UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☑||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the Fiscal Year Ended January 2, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For The Transition Period From To
Commission file number 1-4171
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of Incorporation|
| ||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
One Kellogg Square
Battle Creek, Michigan 49016-3599
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
Registrant’s telephone number: (269) 961-2000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Securities Act:
|Title of each class:||Trading symbol(s):||Name of each exchange on which registered:|
|Common Stock, $.25 par value per share||K||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.750% Senior Notes due 2021||K 21||New York Stock Exchange|
|0.800% Senior Notes due 2022||K 22A||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.000% Senior Notes due 2024||K 24||New York Stock Exchange|
|1.250% Senior Notes due 2025||K 25||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Securities Act: None
Indicate by a check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15 (d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Note — Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☑||Accelerated filer||☐|
|Non-accelerated filer||☐||Smaller reporting company||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. Yes ☑ No ☐
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant (assuming for purposes of this computation only that the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Trust, directors and executive officers may be affiliates) as of the close of business on June 27, 2020 was approximately $17.8 billion based on the closing price of $63.86 for one share of common stock, as reported for the New York Stock Exchange on that date.
As of January 30, 2021, 343,950,311 shares of the common stock of the registrant were issued and outstanding.
Parts of the registrant’s Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareowners to be held on April 30, 2021 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
The Company. Kellogg Company, founded in 1906 and incorporated in Delaware in 1922, and its subsidiaries are engaged in the manufacture and marketing of ready-to-eat cereal and convenience foods.
The address of the principal business office of Kellogg Company is One Kellogg Square, P.O. Box 3599, Battle Creek, Michigan 49016-3599. Unless otherwise specified or indicated by the context, “Kellogg,” the "Company," “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Kellogg Company, its divisions and subsidiaries.
Financial Information About Segments. Information on segments is located in Note 17 within Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Principal Products. Our principal products are snacks, such as crackers, savory snacks, toaster pastries, cereal bars, granola bars and bites; and convenience foods, such as, ready-to-eat cereals, frozen waffles, veggie foods and noodles. These products were, as of February 22, 2021, manufactured by us in 21 countries and marketed in more than 180 countries. They are sold to retailers through direct sales forces for resale to consumers. We use broker and distributor arrangements for certain products and channels, as well as in certain geographies.
Our snacks brands are marketed under brands such as Kellogg’s, Cheez-It, Pringles, Austin, Parati, and RXBAR. Our cereals and cereal bars are generally marketed under the Kellogg’s name, with some under the Kashi and Bear Naked brands. Our frozen foods are marketed under the Eggo and Morningstar Farms brands.
We also market crackers, crisps, and other convenience foods, under brands such as Kellogg’s, Cheez-It, Pringles, and Austin, to supermarkets in the United States through a variety of distribution methods.
Additional information pertaining to the relative sales of our products for the years 2018 through 2020 is located in Note 17 within Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, which are included herein under Part II, Item 8.
Sustainability & Purpose. In 2020, Kellogg launched a refreshed vision and purpose. Our vision is a good and just world where people are not just fed, but fulfilled. Our purpose is creating better days, and a place at the table for everyone, through our trusted food brands. Our vision and purpose are integrated into our Deploy For Growth business strategy. Our leadership in areas like Nourishing with our Foods, Feeding People in Need, Nurturing our Planet, and Living our Founder's Values are key to how we bring our Vision and Purpose to life.
This work is not new - we’ve been making progress on these topics for many years and have been reporting our results annually through our Corporate Responsibility Report and other disclosures since 2009. Each year, we assess which environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) topics are included and highlight progress on our commitments. We also report against the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) reporting frameworks, as well as many other industry disclosures like CDP and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2020, Kellogg’s sustainability performance is within the top 15% of our industry according to the 2020 S&P Global ESG Yearbook, making Kellogg among the world’s highest performing sustainable companies.
Our Commitments. Kellogg’s global signature purpose platform, Kellogg’s® Better Days™, has helped make billions of days better for people in need, providing more than 3 billion servings of food since 2013. In 2019, Kellogg expanded our commitments again to increase ambition, capture a broader set of goals, and align to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Through the updated Kellogg’s® Better Days goals, Kellogg is addressing food security and creating Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. To do so, we’re focused on the interconnected issues of wellbeing, hunger relief and climate resiliency to drive positive change for people, communities and the planet. Specifically, we are committed to:
•Nourishing 1 billion people by fostering well-being with our foods by delivering nutrients of need and addressing hidden hunger
•Feeding 375 million people in need through food donations and expanded child-feeding programs.
•Nurturing people and our planet by supporting 1 million farmers and workers while conserving natural resources across our value chain by meeting our science-based targets, responsibly sourcing our ingredients, reducing organic waste and providing sustainable packaging.
•Living our founder’s values by engaging 1.5 billion people in the issue of global food security by advocating on behalf of children facing hunger, encouraging employee volunteerism, ensuring an ethical supply chain, and supporting diversity and inclusion.
Progress towards these goals will be reported annually, starting in fiscal 2021.
Climate-Related Disclosure. Climate change and food security are core business issues for Kellogg to ensure the long-term health and viability of the ingredients we use in our products. As a grain-based food company, the success of Kellogg Company is dependent on having timely access to high quality, low cost ingredients, water and energy for manufacturing globally. Risks are identified annually through annual reporting and evaluated in the short (<3 years), medium (3 - 6 years) and long terms (>6 years). These natural capital dependencies are at risk of shortage, price volatility, regulation, and quality impacts due to climate change which is assessed as part of Kellogg’s overall enterprise risk management approach. Specific risks including water stress and social accountability are specifically identified and assessed on a regular basis, especially in emerging market expansion that fuels company growth.
Due to these risks, Kellogg has implemented major short- and long-term initiatives to mitigate and adapt to these environmental pressures, as well as the resulting challenge of food security. While these risks are not currently impacting business growth, they must be monitored, evaluated, and mitigated. The Company has incorporated the risks and opportunities of climate change and food security as part of the Global 2020 Growth Strategy and Kellogg’s® Better Days™ by continuing to identify risk, incorporate sustainability indicators into strategic priorities, and report regularly to leadership, the Board, and publicly. Kellogg has been recognized as a 2020 CDP Supplier Engagement Leader, representing the top 7% of companies who disclosed to the full climate questionnaire.
Oversight. Kellogg Company’s Social Responsibility and Public Policy Committee of the Board of Directors oversees our corporate responsibility strategy. Our Senior Vice President (SVP) of Global Corporate Affairs, who reports to the Chairman and CEO, is responsible for successfully implementing the strategy and regularly updating the CEO and Board Committee. Our Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) reports to the SVP of Global Corporate Affairs. Additionally, numerous leaders are accountable for achieving specific corporate responsibility commitments, based on their roles.
Raw Materials. Agricultural commodities, including corn, wheat, rice, potato flakes, vegetable oils, sugar and cocoa, are the principal raw materials used in our products. Cartonboard, corrugate, and plastic are the principal packaging materials used by us. We continually monitor world supplies and prices of such commodities (which include such packaging materials), as well as government trade policies. The cost of such commodities may fluctuate widely due to government policy and regulation, changing weather patterns and conditions, climate change, and other supply and/or demand impacting events such as a pandemic (such as the COVID-19 pandemic), geopolitical events, or other unforeseen circumstances. Continuous efforts are made to maintain and improve the quality and supply of such commodities for purposes of our short-term and long-term requirements.
The principal ingredients in the products produced by us in the United States include corn grits, wheat and wheat derivatives, potato flakes, oats, rice, cocoa and chocolate, soybeans and soybean derivatives, various fruits, sweeteners, vegetable oils, dairy products, eggs, and other ingredients, which are obtained from various sources. While most of these ingredients are purchased from sources in the United States, some materials are imported due to regional availability and specification requirements.
We enter into long-term contracts for the materials described in this section and purchase these items on the open market, depending on our view of possible price fluctuations, supply levels, and our relative negotiating power. Despite our ability to source materials necessary to meet increased demand for our products, certain ingredients, packaging and other goods and services have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we are unable to predict the impact to our ability to source these materials and services in the future, we expect supply pressures and market disruptions to continue throughout 2021. As further discussed herein under Part II, Item 7A, we also use commodity futures and options to hedge some of our costs.
Raw materials and packaging needed for internationally based operations are available in adequate supply and are sourced both locally and imported from countries other than those where used in manufacturing.
Natural gas and propane are the primary sources of energy used to power processing equipment at major domestic and international facilities, although certain locations may use electricity, oil, propane or solar cells as needed. In addition, considerable amounts of diesel fuel are used in connection with the distribution of our products.
Trademarks. Generally, our products are marketed under trademarks we own. Our principal trademarks are our housemarks, brand names, slogans, and designs related to cereals, snacks and various other foods manufactured and marketed by us, and we also grant licenses to third parties to use these marks on various goods. These trademarks include Kellogg’s for cereals, convenience foods and other products, and the brand names of certain ready-to-eat cereals, including All-Bran, Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Corn Pops,
Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Crispix, Eggo, Froot Loops, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Krave, Frosted Krispies, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Mueslix, Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran Crunch, Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies Treats, Smacks/Honey Smacks, Special K, Special K Red Berries and Smart Start in the United States and elsewhere; Sucrilhos, Kellogg's Extra, Radkau, Zoo Cartoon, Müsli, and Choco Krispis for cereals in Latin America; Vector and Two Scoops in Canada; Coco Pops, Choco Krispies, Frosties, Fruit ‘n Fibre, Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut, Krave, Honey Loops, Kellogg’s Extra, Country Store, Smacks, Pops, Honey Bsss, Croco Copters, Chombos, W.K. Kellogg, Toppas and Tresor for cereals in Europe; and Froot Ring, Guardian, Just Right, Sultana Bran, Frosties, Rice Bubbles, Nutri-Grain, and Sustain for cereals in Asia and Australia. Additional trademarks are the names of certain combinations of ready-to-eat Kellogg’s cereals, including Fun Pak and Variety.
Other brand names include Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs; Choco Krispis, Crunchy Nut, Kashi, Nutri-Grain, Special K, Squares, Zucaritas, Kashi and Sucrilhos for cereal bars; Pop-Tarts for toaster pastries; Eggo, Kashi and Nutri-Grain for frozen waffles and pancakes; MorningStar Farms and Special K for breakfast sandwiches; Rice Krispies Treats for convenience foods; Special K protein shakes; Nutri-Grain cereal bars for convenience foods in the United States and elsewhere; K-Time, Sunibrite, Split Stix, Be Natural and LCMs for convenience foods in Australia; Choco Krispies, Coco Pops, Crunchy Nut, Frosties and Rice Krispies Squares for convenience foods in Europe; Kashi for certain cereals, convenience foods, and frozen foods; Kashi Go for cereals and nutrition bars; Special K and Vector for meal bars; Bear Naked for granola cereal and snack bites, Pringles for crisps; and Morningstar Farms, Incogmeato, Veggitizers and Gardenburger for certain meat alternatives.
We also market convenience foods under trademarks and tradenames which include Austin, Bisco, Cheez-It, Club, Luxe, Minueto, Parati, RXBAR, Special K, Toasteds, Town House, Zesta and Zoo Cartoon and beverages under the Trink trademark. One of our subsidiaries is also the exclusive licensee of the Carr’s cracker line in the United States.
Our trademarks also include logos and depictions of certain animated characters in conjunction with our products, including Snap! Crackle! Pop! for Cocoa Krispies and Rice Krispies cereals and Rice Krispies Treats convenience foods; Tony the Tiger for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Zucaritas, Sucrilhos and Frosties cereals and convenience foods; Toucan Sam for Froot Loops and Froot Rings cereal; Dig ‘Em for Smacks/Honey Smacks cereal; Sunny for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, Two Scoops and Raisin Bran Crunch cereals; Coco the Monkey for Coco Pops, Choco Krispies and Chocos cereal; Cornelius (aka Cornelio) for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes; Melvin the Elephant for certain cereal and convenience foods; Chocovore, Poperto, Cerealdo and Sammy the Seal (aka Smaxey the Seal) for certain cereal products; and Mr. P or Julius Pringles for Pringles crisps.
The slogans The Original & Best, They’re Gr-r-reat! and Follow Your Nose, are used in connection with our ready-to-eat cereals, along with L’ Eggo my Eggo and L’Eggo with Eggo, used in connection with our frozen waffles, pancakes and French toast sticks, and Snack Stacks used in connection with potato crisps are also important Kellogg trademarks.
The trademarks listed above, among others, when taken as a whole, are important to our business. Certain individual trademarks are also important to our business. Depending on the jurisdiction, trademarks are generally valid as long as they are in use and/or their registrations are properly maintained and they have not been found to have become generic. Registrations of trademarks can also generally be renewed indefinitely as long as the trademarks are in use.
Seasonality. Demand for our products is generally level throughout the year, although some of our convenience foods have a bias for stronger demand in the second half of the year due to events and holidays.
Working Capital. A description of our working capital is included in the Liquidity section of MD&A within Item 7 of this Report.
Customers. Our largest customer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and its affiliates, accounted for approximately 19% of consolidated net sales during 2020, comprised principally of sales within the United States. No other customer accounted for greater than 10% of net sales in 2020. During 2020, our top five customers, collectively, including Wal-Mart, accounted for approximately 34% of our consolidated net sales and approximately 51% of U.S. net sales. There has been significant worldwide consolidation in the grocery industry and we believe that this trend is likely to continue. Although the loss of any large customer for an extended length of time could negatively impact our sales and profits, we do not anticipate that this will occur to a significant extent due to the consumer demand for our products and our relationships with our customers. Our products have been generally sold through our own sales
forces and through broker and distributor arrangements, and have been generally resold to consumers in retail stores, restaurants, and other food service establishments.
