SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 28, 2019
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from __________ to __________
Commission File Number 001-37482
The Kraft Heinz Company
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
One PPG Place,
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (412) 456-5700
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of exchange on which registered
Common stock, $0.01 par value
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the shares of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of such stock as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, was $19 billion. As of February 8, 2020, there were 1,221,399,549 shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant's definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its annual meeting of shareholders expected to be held on May 7, 2020 are incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.
Unless the context otherwise requires, the terms “we,” “us,” “our,” “Kraft Heinz,” and the “Company” each refer to The Kraft Heinz Company and all of its consolidated subsidiaries.
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains a number of forward-looking statements. Words such as “anticipate,” “reflect,” “invest,” “see,” “make,” “expect,” “give,” “deliver,” “drive,” “believe,” “improve,” “assess,” “reassess,” “remain,” “evaluate,” “grow,” “will,” “plan,” “intend,” and variations of such words and similar future or conditional expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our plans, impacts of accounting standards and guidance, growth, legal matters, taxes, costs and cost savings, impairments, and dividends. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and beyond our control.
Important factors that may affect our business and operations and that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, operating in a highly competitive industry; our ability to correctly predict, identify, and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand, to offer new products to meet those changes, and to respond to competitive innovation; changes in the retail landscape or the loss of key retail customers; changes in our relationships with significant customers, suppliers, and other business relationships; our ability to maintain, extend, and expand our reputation and brand image; our ability to leverage our brand value to compete against private label products; our ability to drive revenue growth in our key product categories, increase our market share, or add products that are in faster-growing and more profitable categories; product recalls or product liability claims; unanticipated business disruptions; our ability to identify, complete, or realize the benefits from strategic acquisitions, alliances, divestitures, joint ventures, or other investments; our ability to realize the anticipated benefits from prior or future streamlining actions to reduce fixed costs, simplify or improve processes, and improve our competitiveness; our ability to successfully execute our strategic initiatives; the impacts of our international operations; economic and political conditions in the United States and in various other nations where we do business; changes in our management team or other key personnel and our ability to hire or retain key personnel or a highly skilled and diverse global workforce; risks associated with information technology and systems, including service interruptions, misappropriation of data, or breaches of security; impacts of natural events in the locations in which we or our customers, suppliers, distributors, or regulators operate; our ownership structure; our indebtedness and ability to pay such indebtedness, as well as our ability to comply with covenants under our debt instruments; additional impairments of the carrying amounts of goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets; foreign exchange rate fluctuations; volatility in commodity, energy, and other input costs; volatility in the market value of all or a portion of the commodity derivatives we use; increased pension, labor and people-related expenses; compliance with laws, regulations, and related interpretations and related legal claims or other regulatory enforcement actions, including additional risks and uncertainties related to any potential actions resulting from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s ongoing investigation, as well as potential additional subpoenas, litigation, and regulatory proceedings; an inability to remediate the material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting or additional material weaknesses or other deficiencies in the future or the failure to maintain an effective system of internal controls; our failure to prepare and timely file our periodic reports; the restatement of certain of our previously issued consolidated financial statements, which resulted in unanticipated costs and may affect investor confidence and raise reputational issues; our ability to protect intellectual property rights; tax law changes or interpretations; the impact of future sales of our common stock in the public markets; our ability to continue to pay a regular dividend and the amounts of any such dividends; volatility of capital markets and other macroeconomic factors. For additional information on these and other factors that could affect our forward-looking statements, see Item 1A, Risk Factors. We disclaim and do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement in this report, except as required by applicable law or regulation.
Item 1. Business.
For 150 years, we have produced some of the world’s most beloved products at The Kraft Heinz Company (Nasdaq: KHC). Our Vision is To Be the Best Food Company, Growing a Better World. We are one of the largest global food and beverage companies, with 2019 net sales of approximately $25 billion. Our portfolio is a diverse mix of iconic and emerging brands. As the guardians of these brands and the creators of innovative new products, we are dedicated to the sustainable health of our people and our planet.
On July 2, 2015, through a series of transactions, we consummated the merger of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (“Kraft”) with and into a wholly-owned subsidiary of H.J. Heinz Holding Corporation (“Heinz”) (the “2015 Merger”). At the closing of the 2015 Merger, Heinz was renamed The Kraft Heinz Company, and H. J. Heinz Company changed its name to Kraft Heinz Foods Company.
Before the consummation of the 2015 Merger, Heinz was controlled by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (“Berkshire Hathaway”) and 3G Global Food Holdings, L.P. (“3G Capital”) (together, the “Sponsors”), following their acquisition of H. J. Heinz Company on June 7, 2013.
We manage and report our operating results through four segments. We have three reportable segments defined by geographic region: United States, Canada, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (“EMEA”). Our remaining businesses are combined and disclosed as “Rest of World.” Rest of World comprises two operating segments: Latin America and Asia Pacific (“APAC”).
During the third quarter of 2019, certain organizational changes were announced that will impact our future internal reporting and reportable segments. As a result of these changes, we plan to combine our EMEA, Latin America, and APAC zones to form the International zone. The International zone will be a reportable segment along with the United States and Canada in 2020. We also plan to move our Puerto Rico business from the Latin America zone to the United States zone to consolidate and streamline the management of our product categories and supply chain. These changes will be effective in the first quarter of 2020.
See Note 22, Segment Reporting, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for our geographic financial information by segment.
Trademarks and Intellectual Property
Our trademarks are material to our business and are among our most valuable assets. Depending on the country, trademarks generally remain valid for as long as they are in use or their registration status is maintained. Trademark registrations generally are for renewable, fixed terms. Significant trademarks by segment based on net sales in 2019 were:
Majority Owned and Licensed Trademarks
Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Heinz, Philadelphia, Lunchables, Velveeta, Planters, Maxwell House, Capri Sun*, Kool-Aid, Ore-Ida, Jell-O
Kraft, Heinz, Philadelphia, Maxwell House, Classico, McCafe*, Tassimo*
Heinz, Plasmon, Pudliszki, Honig, HP, Benedicta, Kraft, Karvan Cevitam
Rest of World
Heinz, ABC, Master, Kraft, Quero, Golden Circle, Wattie's
*Used under license. Additionally, our license to use the McCafe brand expired in Canada in December 2019.
We sell certain products under brands we license from third parties. In 2019, brands used under licenses from third parties included Capri Sun packaged drink pouches for sale in the United States, TGI Fridays frozen snacks and appetizers in the United States and Canada, McCafe ground, whole bean, and on-demand single cup coffees in the United States and Canada, and Taco Bell Home Originals Mexican-style food products in U.S. grocery stores. In addition, in our agreements with Mondelēz International, Inc. (“Mondelēz International”) following the spin-off of Kraft from Mondelēz International in 2012, we each granted the other party various licenses to use certain of our and their respective intellectual property rights in named jurisdictions for certain periods of time.
We also own numerous patents worldwide. We consider our portfolio of patents, patent applications, patent licenses under patents owned by third parties, proprietary trade secrets, technology, know-how processes, and related intellectual property rights to be material to our operations. Patents, issued or applied for, cover inventions ranging from packaging techniques to processes relating to specific products and to the products themselves. While our patent portfolio is material to our business, the loss of one patent or a group of related patents would not have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our issued patents extend for varying periods according to the date of the patent application filing or grant and the legal term of patents in the various countries where patent protection is obtained. The actual protection afforded by a patent, which can vary from country to country, depends upon the type of patent, the scope of its coverage as determined by the patent office or courts in the country, and the availability of legal remedies in the country.
Research and Development
Our research and development focuses on achieving the following four objectives:
product innovations, renovations, and new technologies to meet changing consumer needs and drive growth;
world-class and uncompromising food safety, quality, and consistency;
superior, customer-preferred product and package performance; and
continuous process improvement and product optimization in pursuit of cost reductions.
Our products are sold in highly competitive marketplaces, which have experienced increased concentration and the growing presence of e-commerce retailers, large-format retailers, and discounters. Competitors include large national and international food and beverage companies and numerous local and regional companies. We compete with both branded and private label products sold by retailers, wholesalers, and cooperatives. We compete on the basis of product innovation, price, product quality, nutritional value, service, taste, convenience, brand recognition and loyalty, effectiveness of marketing and distribution, promotional activity, and the ability to identify and satisfy changing consumer preferences. Improving our market position or introducing new products requires substantial advertising and promotional expenditures.
Sales and Customers
Our products are sold through our own sales organizations and through independent brokers, agents, and distributors to chain, wholesale, cooperative and independent grocery accounts, convenience stores, drug stores, value stores, bakeries, pharmacies, mass merchants, club stores, foodservice distributors, and institutions, including hotels, restaurants, hospitals, health care facilities, and certain government agencies. Our products are also sold online through various e-commerce platforms and retailers. Our largest customer, Walmart Inc., represented approximately 21% of our net sales in 2019, 2018, and 2017.
Additionally, we have significant customers in different regions around the world; however, none of these customers are individually material to our consolidated business. In 2019, the five largest customers in our U.S. segment accounted for approximately 48% of U.S. segment net sales, the five largest customers in our Canada segment accounted for approximately 73% of Canada segment net sales, and the five largest customers in our EMEA segment accounted for approximately 26% of our EMEA segment net sales.
