September 6, 2012 / 12:05 AM / 6 years ago

Ralcorp lays out strategy, growth goals

(Reuters) - Ralcorp Holdings RAH.N laid out its long-term growth targets and plans for achieving them on Wednesday, less than two weeks after an activist investor called on the food manufacturer to take drastic action to improve its stock price.

Speaking at an investor conference, Chief Executive Kevin Hunt said shareholder value has always been, and will continue to be critical for Ralcorp, which makes products that supermarkets and other retailers brand as their own.

Hunt said Ralcorp has met with representatives from Corvex Management, a shareholder pushing Ralcorp to either sell itself, buy another company or change its strategy. He said Ralcorp intends to meet with Corvex again and that he was “very willing” to listen to what investors had to say.

Ralcorp also said its long-term performance goals call for mid single-digit revenue growth and high single-digit earnings-per-share growth.

And after several investor disappointments, including weaker-than-expected earnings and an inability to file quarterly financial reports on time, Ralcorp said its “executional issues were largely behind it”.

Hunt said he expects Ralcorp to file its financial reports in the next few weeks or possibly even sooner.

The company had to restate its financial reports for fiscal 2011 and the first quarter of fiscal 2012 to account for an additional impairment charge associated with the spin-off of its Post cereals business.

    The company’s growth strategy includes acquisitions — it said there were nearly 50 private label targets — and consolidating its existing businesses into one unit. The consolidation, first announced earlier this summer, should be completed by October, with the new business being run by Rich Koulouris, it said.

    An office in Kansas City should be closed by the end of the year, it added.

    Ralcorp, which has made 30 acquisitions over the last 15 years, repeatedly spurned unsolicited takeover offers from ConAgra Inc (CAG.N) last year and decided instead to spin off its cereal business into Post Holdings (POST.N).

    Earlier on Wednesday, the company said it entered into a $250 million credit agreement last month.

    Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler and Carol Bishopric

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