Backlog. For the most part, orders are filled within a few days of receipt and are subject to cancellation at any time prior to shipment. The backlog of any unfilled orders at January 2, 2021 and December 28, 2019 was not material to us.
Competition. We have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, intense competition for sales of all of our principal products in our major product categories, both domestically and internationally. Our products compete with advertised and branded products of a similar nature as well as unadvertised and private label products, which are typically distributed at lower prices, and generally with other food products. Principal methods and factors of competition include new product introductions, product quality, taste, convenience, nutritional value, price, advertising and promotion.
Research and Development. Research to support and expand the use of our existing products and to develop new food products is carried on at the W. K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Battle Creek, Michigan, and at other locations around the world. Our expenditures for research and development were approximately (in millions): 2020-$135; 2019-$144; 2018-$154. Information concerning our research and development expense is located in Note 1 within Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Regulation. Our activities in the United States are subject to regulation by various government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, as well as voluntary regulation by other bodies. Various state and local agencies also regulate our activities. Other agencies and bodies outside of the United States, including those of the European Union and various countries, states and municipalities, also regulate our activities.
Environmental Matters. Our facilities are subject to various U.S. and foreign, federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding the release of material into the environment and the protection of the environment in other ways. We are not a party to any material proceedings arising under these regulations. We believe that compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations will not materially affect our consolidated financial condition or our competitive position.
Human Capital Resources. At January 2, 2021, we had approximately 31,000 employees. We are also party to numerous collective bargaining agreements. Our human capital objectives include attracting, developing, engaging, rewarding and retaining our employees.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: In 2005, Kellogg established an Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Since this time, our Company has enhanced our strategy to lead with Equity and be known as the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. This office has been focused on recruiting and retaining diverse employees, creating awareness of diversity issues, fostering a supportive, positive environment where inclusive behaviors are the norm, and embedding accountability for diversity throughout the organization. Our goal is to reflect the diversity of our consumers throughout our Company. We report to our Board of Directors on a periodic basis about the actions we have taken to make progress on our ED&I journey, and we are firmly committed to continuing to advance our ED&I priorities. Our focus on equity, diversity and inclusion enables us to build a culture where employees are inspired to share their passion, talents and ideas. Our eight Business Employee Resource Groups, which include KVets and Supporters, Kellogg Multinational Employee Resource Group, Kellogg’s Young Professionals, Kellogg African American Resource Group, Women of Kellogg, Hola (our Latino resource group), KPride & Allies (our LBGTQ+ resource group), and Kapable (our resource group for people with disabilities and their supporters), also play a critical role in attracting diverse talent, providing mentoring and career development opportunities, delivering commercial business insights and connecting people to the Company and the communities where we do business.
Through many initiatives, supported by our Business Employee Resource Groups and ED&I Champions, several leading organizations recognized Kellogg for our commitment to building and supporting equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace, marketplace and the communities where we work and live. These include Diversity Inc., Social Corporate Equity Index, Diversity Best Practice Index and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality, to name a few.
Training and Development: We invest is ongoing leadership development through programs such as our Step UP program for future managers, our Accelerate program for experienced managers and our executive leadership training program for developing our future leaders.
Employee Engagement: We communicate frequently and transparently with our employees through a variety of engagement vehicles, from externally managed global opinion surveys to weekly check-ins via our internal global recognition platform. We also provide a wide array of opportunities for volunteerism though Kellogg’s “Better Days” commitment, and provide matching donations for employees’ service to charities of their choosing in many regions.
Total Rewards: We provide a market-based competitive compensation through our salary, annual incentive and long-term incentive programs, and a robust benefits package that promotes employee well-being across all aspects of their lives, including physical, financial, social and emotional wellbeing. We provide a variety of resources and services to help our employees for retirement. Kellogg offers a comprehensive retiree medical plan for those who meet eligibility requirements. In addition, we provide a 401(k) plan for active employees.
Health and Wellness: Creating a culture where all colleagues feel supported and valued is paramount to our corporate mission. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to unique challenges and we are striving to ensure the health, safety and general well-being of our colleagues. We continue to evolve our programs to meet our colleagues’ health and wellness needs, which we believe is essential to attract and retain employees of the highest caliber, and we offer a competitive benefits package focused on fostering work/life integration. My Total Health, our global employee wellbeing framework, launched in 2019. It addresses physical, financial, social and emotional wellbeing to support our employee’s personal goals. On an ongoing basis, we focus on each aspect of wellbeing and provide useful information, education, tools and resources. For example, Kellogg hosted a global all employee Emotional Health event on Mindfulness in acknowledgement of World Mental Health Day. Many of our locations now use the My Total Health framework to guide how they communicate and engage with employees in support of their wellbeing.
Company Ethics: The Company has processes in place for compliance with the Code of Conduct for Kellogg Company Board of Directors and Global Code of Ethics for Kellogg Company employees, each including a requirement for annual certification that provides employees an opportunity to disclose actual or potential conflicts of interest, report actual or potential violations of the law, the Code or policy and acknowledge their obligation to comply with the applicable code. Ethics are deeply embedded in our values and business processes. The Company regularly re-enforces our commitment to ethics and integrity in employee communications, in our everyday actions and through our processes. In addition, the Company provides targeted training across the globe during the course of the of the year. The Company also maintains an ethics related hotline, managed by a third party, through which individuals can anonymously raise concerns or ask questions about business behavior.
Financial Information About Geographic Areas. Information on geographic areas is located in Note 17 within Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements, which are included herein under Part II, Item 8.
Executive Officers. The names, ages, and positions of our executive officers (as of February 22, 2021) are listed below, together with their business experience. Executive officers are elected annually by the Board of Directors.
Senior Vice President, Kellogg Company
President, Kellogg Latin America
Mr. Amaya assumed his current position in November 2019. Mr. Amaya joined Kellogg Company in 2001 as a Marketing Intern for Eggo in the United States. Since then, he has held a variety of leadership positions in the U.S. and Latin America across the cereal, frozen and snacks businesses. Among his many contributions, Mr. Amaya led the complex and challenging regional integration of Pringles in 2012. In April 2013, he was appointed General Manager, Snacks and Growth Platforms for Latin America, and in 2015, he stepped up to the role of Vice President and General Manager, Category Marketing and Innovation, Latin America. He was promoted to Vice President and General Manager for Mexico in October 2016. Prior to Kellogg, Mr. Amaya held various marketing roles at Unilever Andina in the personal care division.
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Banati has been Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Principal Financial Officer, Kellogg Company, since July 2019. Mr. Banati joined Kellogg in March 2012 as President, Asia Pacific, and his responsibilities were expanded to President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in July 2018. Before joining Kellogg Company, Mr. Banati served in a variety of finance, general management and board roles at Kraft Foods, Cadbury Schweppes and Procter & Gamble. He has worked extensively across the Asia Pacific and Africa region. At Kraft Foods he was President, North Asia and Asia Pacific Strategy. Prior to that, Mr. Banati served as President, Pacific, for Cadbury Schweppes and Chairman of Cadbury Schweppes Australia. He was a member of the company’s Chief Executive Committee. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer for Cadbury Schweppes Asia Pacific.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Cahillane has been Chairman of the Board of Kellogg Company since March 2018, and President and Chief Executive Officer since October 2017. He has also served as a Kellogg Director since October 2017. Prior to joining Kellogg, Mr. Cahillane served as Chief Executive Officer and President, and as member of the board of directors, of Alphabet Holding Company, Inc., and its wholly-owned operating subsidiary, The Nature’s Bounty Co., from September 2014. Prior to that, Mr. Cahillane served as Executive Vice President of The Coca-Cola Company from February 2013 to February 2014 and President of Coca-Cola Americas, the global beverage maker’s largest business, with $25 billion in annual sales at that time, from January 2013 to February 2014. Mr. Cahillane served as President of various Coca-Cola operating groups from 2007 to 2012. He has also been a trustee of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Trust since 2018.
Vice President and Corporate Controller
Mr. Forche was appointed Vice President and Corporate Controller, Kellogg Company, in July 2018. Previously, Mr. Forche served as Vice President, Assistant Corporate Controller since December 2016. Mr. Forche joined Kellogg as an internal auditor in 1997, subsequently holding a number of Finance roles in the North American business until being named Senior Director, Corporate Financial Reporting in April 2014. Prior to joining Kellogg in 1997, he spent four years at Price Waterhouse as an auditor.
Senior Vice President, Global Supply Chain
Mr. Hirst assumed his current position in April 2012. He joined the company in 1984 as a Food Technologist at the Springs, South Africa, plant. While at the facility, he was promoted to Quality Assurance Manager and Production Manager. From 1993 to 2001, Mr. Hirst held numerous positions in South Africa and Australia, including Production Manager, Plant Manager, and Director, Supply Chain. In 2001, Mr. Hirst was promoted to Director, Procurement at the Manchester, England, facility and was later named European Logistics Director. In 2005, he transferred to the U.S. when promoted to Vice President, Global Procurement. In 2008, he was promoted to Senior Vice President, Snacks Supply Chain and to Senior Vice President, North America Supply Chain, in October 2011.
Senior Vice President, Kellogg Company
President, Kellogg North America
Mr. Hood assumed his current position in July 2018. He most recently served as President, Kellogg Europe from 2013 to 2018. Mr. Hood joined Kellogg Company in 2012 as the Vice President of European Snacks. Prior to Kellogg, he served The Procter and Gamble Company starting in 1993, and had a distinguished 19-year career in Marketing and General Management, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Hood has held a number of Board roles across the Food and Beverage Industry. He currently serves on the Consumer Brands Association Board of Directors and FMI Foundation Board of Trustees.
Senior Vice President, Global Human Services
Ms. Howell assumed her current position in June 2016. Prior to joining Kellogg, she was Chief Human Resources Officer for Rockford, Michigan-based Wolverine Worldwide since 2014. Prior to Wolverine, Ms. Howell spent 24 years with General Motors where she led a team of 2,800 Human Resource professionals worldwide, supporting a global business at one of the top automotive companies in the world, and also among the largest public corporations. Ms. Howell joined General Motors as a Labor Relations Representative at its Ypsilanti, Michigan, assembly plant in 1990. Over the following years, she served in a series of key human resource leadership roles in Europe, Asia and U.S. leading teams on six continents across an array of functional areas. Ms. Howell was promoted to Executive Director of North American Human Resources in 2011 and subsequently promoted to Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources.
Senior Vice President, Kellogg Company
President, Kellogg Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Mr. Kapoor assumed his current position in July 2020. Prior to joining Kellogg, he was Regional President, Pet Nutrition, Asia Pacific for Mars Inc. from January 2017 to June 2020. In this role, Mr. Kapoor had additional oversight of the confectionary and food business in Japan and New Zealand. Prior to that, he was Regional President, Asia Pacific, for Mars’ Royal Canin business from January 2015 to December 2016. Mr. Kapoor served in various leadership roles at Mars Inc., starting his career as General Manager, South East Asia and India Mars Multisales in July 2011. Prior to Mars Inc., Mr. Kapoor was with Nokia from 2005 to 2011 and Procter & Gamble from 1993 to 2005.
Senior Vice President, Kellogg Company
President, Kellogg Europe
Mr. Lawlor assumed his current position in July 2018. He most recently served as Vice President, European Cereal from November 2017 to June 2018. Mr. Lawlor began his career at Kellogg in 1991, joining as a sales manager in its Dublin office. Following this, he held a number of senior roles, including running the company’s Middle Eastern business, setting up its Dubai office. Mr. Lawlor then served as General Manager of Kellogg Russia from October 2008 to August 2016 and led the integration of United Bakers Group, a local biscuit and cracker manufacturer. In August 2016, he was appointed Managing Director, UK/ROI where he refocused Kellogg’s efforts to stabilize and grow its core cereal business.
Senior Vice President, Chief Growth Officer
Ms. McGurk assumed her current position in January 2019. Ms. McGurk began her career at Kellogg in July 2018, serving as Chief Revenue and eCommerce Officer. Prior to Kellogg, Ms. McGurk was the Chief Growth Officer for Tyson Foods, Inc. through September 2017, having previously joined the company in 2016 as Executive Vice President of Strategy and New Ventures & President of Foodservice. Prior to joining Tyson Foods, Inc., Ms. McGurk worked for The Coca-Cola Company as Senior Vice President, Strategy, Decision Support and eCommerce, North America Group from 2014 to 2016, and as Vice President, Strategy and eCommerce from 2012 to 2014.
Vice Chairman, Corporate Development
and Chief Legal Officer
Mr. Pilnick was appointed Vice Chairman, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer in January 2016. In August 2003, he was appointed Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary and assumed responsibility for Corporate Development in June 2004. He joined Kellogg as Vice President — Deputy General Counsel and Assistant Secretary in September 2000 and served in that position until August 2003. Before joining Kellogg, he served as Vice President and Chief Counsel of Sara Lee Branded Apparel and as Vice President and Chief Counsel, Corporate Development and Finance at Sara Lee Corporation.