Net Sales by Product Category
The product categories that contributed 10% or more to consolidated net sales in any of the periods presented were:
December 28, 2019
December 29, 2018
December 30, 2017
Condiments and sauces
Cheese and dairy
Meats and seafood
Frozen and chilled foods
Raw Materials and Packaging
We manufacture (and contract for the manufacture of) our products from a wide variety of raw materials. We purchase and use large quantities of commodities, including dairy products, meat products, coffee beans, nuts, tomatoes, potatoes, soybean and vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, corn products, and wheat products, to manufacture our products. In addition, we purchase and use significant quantities of resins, metals, and cardboard to package our products and natural gas to operate our facilities. For commodities that we use across many of our product categories, such as corrugated paper and energy, we coordinate sourcing requirements and centralize procurement to leverage our scale. In addition, some of our product lines and brands separately source raw materials that are specific to their operations. We source these commodities from a variety of providers, including large, international producers and smaller, local, independent sellers. Where appropriate, we seek to establish preferred purchaser status and have developed strategic partnerships with many of our suppliers with the objective of achieving favorable pricing and dependable supply for many of our commodities. The prices of raw materials that we use in our products are affected by external factors, such as global competition for resources, currency fluctuations, severe weather or global climate change, consumer, industrial or investment demand, and changes in governmental regulation and trade, tariffs, alternative energy, and agricultural programs.
Our procurement teams monitor worldwide supply and cost trends so we can obtain ingredients and packaging needed for production at competitive prices. Although the prices of our principal raw materials can be expected to fluctuate, we believe there will be an adequate supply of the raw materials we use and that they are generally available from numerous sources. We use a range of hedging techniques in an effort to limit the impact of price fluctuations on many of our principal raw materials. However, we do not fully hedge against changes in commodity prices, and our hedging strategies may not protect us from increases in specific raw material costs. We actively monitor changes to commodity costs so that we can seek to mitigate the effect through pricing and other operational measures.
Seasonality and Working Capital
Although crops constituting certain of our raw food ingredients are harvested on a seasonal basis, the majority of our products are produced throughout the year.
Seasonal factors inherent in our business change the demand for products, including holidays, changes in seasons, or other annual events. While these factors influence our quarterly net sales, operating income/(loss), and cash flows at the product level, unless the timing of such events shift period-over-period (e.g., a shift in Easter timing), this seasonality does not typically have a significant effect on our consolidated results of operations or segment results.
For information related to our cash flows provided by/(used for) operating activities, including working capital items, see Liquidity and Capital Resources in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, of this report.
We had approximately 37,000 employees as of December 28, 2019.
The manufacture and sale of consumer food and beverage products is highly regulated. Our business operations, including the production, transportation, storage, distribution, sale, display, advertising, marketing, labeling, quality and safety of our products and their ingredients, and our occupational safety, health, and privacy practices, are subject to various laws and regulations. These laws and regulations are administered by federal, state, and local government agencies in the United States, as well as government entities and agencies outside the United States in markets where our products are manufactured, distributed or sold. In the United States, our activities are subject to regulation by various federal government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Labor, Department of Commerce, and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as various state and local agencies. We are also subject to numerous similar and other laws and regulations outside of the United States, including but not limited to laws and regulations governing food safety, health and safety, anti-corruption, and data privacy. In our business dealings, we are also required to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), the U.K. Bribery Act, the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act, and various other anti-corruption regulations in the regions in which we operate. We rely on legal and operational compliance programs, as well as in-house and outside counsel, to guide our businesses in complying with applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which we do business. In addition, the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union (commonly referred to as “Brexit”) and other regulatory regime changes may add cost and complexity to our compliance efforts.
Our activities throughout the world are highly regulated and subject to government oversight regarding environmental matters. Various laws concerning the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and the operation of facilities in environmentally sensitive locations may impact aspects of our operations.
In the United States, where a significant portion of our business operates, these laws and regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). CERCLA imposes joint and several liability on each potentially responsible party. We are involved in a number of active proceedings in the United States under CERCLA (and other similar state actions under similar legislation) related to our current operations and certain closed, inactive, or divested operations for which we retain liability.
As of December 28, 2019, we had accrued an amount we deemed appropriate for environmental remediation. Based on information currently available, we believe that the ultimate resolution of existing environmental remediation actions and our compliance in general with environmental laws and regulations will not have a material effect on our earnings or financial condition. However, it is difficult to predict with certainty the potential impact of future compliance efforts and environmental remedial actions and thus, future costs associated with such matters may exceed current reserves.
Information about our Executive Officers
The following are our executive officers as of February 8, 2020:
Chief Executive Officer
Global Chief Financial Officer
U.S. Zone President
Chief Growth Officer
Zone President Canada
Rashida La Lande
Senior Vice President, Global General Counsel and Head of CSR and Government Affairs; Corporate Secretary
Zone President International
Head of Global Operations
Miguel Patricio became Chief Executive Officer in June 2019. Mr. Patricio had previously served as Chief of Special Global Projects-Marketing at Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV (“AB InBev”), a multinational drink and brewing holdings company, from January 2019 to June 2019. Prior to that, he served as the Chief Marketing Officer at AB InBev since 2012. Prior to his role as Chief Marketing Officer, since joining AB InBev in 1998, he also served as Zone President Asia Pacific, Zone President North America, Vice President Marketing of North America, and Vice President Marketing. Mr. Patricio has also held several senior positions across the Americas at The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Mr. Patricio also invests in the 3G Special Situation Fund III (the “Fund”); his investment represents less than 1% of the Fund’s assets.
Paulo Basilio became Global Chief Financial Officer in September 2019. Prior to that role, Mr. Basilio served as Chief Business Planning and Development Officer from July 2019 to September 2019 and served as President of the U.S. Commercial Business from October 2017 to June 2019. Mr. Basilio previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer upon the closing of the 2015 Merger until October 2017. He had previously served as Chief Financial Officer of Heinz since June 2013. Previously, Mr. Basilio served as Chief Executive Officer of América Latina Logística (“ALL”), a logistics company, from September 2010 to June 2012, after having served in various roles at ALL, including Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Basilio has also been a partner of 3G Capital since July 2012.
Carlos Abrams-Rivera joined Kraft Heinz as U.S. Zone President on February 3, 2020. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, Mr. Abrams-Rivera served as Executive Vice President and President, Campbell Snacks of Campbell Soup Company (“Campbell”), a multinational food company, since May 2019. Prior to that role, Mr. Abrams-Rivera served as President, Campbell Snacks from 2018 to May 2019 and President of Campbell’s Pepperidge Farm subsidiary from 2015 to 2018. Prior to joining Campbell, Mr. Abrams-Rivera held various leadership roles at Mondelēz International and Kraft Foods.
Nina Barton became Chief Growth Officer in September 2019. Prior to assuming her current role, Ms. Barton served as Zone President of Canada and President of Digital Growth from January 2019 to August 2019. Prior to that role, Ms. Barton served as President, Global Digital and Online Growth since October 2017, and from July 2015 through October 2017, she served as Senior Vice President of Marketing, Innovation and Research & Development for the U.S. business. From July 2013 through July 2015, she served as Vice President, Marketing at Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and managed the total coffee portfolio including the Maxwell House, Gevalia, and McCafe brands. Ms. Barton joined Kraft Foods in 2011 as Senior Marketing Director responsible for growing the Philadelphia cream cheese brand. Prior to that, Ms. Barton served in a variety of marketing and brand-building roles in the consumer products industry.
Bruno Keller assumed his current role as Zone President of Canada in September 2019. Previously, Mr. Keller had served as Head of Category Development for Canada since June 2018. From April 2017 to June 2018, he served as Managing Director for South Europe, and from June 2015 to April 2017, he served as Managing Director of Italy. Mr. Keller joined Kraft Heinz in 2014 as Director of Trade Marketing and Revenue Management in Italy. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, Mr. Keller held management roles at AB InBev, Philip Morris, Pepsico, and Unilever.
Rashida La Lande joined Kraft Heinz as Senior Vice President, Global General Counsel and Corporate Secretary in January 2018. In October 2018, Ms. La Lande’s responsibilities expanded to include leadership of our corporate social responsibility and government affairs functions, and she was later appointed Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Government Affairs in addition to her role as Senior Vice President, Global General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, Ms. La Lande was a partner at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she practiced from October 2000 to January 2018, and where she advised clients with respect to mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, private equity deals, and joint ventures. Throughout Ms. La Lande’s career, she has advised companies and private equity sponsors in the consumer products, retail, financial services, and technology industries.
Rafael Oliveira assumed his current role as Zone President International in July 2019. Prior to that role, he served as Zone President of EMEA from October 2016 to June 2019 after serving as the Managing Director of Kraft Heinz UK & Ireland. Mr. Oliveira joined Kraft Heinz in July 2014 and served as President of Kraft Heinz Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea until September 2016. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, Mr. Oliveira spent 17 years in the financial industry, the final 10 of which he held a variety of leadership positions with Goldman Sachs.
Flavio Torres joined Kraft Heinz as Head of Global Operations in January 2020. Prior to joining Kraft Heinz, Mr. Torres served as Global Operations VP of AB InBev, a multinational drink and brewing holdings company, from 2017 to 2019. Prior to that role, Mr. Torres served as Supply Chain VP at Ambev S.A., a subsidiary of AB InBev, from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Torres joined AB InBev in 1994 and served in positions of increasing responsibility during his tenure.
Our website address is www.kraftheinzcompany.com. The information on our website is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or incorporated into any other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “Exchange Act”) are available free of charge on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the SEC. In addition, the SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including Kraft Heinz, that are electronically filed with the SEC.
Item 1A. Risk Factors.
We operate in a highly competitive industry.
The food and beverage industry is highly competitive across all of our product offerings. Our principal competitors in these categories are manufacturers, as well as retailers with their own branded and private label products. We compete based on product innovation, price, product quality, nutritional value, service, taste, convenience, brand recognition and loyalty, effectiveness of marketing and distribution, promotional activity, and the ability to identify and satisfy changing consumer preferences.
