Kellogg Plans to Split Into Three Companies; Payout Expected to be Maintained in Aggregate
Kellogg has announced plans to split into three independent companies, believing that separating its operating segments will provide better autonomy and room for growth while helping its rangebound stock price break higher as investors value each business separately.While details still need to be finalized, including board approval and a favorable ruling from the IRS, the tax-free spinoffs are expected to occur by the end of 2023.Management has reiterated its commitment to the dividend and plans to keep income investors whole in the aggregate, with each emerging company assuming responsibility for part of the payout. As such, we are maintaining Kellogg's Safe Dividend Safety Score.
Altria’s Long-Term Positioning Becomes Fuzzier as Regulators Order Juul’s E-Cigarettes Off U.S. Market
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to take Juul's e-cigarettes off the market, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Shares of Altria fell as much as 10% on the news. Altria paid $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in Juul in 2018. The Marlboro maker made this investment, which has since been written down to $1.6 billion, to gain exposure to allegedly less harmful vaping products that seemed poised to win over a growing number of cigarette smokers. However, Juul has faced increased regulatory scrutiny in recent years as the vaping giant's flashy marketing, fruity flavors, and sleek USB-like device fueled a spike in youth e-cigarette use.
Lancaster’s 59-Year Dividend Growth Streak Unthreatened by Surging Soybean Oil, Wheat Prices
Founded in 1961, Lancaster sells branded frozen dinner rolls and garlic bread, croutons, salad dressings, bottled sauces, and other specialty food products to retailers and restaurants. Compared to its peers, Lancaster has been hit harder by commodity cost inflation due to its higher exposure to dressings, which we estimate account for at least one-third of sales. Soybean oil is used in most salad dressings, and prices have surged this year due to drought conditions hurting crops and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a leading exporter of certain edible oils.
Softening Appliance Demand Not a Threat to Whirlpool’s Dividend
Demand for refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines, and other big-ticket appliances seems likely to slow further in the months ahead following two pandemic-fueled bumper years. Evidence is stacking up that consumers are shifting more of their spending from goods to services, with many households feeling pinched by persistent inflation and rising interest rates. Big-box retailer Target in May warned that it had seen "a rapid slowdown" in discretionary merchandise categories such as apparel, home goods, and hardlines. This left the company with too much inventory, particularly in bulky categories such as kitchen appliances.