Availability of Reports; Website Access; Other Information. Our internet address is http://www.kelloggcompany.com. Through “Investor Relations” — “Financial Reports” — “SEC Filings” on our home page, we make available free of charge our proxy statements, our annual report on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, our current reports on Form 8-K, SEC Forms 3, 4 and 5 and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are also made available to read and copy at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information about the Public Reference Room by contacting the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. Reports filed with the SEC are also made available on its website at www.sec.gov.
Copies of the Corporate Governance Guidelines, the Charters of the Audit, Compensation and Talent Management, and Nominating and Governance Committees of the Board of Directors, the Code of Conduct for Kellogg Company directors and Global Code of Ethics for Kellogg Company employees (including the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and corporate controller) can also be found on the Kellogg Company website. Any amendments or waivers to the Global Code of Ethics applicable to the chief executive officer, chief financial officer and corporate controller can also be found in the “Investor Relations” section of the Kellogg Company website. Shareowners may also request a free copy of these documents from: Kellogg Company, P.O. Box CAMB, Battle Creek, Michigan 49016-9935 (phone: (800) 961-1413), Investor Relations Department at that same address (phone: (269) 961-2800) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forward-Looking Statements. This Report contains “forward-looking statements” with projections and expectations concerning, among other things, the Company’s restructuring programs, the integration of acquired businesses, our strategy, financial principles, and plans; initiatives, improvements and growth; sales, margins, advertising, promotion, merchandising, brand building, operating profit, and earnings per share; innovation; investments; capital expenditures; asset write-offs and expenditures and costs related to productivity or efficiency initiatives; the impact of accounting changes and significant accounting estimates; our ability to meet interest and debt principal repayment obligations; minimum contractual obligations; future common stock repurchases or debt reduction; effective income tax rate; cash flow and core working capital improvements; interest expense; commodity and energy prices; ESG performance; and employee benefit plan costs and funding. Forward-looking statements include predictions of future results or activities and may contain the words “expect,” “believe,” “will,” “can,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “project,” “should,” or words or phrases of similar meaning. For example, forward-looking statements are found in this Item 1 and in several sections of Management’s Discussion and Analysis. Our actual results or activities may differ materially from these predictions.
Our future results could be affected by a variety of other factors, including uncertainty of the magnitude, duration, geographic reach, impact on the global economy and current and potential travel restrictions of the COVID-19 outbreak, the current, and uncertain future, impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our business, growth, reputation, prospects, financial condition, operating results (including components of our financial results), and cash flows and liquidity, the expected benefits and costs of the divestiture of selected cookies, fruit and fruit flavored-snacks, pie crusts, and ice-cream cones businesses of the Company, the risk that disruptions from the divestiture will divert management's focus or harm the Company’s business, risks relating to any unforeseen changes to or effects on liabilities, future capital expenditures, revenues, expenses, earnings, synergies, indebtedness, financial condition, losses and future prospects, risks associated with the Company’s provision of transition services to the divested businesses post-closing, the ability to implement restructurings as planned, whether the expected amount of costs associated with restructurings will differ from forecasts, whether the Company will be able to realize the anticipated benefits from restructurings in the amounts and times expected, the ability to realize the anticipated benefits and synergies from business acquisitions in the amounts and at the times expected, the impact of competitive conditions, the effectiveness of pricing, advertising, and promotional programs; the success of innovation, renovation and new product introductions; the success of our Better Days and sustainability programs; the recoverability of the carrying value of goodwill and other intangibles, the success of productivity improvements and business transitions, commodity and energy prices, transportation costs, labor costs, disruptions or inefficiencies in supply chain, the availability of and interest rates on short-term and long-term financing, actual market performance of benefit plan trust investments, the levels of spending on systems initiatives, properties, business opportunities, integration of acquired businesses, and other general and administrative costs, changes in consumer behavior and preferences, the effect of U.S. and foreign economic conditions on items such as interest rates, statutory tax rates, currency conversion and availability, legal and regulatory factors including changes in food safety, advertising and labeling laws and regulations, the ultimate impact of product recalls; business disruption or other losses from war,
terrorist acts or political unrest; and the risks and uncertainties described in Item 1A below. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they were made, and we undertake no obligation to publicly update them.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
In addition to the factors discussed elsewhere in this Report, the following risks and uncertainties could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Business
The COVID-19 pandemic could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or cash flows. The severity, magnitude and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain and rapidly changing. Measures enacted by authorities, and actions taken by the Company, to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as travel bans and restrictions, quarantines, shelter-in-place orders and shutdowns, have impacted and may further impact all or portions of our workforce and operations, the operations of our customers, and those of our respective vendors and suppliers. There is no certainty that measures taken by governmental authorities will be sufficient to mitigate the risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and our ability to perform critical functions could be harmed. A shutdown of one or more of our manufacturing, warehousing or distribution facilities as a result of illness, government restrictions or other workforce disruptions or absenteeism, or reductions in capacity utilization levels, could result in us incurring additional direct costs and experiencing lost revenue. Illness, travel restrictions or workforce disruptions could negatively affect our supply chain, manufacturing, distribution or other business. The COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt our supply chain, operations and routes to market or those of our suppliers, their suppliers or our brokers or distributors. These disruptions or our failure to effectively respond to them, could increase product or distribution costs, or cause delays or inability to deliver products to our customers. We have experienced temporary disruptions to our supply chain in certain markets that, to date, have not been material to our consolidated results. These disruptions to our work force and supply could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Further, we have delayed certain capital and innovation projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continued disruptions and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic for a sustained period could result in additional delays or modifications to these projects and other productivity, capital and innovation projects and hinder our ability to achieve the project objectives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also significantly increased economic and demand uncertainty, including inflation, interest rates, availability of capital markets, consumer spending rates and energy availability and costs (including fuel surcharges). We expect the COVID-19 pandemic may result in lower revenues in some of our emerging market countries that have a higher concentration of traditional trade outlets (such as small family-run stores).
The duration and significance of this sustained demand is uncertain. Although our business has benefited from some of these measures, volatility in financial markets and deterioration of national and global economic conditions could impact our business and operations in a variety of ways, including as follows:
•Consumers may shift purchases to more generic, lower-priced, or other value offerings, or may forego certain purchases altogether during economic downturns, which could result in a reduction in sales of higher margin products or a shift in our product mix to lower margin offerings adversely affecting the results of our operations;
•Disruptions or uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in delays or modifications to our strategic plans and initiatives and hinder our ability to achieve our objective to reduce our operating cost structure in both our supply chain and overhead costs;
•A strengthening in the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies in the countries in which we operate would negatively affect our reported results of operations and financial results due to currency translation losses and currency transaction losses;
•A significant portion of our workforce, including our management team, could become unable to work as a result of illness or government restrictions, or the attention of our management team could be diverted if key employees become ill from COVID-19 and unable to work;
•An increased reliance on our information technology systems due to many employees working remotely causing us to be increasingly subject to cyberattack;
•A shutdown of one or more of our manufacturing, warehousing or distribution facilities, or disruption in our supply chain, including but not limited to, as a result of illness, government restrictions or other workforce disruptions;
•An inability to effectively modify our trade promotion and advertising activities to reflect changing consumer shopping habits due to, among other things, reduced in-store visits and travel restrictions;
•Decreased demand for our products due to unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
•Volatility in commodity and other input costs could substantially impact our result of operations and our commodity hedging activities might not sufficiently offset this volatility;
•Volatility in the equity markets or interest rates could substantially impact our pension costs and required pension contributions; and
•Increased volatility and pricing in the capital markets and commercial paper markets could limit our access to our preferred sources of liquidity when we would like, and our borrowing costs could increase.
These and other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in this section, such as those relating to our reputation, brands, product sales, results of operations or financial condition. The severity, magnitude and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain, rapidly changing and depends on events beyond our knowledge or control. We might not be able to anticipate or respond to all impacts on a timely basis to prevent near- or long-term adverse impacts to our results. As a result, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We may not realize the benefits we expect from revenue growth management. We are utilizing formal revenue growth management practices to help us realize price in a more effective way. This approach addresses price strategy, price-pack architecture, promotion strategy, mix management, and trade strategies. Revenue growth management involves changes to the way we do business and may not always be accepted by our customers, consumers or third party providers causing us not to realize the anticipated benefits. In addition, the complexity of the execution requires a substantial amount of management and operational resources. These and related demands on our resources may divert the organization's attention from other business issues and have adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers and customers. Any failure to execute revenue growth management in accordance with our plans could adversely affect our business or financial condition.
Our results may be negatively impacted if consumers do not maintain their favorable perception of our brands. We have a number of iconic brands with significant value. Promoting and protecting the value of these brands is critical to the success of our business. Brand value is based in large part on consumer perceptions. Success in promoting and enhancing brand value depends in large part on our ability to provide high-quality products. Brand value could diminish significantly due to a number of factors, including consumer perception that we, or any of our employees or agents, have acted in an irresponsible manner, adverse publicity about our products (whether or not valid), our failure to maintain the quality of our products, the failure of our products to deliver consistently positive consumer experiences, the products becoming unavailable to consumers, or the failure to meet the nutrition expectations of our products or particular ingredients in our products (whether or not valid), including whether certain of our products are perceived to contribute to obesity. In addition, due to our varied and geographically diverse consumer base, we must be responsive to local consumer needs, including with respect to when and how consumers consume food products and their desire for premium or value offerings, provide an array of products that satisfy the broad spectrum of consumer preferences. Accordingly, we might fail to anticipate consumer preferences with respect to dietary trends or purchasing behaviors, invest sufficiently in maintaining, extending and expanding our brand image or achieve the desired efforts of our marketing efforts or use data-driven marketing and advertising to reach consumers at the right time with the right message. The growing use of social and digital media platforms by consumers, Kellogg and third parties increases the speed and extent that information or misinformation and opinions can be shared. Negative posts or comments about Kellogg, our brands, our products or any of our employees or agents on social or digital media platforms could seriously damage our brands, reputation and brand loyalty, regardless of the information’s accuracy. The harm may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. Brand recognition and loyalty can also be impacted by the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns, marketing programs and sponsorships, as well as our use of social media. If we do not maintain the favorable perception of our brands, our results could be negatively impacted.
Unanticipated business disruptions could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We manufacture and source products and materials on a global scale. We have a complex network of suppliers, owned manufacturing locations, contract manufacturer locations, warehousing and distribution networks and information systems that support our ability to provide our products to our customers consistently. Our ability to make, move and sell products globally is critical to our success. Factors that are hard to predict or beyond our control, such as product or raw material scarcity, weather (including any potential effects of climate change), natural disasters, water availability, fires or explosions, terrorism, political unrest, government restrictions, mandates or shutdowns, tariffs and other trade restrictions, cybersecurity breaches, health pandemics, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, disruptions in logistics, loss or impairment of key manufacturing sites, supplier capacity constraints, or strikes, could damage or disrupt our operations or our suppliers', their suppliers or our contract manufacturers' operations. If we do not effectively prepare for and respond to disruptions in our operations, for example, by finding alternative suppliers or replacing capacity at key manufacturing or distribution locations, or cannot quickly repair damage to our information, technology, production or supply systems, we may be late in delivering or unable to deliver products to our customers. If that occurs, we may lose our customers' confidence, and long-term consumer demand for our products could decline. In addition, insurance policies that may provide coverage with regard to such events may not cover any or all of the resulting financial losses. These events could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have experienced minor temporary workforce disruptions in our supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have implemented employee safety measures, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization, across all our supply chain facilities, including proper hygiene, social distancing, mask use, and temperature screenings. Illness, travel restrictions, absenteeism, or other workforce disruptions could negatively affect our supply chain, manufacturing, distribution, or other business processes. We may face additional production disruptions in the future, which may place constraints on our ability to produce products in a timely manner or may increase our costs.
In addition, we experienced increased demand for our products during fiscal 2020 and were, at times, unable to fill all customer orders. Short term or sustained increases in consumer demand at our retail customers may exceed our production capacity or otherwise strain our supply chain. Our failure to meet the demand for our products could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We may not achieve our targeted cost savings and efficiencies from cost reduction initiatives. Our success depends in part on our ability to be an efficient producer in a highly competitive industry. We have invested a significant amount in capital expenditures to improve our operational facilities. Ongoing operational issues are likely to occur when carrying out major production, procurement, or logistical changes and these, as well as any failure by us to achieve our planned cost savings and efficiencies, could have a material adverse effect on our business and consolidated financial position and on the consolidated results of our operations and profitability.
We have recently delayed the implementation of system upgrades and certain other cost-saving and productivity initiatives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Continued disruptions and uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic for a sustained period of time could result in additional delays or modifications to our strategic plans and other initiatives and hinder our ability to achieve our cost savings and productivity initiatives on the same timelines.
