HJ Heinz Company Earnings Call Nuggets: Tax Rate and the Frozen Entrees Business

HJ Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Tax Rate

Ken Goldman – JPMorgan: I guess the obvious question is on the tax rate. Can you just help us understand how sustainable the rate of about 20% is going forward, I realize some of these are one-time, and some of these are permanent, but as we think about perhaps your cash going forward into ’14 and ’15 maybe any parameters you can help us within that would be appreciated?

Art Winkleblack – EVP and CFO: Ken, I think as we mentioned on the last earnings call we feel very good about the tax work that we have done to-date and where we’re coming out for the year we expect this year to be around 20% and I think at this point our plans in FY ’14 call for a rate that’s somewhere in that same zip code. So, we believe it’s relatively sustainable, in each quarter, in each month, each year we continue to work on new foreign tax planning initiatives to keep the rate low and in line.

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William R. Johnson – Chairman, President & CEO: Yeah, I think, Ken, as we continue to expand even more outside the United States, and particularly in some of these emerging markets that have low flat taxes there are real opportunities for tax planning and our guys did a very good job of exercising those opportunities and leveraging them. So, our view is going forward, as Art said, for certainly next fiscal year, I think, we feel pretty good about being fairly consistent with this year. I’m not going to say anything beyond next fiscal year because I have no idea what’s going to happen with tax regimes around the world, but certainly for the next six quarters, the two this year and the four next year we should be in pretty good shape…