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ConAgra Foods 

“Market Cap $12.98 B As of May 2014

At a Glance
  • Industry: Food Processing
  • Founded: 1919
  • Country: United States
  • CEO: Gary Rodkin
  • Website: www.conagra.com
  • Employees: 34,840
  • Sales: $17.9 B
  • Headquarters: Omaha, Nebraska
Forbes Lists

#593 Global 2000

  • #525 in Sales
  • #761 in Profit
  • #1022 in Assets
  • #863 in Market value
Profile

ConAgra Foods, Inc. is a North American food company. The company operates through four segments: Consumer, Commercial, Ralcorp and Ralcorp Food Group. The Consumer Foods segment includes branded and private brand food products that are sold in various retail and foodservice channels, principally in North America. The Commercial Foods segment comprises commercially branded foods and ingredients, whichare sold primarily to foodservice, food manufacturing, and industrial customers. The Ralcorp Food Group segment contains private brand food products that are sold in various retail and foodservice channels, primarily in North America. The Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products segment includes private brand frozen bakery products that are sold in various retail and foodservice channels. ConAgra Foods was founded in 1919 and is headquartered in Omaha, NE..”

ConAgra Foods History

ConAgra was founded in 1919 by Frank Little and Alva Kinney, who brought together four grain mills as Nebraska Consolidated Mills(NCM). Initially headquartered in Grand Island, Nebraska, it moved to Omaha in 1922. The company ran at a profit until 1936, when Kinney retired. In 1940, the company began producing flour at its own mill, and in 1942 ventured into the livestock feed business. That year president R.S. Dickinson opened the company’s first out-of-state facility in Alabama with a flour mill and animal feed plant.

After researching new uses for their flour, NCM funded the establishment of the Duncan Hines brand of cake mixes in 1951 as a way to market more flour. This venture was very successful, leading the company to its current place as the third largest flour miller in the U.S. However, this did not lead NCM to consider other food ventures, and instead they sold their assets in Duncan Hines to Procter & Gamble in 1956. As American households purchased more and more prepared and instant foods in the 1950s and 1960s, NCM chose not to expand into the businesses that used their flour, instead turning in the opposite direction and focusing more on raw foods like poultry and expanding its livestock feed business.

In 1971, Nebraska Consolidated Mills changed its name to ConAgra, a combination of con for consolidated and agra, similarly short in English foragriculture. The 1970s brought the company to the brink of ruin as it lost money expanding into the fertilizer, catfish, and pet product industries and as commodity speculation wiped out ConAgra’s margins on raw foods. In 1974, C. Michael “Mike” Harper, an experienced food industry executive, took over the firm and brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy. Nonetheless, ConAgra’s business model left it at the mercy of volatile commodity prices. In response, the company set off on a two-decade-long buying spree, purchasing over one hundred prepared food brands, starting with its 1980 purchase of Banquet Foods. It moved heavily into the frozen food business and the packaged meat industry, and then picked up a selection of other brands from firms like RJR Nabisco and Beatrice Foods among others, as the leveraged buyouts of the 1980s resulted in the divestiture or breakup of many major American consumer product firms. In 1993 alone it purchased $500 million in smaller firms, and in 1998 it purchased another $480 million in brands fromNabisco.

On May 23, 2001, ConAgra Foods Inc said it would restate its earnings for 1998, 1999 and 2000, due to accounting and conduct matters at its United Agri Products Cos unit.For fiscal 1998, revenues was cut from $24.27 billion to $24.19 billion. On March 24, 2005, ConAgra Foods Inc said the results for fiscal 2003 and 2004 would be restated to reflect a reduction in after-tax profits of $150 million to $200 million in total.

On November 27, 2012 ConAgra officials announced they were purchasing Ralcorp, pending Ralcorp shareholder approval, for approximately $4.95 billion. Stockholders of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. would receive $90 per share. The deal is expected to be finished by the end of March, 2013. When done, it will make ConAgra the largest private-label packaged food business in the United States.

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “FoodYouLove