Structural and Organizational Risks
If we pursue strategic acquisitions, alliances, divestitures or joint ventures, we may not be able to successfully consummate favorable transactions or successfully integrate acquired businesses. From time to time, we may evaluate potential acquisitions, alliances, divestitures or joint ventures that would further our strategic objectives. With respect to acquisitions, we may not be able to identify suitable candidates, consummate a transaction on terms that are favorable to us, or achieve expected returns, expected synergies and other benefits as a result of integration challenges, or may not achieve those objectives on a timely basis. Future acquisitions of foreign companies or new foreign ventures would subject us to local laws and regulations and could potentially lead to risks related to, among other things, increased exposure to foreign exchange rate changes, government price control, repatriation of profits and liabilities relating to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
With respect to proposed divestitures of assets or businesses, we may encounter difficulty in finding acquirers or alternative exit strategies on terms that are favorable to us, which could delay the accomplishment of our strategic objectives, or our divestiture activities may require us to recognize impairment charges. Companies or operations acquired or joint ventures created may not be profitable or may not achieve sales levels and profitability that justify the investments made. Our corporate development activities may present financial and operational risks, including
diversion of management attention from existing core businesses, integrating or separating personnel and financial and other systems, and adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers and customers. Future acquisitions could also result in potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities and/or amortization expenses related to certain intangible assets and increased operating expenses, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
The divestiture (the "Divestiture") of selected cookie, fruit and fruit-flavored snacks, pie crusts, and ice cream cone businesses, consummated on July 28, 2019 (the "Divested Business") may not achieve some or all of the anticipated benefits, the Divestiture may adversely affect our business, and there are execution risks associated with our continued provision of transition services to the Divested Business. To the extent we undertake divestitures in the future, we may face additional risks related to such activity. For example, risks related to our ability to find appropriate buyers, to execute transactions on favorable terms, to separate divested businesses from our remaining operations, and to effectively manage any transitional service arrangements. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
We may not be able to attract, develop and retain the highly skilled people we need to support our business. We depend on the skills and continued service of key personnel, including our experienced management team. In addition, our ability to achieve our strategic and operating goals depends on our ability to identify, recruit, hire, train and retain qualified individuals, including individuals with e-commerce, digital marketing and data analytics capabilities. We compete with other companies both within and outside of our industry for talented personnel, and we may lose key personnel or fail to attract, recruit, train, develop and retain other talented personnel. Any such loss, failure or negative perception with respect to these individuals may adversely affect our business or financial results. In addition, activities related to identifying, recruiting, hiring and integrating qualified individuals may require significant time and expense. We may not be able to locate suitable replacements for any key employees who terminate their employment or become ill as a result of COVID-19, or offer employment to potential replacements on reasonable terms, each of which may adversely affect our business and financial results. Additionally, changes in immigration laws and policies could also make it more difficult for us to recruit or relocate skilled employees.
Risks Related to Our Industry
Our results may be materially and adversely impacted as a result of increases in the price of raw materials, including agricultural commodities, packaging, fuel and labor. Agricultural commodities, including corn, wheat, rice, potato flakes, vegetable oils, sugar and cocoa, are the principal raw materials used in our products. Cartonboard, corrugated, and plastic are the principal packaging materials used by us. The cost of such commodities may fluctuate widely due to government policy, regulation, and/or shutdown, import and export requirements (including tariffs), global geopolitical conditions, drought and other weather conditions (including the potential effects of climate change), a pandemic illness (such as the COVID-19 outbreak) or other unforeseen circumstances. Specifically, certain ingredients, packaging and other goods and services have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and although we are unable to predict the impact to our ability to source such materials and services in the future, we expect these supply pressures and market disruptions to continue into 2021. To the extent that any of the foregoing factors affect the prices of such commodities and we are unable to increase our prices or adequately hedge against such changes in prices in a manner that offsets such changes, the results of our operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, we use derivatives to hedge price risk associated with forecasted purchases of raw materials. Our hedged price could exceed the spot price on the date of purchase, resulting in an unfavorable impact on both gross margin and net earnings. Also, sustained price increases may lead to declines in volume as competitors may not adjust their prices, or consumers may decide not to pay the higher prices or may forego some purchases altogether during an economic downturn such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which could lead to sales declines and loss of market share. Food processing equipment at major domestic and international facilities are regularly fueled by electricity, oil, natural gas or propane, which are obtained from local utilities or other local suppliers. Short-term stand-by propane and/or oil storage exists at several plants for use in case of interruption in natural gas supplies. In addition, considerable amounts of diesel fuel are used in connection with the distribution of our products. The cost of fuel may fluctuate widely due to economic and political conditions, government policy, regulation and/or shutdown, war, or other unforeseen circumstances which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated operating results or financial condition.
Our results may be adversely affected by increases in transportation costs and reduced availability of or increases in the price of oil or other fuels. We rely on trucking and railroad operators to deliver incoming ingredients to our manufacturing locations and to deliver finished products to our customers. Shortages of truck
drivers and railroad workers have contributed to increased freight costs, which has had a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In 2020, the cost of distribution decreased due to a decline in transportation and logistics costs, driven by excess availability, warehousing efficiencies and lower fuel costs, however, we have experienced a recent increase in transportation and logistics costs. In particular, compliance with the electronic device logging mandate has increased the cost of transportation for us and many other companies. Transportation costs are further increasing as a result of high levels of long-haul driver turnover and increased railroad traffic and service issues. Additionally, energy and fuel costs can fluctuate dramatically and, at times, have resulted in significant cost increases, particularly for the price of oil and gasoline.
We operate in the highly competitive food industry. We face competition across our product lines, including snacks, ready-to-eat cereals and other convenience foods, from other companies which have varying abilities to withstand changes in market conditions. The principal aspects of our business where we face competition include brand recognition, taste, nutritional value, price, promotion, innovation, shelf space, navigating the growing e-commerce marketplace, convenient ordering and delivery to the consumer and customer service. Most of our competitors have substantial financial, marketing and other resources, and some of our competitors may spend more aggressively on advertising and promotional activities than we do. Our competition with other companies in our various markets and product lines could cause us to reduce prices, increase capital, marketing or other expenditures, or lose category share, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results. Our ability to compete also depends upon our ability to predict, identify, and interpret the tastes and dietary habits of consumers and to offer products that appeal to those preferences. There are inherent marketplace risks associated with new product or packaging introductions, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance. If we do not succeed in offering products that consumers want to buy, our sales and market share will decrease, resulting in reduced profitability. If we are unable to accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences will be long-lasting, or are unable to introduce new and improved products to satisfy those preferences, our sales will decline. In addition, given the variety of backgrounds and identities of consumers in our consumer base, we must offer a sufficient array of products to satisfy the broad spectrum of consumer preferences.
In some cases, our competitors may be able to respond to changing business and economic conditions or consumer preferences more quickly than us. Category share and growth could also be adversely impacted if we are not successful in introducing new products, anticipating changes in consumer preferences with respect to dietary trends or purchasing behaviors or in effectively assessing, changing and setting proper pricing.
The changing retail environment and the growing presence of alternative retail channels, could negatively impact our sales and profits. Our businesses are largely concentrated in the traditional retail grocery trade. Our largest customer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and its affiliates, accounted for approximately 19% of consolidated net sales during 2020, comprised principally of sales within the United States. No other customer accounted for greater than 10% of net sales in 2020. During 2020, our top five customers, collectively, including Wal-Mart, accounted for approximately 34% of our consolidated net sales and approximately 51% of U.S. net sales. There can be no assurances that our largest customers will continue to purchase our products in the same mix or quantities or on the same terms as in the past. As the retail grocery trade continues to consolidate and retailers become larger, our large retail customers have sought, and may continue to seek in the future, to use their position to improve their profitability through improved efficiency, lower pricing, increased promotional programs funded by their suppliers and more favorable terms. Such consolidation can continue to adversely impact our smaller customers’ ability to compete effectively, resulting in an inability on their part to pay for our products or reduced or canceled orders of our products. In addition, larger retailers have the scale to develop supply chains that permit them to operate with reduced inventories or to develop and market their own private label products. If we are unable to use our scale, marketing expertise, product innovation and category leadership positions to respond, our profitability or volume growth could be negatively affected. The loss of any large customer or severe adverse impact on the business operations of any large customer for an extended length of time could negatively impact our sales and profits.
Additionally, alternative retail channels, such as e-commerce retailers (including as a result of the integration of traditional and digital operations at key retailers), subscription services, discount and dollar stores, direct-to-consumer brands, drug stores and club stores, have continued to grow. This trend away from traditional retail grocery, and towards such channels, is expected to continue in the future. If we are not successful in expanding sales in alternative retail channels, our business or financial results may be negatively impacted. In particular, substantial growth in e-commerce has encouraged the entry of new competitors and business models, intensifying competition by simplifying distribution and lowering barriers to entry. The expanding presence of e-commerce retailers has impacted, and may continue to impact, consumer preferences and market dynamics, which in turn may
negatively affect our sales or profits. In addition, these alternative retail channels may create consumer price deflation, affecting our large retail and wholesale customer relationships and presenting additional challenges to increasing prices in response to commodity or other cost increases. Also, if these alternative retail channels, such as e-commerce retailers were to take significant share away from traditional retailers that could have a flow over effect on our business and our financial results could be negatively impacted.
Our consolidated financial results and demand for our products are dependent on the successful development of new products and processes. There are a number of trends in consumer preferences which may impact us and the industry as a whole. These include changing consumer dietary trends and the availability of substitute products. Our success is dependent on anticipating changes in consumer preferences and on successful new product and process development and product relaunches in response to such changes. Trends within the food industry change often, and failure to identify and react to changes in these trends could lead to, among other things, reduced loyalty, reduced demand and price reductions for our brands and products. We aim to introduce products or new or improved production processes on a timely basis in order to counteract obsolescence and decreases in sales of existing products. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered, and in some cases, delayed product innovation efforts. While we devote significant focus to the development of new products and to the research, development and technology process functions of our business, we may not be successful in developing new products or our new products may not be commercially successful. In addition, if sales generated by new products cause a decline in sales of the Company's existing products, the Company's financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. Our future results and our ability to maintain or improve our competitive position will depend on our capacity to gauge the direction of our key markets and upon our ability to successfully identify, develop, manufacture, market and sell new or improved products in these changing markets.
Competition against private label brands could negatively impact our business. In nearly all of our product categories, we compete against branded products as well as private label products. Our products must provide higher value and/or quality to our consumers than alternatives, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty. Consumers may not buy our products if relative differences in value and/or quality between our products and private label products change in favor of competitors’ products or if consumers perceive this type of change. If consumers prefer private label products, which are typically sold at lower prices, then we could lose category share or sales volumes or shift our product mix to lower margin offerings, which could have a material effect on our business and consolidated financial position and on the consolidated results of our operations and profitability.
Adverse changes in the global climate or extreme weather conditions could adversely affect our business or operations. Climate change is a core business issue for Kellogg to ensure the long-term health and viability of the ingredients we use in our products. As set forth in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, there is continuing scientific evidence, as well as concern from members of the general public, that emissions of greenhouse gases and contributing human activities have caused and will continue to cause significant changes in global temperatures and weather patterns and increase the frequency or severity of weather events, wildfires and flooding. As the pressures from climate change and global population growth lead to increased demand, the food system and global supply chain is becoming increasingly vulnerable to acute shocks, leading to increased prices and volatility, especially in the energy and commodity markets. Adverse changes such as these could (i) unfavorably impact the cost or availability of raw or packaging materials, especially if such events have a negative impact on agricultural productivity or on the supply of water, (ii) disrupt production schedules and our ability, or the ability of our suppliers or contract manufacturers, to manufacture or distribute our products, (iii) reduce crop size or quality, (iv) disrupt the retail operations of our customers, or (v) unfavorably impact the demand for, or the consumer's ability to purchase, our products.
There is an increased focus by foreign, federal, state and local regulatory and legislative bodies regarding environmental policies relating to climate change, regulating greenhouse gas emissions, energy policies and sustainability, including single use plastics. This new or increased focus may result in new or increased laws and regulations that could cause significant increases in our costs of operation and delivery. In particular, increasing regulation of fuel emissions could substantially increase the distribution and supply chain costs associated with our products. Lastly, consumers and customers may put an increased priority on purchasing products that are sustainably grown and made, requiring us to incur increased costs for additional transparency, due diligence and reporting. As a result, climate change could negatively affect our business and operations.
Risks Related to Our Operations
A shortage in the labor pool, failure to successfully negotiate collectively bargained agreements, or other general inflationary pressures or changes in applicable laws and regulations could increase labor cost, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated operating results or financial condition. Our labor costs include the cost of providing benefits for employees. We sponsor a number of benefit plans for employees in the United States and various foreign locations, including pension, retiree health and welfare, active health care, severance and other postemployment benefits. We also participate in multiemployer pension plans for certain of our manufacturing locations. Our major pension plans and U.S. collectively bargained retiree health and welfare plans are funded with trust assets invested in a globally diversified portfolio of equity securities with smaller holdings of bonds, real estate and other investments. The annual cost of benefits can vary significantly from year to year and is materially affected by such factors as changes in the assumed or actual rate of return on major plan assets, a change in the weighted-average discount rate used to measure obligations, the rate or trend of health care cost inflation, and the outcome of collectively-bargained wage and benefit agreements. Many of our employees are covered by collectively-bargained agreements and other employees may seek to be covered by collectively-bargained agreements. Strikes or work stoppages and interruptions could occur if we are unable to renew these agreements on satisfactory terms or enter into new agreements on satisfactory terms, which could adversely impact our operating results. The terms and conditions of existing, renegotiated or new agreements could also increase our costs or otherwise affect our ability to fully implement future operational changes to enhance our efficiency.