We may need to reduce our prices in response to competitive and customer pressures, including pressures in relation to private label products that are generally sold at lower prices. These pressures have restricted and may in the future continue to restrict our ability to increase prices in response to commodity and other cost increases. Failure to effectively assess, timely change and set proper pricing, promotions, or trade incentives may negatively impact the achievement of our objectives.
The rapid emergence of new distribution channels, particularly e-commerce, may create consumer price deflation, affecting our retail customer relationships and presenting additional challenges to increasing prices in response to commodity or other cost increases. We may also need to increase or reallocate spending on marketing, retail trade incentives, materials, advertising, and new product or channel innovation to maintain or increase market share. These expenditures are subject to risks, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance of our efforts. If we are unable to compete effectively, our profitability, financial condition, and operating results may decline.
Our success depends on our ability to correctly predict, identify, and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand, to offer new products to meet those changes, and to respond to competitive innovation.
Consumer preferences for food and beverage products change continually and rapidly. Our success depends on our ability to predict, identify, and interpret the tastes and dietary habits of consumers and to offer products that appeal to consumer preferences, including with respect to health and wellness. If we do not offer products that appeal to consumers, our sales and market share will decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We must distinguish between short-term trends and long-term changes in consumer preferences. If we do not accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences will be long-term, or if we fail to introduce new and improved products to satisfy those preferences, our sales could decline. In addition, because of our varied consumer base, we must offer an array of products that satisfy a broad spectrum of consumer preferences. If we fail to expand our product offerings successfully across product categories, or if we do not rapidly develop products in faster-growing or more profitable categories, demand for our products could decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Prolonged negative perceptions concerning the health implications of certain food and beverage products (including as they relate to obesity or other health concerns) could influence consumer preferences and acceptance of some of our products and marketing programs. We strive to respond to consumer preferences and social expectations, but we may not be successful in our efforts. Continued negative perceptions and failure to satisfy consumer preferences could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
In addition, achieving growth depends on our successful development, introduction, and marketing of innovative new products and line extensions. There are inherent risks associated with new product or packaging introductions, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance or potential impacts on our existing product offerings. We may be required to increase expenditures for new product development. Successful innovation depends on our ability to correctly anticipate customer and consumer acceptance, to obtain, protect, and maintain necessary intellectual property rights, and to avoid infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. We must also be able to respond successfully to technological advances by and intellectual property rights of our competitors, and failure to do so could compromise our competitive position and impact our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Changes in the retail landscape or the loss of key retail customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
Retail customers, such as supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and food distributors in our major markets, may continue to consolidate, resulting in fewer but larger customers for our business across various channels. Consolidation also produces larger retail customers that may seek to leverage their positions to improve their profitability by demanding improved efficiency, lower pricing, more favorable terms, increased promotional programs, or specifically-tailored product offerings. In addition, larger retailers have scale to develop supply chains that permit them to operate with reduced inventories or to develop and market their own private label products. Retail consolidation and increasing retailer power could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Retail consolidation also increases the risk that adverse changes in our customers’ business operations or financial performance may have a corresponding material and adverse effect on us. For example, if our customers cannot access sufficient funds or financing, then they may delay, decrease, or cancel purchases of our products, or delay or fail to pay us for previous purchases, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
In addition, technology-based systems, which give consumers the ability to shop through e-commerce websites and mobile commerce applications, are also significantly altering the retail landscape in many of our markets. If we are unable to adjust to developments in these changing landscapes, we may be disadvantaged in key channels and with certain consumers, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Changes in our relationships with significant customers, suppliers, or other business relationships could adversely impact us.
We derive significant portions of our sales from certain significant customers (see Sales and Customers within Item 1, Business). There can be no assurance that all of our significant customers will continue to purchase our products in the same mix or quantities or on the same terms as in the past, particularly as increasingly powerful retailers may demand lower pricing and focus on developing their own brands. The loss of a significant customer or a material reduction in sales or a change in the mix of products we sell to a significant customer could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Disputes with significant suppliers, including disputes related to pricing or performance, could adversely affect our ability to supply products to our customers and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results. In addition, terminations of relationships with other significant contractual counterparties, including licensors, could adversely affect our portfolio, product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
In addition, the financial condition of such customers, suppliers, and other significant contractual counterparties are affected in large part by conditions and events that are beyond our control. Significant deteriorations in the financial conditions of significant customers, suppliers, and other business relationships could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Maintaining, extending, and expanding our reputation and brand image are essential to our business success.
We have many iconic brands with long-standing consumer recognition across the globe. Our success depends on our ability to maintain brand image for our existing products, extend our brands to new platforms, and expand our brand image with new product offerings.
We seek to maintain, extend, and expand our brand image through marketing investments, including advertising and consumer promotions, and product innovation. Negative perceptions on the role of food and beverage marketing could adversely affect our brand image or lead to stricter regulations and scrutiny of marketing practices. Moreover, adverse publicity about legal or regulatory action against us, our quality and safety, our environmental or social impacts, our products becoming unavailable to consumers, or our suppliers and, in some cases, our competitors, could damage our reputation and brand image, undermine our customers’ confidence, and reduce demand for our products, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or not material to our operations. Furthermore, existing or increased legal or regulatory restrictions on our advertising, consumer promotions, and marketing, or our response to those restrictions, could limit our efforts to maintain, extend, and expand our brands.
In addition, our success in maintaining, extending, and expanding our brand image depends on our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. We increasingly rely on social media and online dissemination of advertising campaigns. The growing use of social and digital media increases the speed and extent that information, including misinformation, and opinions can be shared. Negative posts or comments about us, our brands or our products, or our suppliers and, in some cases, our competitors, on social or digital media, whether or not valid, could seriously damage our brands and reputation. In addition, we might fail to appropriately target our marketing efforts, anticipate consumer preferences, or invest sufficiently in maintaining, extending, and expanding our brand image. If we do not maintain, extend, and expand our reputation or brand image, then our product sales, financial condition, and operating results could be materially and adversely affected.
We must leverage our brand value to compete against private label products.
In nearly all of our product categories, we compete with branded products as well as private label products, which are typically sold at lower prices. Our products must provide higher value and/or quality to our consumers than alternatives, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Consumers may not buy our products if relative differences in value and/or quality between our products and private label products change in favor of competitors’ products or if consumers perceive this type of change. If consumers prefer private label products, then we could lose market share or sales volumes or shift our product mix to lower margin offerings. A change in consumer preferences could also cause us to increase capital, marketing, and other expenditures, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We may be unable to drive revenue growth in our key product categories, increase our market share, or add products that are in faster-growing and more profitable categories.
Our future results will depend on our ability to drive revenue growth in our key product categories and growth in the food and beverage industry in the countries in which we operate. Our future results will also depend on our ability to enhance our portfolio by adding innovative new products in faster-growing and more profitable categories and our ability to increase market share in our existing product categories. Our failure to drive revenue growth, limit market share decreases in our key product categories, or develop innovative products for new and existing categories could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Product recalls or other product liability claims could materially and adversely affect us.
Selling products for human consumption involves inherent legal and other risks, including product contamination, spoilage, product tampering, allergens, or other adulteration. We have decided and could in the future decide to, and have been or could in the future be required to, recall products due to suspected or confirmed product contamination, adulteration, product mislabeling or misbranding, tampering, undeclared allergens, or other deficiencies. Product recalls or market withdrawals could result in significant losses due to their costs, the destruction of product inventory, and lost sales due to the unavailability of the product for a period of time.
We could be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in the safety and quality of certain food products or ingredients, or the food safety system generally. Adverse attention about these types of concerns, whether or not valid, may damage our reputation, discourage consumers from buying our products, or cause production and delivery disruptions that could negatively impact our net sales and financial condition.
We may also suffer losses if our products or operations violate applicable laws or regulations, or if our products cause injury, illness, or death. In addition, our marketing could face claims of false or deceptive advertising or other criticism. A significant product liability or other legal judgment or a related regulatory enforcement action against us, or a significant product recall, may materially and adversely affect our reputation and profitability. Moreover, even if a product liability or fraud claim is unsuccessful, has no merit, or is not pursued, the negative publicity surrounding assertions against our products or processes could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Unanticipated business disruptions could adversely affect our ability to provide our products to our customers.
We have a complex network of suppliers, owned and leased manufacturing locations, co-manufacturing locations, distribution networks, and information systems that support our ability to consistently provide our products to our customers. Factors that are hard to predict or beyond our control, such as weather, raw material shortages, natural disasters, fires or explosions, political unrest, terrorism, generalized labor unrest, or health pandemics, such as the new coronavirus that originated in China, could damage or disrupt our operations or our suppliers’, co-manufacturers’ or distributors’ operations. These disruptions may require additional resources to restore our supply chain or distribution network. If we cannot respond to disruptions in our operations, whether by finding alternative suppliers or replacing capacity at key manufacturing or distribution locations, or if we are unable to quickly repair damage to our information, production, or supply systems, we may be late in delivering, or be unable to deliver, products to our customers and may also be unable to track orders, inventory, receivables, and payables. If that occurs, our customers’ confidence in us and long-term demand for our products could decline. Any of these events could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We may not successfully identify, complete, or realize the benefits from strategic acquisitions, alliances, divestitures, joint ventures, or other investments.
