Consumer Non-Cyclical Sector Review: SunOpta Streamlining, Kraft vs. Starbucks

SunOpta, Inc. (NASDAQ:STKL): SunOpta announced that the company has undertaken a process to streamline its operations and organizational structure, addressing underperforming food based operations and targeting improved earnings, predictability and return on assets. The company has commenced restructuring SunOpta Foods to align its operating segments with the markets and customers serviced, rather than by product groupings. As a result, the former Fruit Group has been eliminated and a new Consumer Products Group has been created to focus on non-grains based consumer packaged goods. The Consumer Products Group will be comprised of the Frozen Foods and Healthy Snacks operations, which were part of the former Fruit Group, and the Food Solutions operations which were formerly part of the International Foods Group. As part of this restructuring the Fruit Ingredient operations of the former Fruit Group have been consolidated with the existing Ingredients Group. The International Foods Group will now be comprised of the company’s international sourcing and supply operations – Tradin Organic – and the operations of Purity Life Health Products. The Grains and Foods Group will remain unchanged. With this realignment, SunOpta Foods will consist of four operating segments; Grains and Foods, Ingredients, Consumer Products and International Foods. The company will begin reporting segmented information based on its new operating segments for the quarter ending March 31, 2012. The company is also in the process of rationalizing a number of operations and functions. As part of this process, the company will be reducing its salaried workforce by approximately 6% and reducing annual operating costs by approximately $3M before tax, once fully implemented. One-time severance costs of approximately $0.5M before tax are expected to be incurred as a result of these reductions during the 1H of FY12.

The shares closed at $5.12, down $0.16, or 3.03%, on the day. Its market capitalization is $336.61 million.

Kraft Foods Inc (NYSE:KFT): As previously reported, Kraft (NYSE:KFT) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) are engaged in a dispute centered on allegations of breach of contract related to the Starbucks packaged coffee business in grocery stores and other channels. The dispute is pending Arbitration in Chicago, Illinois. Kraft said in a regulatory filing earlier that the arbitration proceeding is set to begin on July 11 and is expected to conclude on July 31.

The shares closed at $37.91, up $0.03, or 0.08%, on the day. Its market capitalization is $66.98 billion.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Stella Mariz at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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