Multiemployer pension plans could adversely affect our business. We participate in “multiemployer” pension plans administered by labor unions representing some of our employees. We make periodic contributions to these plans to allow them to meet their pension benefit obligations to their participants. Our required contributions to these funds could increase because of a shrinking contribution base as a result of the insolvency or withdrawal of other companies that currently contribute to these funds, inability or failure of withdrawing companies to pay their withdrawal liability, lower than expected returns on pension fund assets or other funding deficiencies. In the event that we withdraw from participation in one of these plans, then applicable law could require us to make withdrawal liability payments, and we would have to reflect that as an expense in our consolidated statement of operations and as a liability on our consolidated balance sheet. Our withdrawal liability from a multiemployer plan would depend on the extent of the plan’s funding of vested benefits. In the ordinary course of our renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements with labor unions that maintain these plans, we may decide to discontinue participation in a plan, and in that event, we could face a withdrawal liability. One of the multiemployer plans in which we participate is reported to have significant underfunded liabilities. Such underfunding could increase the size of our potential withdrawal liability.
Our postretirement benefit-related costs and funding requirements could increase as a result of volatility in the financial markets, changes in interest rates and actuarial assumptions. Increases in the costs of postretirement medical and pension benefits may continue and negatively affect our business as a result of increased usage of medical benefits by retired employees and medical cost inflation, an increase in participants enrolled, the effect of potential declines in the stock and bond markets on the performance of our pension and post-retirement plan assets, potential reductions in the discount rate used to determine the present value of our benefit obligations, and changes to our investment strategy that may impact our expected return on pension and post-retirement plan assets assumptions. U.S. generally accepted accounting principles require that we calculate income or expense for the plans using actuarial valuations. These valuations reflect assumptions about financial markets and interest rates, which may change based on economic conditions. The Company’s accounting policy for defined benefit plans may subject earnings to volatility due to the recognition of actuarial gains and losses, particularly those due to the change in the fair value of pension and post-retirement plan assets and interest rates. In addition, funding requirements for our plans may become more significant. However, the ultimate amounts to be contributed are dependent upon, among other things, interest rates, underlying asset returns, and the impact of legislative or regulatory changes related to pension and post-retirement funding obligations.
We use available borrowings under the credit facilities and other available debt financing for cash to operate our business, which subjects us to market and counter-party risk, some of which is beyond our control. In addition to cash we generate from our business, our principal existing sources of cash are borrowings available under our credit facilities and other available debt financing. If our access to such financing was unavailable or reduced, or if such financing were to become significantly more expensive for any reason, we may not be able to fund daily operations, which would cause material harm to our business or could affect our ability to operate our business as a going concern. In addition, if certain of our lenders experience difficulties that render them unable to fund future draws on the facilities, we may not be able to access all or a portion of these funds, which could have similar adverse consequences.
From time to time, we issue variable rate securities based on interbank offered rates (IBORs) and enter into interest rate swaps that contain a variable element based on an IBOR. LIBOR, or the London interbank offered rate, is expected to be phased out after 2021 when private-sector banks are no longer required to report the information used to set the rate. Once LIBOR ceases to be available, we may need to amend affected agreements, and we cannot predict what alternative index will be negotiated with our counterparties. Although we do not anticipate a significant impact to our financial position as a result of this transition given our current mix of fixed- and variable-rate debt, our interest expense could increase, and our available cash flow for general corporate requirements may be adversely affected.
We utilize extended payment terms for customers and suppliers supplemented with third party financing programs to assist in effectively managing our core working capital. If the extension of payment terms are reversed or financial institutions terminate their participation, our ability to maintain current levels of core working capital could be adversely impacted. Our principal source of liquidity is operating cash flows supplemented by borrowings for major acquisitions and other significant transactions. In order to mitigate the net working capital impact of offering extended customer payment terms, we entered into agreements to sell, on a revolving basis, certain trade accounts receivable balances to third party financial institutions (Monetization Programs). In addition, in combination with extending supplier payment terms, we have agreements with third parties (Accounts Payable Program) to offer structured payables programs to our suppliers which enable suppliers, at their sole discretion, to enter bilateral agreements to sell Company payment obligations to designated third-party financial institutions.
If financial institutions were to terminate their participation in the Monetization Programs and we are not able to modify related customer payment terms, working capital could be negatively impacted. Additionally, working capital could be negatively impacted if we shorten our supplier payment terms as a result of supplier negotiations. For suppliers participating in the Accounts Payable Program, financial institutions may terminate their participation or we could experience a downgrade in our credit rating that could result in higher costs to suppliers. If working capital is negatively impacted as a result of these events and we were unable to secure alternative programs, we may have to utilize our various financing arrangements for short-term liquidity or increase our long-term borrowings.
We have a substantial amount of indebtedness. We have indebtedness that is substantial in relation to our shareholders’ equity, and we may incur additional indebtedness in the future, or enter into off-balance sheet financing, which would increase our leverage risks. As of January 2, 2021, we had total debt of approximately $7.5 billion and total Kellogg Company equity of $3.1 billion. Our substantial indebtedness could have important consequences, including (i) impairing the ability to access global capital markets to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures or general corporate purposes, particularly if the ratings assigned to our debt securities by rating organizations were revised downward or if a rating organization announces that our ratings are under review for a potential downgrade, (ii) a downgrade in our credit ratings, particularly our short-term credit rating, would likely reduce the amount of commercial paper we could issue, increase our commercial paper borrowing costs, or both, (iii) restricting our flexibility in responding to changing market conditions or making us more vulnerable in the event of a general downturn in economic conditions or our business, (iv) requiring a substantial portion of the cash flow from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our debt, reducing the funds available to us for other purposes such as expansion through acquisitions, paying dividends, repurchasing shares, marketing and other spending and expansion of our product offerings, (v) and causing us to be more leveraged than some of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage.
Our ability to make scheduled payments or to refinance our obligations with respect to indebtedness or incur new indebtedness will depend on our financial and operating performance, which in turn, is subject to prevailing economic conditions, the availability of, and interest rates on, short-term financing, and financial, business and other factors beyond our control.
An impairment of the carrying value of goodwill or other acquired intangibles could negatively affect our consolidated operating results and net worth. The carrying value of goodwill represents the fair value of acquired businesses in excess of identifiable assets and liabilities as of the acquisition date. The carrying value of other intangibles represents the fair value of trademarks, trade names, and other acquired intangibles as of the acquisition date. Goodwill and other acquired intangibles expected to contribute indefinitely to our cash flows are not amortized, but must be evaluated by management at least annually for impairment. If carrying value exceeds current fair value, the intangible is considered impaired and is reduced to fair value via a charge to earnings. Factors which could result in an impairment include, but are not limited to: (i) reduced demand for our products; (ii) higher commodity prices; (iii) lower prices for our products or increased marketing as a result of increased
competition; and (iv) significant disruptions to our operations as a result of both internal and external events. Should the value of one or more of the acquired intangibles become impaired, our consolidated earnings and net worth may be materially adversely affected. Furthermore, we continue to evaluate the potential impact of COVID-19 on the fair value of our goodwill and other intangibles. While we concluded there were no indicators of impairment as of January 2, 2021, any significant sustained adverse change in consumer purchasing behaviors, government restrictions, financial results, or macroeconomic conditions could result in future impairment.
As of January 2, 2021, the carrying value of intangible assets totaled approximately $8.3 billion, of which $5.8 billion was goodwill and $2.5 billion represented trademarks, tradenames, and other acquired intangibles compared to total assets of $18.0 billion and total Kellogg Company equity of $3.1 billion.
Risks Related to Regulations and Litigation
We face risks related to tax matters, including changes in tax rates, disagreements with taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes. The Company is subject to taxes in the U.S. and numerous foreign jurisdictions where the Company’s subsidiaries are organized. Due to economic and political conditions (including shifts in the geopolitical landscape), tax rates in the U.S. and various foreign jurisdictions have been and may be subject to significant change. The future effective tax rate could be effected by changes in mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in valuation of deferred tax asset and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or their interpretation which includes the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “U.S. Tax Reform”) and contemplated changes in other countries of long-standing tax principles if finalized and adopted could have a material impact on our income tax expense and deferred tax balances. During the third quarter of 2019, Swiss Federal and Zurich Cantonal events took place that resulted in enacted tax law changes (“Swiss Tax Reform”). The new legislation is intended to replace certain preferential tax regimes with a new set of internationally accepted measures. We will continue to monitor Swiss Tax Reform for any additional interpretative guidance that could result in changes to the amounts we have recorded. We are also subject to regular reviews, examinations and audits by the Internal Revenue Service and other taxing authorities with respect to taxes inside and outside of the U.S. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if a taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken, we could face additional tax liability, including interest and penalties. There can be no assurance that payment of such additional amounts upon final adjudication of any disputes will not have a material impact on our results of operations and financial position. We also need to comply with new, evolving or revised tax laws and regulations. The enactment of or increases in tariffs, including value added tax, or other changes in the application of existing taxes, in markets in which we are currently active, or may be active in the future, or on specific products that we sell or with which our products compete, may have an adverse effect on our business or on our results of operations.
If our food products become adulterated, misbranded or mislabeled, we might need to recall those items and may experience product liability if consumers are injured as a result. Selling food products involves a number of legal and other risks, including product contamination, food borne illnesses, spoilage, product tampering, allergens, or other adulteration. We may need to recall some of our products if they become adulterated or misbranded. We may also be liable if the consumption of any of our products causes injury, illness or death. A widespread product recall or market withdrawal could result in significant losses due to their costs, the destruction of product inventory, and lost sales due to the unavailability of product for a period of time. We could also suffer losses from a significant product liability judgment against us. A significant product recall or product liability case could also result in adverse publicity, damage to our reputation, and a loss of consumer confidence in our food products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business results and the value of our brands. Moreover, even if a product liability or consumer fraud claim is meritless, does not prevail or is not pursued, the negative publicity surrounding assertions against our company and our products or processes could adversely affect our reputation or brands. We could also be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in the safety and quality of certain food products or ingredients, or the food safety system generally. If another company recalls or experiences negative publicity related to a product in a category in which we compete, consumers might reduce their overall consumption of products in this category. Adverse publicity about these types of concerns, whether or not valid, may discourage consumers from buying our products or cause production and delivery disruptions.
Evolving tax, environmental, food quality and safety or other regulations or failure to comply with existing licensing, labeling, trade, food quality and safety and other regulations and laws could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial condition. Our activities or products, both in and outside of the United States, are subject to regulation by various federal, state, provincial and local laws, regulations and government agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Labor, as well as similar and other authorities outside of the United States, International Accords and Treaties and others, including voluntary regulation by other bodies. Legal and
regulatory systems can change quickly, as demonstrated by Brexit. In addition, legal and regulatory systems in emerging and developing markets may be less developed, and less certain. These laws and regulations and interpretations thereof may change, sometimes dramatically, as a result of a variety of factors, including political, economic, regulatory or social events. In addition, the enforcement of remedies in certain foreign jurisdictions may be less certain, resulting in varying abilities to enforce intellectual property and contractual rights.
The manufacturing, marketing and distribution of food products are subject to governmental regulation that impose additional regulatory requirements. Those regulations control such matters as food quality and safety, ingredients, advertising, product or production requirements, labeling, sustainability of packaging (including plastics), import or export of our products or ingredients, relations with distributors and retailers, health and safety, the environment, and restrictions on the use of government programs, such as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, to purchase certain of our products.
The marketing of food products has come under increased regulatory scrutiny in recent years, and the food industry has been subject to an increasing number of proceedings and claims relating to alleged false or deceptive marketing under federal, state and foreign laws or regulations. We are also regulated with respect to matters such as licensing requirements, trade and pricing practices, tax, anti-corruption standards, advertising and claims, and environmental matters. The need to comply with new, evolving or revised tax, environmental, food quality and safety, labeling or other laws or regulations, or new, evolving or changed interpretations or enforcement of existing laws or regulations, may have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Governmental and administrative bodies within the U.S. are considering a variety of trade and other regulatory reforms. Changes in legal or regulatory requirements (such as new food safety requirements and revised nutrition facts labeling and serving size regulations), or evolving interpretations of existing legal or regulatory requirements, may result in increased compliance costs, capital expenditures and other financial obligations that could adversely affect our business or financial results. If we are found to be out of compliance with applicable laws and regulations in these areas, we could be subject to civil remedies, including fines, injunctions, termination of necessary licenses or permits, or recalls, as well as potential criminal sanctions, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business. Even if regulatory review does not result in these types of determinations, it could potentially create negative publicity or perceptions which could harm our business or reputation.
Modifications to international trade policy, including the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, changes in the European Union (such as Brexit) or the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas or trade barriers on key commodities with other countries, most significantly China, could have a negative impact on us or the industries we serve, including as a result of related uncertainty, and could materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Higher duties on existing tariffs or additional tariffs imposed by the United States on a broader range of imports, or further retaliatory trade measures taken by China or other countries in response, could result in an increase in supply chain costs that we are not able to offset.
Our operations in certain emerging markets expose us to political, economic and regulatory risks. Our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to expand our operations in emerging markets. However, some emerging markets have greater political, economic and currency volatility and greater vulnerability to infrastructure and labor disruptions than more established markets. In many countries outside of the United States, particularly those with emerging economies, it may be common for others to engage in business practices prohibited by laws and regulations with extraterritorial reach, such as the FCPA and the UKBA, or local anti-bribery laws. These laws generally prohibit companies and their employees, contractors or agents from making improper payments to government officials, including in connection with obtaining permits or engaging in other actions necessary to do business. Failure to comply with these laws could subject us to civil and criminal penalties that could materially and adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, competition in emerging markets is increasing as our competitors grow their global operations and low cost local manufacturers expand and improve their production capacities. Our success in emerging markets is critical to our growth strategy. If we cannot successfully increase our business in emerging markets and manage associated political, economic and regulatory risks, our product sales, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.
