Whenever B&G Foods (BGS) CEO David Wenner makes a public appearance, investors can expect to hear open and forthright explanations about the company's business. It is rare that he will refrain from directly answering a question or hide behind the excuse that it would be disclosing too much information to the competition. His appearance on Mad Money with Jim Cramer was no exception.
The focus of this appearance was a discussion about Culver Specialty Brands (CSB) acquired from Unilever (UN) last year. The key brand in the acquisition was Mrs. Dash, which accounted for 60% of the revenue from the six brands. There were also two household product brands -- Static Guard and Kleen Guard -- that represented a departure from B&G's traditional business.
For those less familiar with B&G, it is a manufacturer and distributor of shelf-stable food products in the U.S. and Canada. It has grown through the acquisition of orphan products from much larger food companies and reinvigorating the brands by devoting more attention to them than they were receiving at the previous companies. Examples include adding new flavors for Cream of Wheat (where they have introduced both Cinnabon and chocolate varieties) or repackaging into smaller sizes to penetrate the dollar store category.
The company has an attractive $1.08 annual dividend that yields about 4.6% on the current price of $23.35. That dividend compares very favorably to some of B&G's food industry competitors: J. M. Smucker (SJM) at 2.6%, Kraft (KFT) at 3.1%, Kellogg (K) at 3.6%, General Mills (GIS) at 3.2% and PepsiCo (PEP) at 3.2%. The company has a high level of debt, and Wenner said that would not deter the company from making additional acquisitions. The leverage of more than 4 times could be too much risk for some investors.
Two comments on Cramer's show that could signal increased revenues for B&G were about two of the CSB products. The first was about Static Guard. Wenner stated that it has no real competition and then said, "We think it has a lot of other applications, so we see room for growth." It would have been useful if Cramer had followed up and asked about those "other applications." It is possible Wenner is considering new scents, but it is difficult to see additional applications.
The other comment could indicate more immediate positive results. When the acquisition was announced, Wenner noted that the CSB products had a greater presence in mass merchandisers and price club stores while the B&G legacy products had more of a presence in Wal-Mart (WMT). When discussing Baker's Joy, Cramer pointed out that it was a product that goes head to head with Pam in a crowded and competitive field. Wenner said that it had very low revenues, but that the product "ended up in the baking aisle [at Wal-Mart] around Easter even though we had a very short fuse from when we bought it to when we got it in."
B&G is off to a fast start with the CSB products and the placement of Baker's Joy at Wal-Mart. It remains to be seen if B&G is able to improve the placement of its legacy products in the traditional CSB channels as easily as it was able to place Baker's Joy at Wal-Mart.
In the meantime, there is that nice dividend for investors willing to invest in this highly leveraged company.