ConAgra Foods Inc. announced Wednesday it will separate into two independent public companies. One company, named Conagra Brands, Inc., will comprise the company’s existing consumer portfolio of iconic brands that includes Marie Callender’s, Hunt’s, RO*TEL, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, PAM, Chef Boyardee, Orville Redenbacher’s, P.F. Chang’s and Healthy Choice. The second company will operate under the name Lamb Weston and include its frozen potato products business.
“The decision to separate into two pure-play companies reflects our ongoing commitment to implementing bold changes in order to deliver sustainable growth and enhanced shareholder value,” says Sean Connolly, president and CEO of ConAgra. “We carefully considered a variety of strategic alternatives, and believe that the separation of our Lamb Weston specialty potato business from our consumer brands business is the best way to drive shareholder value. The separation will enable each company to sharpen its strategic focus and provide flexibility to capitalize on the unique growth opportunities in its respective market.”
ConAgra Foods says it believes the separation will benefit the companies by allowing:
-Greater management focus on the distinct businesses of consumer brands and foodservice frozen potato products
-Increased flexibility, agility and resources to capitalize on their respective long-term opportunities and growth strategies
-Tailored capital structures and financial policies and targets appropriate for each company’s unique business profile
-The ability for investors to value the two companies based on their particular operational and financial characteristics and invest accordingly.
In addition to the consumer foods segment—which generated $7.2 billion in 2015 revenues—Conagra Brands is also expected to include several businesses currently reported within the commercial foods segment, including the traditional foodservice business, Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and JM Swank, as well as certain private label operations which were moved to the consumer foods reporting segment in the first quarter of fiscal 2016. These businesses generated approximately $1.8 billion in fiscal 2015 revenues, as reported. Conagra Brands is also expected to retain the Company’s stake in the Ardent Mills joint venture.
Following the separation, Lamb Weston’s portfolio will consist of frozen potato, sweet potato, appetizer and other vegetable products, as well as a continued presence in retail frozen products under licensed brands and private brands. For fiscal 2015, Lamb Weston generated revenues of approximately $2.9 billion, as reported, and accounted for the significant majority of the Commercial Foods segment’s fiscal 2015 operating profit of approximately $570 million.