Risks Related to Our Intellectual Property and Technology
Technology failures, cyber attacks, privacy breaches or data breaches could disrupt our operations, reputation and negatively impact our business. We increasingly rely on information technology systems and third party service providers, including through the internet, to process, transmit, and store electronic information. For example, our production and distribution facilities and inventory management utilize information technology to
increase efficiencies and limit costs. Information technology systems are also integral to the reporting of our results of operations. Furthermore, a significant portion of the communications between, and storage of personal data of, our personnel, customers, consumers and suppliers depends on information technology. Our information technology systems, and the systems of the parties we communicate and collaborate with, may be vulnerable to a variety of interruptions, as a result of many of our employees working remotely, updating our enterprise platform or due to events beyond our or their control, including, but not limited to, network or hardware failures, malicious or disruptive software, unintentional or malicious actions of employees or contractors, cyberattacks by common hackers, criminal groups or nation-state organizations or social-activist (hacktivist) organizations, geopolitical events, natural disasters, a pandemic illness (such as COVID-19), failures or impairments of telecommunications networks, or other catastrophic events.
Moreover, our computer systems have been, and will likely continue to be subjected to computer viruses, malware, ransomware or other malicious codes, social engineering attacks, unauthorized access attempts, password theft, physical breaches, employee or inside error, malfeasance and cyber- or phishing-attacks. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, are becoming more sophisticated and are being made by groups and individuals with a wide range of expertise and motives, and this increases the difficulty of detecting and successfully defending against them. These events could compromise our confidential information, impede or interrupt our business operations, and may result in other negative consequences, including remediation costs, loss of revenue, litigation and reputational damage. Furthermore, if a breach or other breakdown results in disclosure of confidential or personal information, we may suffer reputational, competitive and/or business harm. To date, we have not experienced a material breach of cyber security. While we have implemented administrative and technical controls and taken other preventive actions, such as the maintenance of an information security program that includes updating our technology and security policies, insurance, employee training, and monitoring and routinely testing our information technology systems to reduce the risk of cyber incidents and protect our information technology, they may be insufficient to prevent physical and electronic break-ins, cyber-attacks or other security breaches to our computer systems.
The Company offers promotions, rebates, customer loyalty and other programs through which it may receive personal information, and it or its vendors could experience cyber-attacks, privacy breaches, data breaches or other incidents that result in unauthorized disclosure of consumer, customer, employee or Company information. The Company must also successfully integrate the technology systems of acquired companies into the Company’s existing and future technology systems. In addition, we must comply with increasingly complex and rigorous regulatory standards enacted to protect business and personal data in the United States and other jurisdictions regarding privacy, data protection, and data security, including those related to the collection, storage, handling, use, disclosure, transfer, and security of personal data. There is significant uncertainty with respect to compliance with such privacy and data protection laws and regulations, including with respect to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA), which went into effect on January 1, 2020 (each of which imposes additional obligations on companies regarding the handling of personal data and provides certain individual privacy rights to persons whose data is stored), because they are continuously evolving and developing and may be interpreted and applied differently from country to country and may create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. In addition, regulations to implement portions of the CCPA have not been finalized and could significantly impact CCPA compliance measures. Our efforts to comply with privacy and data protection laws, including the GDPR and CCPA, may impose significant costs and challenges that are likely to increase over time.
If the Company suffers a loss as a result of a breach or other breakdown in its technology, including such cyber-attack, privacy breaches, data breaches, issues with or errors in system maintenance or security, migration of applications to the cloud, power outages, hardware or software failures, denial of service, telecommunication or other incident involving one of the Company's vendors, that result in unauthorized disclosure or significant unavailability of business, financial, personal or stakeholder information, the Company may suffer reputational, competitive and/or business harm and may be exposed to legal liability and government investigations, which may adversely affect the Company's results of operations and/or financial condition. The misuse, leakage or falsification of information could result in violations of data privacy laws and the Company may become subject to legal action and increased regulatory oversight. The Company could also be required to spend significant financial and other resources to remedy the damage caused by a security breach or to repair or replace networks and information systems. In addition, if the Company's suppliers or customers experience such a breach or unauthorized disclosure or system failure, their businesses could be disrupted or otherwise negatively affected, which may result in a disruption in the Company's supply chain or reduced customer orders, which would adversely affect the Company's business operations. We have also outsourced several information technology support services and administrative
functions to third-party service providers, including cloud-based service providers, and may outsource other functions in the future to achieve cost savings and efficiencies. If these service providers do not perform effectively due to breach or system failure, we may not be able to achieve the expected benefits and our business may be disrupted.
Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products and brands. We consider our intellectual property rights, particularly and most notably our trademarks, but also including patents, trade secrets, copyrights and licensing agreements, to be a significant and valuable aspect of our business. We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights through a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws, as well as licensing agreements, third party nondisclosure and assignment agreements and policing of third party misuses of our intellectual property. Our failure to obtain or adequately protect our trademarks, products, new features of our products, our technology, or any other form of intellectual property, or any change in law or other changes that serve to lessen or remove the current legal protections of our intellectual property, may diminish our competitiveness and could materially harm our business. We may be unaware of intellectual property rights of others that may cover some of our technology, brands or products or operations. In addition, if, in the course of developing new products or improving the quality of existing products, we are found to have infringed the intellectual property rights of others, directly or indirectly, such finding could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations and may limit our ability to introduce new products or improve the quality of existing products. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and could divert the attention of our management and key personnel from our business operations. Third party claims of intellectual property infringement might also require us to enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to significant damages or injunctions against development and sale of certain products.
General Risk Factors
We are subject to risks generally associated with companies that operate globally. We are a global company and generated 43% and 42% of our net sales for 2020 and 2019, respectively outside the United States. We manufacture our products in 21 countries and have operations in more than 180 countries, so we are subject to risks inherent in multinational operations. Those risks include (i) compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, such as OFAC trade sanction regulations and Anti-Boycott regulations, (ii) compliance with anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and U.K. Bribery Act (UKBA), (iii) compliance with antitrust and competition laws, data privacy laws, and a variety of other local, national and multi-national regulations and laws in multiple regimes, (iv) changes in tax laws, interpretation of tax laws and tax audit outcomes, (v) fluctuations or devaluations in currency values, especially in emerging markets, (vi) changes in capital controls, including currency exchange controls, government currency policies or other limits on our ability to import raw materials or finished product or repatriate cash from outside the United States, (vii) changes in local regulations and laws, the lack of well-established, reliable and/or impartial legal systems in certain countries in which we operate and the uncertainty of enforcement of remedies in such jurisdictions, and foreign ownership restrictions and the potential for nationalization or expropriation of property or other resources, (viii) laws relating to information security, privacy (including the GDPR), cashless payments, and consumer protection, (ix) uncertainty relating to Brexit and its impact on the local and international markets, the flow of goods and materials across borders, and political environments, (x) discriminatory or conflicting fiscal policies, (xi) challenges associated with cross-border product distribution, (xii) increased sovereign risk, such as default by or deterioration in the economies and credit worthiness of local governments, (xiii) varying abilities to enforce intellectual property, contractual, and other legal rights, (xiv) greater risk of uncollectible accounts and longer collection cycles, (xv) loss of ability to manage our operations in certain markets which could result in the deconsolidation of such businesses, (xvi) design and implementation of effective control environment processes across our diverse operations and employee base, (xvii) imposition of more or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers, price controls, and similar restrictions in the countries in which we or our suppliers or manufacturers operate or regulations, taxes or policies that might negatively affect our sales, and (xviii) changes in trade policies and trade relations.
In addition, political and economic changes or volatility, geopolitical regional conflicts, terrorist activity, political unrest and government shutdowns, civil strife, acts of war, public corruption, expropriation and other economic or political or social uncertainties could interrupt and negatively affect our business operations or customer demand. The slowdown in economic growth or high unemployment in some emerging markets could constrain consumer spending, and declining consumer purchasing power could adversely impact our profitability. Continued instability in the banking and governmental sectors of certain countries in the European Union or the dynamics associated with the federal and state debt and budget challenges in the United States could adversely affect us. All of these
factors could result in increased costs or decreased revenues, and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations.
There may be uncertainty as a result of key global events during 2021. For example, the continuing uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and international trade disputes, as well as ongoing terrorist activity, may adversely impact global stock markets (including The New York Stock Exchange on which our common shares are traded) and general global economic conditions. All of these factors are outside of our control, but may nonetheless cause us to adjust our strategy in order to compete effectively in global markets.
Our performance is affected by general economic, political and social conditions and taxation policies. Customer and consumer demand for our products may be impacted by the negative impacts caused by pandemics and public health crises (including the COVID-19 pandemic), recession, financial and credit market disruptions, government shutdowns or other economic downturns in the United States or other nations. Our results in the past have been, and in the future may continue to be, materially affected by changes in general economic, political and social conditions in the United States and other countries, including the interest rate environment in which we conduct business, the financial markets through which we access capital and currency, trade policy, political and social unrest and terrorist acts in the United States or other countries in which we carry on business. The economic, political and social conditions resulting from Brexit and the uncertainty regarding the post-Brexit trade agreement (as defined below) in the transition period and beyond, among other events, may adversely impact our overall performance.
Deteriorating economic conditions in our major markets affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as increased unemployment, decreases in disposable income, declines in consumer confidence, or economic slowdowns or recessions could result in reductions in sales of our products, reduced acceptance of innovations, and increased price competition. Such deterioration in any of the countries in which we do business could also cause slower collections on accounts receivable which may adversely impact our liquidity and financial condition. In addition, significant COVID-19 related changes in the political conditions in markets in which we manufacture, sell or distribute our products (including quarantines, import/export restrictions, price controls, governmental or regulatory actions, closures, or other restrictions that limit or close our operating and manufacturing facilities, restrict our employees’ ability to travel or perform necessary business functions or otherwise prevent our third-party suppliers or customers from sufficiently staffing operations, including operations necessary for the production, distribution, sale, and support of our products) could adversely impact our operations and results.
Financial institutions may be negatively impacted by economic conditions and may consolidate or cease to do business which could result in a tightening in the credit markets, a low level of liquidity in many financial markets, and increased volatility in fixed income, credit, currency and equity markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased volatility and pricing in the capital markets and as a result, we may not have access to preferred sources of liquidity when needed or on terms we find acceptable, causing our borrowing costs could increase. An economic or credit crisis could impair credit availability and our ability to raise capital when needed. A disruption in the financial markets may have a negative effect on our derivative counterparties and could impair our banking or other business partners, on whom we rely for access to capital and as counterparties to our derivative contracts. Any of these events would likely harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our operations face significant foreign currency exchange rate exposure and currency restrictions which could negatively impact our operating results. We hold assets and incur liabilities, earn revenue and pay expenses in a variety of currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro, British pound, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real, Nigerian naira, and Russian ruble. Because our consolidated financial statements are presented in U.S. dollars, we must translate our assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses into U.S. dollars at then-applicable exchange rates and face exposure to adverse movements in foreign currency exchange rates. For example, as a result of the United Kingdom’s termination of membership in the European Union under new trade and cross border operating agreements, there could be significant volatility in currency exchange rate fluctuations. Consequently, changes in the value of the U.S. dollar may unpredictably and negatively affect the value of these items in our consolidated financial statements, even if their value has not changed in their original currency.
The United Kingdom's exit from the European Union may have a negative effect on global economic conditions, financial markets and our business. The decision of the United Kingdom to exit from the European Union, and the uncertainty concerning the post-Brexit trade agreement, may have a negative effect on global
economic conditions, financial markets and our business. On January 29, 2020, the European Parliament approved the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020 and entered into a transition period that expired on December 31, 2020, during which the United Kingdom and the European Union negotiated a post-Brexit trade agreement (the “post-Brexit trade agreement”). The ultimate effects of Brexit on us will depend on the effects of the post-Brexit trade agreement, which went into effect on January 1, 2021.
The uncertainty concerning the post-Brexit trade agreement and the United Kingdom’s legal, political and economic relationship with the European Union may be a source of instability in the international markets, create significant currency fluctuations, and/or otherwise adversely affect trading agreements or similar cross-border co-operation arrangements (whether economic, tax, fiscal, legal, regulatory or otherwise). We may also face new regulatory costs and challenges as a result of Brexit (including potentially divergent national laws and regulations between the United Kingdom and European Union) that could have an adverse effect on our operations. For example, the United Kingdom could lose the benefits of global trade agreements negotiated by the European Union on behalf of its members, which may result in increased trade barriers that could make our doing business in the European Union and the European Economic Area more difficult. Any of these developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, could depress economic activity and restrict our access to capital, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations.
Potential impacts to our business include: (i) reduced efficiency in processing of product shipments between the United Kingdom and other countries that could impact our ability to have sufficient products in the appropriate market for sale to customers, (ii) requirement to increase inventory levels maintained in both the United Kingdom and other countries to ensure adequate supply of product to support both base and promotional activities normally executed with our customers, (iii) increased costs related to incremental warehousing and logistics services required to adequately service our customers, (iv) significant financial impact resulting from tariffs that are implemented between the United Kingdom and other countries as the location of our European production facilities and the markets we sell in regularly require significant import and export shipments involving the United Kingdom, and (v) our ability to realize future benefit from other assets on our balance sheet, such as deferred tax assets, may be impacted which could result in additional valuation allowances or reserves being established.