From time to time, we have evaluated and may continue to evaluate acquisition candidates, alliances, joint ventures, or other investments that may strategically fit our business objectives, and we have divested and may consider divesting businesses that do not meet our strategic objectives or growth or profitability targets. These activities may present financial, managerial, and operational risks including, but not limited to, diversion of management’s attention from existing core businesses, difficulties integrating or separating personnel and financial and other systems, inability to effectively and immediately implement control environment processes across a diverse employee population, adverse effects on existing or acquired customer and supplier business relationships, and potential disputes with buyers, sellers, or partners. Activities in such areas are regulated by numerous antitrust and competition laws in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and other jurisdictions, and we may be required to obtain the approval of these transactions by competition authorities, as well as to satisfy other legal requirements.
To the extent we undertake acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, investments, or other developments outside our core regions or in new categories, we may face additional risks related to such developments. For example, risks related to foreign operations include compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, such as the FCPA, currency rate fluctuations, compliance with foreign regulations and laws, including tax laws, and exposure to politically and economically volatile developing markets. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
To the extent we undertake divestitures, we may face additional risks related to such activity. For example, risks related to our ability to find appropriate buyers, to execute transactions on favorable terms, to separate divested businesses from our remaining operations, and to effectively manage any transitional service arrangements. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
We may be unable to realize the anticipated benefits from prior or future streamlining actions to reduce fixed costs, simplify or improve processes, and improve our competitiveness.
We have implemented a number of cost savings initiatives, including our multi-year program announced following the 2015 Merger, that we believe are important to position our business for future success and growth. We have evaluated and continue to evaluate changes to our organizational structure to enable us to reduce costs, simplify or improve processes, and improve our competitiveness. Our future success may depend upon our ability to realize the benefits of these or other cost savings initiatives. In addition, certain of our initiatives may lead to increased costs in other aspects of our business such as increased conversion, outsourcing, or distribution costs. We must accurately predict costs and be efficient in executing any plans to achieve cost savings and operate efficiently in the highly competitive food and beverage industry, particularly in an environment of increased competitive activity. To capitalize on our efforts, we must carefully evaluate investments in our business, and execute in those areas with the most potential return on investment. If we are unable to realize the anticipated benefits from any cost-saving efforts, we could be cost disadvantaged in the marketplace, and our competitiveness, production, profitability, financial condition, and operating results could be adversely affected.
We may not be able to successfully execute our strategic initiatives.
We plan to continue to conduct strategic initiatives in various markets. Consumer demands, behaviors, tastes and purchasing trends may differ in these markets and, as a result, our sales may not be successful or meet expectations, or the margins on those sales may be less than currently anticipated. We may also face difficulties integrating new business operations with our current sourcing, distribution, information technology systems, and other operations. Any of these challenges could hinder our success in new markets or new distribution channels. We may also face difficulties divesting business operations with minimal impact to the retained businesses. There can be no assurance that we will successfully complete any planned strategic initiatives, that any new business will be profitable or meet our expectations, or that any divestiture will be completed without disruption, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our international operations subject us to additional risks and costs and may cause our profitability to decline.
We are a global company with sales and operations in numerous countries within developed and emerging markets. Approximately 29% of our 2019 net sales were generated outside of the United States. As a result, we are subject to risks inherent in global operations. These risks, which can vary substantially by market, are described in many of the risk factors discussed in this section and also include:
compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, including anti-bribery laws such as the FCPA;
changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in tax laws or their interpretations, or tax audit implications;
the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers, or similar restrictions on our sales or imports, trade agreements, regulations, taxes, or policies that might negatively affect our sales or costs;
currency devaluations or fluctuations in currency values;
compliance with antitrust and competition laws, data privacy laws, and a variety of other local, national, and multi-national regulations and laws in multiple jurisdictions;
discriminatory or conflicting fiscal policies in or across foreign jurisdictions;
changes in capital controls, including currency exchange controls, government currency policies, or other limits on our ability to import raw materials or finished product into various countries or repatriate cash from outside the United States;
challenges associated with cross-border product distribution;
changes in local regulations and laws, the uncertainty of enforcement of remedies in foreign jurisdictions, and foreign ownership restrictions and the potential for nationalization or expropriation of property or other resources;
risks and costs associated with political and economic instability, corruption, anti-American sentiment, and social and ethnic unrest in the countries in which we operate;
the risks of operating in developing or emerging markets in which there are significant uncertainties regarding the interpretation, application, and enforceability of laws and regulations and the enforceability of contract rights and intellectual property rights;
risks arising from the significant and rapid fluctuations in currency exchange markets and the decisions made and positions taken to hedge such volatility;
changing labor conditions and difficulties in staffing our operations;
greater risk of uncollectible accounts and longer collection cycles; and
design, implementation, and use of effective control environment processes across our diverse operations and employee base.
In addition, political and economic changes or volatility, geopolitical conflicts, terrorist activity, political unrest, civil strife, acts of war, public corruption, expropriation, and other economic or political uncertainties could interrupt and negatively affect our business operations or customer demand. Slow economic growth or high unemployment in the markets in which we operate could constrain consumer spending, and declining consumer purchasing power could adversely impact our profitability. All of these factors could result in increased costs or decreased sales, and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and results of operations.
Our performance may be adversely affected by economic and political conditions in the United States and in various other nations where we do business.
Our performance has been in the past and may continue in the future to be impacted by economic and political conditions in the United States and in other nations where we do business. Economic and financial uncertainties in our international markets, including uncertainties surrounding the legal and regulatory effects of Brexit in the transition period and beyond, changes to major international trade arrangements (e.g., the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement), and the imposition of tariffs by certain foreign governments, including China and Canada, could negatively impact our operations and sales. Though the United Kingdom formally withdrew from the European Union on January 31, 2020, the uncertainties around the impacts of Brexit remain during the transition period and while a new trade agreement is negotiated. As a result, we continue to evaluate the risks associated with the withdrawal, including the potential for supply chain disruptions and foreign currency volatility. Other factors impacting our operations in the United States and in international locations where we do business include export and import restrictions, currency exchange rates, currency devaluation, cash repatriation restrictions, recessionary conditions, foreign ownership restrictions, nationalization, the impact of hyperinflationary environments, terrorist acts, and political unrest. Such factors in either domestic or foreign jurisdictions, and our responses to them, could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results. For further information on Venezuela, see Note 15, Venezuela - Foreign Currency and Inflation, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
We rely on our management team and other key personnel and may be unable to hire or retain key personnel or a highly skilled and diverse global workforce.
We depend on the skills, working relationships, and continued services of key personnel, including our experienced management team. In addition, our ability to achieve our operating goals depends on our ability to identify, hire, train, and retain qualified individuals. We compete with other companies both within and outside of our industry for talented personnel, and we may lose key personnel or fail to attract, train, and retain other talented personnel and a diverse global workforce with the skills and in the locations we need to operate and grow our business. Unplanned turnover, failure to attract and develop personnel with key emerging capabilities such as e-commerce and digital marketing skills, or failure to develop adequate succession plans for leadership positions, including the Chief Executive Officer position, could deplete our institutional knowledge base and erode our competitiveness. Changes in immigration laws and policies could also make it more difficult for us to recruit or relocate skilled employees. Any such loss, failure, or limitation could adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We are significantly dependent on information technology, and we may be unable to protect our information systems against service interruption, misappropriation of data, or breaches of security.
We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit, and store electronic and financial information, to manage a variety of business processes and activities, and to comply with regulatory, legal, and tax requirements. We also depend on our information technology infrastructure for digital marketing activities and for electronic communications among our locations, personnel, customers, and suppliers. These information technology systems, some of which are managed by third parties, may be susceptible to damage, invasions, disruptions, or shutdowns due to hardware failures, computer viruses, hacker attacks and other cybersecurity risks, telecommunication failures, user errors, catastrophic events or other factors. If our information technology systems suffer severe damage, disruption, or shutdown, by unintentional or malicious actions of employees and contractors or by cyberattacks, and our business continuity plans do not effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner, we could experience business disruptions, reputational damage, transaction errors, processing inefficiencies, the leakage of confidential information, and the loss of customers and sales, causing our product sales, financial condition, and operating results to be adversely affected and the reporting of our financial results to be delayed.
In addition, if we are unable to prevent security breaches or disclosure of non-public information, we may suffer financial and reputational damage, litigation or remediation costs, fines, or penalties because of the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information belonging to us or to our partners, customers, consumers, or suppliers.
Misuse, leakage, or falsification of information could result in violations of data privacy laws and regulations, damage to our reputation and credibility, loss of opportunities to acquire or divest of businesses or brands, and loss of ability to commercialize products developed through research and development efforts and, therefore, could have a negative impact on net sales. In addition, we may suffer financial and reputational damage because of lost or misappropriated confidential information belonging to us, our current or former employees, or to our suppliers or consumers, and may become subject to legal action and increased regulatory oversight. We could also be required to spend significant financial and other resources to remedy the damage caused by a security breach or to repair or replace networks and information systems.
We are also subject to various laws and regulations that are continuously evolving and developing regarding privacy, data protection, and data security, including those related to the collection, storage, handling, use, disclosure, transfer, and security of personal data. Such laws and regulations, as well as their interpretation and application, may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, which can result in inconsistent or conflicting requirements. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which became effective in May 2018, adds a broad array of requirements with respect to personal data, including the public disclosure of significant data breaches, and imposes substantial penalties for non-compliance. The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which became effective on January 1, 2020, among other things, imposes additional requirements with respect to disclosure and deletion of personal information of California residents. The CCPA provides civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for data breaches. GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy and data protection laws may increase our costs of compliance and risks of non-compliance, which could result in substantial penalties.
Our results of operations could be affected by natural events in the locations in which we or our customers, suppliers, distributors, or regulators operate.
