US: Investment fund BlackRock buys Diamond Foods stake

By Dean Best | 13 February 2013

BlackRock buys shares in Kettle Chips firm

BlackRock buys shares in Kettle Chips firm

US investment firm BlackRock has snapped up nearly 8% of Kettle Chips manufacturer Diamond Foods.

BlackRock has bought 7.85% of the US snacks firm, which is dusting itself down after an accounting scandal over incorrect payments to growers.

The affair led to the exit of its CEO and CFO, the derailment of its bid to acquire Pringles, the restatement of its 2010 and 2011 results and an annual loss in its most recent financial year of $86.3m.

In December, Diamond reported underlying first-quarter earnings that were ahead of Wall Street forecasts.

On a reported basis, Diamond filed a first-quarter loss of $10.7m amid charges linked to the investigation into payments to walnut growers that ultimately led to the exit of its CEO and CFO.

Net sales were down 10.1% at $258.5m after a 4% fall in retail sales. Non-retail revenue that more than halved amid a lower supply of walnuts.

However, margins improved as Diamond spent less on promotions.

Sectors: Mergers & acquisitions, Snacks

Companies: Diamond Foods, Pringles

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