Potential liabilities and costs from litigation could adversely affect our business. There is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending our self in civil, criminal or regulatory actions (inclusive of class action lawsuits and foreign litigation), including under general, commercial, employment, environmental, data privacy or security, intellectual property, food quality and safety, anti-trust and trade, advertising and claims, and environmental laws and regulations, or in asserting our rights under various laws. For example, our marketing or claims could face allegations of false or deceptive advertising or other criticisms which could end up in litigation and result in potential liabilities or costs. Furthermore, actions we have taken or may take, or decisions we have made or may make, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, may result in investigations, legal claims or litigation against us. As a result, we could incur substantial costs and fees in defending our self or in asserting our rights in these actions or meeting new legal requirements. The costs and other effects of potential and pending litigation and administrative actions against us, and new legal requirements, cannot be determined with certainty and may differ from expectations.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters and principal research and development facilities are located in Battle Creek, Michigan.
We operated, as of February 22, 2021, offices, manufacturing plants and distribution and warehousing facilities totaling more than 37 million square feet of building area in the United States and other countries. Our plants have been designed and constructed to meet our specific production requirements, and we periodically invest money for capital and technological improvements. At the time of its selection, each location was considered to be favorable, based on the location of markets, sources of raw materials, availability of suitable labor, transportation facilities, location of our other plants producing similar products, and other factors. Our manufacturing facilities in the United States are located in Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Memphis, Tennessee; Omaha, Nebraska;
San Jose, California; Rome, Georgia; Kansas City, Kansas; Pikeville, Kentucky; Grand Rapids and Wyoming, Michigan; Blue Anchor, New Jersey; Cary, North Carolina; Cincinnati and Zanesville, Ohio; Muncy, Pennsylvania; and Jackson and Rossville, Tennessee.
Outside the United States, we had, as of February 22, 2021, additional manufacturing locations, some with warehousing facilities, in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey. We also have joint ventures in China, Nigeria, and Ghana which own or operate manufacturing or warehouse facilities.
We generally own our principal properties, including our corporate headquarters, principal research and development center and manufacturing facilities in the United States, and no owned property is subject to any major lien or other encumbrance. Distribution facilities (including related warehousing facilities) and offices of non-plant locations typically are leased. In general, we consider our facilities, taken as a whole, to be suitable, adequate, and of sufficient capacity for our current operations.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
We are subject to various legal proceedings, claims, and governmental inspections, audits or investigations arising out of our business which cover matters such as general commercial, governmental regulations, antitrust and trade regulations, product liability, environmental, intellectual property, employment and other actions. In the opinion of management, the ultimate resolution of these matters will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Information on the market for our common stock, number of shareowners and dividends is located in Note 16 within Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
In December 2017, the Board of Directors approved an authorization to repurchase up to $1.5 billion of our common stock beginning in January 2018 through December 2019. In February 2020, the Board of Directors approved a new authorization to repurchase up to $1.5 billion of the Company's common stock through December 2022. These authorizations are intended to allow us to repurchase shares for general corporate purposes and to offset issuances for employee benefit programs.
The following table provides information with respect to purchases of common shares under programs authorized by our Board of Directors during the quarter ended January 2, 2021.
|(millions, except per share data)|
as Part of
|— ||$||— ||— ||$||1,500 |
|— ||$||— ||— ||$||1,500 |
|— ||$||— ||— ||$||1,500 |
ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
Kellogg Company and Subsidiaries
Selected Financial Data
|(millions, except per share data and number of employees)||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016|
|Net sales||$||13,770 ||$||13,578 ||$||13,547 ||$||12,854 ||$||12,965 |
|Gross profit as a % of net sales||34.3 ||%||32.3 ||%||34.9 ||%||36.6 ||%||37.3 ||%|
|Depreciation||452 ||457 ||493 ||469 ||510 |
|Amortization||27 ||27 ||23 ||12 ||7 |
|Advertising expense ||781 ||676 ||752 ||732 ||736 |
|Research and development expense (a)||135 ||144 ||154 ||148 ||182 |
|Operating profit||1,761 ||1,401 ||$||1,706 ||1,387 ||1,483 |
|Operating profit as a % of net sales||12.8 ||%||10.3 ||%||12.6 ||%||10.8 ||%||11.4 ||%|
|Interest expense||281 ||284 ||287 ||256 ||406 |
|Net income attributable to Kellogg Company||1,251 ||960 ||1,336 ||1,254 ||699 |
|Average shares outstanding:|
|Basic||343 ||341 ||347 ||348 ||350 |
|Diluted||345 ||343 ||348 ||350 ||354 |
|Per share amounts:|
|Basic||3.65 ||2.81 ||3.85 ||3.61 ||1.99 |
|Diluted||3.63 ||2.80 ||3.83 ||3.58 ||1.97 |
|Cash flow trends|
|Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities||$||1,986 ||$||1,176 ||$||1,536 ||$||403 ||$||1,271 |
|Capital expenditures||505 ||586 ||$||578 ||501 ||507 |
|Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities reduced by capital expenditures (b)||1,481 ||590 ||958 ||(98)||764 |
|Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities||(585)||774 ||(948)||149 ||(392)|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||(1,388)||(1,905)||(566)||(604)||(786)|
|Interest coverage ratio (c)||8.3 ||7.2 ||8.1 ||9.4 ||4.6 |
|Capital structure trends|
|Total assets||$||17,996 ||$||17,564 ||$||17,780 ||$||16,351 ||$||15,111 |
|Property, net||3,713 ||3,612 ||3,731 ||3,716 ||3,569 |
|Short-term debt and current maturities of long-term debt||729 ||727 ||686 ||779 ||1,069 |
|Long-term debt ||6,746 ||7,195 ||8,207 ||7,836 ||6,698 |
|Total Kellogg Company equity||3,112 ||2,747 ||2,601 ||2,178 ||1,891 |
|Share price trends|
|Stock price range||$53-71||$52-69||$56-75||$59-76||$70-87|
|Cash dividends per common share||2.28 ||2.26 ||2.20 ||2.12 ||2.04 |
|Number of employees||31,000 ||31,000 ||34,000 ||33,000 ||37,000 |
The above amounts have been restated to include the impact of Accounting Standard Updates adopted in the first quarter of 2018. Additionally, the above prior year amounts have not been restated to include the impact of the Leases ASU adopted in the first quarter of 2019.
a.Research and development cost declines are due primarily to cost optimization and divestiture impacts.
b.We use this non-GAAP financial measure, which is reconciled above, to focus management and investors on the amount of cash available for debt repayment, dividend distribution, acquisition opportunities, and share repurchase.
c.Interest coverage ratio is calculated based on net income attributable to Kellogg Company before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, divided by interest expense.
ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Kellogg Company and Subsidiaries
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) is intended to help the reader understand Kellogg Company, our operations and our present business environment. MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our Consolidated Financial Statements and the accompanying notes thereto contained in Item 8 of this Report, as well as Part II, 'Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of our Form 10-K for the year ended December 28, 2019, which provides additional information on comparisons of years 2019 and 2018.
For more than 110 years, consumers have counted on Kellogg for great-tasting, high-quality and nutritious foods. These foods include snacks, such as crackers, savory snacks, toaster pastries, cereal bars and bites; and convenience foods, such as, ready-to-eat cereals, frozen waffles, veggie foods and noodles. Kellogg products are manufactured and marketed globally. Our MD&A references consumption and net sales in discussing our sales trends for certain categories and brands. We record net sales upon delivery of shipments to our customers. Consumption and share data noted within is based on Nielsen x-AOC or other comparable source, for the applicable period. Consumption refers to consumer purchases of our products from our customers. Unless otherwise noted, consumption and shipment trends are materially consistent.
In March 2020, the World Health Organization categorized the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic, and it has spread across the world. To limit the spread of COVID-19, governments took various actions to slow and otherwise control the spread of COVID-19, including the issuance of stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines. While many governments have eased stay-at-home orders, some governments have taken steps to reimplement restrictions. The Company has taken proactive steps to protect our people and otherwise mitigate the impact to our business. The Company’s business has been designated as “essential services”, “critical infrastructure” and the like by governments where we operate. The Company has taken numerous measures during the pandemic to fulfill our key objectives: 1) ensuring the health and safety of our employees, 2) safely producing and delivering our foods to customers and consumers, 3) supporting the communities in which we operate, and 4) maintaining financial flexibility. Our efforts have been led by the Company’s Executive Committee, a committee composed of senior leaders, and our global Crisis Management Process. As part of that process, we have worked closely with medical, regulatory and other experts as we deliver on our objectives.
Employee health and safety
The health and safety of our employees is our top priority. As a result, the Company has designed and implemented a number of actions across the business. From the outset of the pandemic, the Company restricted travel and visitors to its facilities, prohibited external group meetings and established quarantine procedures for any potentially exposed employees. The Company subsequently required employees who could do so to work remotely to further minimize the exposure of our employees to COVID-19. At this time, most of our office employees continue to work remotely. For those who are not able to work remotely, the Company implemented new protocols at all of our facilities to protect our employees, including temperature checks, social distancing, response plans, face coverings, contact tracing, enhanced sanitation procedures, and additional personal protection equipment
Maintain our ability to produce and deliver essential food supply
In addition to our efforts to keep our people safe, the Company has taken several actions to ensure that we maintain our ability to operate effectively during this pandemic, providing our foods to our customers and consumers. While we have experienced limited disruption in the operation of our facilities, we are taking the appropriate actions to ensure the continuity of our business. We are working proactively with our suppliers to maintain our supply of raw materials and packaging during this time of increased demand for our products. We have secured access to contracted labor forces. We have made incremental investments in our workforce, additional warehouse capacity and increased access to transportation so that our products are delivered in a timely manner to our customers. In conjunction with our management of production capacity, we have simplified our operations (as well as our customers' operations) by prioritizing our offerings to increase the supply of our most demanded products to our customers, as well as delaying innovation launches and commercial activities. At the same time, the Company reinforced food safety practices across our manufacturing network.
We have partnered with our strategic technology providers in order to maintain support for our critical business and finance systems as well as additional network bandwidth and support for the transition to a work-from-home environment. We have worked to mitigate system-related risks in this environment through heightened monitoring of cybersecurity and network capacity as well as reevaluation of contingency plans.
Kellogg is a company with a heart and soul, and we are working together across our company to help our food bank partners and neighbors in need. Kellogg and our charitable funds have donated cash and food to global COVID-19 hunger relief efforts. As always, through our global Kellogg’s® Better Days purpose platform, we help deliver critical nourishment to people when they need it most. Local governments have identified food security as a top priority in their fight against COVID-19. With school and business closures and “shelter-at-home” mandates, Kellogg is providing support to our food bank partners on the front-lines, helping those who may not know where their next meal is coming from.
Maintain financial flexibility
At this time, the COVID-19 pandemic has not materially impacted our liquidity and we anticipate current cash and operating cash flows, together with our credit facilities and other financing sources including commercial paper, credit and bond markets, will be adequate to meet our operating, investing and financing needs. We expect cash provided by operating activities of $1.6 billion and capital expenditures of approximately $500 million in 2021. We currently have $2.9 billion of unused revolving credit agreements, including $1.5 billion effective through January 2023 and $1.0 billion effective through January 2022, as well as continued access to the commercial paper markets. We are currently in compliance with all debt covenants and do not have material uncertainty about our ability to maintain compliance in future periods. We continue to utilize available capacity within the Monetization Programs to maintain financial flexibility without negatively impacting working capital. Additionally, we utilized certain aspects of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, to delay the employer share of certain U.S. payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022. Our utilization does not include a government loan and is not expected to result in any restrictions on the Company’s decisions on executive compensation, payment of dividends, or share buy-back programs. As the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and our operations evolves, we will continue to assess our liquidity needs.
Monitoring future impacts
The severity, magnitude and duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic is uncertain and rapidly changing. The Company is actively monitoring the pandemic and related governmental actions as they continue to develop and evolve. We will adjust our mitigation strategies as necessary to address any changing health, operational or financial risks that may arise. Beginning in March 2020, the Company experienced a significant increase in demand for our retail products as consumers stocked up on food for at-home consumption in those markets. While this demand has moderated for certain products, we will continue to manage our production capacity during this period of high demand. We continue to monitor the business for adverse impacts of the pandemic, including volatility in the foreign exchange markets, reduced demand in our away from home businesses, supply-chain disruptions in certain markets, increased costs of employee safety and maintaining food supply, and lower revenues for certain emerging market countries with a higher concentration of traditional trade outlets. In the event the Company experiences adverse impacts from the above or other factors, the Company would also evaluate the need to perform interim impairment tests for the Company’s goodwill, indefinite lived intangible assets, investments in unconsolidated affiliates and property, plant and equipment. There can be no assurance that volatility and/or disruption in the global capital and credit markets will not impair our ability to access these markets on terms acceptable to us, or at all. See further discussion within Future Outlook.
On July 28, 2019, we completed the sale of selected cookies, fruit and fruit-flavored snacks, pie crusts, and ice cream cones businesses to Ferrero International S.A. (“Ferrero”) for $1.3 billion in cash, on a cash-free, debt-free basis and subject to a working capital adjustment mechanism. During 2020 the working capital adjustment was finalized, resulting in a reduction of the sale proceeds and recognition of a pre-tax expense in Other income and (expense) of $4 million. The operating results for these businesses were included in our North America and Latin America reportable segments prior to the sale.