We have been and may in the future be impacted by severe weather and other geological events, including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or tsunamis that could disrupt our operations or the operations of our customers, suppliers, distributors, or regulators. Natural disasters or other disruptions at any of our facilities or our suppliers’ or distributors’ facilities may impair or delay the delivery of our products. Influenza or other pandemics, such as the new coronavirus that originated in China, could disrupt production of our products, reduce demand for certain of our products, or disrupt the marketplace in the foodservice or retail environment with consequent material adverse effects on our results of operations. While we insure against many of these events and certain business interruption risks and have policies and procedures to manage business continuity planning, we cannot provide any assurance that such insurance will compensate us for any losses incurred as a result of natural or other disasters or that our business continuity plans will effectively resolve the issues in a timely manner. To the extent we are unable to, or cannot, financially mitigate the likelihood or potential impact of such events, or effectively manage such events if they occur, particularly when a product is sourced from a single location, there could be a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations, and additional resources could be required to restore our supply chain.
The Sponsors have substantial control over us and may have conflicts of interest with us in the future.
As of December 28, 2019, the Sponsors own approximately 47% of our common stock. Three of our current 11 directors had been directors of Heinz prior to the closing of the 2015 Merger and remained directors of Kraft Heinz pursuant to the merger agreement. In addition, the Board elected Joao M. Castro-Neves, a partner of 3G Capital, one of the Sponsors, effective June 12, 2019. Furthermore, Paulo Basilio, our Chief Financial Officer, is a partner of 3G Capital. As a result, the Sponsors have the potential to exercise influence over management and have substantial control over decisions of our Board of Directors as well as over any action requiring the approval of the holders of our common stock, including adopting any amendments to our charter, electing directors, and approving mergers or sales of substantially all of our capital stock or our assets. In addition, to the extent that the Sponsors were to collectively hold a majority of our common stock, they together would have the power to take shareholder action by written consent to adopt amendments to our charter or take other actions, such as corporate transactions, that require the vote of holders of a majority of our outstanding common stock. The directors designated by the Sponsors may have significant authority to effect decisions affecting our capital structure, including the issuance of additional capital stock, the incurrence of additional indebtedness, the implementation of stock repurchase programs, and the decision of whether to declare dividends and the amount of any such dividends. Additionally, the Sponsors are in the business of making investments in companies and may from time to time acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. The Sponsors may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. So long as the Sponsors continue to own a significant amount of our equity, they will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions.
Our level of indebtedness, as well as our ability to comply with covenants under our debt instruments, could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
We have a substantial amount of indebtedness, and are permitted to incur a substantial amount of additional indebtedness, including secured debt. Our existing debt, together with any incurrence of additional indebtedness, could have important consequences, including, but not limited to:
increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, research and development, debt service requirements, acquisitions, and general corporate or other purposes;
resulting in a downgrade to our credit rating, which could adversely affect our cost of funds, including our commercial paper programs; liquidity; and access to capital markets;
restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;
limiting our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who are not as highly leveraged;
making it more difficult for us to make payments on our existing indebtedness;
requiring a substantial portion of cash flows from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, payments of dividends, capital expenditures, and future business opportunities;
exposing us to risks related to fluctuations in foreign currency, as we earn profits in a variety of currencies around the world and the majority of our debt is denominated in U.S. dollars; and
in the case of any additional indebtedness, exacerbating the risks associated with our substantial financial leverage.
In addition, there can be no assurance that we will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future debt or equity financings will be available to us to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund other needs. As a result, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity. There is no assurance that we will be able to refinance any of our indebtedness on favorable terms, or at all. Any inability to generate sufficient cash flow or to refinance our indebtedness on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Our indebtedness instruments contain customary representations, warranties and covenants, including a financial covenant in our senior unsecured revolving credit facility (the “Senior Credit Facility”) to maintain a minimum shareholders’ equity (excluding accumulated other comprehensive income/(losses)). The creditors who hold our debt could accelerate amounts due in the event that we default, which could potentially trigger a default or acceleration of the maturity of our other debt. If our operating performance declines, or if we are unable to comply with any covenant, such as our ability to timely prepare and file our periodic reports with the SEC, we have in the past and may in the future need to obtain waivers from the required creditors under our indebtedness instruments to avoid being in default.
If we breach any covenants under our indebtedness instruments and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required creditors, or we may not be able to remedy compliance within the terms of any waivers approved by the required creditors. If this occurs, we would be in default under our indebtedness instruments and unable to access our Senior Credit Facility. In addition, certain creditors could exercise their rights, as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.
Additional impairments of the carrying amounts of goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We maintain 19 reporting units, 11 of which comprise our goodwill balance. Our indefinite-lived intangible asset balance primarily consists of a number of individual brands. We test our reporting units and brands for impairment annually as of the first day of our second quarter, or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit or brand is less than its carrying amount. Such events and circumstances could include a sustained decrease in our market capitalization, increased competition or unexpected loss of market share, increased input costs beyond projections (for example due to regulatory or industry changes), disposals of significant brands or components of our business, unexpected business disruptions (for example due to a natural disaster or loss of a customer, supplier, or other significant business relationship), unexpected significant declines in operating results, significant adverse changes in the markets in which we operate, or changes in management strategy. We test reporting units for impairment by comparing the estimated fair value of each reporting unit with its carrying amount. We test brands for impairment by comparing the estimated fair value of each brand with its carrying amount. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit or brand exceeds its estimated fair value, we record an impairment loss based on the difference between fair value and carrying amount, in the case of reporting units, not to exceed the associated carrying amount of goodwill.
Fair value determinations require considerable judgment and are sensitive to changes in underlying assumptions, estimates, and market factors. Estimating the fair value of individual reporting units and brands requires us to make assumptions and estimates regarding our future plans, as well as industry, economic, and regulatory conditions. These assumptions and estimates include estimated future annual net cash flows, income tax considerations, discount rates, growth rates, royalty rates, contributory asset charges, and other market factors. If current expectations of future growth rates and margins are not met, if market factors outside of our control, such as discount rates, change, or if management’s expectations or plans otherwise change, including as a result of updates to our global five-year operating plan, then one or more of our reporting units or brands might become impaired in the future, which could negatively affect our operating results or net worth. We are currently actively reviewing the enterprise strategy for the Company. As part of this strategic review, we expect to develop updates to the five-year operating plan in 2020, which could impact the allocation of investments among reporting units and brands and impact growth expectations and fair value estimates. Additionally, as a result of this strategic review process, we could decide to divest certain non-strategic assets. As a result, the ongoing development of the enterprise strategy and underlying detailed business plans could lead to the impairment of one or more of our reporting units or brands in the future.
As a result of our annual and interim impairment tests, we recognized goodwill impairment losses of $7.0 billion and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment losses of $8.9 billion in 2018, and goodwill impairment losses of $1.2 billion and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment losses of $687 million in 2019. Our reporting units and brands that were impaired in 2018 and 2019 were written down to their respective fair values resulting in zero excess fair value over carrying amount as of the applicable impairment test dates. Accordingly, these and other individual reporting units and brands that have 20% or less excess fair value over carrying amount as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date have a heightened risk of future impairments if any assumptions, estimates, or market factors change in the future. Reporting units with 10% or less fair value over carrying amount had an aggregate goodwill carrying amount of $32.4 billion as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date and included U.S. Grocery, U.S. Refrigerated, U.S. Foodservice, Canada Retail, Canada Foodservice, Latin America Exports, and EMEA East. Reporting units with between 10-20% fair value over carrying amount had an aggregate goodwill carrying amount of $676 million as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date and included Continental Europe and Northeast Asia. The aggregate goodwill carrying amount of reporting units with fair value over carrying amount between 20-50% was $2.4 billion and there were no reporting units with fair value over carrying amount in excess of 50% as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date. Brands with 10% or less fair value over carrying amount had an aggregate carrying amount after impairment of $26.2 billion as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date and included: Kraft, Philadelphia, Velveeta, Lunchables, Miracle Whip, Planters, Maxwell House, Cool Whip, and ABC. Brands with between 10-20% fair value over carrying amount had an aggregate carrying amount of $3.7 billion as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date and included Oscar Mayer, Jet Puffed, Wattie’s, and Quero. The aggregate carrying amount of brands with fair value over carrying amount between 20-50% was $4.2 billion as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date. Although the remaining brands have more than 50% excess fair value over carrying amount as of their latest 2019 impairment testing date, these amounts are also associated with the 2013 Heinz acquisition and the 2015 Merger and are recorded on the balance sheet at their estimated acquisition date fair values. Therefore, if any estimates, market factors, or assumptions, including those related to our enterprise strategy or business plans, change in the future, these amounts are also susceptible to impairments.
Our net sales and net income may be exposed to foreign exchange rate fluctuations.
We derive a substantial portion of our net sales from international operations. We hold assets and incur liabilities, earn revenue, and pay expenses in a variety of currencies other than the U.S. dollar, primarily the British pound sterling, euro, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Brazilian real, Indonesian rupiah, Chinese renminbi, and Indian rupee. Since our consolidated financial statements are reported in U.S. dollars, fluctuations in exchange rates from period to period will have an impact on our reported results. We have implemented currency hedges intended to reduce our exposure to changes in foreign currency exchange rates. However, these hedging strategies may not be successful, and any of our unhedged foreign exchange exposures will continue to be subject to market fluctuations. In addition, in certain circumstances, we may incur costs in one currency related to services or products for which we are paid in a different currency. As a result, factors associated with international operations, including changes in foreign currency exchange rates, could significantly affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Commodity, energy, and other input prices are volatile and could negatively affect our consolidated operating results.
