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Campbell Soup (CPB) Stands Tall Amid Coronavirus Jitters

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Campbell Soup Company (CPB - Free Report) is on firm grounds amid the coronavirus jitters. The company, whose operations don’t seem to have been affected by the deadly virus, has been benefiting from focus on refining portfolio and stringent cost-saving measures. In fact, these upsides aided the company’s second-quarter fiscal 2020 results, which were released a week ago.

During the quarter, both earnings and revenues came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the former increased year over year. Also, management raised its earnings guidance for fiscal 2020, on the back of lower adjusted net interest expenses stemming from reduced debt along with an impressive EBIT momentum through the first half of the fiscal.

Markedly, shares of the company have gained 7.1% since the earnings release. In the past three months, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has gained 7.5% against the industry’s decline of 10.5%. Indeed, Campbell Soup is worth a look at this point where COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the global market, adversely impacting most industries. Companies operating in or sourcing goods from China remain majorly affected on account of sluggish traffic, reduced air travel and disrupted supply chain.

Campbell Soup Appears Appetizing

Campbell Soup has been focused on sharpening portfolio and increasing concentration on the key North American market. Keeping in these lines, the company concluded the sale of Arnott’s and certain International operations to KKR in December 2019. Further, Campbell Soup divested its European chips business in October. Additionally, the company divested Campbell Fresh in fiscal 2019 and Kelsen Group on Sep 23. The Campbell Fresh and Campbell International segments are now part of discontinued operations.

On the flip side, the company is strengthening the presence of its growing snack brands. Campbell Soup remains committed to shifting its overall portfolio toward the fast-growing snacking category, which is expected to form about half of its proforma sales in the future. Markedly, Campbell Soup acquired Snyder's-Lance in the third quarter of fiscal 2018, which is enhancing the performance of the global biscuits and snacks portfolio. Incidentally, organic sales in this division improved 2% in the second quarter of fiscal 2020. The segment gained from advancements in Pepperidge Farm cookies, Kettle Brand, Goldfish crackers and Cape Cod. Brands under the snacking category will continue boosting performance, backed by enhanced marketing and innovation.

Apart from this, Campbell Soup is progressing well with its cost-saving plan. The company’s strategy of concentrating on supply-chain efficiencies along with curtailing costs and reinvesting part of these savings in areas with high growth potential is likely to drive growth. During the quarter under review, Campbell Soup generated savings worth $45 million as part of its multi-year, cost-saving program, which has generated total savings of $650 million to date. Management anticipates generating cumulative annualized savings from continuing operations of $850 million by fiscal 2022-end.

We believe that these factors are likely to continue acting as a cushion against input-cost inflation and costs associated with increased business investments. All said, Campbell Soup clearly looks well poised to add new leaves to its growth story.

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Lamb Weston (LW - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.8% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Hain Celestial (HAIN - Free Report) , with a Zacks Rank #2, delivered a positive earnings surprise of 7%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.

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