We manage our operations through four operating segments that are based primarily on geographic location – North America which includes the U.S. businesses and Canada; Europe which consists principally of European countries; Latin America which consists of Central and South America and includes Mexico; and AMEA (Asia Middle East Africa) which consists of Africa, Middle East, Australia and other Asian and Pacific markets. These operating segments also represent our reportable segments.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This filing includes non-GAAP financial measures that we provide to management and investors that exclude certain items that we do not consider part of on-going operations. Items excluded from our non-GAAP financial measures are discussed in the "Significant items impacting comparability" section of this filing. Our management team consistently utilizes a combination of GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate business results, to make decisions regarding the future direction of our business, and for resource allocation decisions, including incentive compensation. As a result, we believe the presentation of both GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with increased transparency into financial measures used by our management team and improves investors’ understanding of our underlying operating performance and in their analysis of ongoing operating trends. All historic non-GAAP financial measures have been reconciled with the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Non-GAAP financial measures used for evaluation of performance include currency-neutral and organic net sales, adjusted and currency-neutral adjusted operating profit, adjusted and currency-neutral adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS), adjusted and currency-neutral adjusted gross profit, adjusted and currency neutral adjusted gross margin, adjusted other income (expense), and cash flow. We determine currency-neutral results by dividing or multiplying, as appropriate, the current-period local currency operating results by the currency exchange rates used to translate our financial statements in the comparable prior-year period to determine what the current period U.S. dollar operating results would have been if the currency exchange rate had not changed from the comparable prior-year period. These non-GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies.
•Currency-neutral net sales and organic net sales: We adjust the GAAP financial measure to exclude the impact of foreign currency, resulting in currency-neutral net sales. In addition, we exclude the impact of acquisitions, divestitures, foreign currency, and differences in shipping days including the 53rd week, resulting in organic net sales. We excluded the items which we believe may obscure trends in our underlying net sales performance. By providing these non-GAAP net sales measures, management intends to provide investors with a meaningful, consistent comparison of net sales performance for the Company and each of our reportable segments for the periods presented. Management uses these non-GAAP measures to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives behind net sales growth, pricing realization, and the impact of mix on our business results. These non-GAAP measures are also used to make decisions regarding the future direction of our business, and for resource allocation decisions.
•Adjusted: gross profit, gross margin, operating profit and diluted EPS: We adjust the GAAP financial measures to exclude the effect of restructuring programs, mark-to-market adjustments for pension plans (service cost, interest cost, expected return on plan assets, and other net periodic pension costs are not excluded), commodities and certain foreign currency contracts, multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liabilities, gain/loss on the divestiture, and other costs impacting comparability resulting in adjusted. We excluded the items which we believe may obscure trends in our underlying profitability. By providing these non-GAAP profitability measures, management intends to provide investors with a meaningful, consistent comparison of the Company's profitability measures for the periods presented. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives intended to improve profitability, as well as to evaluate the impacts of inflationary pressures and decisions to invest in new initiatives within each of our segments.
•Currency-neutral adjusted: gross profit, gross margin, operating profit, and diluted EPS: We adjust the GAAP financial measures to exclude the effect of restructuring programs, mark-to-market adjustments for pension plans (service cost, interest cost, expected return on plan assets, and other net periodic pension costs are not excluded), commodities and certain foreign currency contracts, multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liabilities, gain/loss on divestiture, other costs impacting comparability, and foreign currency, resulting in currency-neutral adjusted. We excluded the items which we believe may obscure trends in our underlying profitability. By providing these non-GAAP profitability measures, management intends to provide investors with a meaningful, consistent comparison of the Company's profitability measures for the periods presented. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives intended to improve profitability, as well as to evaluate the impacts of inflationary pressures and decisions to invest in new initiatives within each of our segments.
•Adjusted effective income tax rate: We adjust the GAAP financial measures to exclude the effect of restructuring programs, mark-to-market adjustments for pension plans (service cost, interest cost, expected return on plan assets, and other net periodic pension costs are not excluded), commodities and certain foreign currency contracts, multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liabilities, the gain/loss on divestiture, and other costs impacting comparability. We excluded the items which we believe may obscure trends in our pre-tax income and the related tax effect of those items on our adjusted effective income tax rate, and other impacts to tax expense, including U.S. Tax Reform and certain out-of-period adjustments, on our adjusted effective income tax rate. By providing this non-GAAP measure, management intends to provide investors with a meaningful, consistent comparison of the Company's effective tax rate, excluding the pre-tax income and tax effect of the items noted above, for the periods presented. Management uses this non-GAAP measure to monitor the effectiveness of initiatives in place to optimize our global tax rate.
•Net debt: Defined as the sum of long-term debt, current maturities of long-term debt and notes payable,
less cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities. With respect to net debt, cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities are subtracted from the GAAP measure, total debt liabilities, because they could be used to reduce the Company’s debt obligations. Company management and investors use this non-GAAP measure to evaluate changes to the Company's capital structure and credit quality assessment.
•Cash flow: Defined as net cash provided by operating activities reduced by expenditures for property additions. Cash flow does not represent the residual cash flow available for discretionary expenditures. We use this non-GAAP financial measure of cash flow to focus management and investors on the amount of cash available for debt repayment, dividend distributions, acquisition opportunities, and share repurchases once all of the Company’s business needs and obligations are met. Additionally, certain performance-based compensation includes a component of this non-GAAP measure.
These measures have not been calculated in accordance with GAAP and should not be viewed as a substitute for GAAP reporting measures.
Significant items impacting comparability
Mark-to-market accounting for pension plans, commodities and certain foreign currency contracts
We recognize mark-to-market adjustments for pension plans, commodity contracts, and certain foreign currency contracts as incurred. Actuarial gains/losses for pension plans were recognized in the year they occur. Changes between contract and market prices for commodities contracts and certain foreign currency contracts result in gains/losses that were recognized in the quarter they occur. We recorded a total pre-tax mark-to-market charge of $162 million for 2020, a total pre-tax market-to-market charge of $104 million for 2019 and a total pre-tax mark-to-market charge of $343 million for 2018. Included within the aforementioned totals was a pre-tax mark-to-market charge for pension plans of $154 million for 2020, pre-tax mark-to-market charge for pension plans of $98 million for 2019, and a pre-tax mark-to-market charge for pension plans of $335 million for 2018.
In 2019, the Company completed implementation of all Project K initiatives. We recorded pre-tax charges related to this program of $54 million in 2019 and $143 million in 2018.
See the Restructuring and cost reduction activities section for more information.
During 2019, with the uncertainty associated with the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU), commonly referred to as Brexit, we incurred certain costs to proactively prepare for the potential adverse impacts of Brexit, such as delays at ports of entry and departure. As a result, we incurred pre-tax charges of $9 million in 2019 and a pre-tax charge of $3 million in 2018.
Business and portfolio realignment
One-time costs related to divestitures and acquisitions, including the divestiture of our cookies, fruit snacks, pie crusts, and ice-cream cone businesses; reorganizations in support of our Deploy for Growth priorities and a reshaped portfolio; and investments in enhancing capabilities prioritized by our Deploy for Growth strategy. As a result, we incurred pre-tax charges, primarily related to reorganizations of $38 million in 2020, $156 million in 2019 and $5 million in 2018.
Multi-employer pension plan exit liability
During the third quarter of 2019, the Company incurred a pre-tax charge of $132 million due to withdrawing from two multi-employer pension plans. During the second quarter of 2020, the Company recorded a pre-tax gain of approximately $5 million related to the settlement of one multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liability from the prior year.
On July 28, 2019, the Company completed its sale of selected cookies, fruit and fruit flavored snacks, pie crusts, and ice cream cones businesses to Ferrero for approximately $1.3 billion in cash, subject to a working capital adjustment mechanism. Both the total assets and net assets of the businesses were approximately $1.3 billion, resulting in a net pre-tax gain of $38 million during the third quarter, recorded in other income and (expense). Additionally, the company recognized curtailment gains related to the divestiture totaling $17 million in our U.S. pension and nonpension postretirement plans. During 2020 the working capital adjustment was finalized, resulting in a reduction of the sale proceeds and recognition of a pre-tax expense in Other income and (expense) of $4 million.
The operating results for the divested businesses were primarily included in the North America reporting segment prior to the sale. Reported net sales for the divested businesses totaled $562 million for the first eight months of the year ended December 28, 2019 and $308 million for the last five months of the year ended December 29, 2018.
Additionally, during the fourth quarter of 2020, the Company divested its majority ownership of a small business in our Europe reportable segment, resulting in a pre-tax loss of $4 million. Net sales in 2020, totaled approximately $11 million for the business divested.
In May of 2018, the Company acquired an incremental 1% ownership interest in Multipro, which along with concurrent changes to the shareholders' agreement, resulted in the Company now having a 51% controlling interest in and began consolidating Multipro, a leading distributor of a variety of food products in Nigeria and Ghana. In our AMEA reportable segment, year ended December 28, 2019, the acquisition added $271 million in net sales that impacted the comparability of 2018 reported results.
Impact of shipping day differences including 53rd week
During the fourth quarter of 2020, the Company had a difference in shipping days resulting from an additional week of business during the fiscal year. This impact increased reported net sales by $174 million for the year ended January 2, 2021.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company recorded an out-of-period adjustment to correct an error related to a prior year which increased income tax expense by $39 million. See Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
U.S. Tax Reform
During the third quarter of 2020, the Company reversed a liability for uncertain tax positions of $32 million, related to the finalization of a tax examination. The liability was related to the Company's estimate of the transition tax liability in conjunction with the finalization of accounting under Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118, Income Tax Accounting Implications of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Foreign currency translation
We evaluate the operating results of our business on a currency-neutral basis. We determine currency-neutral operating results by dividing or multiplying, as appropriate, the current period local currency operating results by the currency exchange rates used to translate our financial statements in the comparable prior year period to determine what the current period U.S. dollar operating results would have been if the currency exchange rate had not changed from the comparable prior-year period. Organic net sales exclude the impact of acquisitions, including the foreign currency impact calculated by applying the prior year foreign currency rates to current period results.
For the full year ended January 2, 2021, our reported net sales increased 1.4% versus the prior year as strong organic net sales growth and the benefit of an additional week of business was partially offset by the impact of lapping results from the businesses divested at the end of July 2019, and unfavorable foreign currency. Demand for packaged foods for at-home consumption remained elevated as a result of the pandemic, although moderating in the back half of the year. This growth more than offset a decline in away-from-home channel net sales. Organic net sales increased 6.0% from the prior year after excluding the impact of the 53rd week, the divestiture, and foreign currency.
Reported operating profit increased almost 26% versus the prior year due primarily to substantially lower charges for multi-employer pension plan withdrawal, business and portfolio realignment, and Project K, and higher net sales, partially offset by the impact of the divestiture, and incremental COVID-19-related costs. Currency-neutral adjusted operating profit increased 3.5%, after excluding the impact of the multi-employer pension plan withdrawal, Project K, and business and portfolio realignment.
Reported diluted EPS of $3.63 for the year was up 30% compared to the prior year EPS of $2.80 due primarily to higher operating profit and a lower tax rate due to the release of reserves for uncertain tax positions related to U.S. Tax reform. These impacts were partially offset by increased brand building investment, higher performance-based compensation costs, and the prior year gain on the divestiture. Currency-neutral adjusted diluted EPS of $4.03 for the year increased 2.3% compared to prior year EPS of $3.94, after excluding the impact of multi-employer pension plan withdrawal, gain/loss on divestiture, U.S. Tax Reform, Project K, and business and portfolio realignment.
Reconciliation of certain non-GAAP Financial Measures
|Consolidated results (dollars in millions, except per share data)||2020||2019|
|Reported net income attributable to Kellogg Company||$||1,251 ||$||960 |
|Project K (pre-tax)||— ||(54)|
|Brexit impacts (pre-tax)||— ||(9)|
|Business and portfolio realignment (pre-tax)||(38)||(156)|
|Multi-employer pension plan withdrawal (pre-tax)||5 ||(132)|
|Gain (loss) on divestiture (pre-tax)||(8)||55 |
|Income tax impact applicable to adjustments, net*||45 ||50 |
|U.S. Tax Reform||32 ||— |
|Out-of-period adjustment||— ||(39)|
|Adjusted net income attributable to Kellogg Company||$||1,377 ||$||1,349 |
|Foreign currency impact||(13)|
|Currency-neutral adjusted net income attributable to Kellogg Company||1,390 ||$||1,349 |
|Reported diluted EPS||$||3.63 ||$||2.80 |
|Project K (pre-tax)||— ||(0.15)|
|Brexit impacts (pre-tax)||— ||(0.02)|
|Business and portfolio realignment (pre-tax)||(0.11)||(0.46)|
|Multi-employer pension plan withdrawal (pre-tax)||0.01 ||(0.39)|
|Gain (loss) on divestiture (pre-tax)||(0.02)||0.16 |
|Income tax impact applicable to adjustments, net*||0.13 ||0.14 |
|U.S. Tax Reform||0.10 ||— |
|Out-of-period adjustment||— ||(0.12)|
|Adjusted diluted EPS||$||3.99 ||$||3.94 |
|Foreign currency impact||(0.04)|
|Currency-neutral adjusted diluted EPS|