We purchase and use large quantities of commodities, including dairy products, meat products, coffee beans, nuts, tomatoes, potatoes, soybean and vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, corn products, wheat products, cucumbers, onions, other fruits and vegetables, spices, cocoa products, and flour to manufacture our products. In addition, we purchase and use significant quantities of resins, metals, cardboard, glass, plastic, paper, fiberboard, and other materials to package our products, and we use other inputs, such as natural gas and water, to operate our facilities. We are also exposed to changes in oil prices, which influence both our packaging and transportation costs. Prices for commodities, energy, and other supplies are volatile and can fluctuate due to conditions that are difficult to predict, including global competition for resources, currency fluctuations, severe weather or global climate change, crop failures, or shortages due to plant disease or insect and other pest infestation, consumer, industrial, or investment demand, and changes in governmental regulation and trade, tariffs, alternative energy, including increased demand for biofuels, and agricultural programs. Additionally, we may be unable to maintain favorable arrangements with respect to the costs of procuring raw materials, packaging, services, and transporting products, which could result in increased expenses and negatively affect our operations. Furthermore, the cost of raw materials and finished products may fluctuate due to movements in cross-currency transaction rates. Rising commodity, energy, and other input costs could materially and adversely affect our cost of operations, including the manufacture, transportation, and distribution of our products, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
Although we monitor our exposure to commodity prices as an integral part of our overall risk management program, and seek to hedge against input price increases to the extent we deem appropriate, we do not fully hedge against changes in commodity prices, and our hedging strategies may not protect us from increases in specific raw materials costs. For example, hedging our costs for one of our key commodities, dairy products, is difficult because dairy futures markets are not as developed as many other commodities futures markets. Continued volatility or sustained increases in the prices of commodities and other supplies we purchase could increase the costs of our products, and our profitability could suffer. Moreover, increases in the prices of our products to cover these increased costs may result in lower sales volumes, or we may be constrained from increasing the prices of our products by competitive and consumer pressures. If we are not successful in our hedging activities, or if we are unable to price our products to cover increased costs, then commodity and other input price volatility or increases could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
Volatility in the market value of all or a portion of the derivatives we use to manage exposures to fluctuations in commodity prices may cause volatility in our gross profit and net income.
We use commodity futures, options, and swaps to economically hedge the price of certain input costs, including dairy products, meat products, coffee beans, sugar, vegetable oils, wheat products, corn products, cocoa products, packaging products, diesel fuel, and natural gas. We recognize gains and losses based on changes in the values of these commodity derivatives. We recognize these gains and losses in cost of products sold in our consolidated statements of income to the extent we utilize the underlying input in our manufacturing process. We recognize these gains and losses in general corporate expenses in our segment operating results until we sell the underlying products, at which time we reclassify the gains and losses to segment operating results. Accordingly, changes in the values of our commodity derivatives may cause volatility in our gross profit and net income.
Our results could be adversely impacted as a result of increased pension, labor, and people-related expenses.
Inflationary pressures and any shortages in the labor market could increase labor costs, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated operating results or financial condition. Our labor costs include the cost of providing employee benefits in the United States, Canada, and other foreign jurisdictions, including pension, health and welfare, and severance benefits. Any declines in market returns could adversely impact the funding of pension plans, the assets of which are invested in a diversified portfolio of equity and fixed-income securities and other investments. Additionally, the annual costs of benefits vary with increased costs of health care and the outcome of collectively-bargained wage and benefit agreements.
Furthermore, we may be subject to increased costs or experience adverse effects to our operating results if we are unable to renew collectively bargained agreements on satisfactory terms. Our financial condition and ability to meet the needs of our customers could be materially and adversely affected if strikes or work stoppages and interruptions occur as a result of delayed negotiations with union-represented employees both in and outside of the United States.
Compliance with laws, regulations, and related interpretations and related legal claims or other regulatory enforcement actions could impact our business, and we face additional risks and uncertainties related to any potential actions resulting from the SEC’s ongoing investigation, as well as potential additional subpoenas, litigation, and regulatory proceedings.
As a large, global food and beverage company, we operate in a highly-regulated environment with constantly-evolving legal and regulatory frameworks. Various laws and regulations govern production, storage, distribution, sales, advertising, labeling, including on-pack claims, information or disclosures, marketing, licensing, trade, labor, tax, environmental matters, privacy, as well as health and safety and data protection practices. Government authorities regularly change laws and regulations and their interpretations. In particular, Brexit could result in a new regulatory regime in the United Kingdom that may or may not follow that of the European Union, and the creation of new and divergent laws and regulations could increase the cost and complexity of our compliance. In addition, this shift in regime could create a number of legal and accounting complexities with respect to existing relationships, including uncertainty regarding the continuity of contracts entered into by entities in the United Kingdom or the European Union. Our compliance with new or revised laws and regulations, or the interpretation and application of existing laws and regulations, could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and results of operations. As a consequence of the legal and regulatory environment in which we operate, we are faced with a heightened risk of legal claims and regulatory enforcement actions.
As previously disclosed on February 21, 2019, we received a subpoena in October 2018 from the SEC related to our procurement area, specifically the accounting policies, procedures, and internal controls related to our procurement function, including, but not limited to, agreements, side agreements, and changes or modifications to agreements with our suppliers. Following the receipt of this subpoena, we, together with external counsel and forensic accountants, and subsequently, under the oversight of the Audit Committee, conducted an internal investigation into our procurement area and related matters. The SEC has issued additional subpoenas seeking information related to our financial reporting, internal controls, disclosures, our assessment of goodwill and intangible asset impairments, our communications with certain shareholders, and other procurement-related information and materials in connection with its investigation. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois (“USAO”) is also reviewing this matter. We and certain of our current and former officers and directors are currently defendants in a consolidated securities class action lawsuit, a class action lawsuit brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), a consolidated stockholder derivative action pending in federal court, and eight stockholder derivative actions pending in the Delaware Court of Chancery.
We are cooperating with the SEC and USAO, and intend to vigorously defend the civil lawsuits. We are unable, at this time, to estimate our potential liability in these matters. In connection with the securities and ERISA class action lawsuits and the stockholder derivative actions, we may be required to pay judgments, settlements, or other penalties and incur other costs and expenses. See Item 3, Legal Proceedings, and Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information.
In connection with the SEC and USAO investigations, we could be required to pay significant civil or criminal penalties and become subject to injunctions, cease and desist orders, and other equitable remedies. The SEC and USAO investigations have not been resolved as of the filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We can provide no assurances as to the outcome or timing of any governmental or regulatory investigation.
We have incurred, and may continue to incur, significant expenses related to legal, accounting, and other professional services in connection with the internal investigation, the SEC investigation, and related legal and regulatory matters. These expenses have adversely affected, and could continue to adversely affect, our business, financial condition, and cash flows.
As a result of matters associated with the internal investigation related to the SEC investigation and various lawsuits, we are exposed to greater risks associated with litigation, regulatory proceedings, and government enforcement actions and additional subpoenas. Any future investigations or additional lawsuits may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
We identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. If we are unable to remediate these material weaknesses, or if we experience additional material weaknesses or other deficiencies in the future or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately and timely report our financial results, in which case our business may be harmed, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, and the price of our common stock may decline.
Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting and for evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of our system of internal control. Our internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external reporting purposes in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”). As a public company, we are required to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other rules that govern public companies. In particular, we are required to certify our compliance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which requires us to furnish annually a report by management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm is required to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting.
Consistent with the prior year and in connection with our 2019 year-end assessment of internal control over financial reporting, we determined that, as of December 28, 2019, we did not maintain effective internal control over financial reporting because of a material weakness in our risk assessment process related to designing and maintaining controls sufficient to appropriately respond to changes in our business environment. This material weakness in risk assessment also contributed to a material weakness arising from supplier contracts and related arrangements, and we have taken and are taking certain remedial steps to improve our internal control over financial reporting. For further discussion of the material weaknesses identified and our remedial efforts, see Item 9A, Controls and Procedures.
Remediation efforts place a significant burden on management and add increased pressure to our financial resources and processes. As a result, we may not be successful in making the improvements necessary to remediate the material weaknesses identified by management, be able to do so in a timely manner, or be able to identify and remediate additional control deficiencies, including material weaknesses, in the future.
If we are unable to successfully remediate our existing or any future material weaknesses or other deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting may be adversely affected; our liquidity, our access to capital markets, the perceptions of our creditworthiness, and our ability to complete acquisitions may be adversely affected; we may be unable to maintain compliance with applicable securities laws, The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) listing requirements, and the covenants under our debt instruments or derivative arrangements regarding the timely filing of periodic reports; we may be subject to regulatory investigations and penalties; investors may lose confidence in our financial reporting; we may suffer defaults, accelerations, or cross-accelerations under our debt instruments or derivative arrangements to the extent we are unable to obtain waivers from the required creditors or counterparties or are unable to cure any breaches; and our stock price may decline.
Our failure to prepare and timely file our periodic reports with the SEC limits our access to the public markets to raise debt or equity capital.
We did not file our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2018 or our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended March 30, 2019 within each respective timeframe required by the SEC, meaning we did not remain current in our reporting requirements with the SEC. As such, we are not currently eligible to use a registration statement on Form S-3 that would allow us to continuously incorporate by reference our SEC reports into the registration statement, or to use “shelf” registration statements to conduct offerings, until we have maintained our status as a current filer for approximately one year. This limits our ability to access the public markets to raise debt or equity capital, which could prevent us from pursuing transactions or implementing business strategies that we might otherwise believe are beneficial to our business. If we wish to pursue a public offering now, we would be required to file a registration statement on Form S-1 and have it reviewed and declared effective by the SEC. Doing so would likely take significantly longer than using a registration statement on Form S-3 and increase our transaction costs, and the necessity of using a Form S-1 for a public offering of registered securities could, to the extent we are not able to conduct offerings using alternative methods, adversely impact our ability to raise capital or complete acquisitions of other companies in a timely manner.
