Sara Lee Spinoff Moves Along, Expected By June 30

Sara Lee(SLE) released earnings recently, and updated investors on the status of the upcoming $3 special dividend and spin off of its coffee and tea business as D.E. Master Blenders 1753. From the release:

“I am pleased to announce that we are on track to spin-off the Coffee & Tea business by June 30. Significant progress has been made in the last quarter with the IRS private letter ruling, an F-1 prospectus filing for Coffee, the successful bond redemption and tender offers and the investor day for Coffee Co (D.E MASTER BLENDERS 1753),” said Executive Chairman Jan Bennink. “Both companies are in full preparation to become highly successful pure play companies. Sean Connolly, the new CEO for Meats, is finalizing his strategy and his new management structure, which will be presented to investors shortly. Michiel Herkemij, appointed as CEO for Master Blenders in December, has presented his strategy to investors and has added a supply chain executive and a regional head for Western Europe to his executive team. The Boards for the new companies will be announced in May.”

Chief Executive Officer Marcel Smits added, “I am pleased to report that Meat Co showed continued improvement in volume trends, achieved SG&A reductions and launched new innovation in the third quarter. The Coffee & Tea business performed well in its main markets with underlying margin improvement, and is gearing up for significant innovation. Activity levels in both companies increased during this period as the corporate headquarters operation continued to be scaled down. In addition, both businesses worked through manufacturing inefficiencies that impacted results. Positively, after two years of steep commodity cost increases, we finally see a stabilization and, in the case of coffee, a reversal of raw material trends. For the first time in two years, both businesses recovered their commodity cost increases and will see further benefits in Q4, particularly in coffee. We are confident that we will achieve our guidance, at the low end of the range for sales and operating income, as we continue to build two stand-alone businesses.”

Disclosure: The author owns shares of SLE