Kraft Heinz Co. reports quarterly earnings Thursday for the first time since the two names combined in July, and investors and analysts will be looking for an update on how the merger is going, and potential acquisitions, more than an expected drop in earnings.
The maker of Ore-Ida frozen foods and Philadelphia cream cheese -- not to mention Heinz- and Kraft-branded products -- gave investors something to chew on Wednesday, announcing it was closing seven plants and cutting 2,600 jobs, according to reports, citing a company statement. That's on top of the 2,500 cuts announced in August and would be part of the $1.5 billion in annual spending cuts the company plans to achieve by the end of 2017, Bloomberg reported.
Heinz, led by Brazilian investor 3G Capital, bought Kraft with the backing of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Berkshire helped 3G take over Heinz in 2003. 3G is known for making cost cuts and other changes, such as slashing 7,000 jobs after taking over Heinz. It bought Burger King in 2010 and the Tim Horton's coffee/donut chain in 2014, merging the two.
In the third quarter, Kraft Heinz sales are expected to have grown to $6.7 billion from $4.4 billion a year ago, while the company is predicted to have made about 63 cents a share, compared with 77 cents a year before, MarketWatch reported, citing a FactSet analysts survey.
The Kraft Heinz merger created the third-biggest food and beverage company in the U.S. after PepsiCo Inc. and Nestle SA, but Heinz has increased exposure to emerging markets where growth is slowing and currencies weakening, MarketWatch pointed out. That's something that may be noticed by former Kraft shareholders, who got 49 percent of the combined company in the merger. The company will also reportedly move Oscar Mayer's headquarters to Chicago from Madison, Wisconsin.
Investors and analysts will also be interested in details and challenges arising from integrating the two companies, especially if it helps shed light on how soon the combined company will return to acquisition mode, MarketWatch said, naming Mondelez International Inc. (which spun off from Kraft in 2011), General Mills Inc., and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. as possible targets.