We restated certain of our previously issued consolidated financial statements, which resulted in unanticipated costs and may affect investor confidence and raise reputational issues.
As discussed in the Explanatory Note, in Note 2, Restatement of Previously Issued Consolidated Financial Statements, and in Note 23, Quarterly Financial Data (Unaudited), in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2018, we restated our consolidated financial statements and related disclosures for the years ended December 30, 2017 and December 31, 2016 and restated each of the quarterly and year-to-date periods for the nine months ended September 29, 2018 and for fiscal year 2017, following the identification of misstatements as a result of the internal investigation conducted. We do not believe that the misstatements were quantitatively material to any period presented in our prior financial statements. However, due to the qualitative nature of the matters identified in our internal investigation, including the number of years over which the misconduct occurred and the number of transactions, suppliers, and procurement employees involved, we determined that it would be appropriate to correct the misstatements in our previously issued consolidated financial statements by restating such financial statements. The restatement also included corrections for additional identified out-of-period and uncorrected misstatements in the impacted periods. As a result, we incurred unanticipated costs for accounting and legal fees in connection with or related to the restatement, and have become subject to a number of additional risks and uncertainties, which may affect investor confidence in the accuracy of our financial disclosures and may raise reputational issues for our business.
Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products and brands.
We consider our intellectual property rights, particularly and most notably our trademarks, but also our patents, trade secrets, trade dress, copyrights, and licensing agreements, to be a significant and valuable aspect of our business. We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights through a combination of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and trade dress laws, as well as licensing agreements, third-party nondisclosure and assignment agreements, and policing of third-party misuses of our intellectual property. Our failure to develop or adequately protect our trademarks, products, new features of our products, or our technology, or any change in law or other changes that serve to lessen or remove the current legal protections of our intellectual property, may diminish our competitiveness and could materially harm our business and financial condition. We also license certain intellectual property, most notably trademarks, from third parties. To the extent that we are not able to contract with these third parties on favorable terms or maintain our relationships with these third parties, our rights to use certain intellectual property could be impacted.
We may be unaware of intellectual property rights of others that may cover some of our technology, brands, or products. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and could divert the attention of our management and key personnel from our business operations. Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement might also require us to enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to significant damages or injunctions against development and sale of certain products.
Changes in tax laws and interpretations could adversely affect our business.
We are subject to income and other taxes in the United States and in numerous foreign jurisdictions. Our domestic and foreign tax liabilities are dependent on the jurisdictions in which profits are determined to be earned and taxed. Additionally, the amount of taxes paid is subject to our interpretation of applicable tax laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate. A number of factors influence our effective tax rate, including changes in tax laws and treaties as well as the interpretation of existing laws and rules. Federal, state, and local governments and administrative bodies within the United States, which represents the majority of our operations, and other foreign jurisdictions have implemented, or are considering, a variety of broad tax, trade, and other regulatory reforms that may impact us. For example, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “U.S. Tax Reform”) enacted on December 22, 2017 resulted in changes in our corporate tax rate, our deferred income taxes, and the taxation of foreign earnings. Relatedly, changes in tax laws resulting from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (“OECD”) multi-jurisdictional plan of action to address base erosion and profit sharing (“BEPS”) could impact our effective tax rate. It is not currently possible to accurately determine the potential comprehensive impact of these or future changes, but these changes could have a material impact on our business and financial condition.
Significant judgment, knowledge, and experience are required in determining our worldwide provision for income taxes. Our future effective tax rate is impacted by a number of factors including changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, changes in geographic mix of income, increases in expenses not deductible for tax, including impairment of goodwill, and changes in available tax credits. In the ordinary course of our business, there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. We are also regularly subject to audits by tax authorities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, the final determination of tax audits and any related litigation could be materially different from our historical income tax provisions and accruals. Economic and political pressures to increase tax revenue in various jurisdictions may make resolving tax disputes more difficult. The results of an audit or litigation could adversely affect our financial statements in the period or periods for which that determination is made.
Registered Securities Risks
Sales of our common stock in the public market could cause volatility in the price of our common stock or cause the share price to fall.
Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, sales of our common stock by the Sponsors, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock, and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. A sustained depression in the market price of our common stock has happened (which was a contributing factor to our decision to perform interim impairment tests for certain reporting units and brands in 2018 and 2019, for which we ultimately recorded impairment losses) and could in the future happen, which could also reduce our market capitalization below the book value of net assets, which could increase the likelihood of recognizing goodwill or indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment losses that could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Kraft Heinz, 3G Capital, and Berkshire Hathaway entered into a registration rights agreement requiring us to register for resale under the Securities Act all registrable shares held by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, which represents all shares of our common stock held by the Sponsors as of the date of the closing of the 2015 Merger. As of December 28, 2019, registrable shares represented approximately 47% of all outstanding shares of our common stock. Although the registrable shares are subject to certain holdback and suspension periods, the registrable shares are not subject to a “lock-up” or similar restriction under the registration rights agreement. Accordingly, offers and sales of a large number of registrable shares may be made pursuant to an effective registration statement under the Securities Act in accordance with the terms of the registration rights agreement. Sales of our common stock by the Sponsors to other persons would likely result in an increase in the number of shares being traded in the public market and may increase the volatility of the price of our common stock.
Our ability to pay regular dividends to our shareholders and the amounts of any such dividends are subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors and may be limited by our financial condition, debt agreements, or limitations under Delaware law.
Although it is currently anticipated that we will continue to pay regular quarterly dividends, any such determination to pay dividends and the amounts thereof will be at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will be dependent on then-existing conditions, including our financial condition, income, legal requirements, including limitations under Delaware law, debt agreements, and other factors the Board of Directors deems relevant. The Board of Directors has decided, and may in the future decide, in its sole discretion, to change the amount or frequency of dividends or discontinue the payment of dividends entirely. For these reasons, shareholders will not be able to rely on dividends to receive a return on investment. Accordingly, realization of any gain on shares of our common stock may depend on the appreciation of the price of our common stock, which may never occur.
Volatility of capital markets or macroeconomic factors could adversely affect our business.
Changes in financial and capital markets, including market disruptions, limited liquidity, uncertainty regarding Brexit in the transition period and beyond, and interest rate volatility, may increase the cost of financing as well as the risks of refinancing maturing debt. Our U.S. dollar variable rate debt uses LIBOR as a benchmark for determining interest rates and the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. While we do not expect that the transition from LIBOR, including any legal or regulatory changes made in response to its future phase out, or the risks related to its discontinuance will have a material effect on our financing costs, the impact is uncertain at this time.
Some of our customers and counterparties are highly leveraged. Consolidations in some of the industries in which our customers operate have created larger customers, some of which are highly leveraged and facing increased competition and continued credit market volatility. These factors have caused some customers to be less profitable, increasing our exposure to credit risk. A significant adverse change in the financial and/or credit position of a customer or counterparty could require us to assume greater credit risk relating to that customer or counterparty and could limit our ability to collect receivables. This could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and liquidity.
A downgrade in our credit rating could adversely impact interest costs or access to future borrowings.
Our borrowing costs can be affected by short and long-term credit ratings assigned by rating organizations. A decrease in these credit ratings could limit our access to capital markets and increase our borrowing costs, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results. On February 14, 2020, Moody’s Investor Services, Inc. (“Moody’s”) affirmed our long-term credit rating of Baa3 with a negative outlook and Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) and S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) downgraded our long-term credit rating from BBB- to BB+ with a stable outlook from Fitch and a negative outlook from S&P. The downgrades by Fitch and S&P reduce our senior debt below investment grade, potentially resulting in higher borrowing costs on future financings and potentially limiting access to our commercial paper program and other sources of funding which may result in us having to use more expensive sources of liquidity, such as our Senior Credit Facility. These downgrades do not constitute a default or event of default under our debt instruments. However, as two ratings agencies have downgraded our long-term credit rating to below investment grade status, we are subject to certain financial covenants in our 4.875% Second Lien Senior Secured Notes due February 15, 2025 (the “2025 Notes”).
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.
Item 2. Properties.
Our corporate co-headquarters are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois. Our co-headquarters are leased and house certain executive offices, our U.S. business units, and our administrative, finance, legal, and human resource functions. We maintain additional owned and leased offices throughout the regions in which we operate.
We manufacture our products in our network of manufacturing and processing facilities located throughout the world. As of December 28, 2019, we operated 83 manufacturing and processing facilities. We own 80 and lease three of these facilities. Our manufacturing and processing facilities count by segment as of December 28, 2019 was:
Rest of World
We maintain all of our manufacturing and processing facilities in good condition and believe they are suitable and are adequate for our present needs. We also enter into co-manufacturing arrangements with third parties if we determine it is advantageous to outsource the production of any of our products.
In 2019, we divested certain assets and operations, predominantly in Canada and India, including one owned manufacturing facility in Canada and one owned and one leased facility in India. See Note 4, Acquisitions and Divestitures, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information on these transactions.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings.
See Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Our common stock is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “KHC”. At February 8, 2020, there were approximately 47,000 holders of record of our common stock.
See Equity and Dividends in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, for a discussion of cash dividends declared on our common stock.
