strategy, set 18 months ago, which
includes expansion in the private label segment, growth in its core
business and adjacencies, and expansion internationally. According to
industry analysts, private label now represents 18% of sales in the
packaged food market in the U.S. and has consistently demonstrated
growth in excess of the overall food market over time. ConAgra Foods'
combination with Ralcorp creates an enhanced platform that will allow
ConAgra Foods to capitalize on, and contribute to, that compelling
long-term growth trend while generating significant efficiencies.
Ralcorp has strengthened its leadership position in private label through recent strategic acquisitions and enhanced customer relationships. The two companies' portfolios are a complementary fit, with very little overlap in terms of offerings. Ralcorp's leading private label offerings include cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles, and more. Ralcorp's total annual sales of approximately $4.3 billion also include a branded and commercial / foodservice portfolio.
With Ralcorp, ConAgra Foods will have a balanced portfolio with a stronger growth profile. The transaction is also expected to increase ConAgra Foods' importance to customers and consumers, with product offerings across a wide range of price points, segments and channels. The enhanced breadth and depth of the combined portfolio is expected to allow ConAgra Foods to build deeper customer relationships and drive additional category growth.
Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, added, "Clearly, consumer dynamics have changed since the recession and we expect growth in private label food to continue to outpace growth in branded food. At the same time, we remain very proud of and fully committed to our brands, which will remain the largest part of our business and are found in 97% of America's households. We believe our combination of branded, private label and commercial offerings, supported by leading functional capabilities, represents a unique and balanced approach that allows us to address the full range of customer and consumer requirements and adapt to the changing demands of the food industry."
Compelling Financial Benefits
ConAgra Foods expects the transaction to provide attractive sales and EPS growth over time. Because this transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2013, management expects it to have a modest benefit on fiscal 2013 financial results and will quantify that benefit in the coming months. Excluding any benefit from this transaction, ConAgra Foods' expectations for fiscal 2013 fully diluted EPS remain unchanged at $2.03 to $2.06, adjusted for items impacting comparability. ConAgra Foods will provide additional details regarding the favorable impact of this transaction on its financial outlook for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, as well as its favorable impact on the company's long-term financial algorithm, in due course as integration plans, the pace of expected synergies, and the financing components of the transaction are finalized.
ConAgra Foods intends to use its strong infrastructure and productivity capabilities to drive significant cost synergies from this transaction, primarily in the areas of supply chain and procurement efficiencies. It expects to achieve approximately $225 million of cost synergies on an annual basis by the fourth full fiscal year after closing.
The acquisition of Ralcorp is expected to be financed primarily with cash on hand, existing credit facilities and new borrowings, for which ConAgra Foods has received a commitment letter from BofA Merrill Lynch.
ConAgra Foods is fully committed to its investment grade credit rating, and consistent with that commitment, expects to issue up to $350 million of equity. ConAgra Foods will prioritize rapid deleveraging in the near term through its strong cash flow generation. The company currently expects to maintain its dividend of $1.00 per share on an annual basis and will significantly reduce its share buyback activities for a period of time. ConAgra Foods remains committed to its long-term capital allocation priorities, including a top-tier dividend, strong balance sheet and strong liquidity.
ConAgra Foods and Ralcorp will establish a transition team comprised of members of both management teams to prepare for and to oversee the integration of the businesses.
Terms and Conditions
The transaction is subject to the approval of Ralcorp's shareholders and customary regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to close by March 31, 2013.
Centerview Partners and BofA Merrill Lynch are serving as financial advisors to ConAgra Foods and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is serving as its legal advisor. Barclays and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are serving as Ralcorp's financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as its legal advisor.
More information on the transaction can be found at www.conagrafoodstransaction.com.
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