Comparison of Cumulative Total Return
The following graph compares the cumulative total return on our common stock with the cumulative total return of the Standard & Poor's (“S&P”) 500 Index and the S&P Consumer Staples Food and Soft Drink Products, which we consider to be our peer group. Companies included in the S&P Consumer Staples Food and Soft Drink Products index change periodically and are presented on the basis of the index as it is comprised on December 28, 2019. This graph covers the period from July 6, 2015 (the first day our common stock began trading on Nasdaq) through December 27, 2019 (the last trading day of our fiscal year 2019). The graph shows total shareholder return assuming $100 was invested on July 6, 2015 and the dividends were reinvested on a daily basis.
S&P Consumer Staples Food and Soft Drink Products
July 6, 2015
December 31, 2015
December 30, 2016
December 29, 2017
December 28, 2018
December 27, 2019
The above performance graph shall not be deemed to be “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC or subject to Regulation 14A or 14C, or to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities During the Three Months Ended December 28, 2019
Our share repurchase activity in the three months ended December 28, 2019 was:
of Shares Purchased(a)
Paid Per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs(b)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
9/29/2019 - 11/2/2019
11/3/2019 - 11/30/2019
12/1/2019 - 12/28/2019
Includes the following types of share repurchase activity, when they occur: (1) shares repurchased in connection with the exercise of stock options (including periodic repurchases using option exercise proceeds), (2) shares withheld for tax liabilities associated with the vesting of restricted stock units, and (3) shares repurchased related to employee benefit programs (including our annual bonus swap program) or to offset the dilutive effect of equity issuances.
We do not have any publicly announced share repurchase plans or programs.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data.
The following table presents selected consolidated financial data for the last five fiscal years. Our fiscal years 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016 include a full year of Kraft Heinz results. Our fiscal year 2015 includes a full year of Heinz results and post-merger Kraft results.
(in millions, except per share data)
Income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders(b)(c)(d)
Income/(loss) per common share:
(in millions, except per share data)
Redeemable preferred stock(f)
Cash dividends per common share
The increase in net sales in 2016 compared to the prior year was primarily driven by the 2015 Merger.
The increases in income/(loss), income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders, and basic and diluted income/(loss) per common share in 2017 compared to 2016 were primarily driven by U.S. Tax Reform, which was enacted in December 2017. See Note 10, Income Taxes, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information.
The decreases in income/(loss), income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders, and basic and diluted income/(loss) per common share in 2018 compared to 2017, and the decrease in total assets from December 30, 2017 to December 29, 2018, were primarily driven by non-cash impairment losses in 2018. See Note 9, Goodwill and Intangible Assets, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information.
The increases in income/(loss), income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders, and basic and diluted income/(loss) per common share in 2019 compared to 2018, were primarily driven by higher non-cash impairment losses in 2018. See Note 9, Goodwill and Intangible Assets, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information.
Amounts exclude the current portion of long-term debt.
On June 7, 2016, we redeemed all outstanding shares of our 9.00% cumulative compounding preferred stock, Series A. See Equity and Dividends in Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, along with Note 19, Debt, and Note 20, Capital Stock, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2018 for additional information.
On December 9, 2016, our Board of Directors approved a change to our fiscal year end from Sunday to Saturday. Effective December 31, 2016, we operate on a 52- or 53-week fiscal year ending on the last Saturday in December in each calendar year. In prior years, we operated on a 52- or 53-week fiscal year ending the Sunday closest to December 31. As a result, we occasionally have a 53rd week in a fiscal year. Our 2015 fiscal year includes a 53rd week of activity.
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Description of the Company:
We manufacture and market food and beverage products, including condiments and sauces, cheese and dairy, meals, meats, refreshment beverages, coffee, and other grocery products throughout the world.
We manage and report our operating results through four segments. We have three reportable segments defined by geographic region: United States, Canada, and EMEA. Our remaining businesses are combined and disclosed as “Rest of World.” Rest of World comprises two operating segments: Latin America and APAC.
During the third quarter of 2019, certain organizational changes were announced that will impact our future internal reporting and reportable segments. As a result of these changes, we plan to combine our EMEA, Latin America, and APAC zones to form the International zone. The International zone will be a reportable segment along with the United States and Canada in 2020. We also plan to move our Puerto Rico business from the Latin America zone to the United States zone to consolidate and streamline the management of our product categories and supply chain. These changes will be effective in the first quarter of 2020.
See Note 22, Segment Reporting, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, to the consolidated financial statements for our financial information by segment.
See below for discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations for 2019 compared to 2018. See Item 7, Management’s Discussions and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2018 for a detailed discussion of our financial condition and results of operations for 2018 compared to 2017.
Items Affecting Comparability of Financial Results
Our 2019 results of operations reflect goodwill impairment losses of $1.2 billion and intangible asset impairment losses of $702 million compared to goodwill impairment losses of $7.0 billion and intangible asset impairment losses of $8.9 billion in 2018. See Note 9, Goodwill and Intangible Assets, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information on these impairment losses.
Results of Operations
We disclose in this report certain non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP financial measures assist management in comparing our performance on a consistent basis for purposes of business decision-making by removing the impact of certain items that management believes do not directly reflect our underlying operations. For additional information and reconciliations from our consolidated financial statements see Non-GAAP Financial Measures.
Consolidated Results of Operations
Summary of Results:
December 28, 2019
December 29, 2018
(in millions, except per share data)
Net income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders
December 28, 2019
December 29, 2018
Organic Net Sales(a)
Organic Net Sales is a non-GAAP financial measure. See the Non-GAAP Financial Measures section at the end of this item.
Fiscal Year 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year 2018:
Net sales decreased 4.9% to $25.0 billion in 2019 compared to $26.3 billion in 2018 primarily due to the unfavorable impacts of foreign currency (1.9 pp) and acquisitions and divestitures (1.3 pp). Organic Net Sales decreased 1.7% to $25.0 billion in 2019 compared to $25.4 billion in 2018 due to unfavorable volume/mix (1.8 pp), partially offset by higher pricing (0.1 pp). Volume/mix was unfavorable in the United States, Rest of World, and EMEA, which was partially offset by growth in Canada. Higher pricing in the United States and Rest of World was partially offset by lower pricing in Canada, while pricing in EMEA was flat.
December 28, 2019
December 29, 2018
Net income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders
Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. See the Non-GAAP Financial Measures section at the end of this item.
Fiscal Year 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year 2018:
Operating income/(loss) increased 130.1% to income of $3.1 billion in 2019 compared to a loss of $10.2 billion in 2018. This increase was primarily driven by lower impairment losses in the current year. Impairment losses were $1.9 billion in 2019 compared to $15.9 billion in 2018. Excluding the impact of these impairment losses, operating income/(loss) decreased by $762 million primarily due to lower Organic Net Sales, higher supply chain costs, the unfavorable impact of foreign currency (0.8 pp), higher general corporate expenses, and the unfavorable impact of divestitures, partially offset by lower restructuring expenses in the current period. See Note 9, Goodwill and Intangible Assets, in Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, for additional information on our impairment losses.
Net income/(loss) attributable to common shareholders increased 119.0% to income of $1.9 billion in 2019 compared to a loss of $10.2 billion in 2018. This change was driven by the operating income/(loss) factors described above (primarily lower impairment losses in 2019 compared to 2018) and favorable impacts in other expense/(income), partially offset by a higher effective tax rate and higher interest expense, detailed as follows.
Other expense/(income) was $952 million of income in 2019 compared to $168 million of income in 2018. This increase was primarily driven by a $420 million net gain on sales of businesses in 2019 compared to a $15 million loss on sale of our South Africa subsidiary in 2018, a $162 million non-cash settlement charge in the prior year related to the wind-up of our Canadian salaried and Canadian hourly defined benefit pension plans, and a $136 million decrease in nonmonetary currency devaluation losses related to our Venezuelan operations as compared to the prior year period. The $420 million net gain on sales of businesses in 2019 consisted of a $249 million gain on the sale of Heinz India Private Limited (“Heinz India”) (“Heinz India Transaction”), a $242 million gain on the sale of certain assets in our natural cheese business in Canada (“Canada Natural Cheese Transaction”), and a $71 million loss on an anticipated sale of a subsidiary within our Rest of World segment.
The effective tax rate was 27.4% in 2019 on pre-tax income compared to 9.4% in 2018 on a pre-tax loss. The 2019 effective tax rate was higher primarily driven by lower non-deductible goodwill impairments, partially offset by a more favorable geographic mix of pre-tax income in various non-U.S. jurisdictions and a decrease in unfavorable rate reconciling items. Current year unfavorable impacts primarily related to non-deductible goodwill impairments, the impact of the federal tax on global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”), an increase in uncertain tax position reserves, the establishment of certain state valuation allowance reserves, and the tax impacts from the Heinz India and Canada Natural Cheese Transactions. These impacts were partially offset by the reversal of certain withholding tax obligations and changes in estimates of certain 2018 U.S. income and deductions.
Interest expense was $1.4 billion in 2019 compared to $1.3 billion in 2018. This increase was primarily driven by a $98 million loss on extinguishment of debt recognized in connection with our debt tender offers and redemptions completed in 2019. Excluding the impact of the loss on extinguishment of debt, interest expense was generally flat as compared to the prior year period.
Adjusted EBITDA decreased 13.7% to $6.1 billion in 2019 compared to $7.0 billion in 2018. This decrease was primarily due to lower Organic Net Sales, higher supply chain costs, the unfavorable impact of foreign currency (2.8 pp), higher general corporate expenses, and the unfavorable impact of divestitures.