2014

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: ConAgra Foods, B&G Foods, Flowers Foods, Ingredion and JA Solar Holdings

CHICAGO, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS), Flowers Foods Inc. (NYSE: FLO), Ingredion Inc. (NYSE: INGR) and JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: JASO).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

ConAgra Acquires Ralcorp

ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), a leading food company, successfully acquired Ralcorp Holdings Inc., a branded food company for approximately $6.8 billion, including debt or $90.00 per share in cash.

The acquisition, agreed upon on Nov 26, 2012, received regulatory approvals and Ralcorp shareholders' sanction and came to a close on Jan 29, 2013. The acquisition was agreed upon on Nov 26, 2012, for $90.0 per share in cash of Ralcorp's common shares. The price per share implies a 28.2% premium on Ralcorp's closing share price on November 26.

Subsequent to the acquisition, ConAgra becomes the market leader in packaged foods industry with roughly $18.0 billion in sales annually. Ralcorp posted annual sales of $4.3 billion in fiscal 2012 (ended Sep 2012), compared with ConAgra's $13.3 billion during its fiscal year 2012 (ended May 2012). The company's employee strength will increase to over 36,000 workers.

Ralcorp offers a variety of branded foods like cereal, pasta, crackers, jellies and jams, syrups, frozen waffles, combined with meals, entrées, condiments, sides, snacks, and desserts. This reinforces management's belief that the total private label business would be worth around $4.5 billion annually. The synergistic benefits are likely to be great as ConAgra lacks a significant presence in the markets where Ralcorp primarily operates.

As previously announced, ConAgra is expected to derive cost synergies of about $225 million per year from the acquisition. The acquisition is sponsored through ConAgra's existing cash, credit facilities as well as new borrowings.

Based in North America, ConAgra is a leader in the branded and value-added foods industry. The stock currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth a look in the industry are B&G Foods Inc. (NYSE: BGS), Flowers Foods Inc. (NYSE: FLO) and Ingredion Inc. (NYSE: INGR); each bearing a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

JASO Modules for Volkswagen Plant

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: JASO) has completed the supply of 9.5 megawatt ("MW") of PV modules for Volkswagen Solar Park, located in the vicinity of the Volkswagen manufacturing plant at Chattanooga, Tennessee. JA Solar delivered 33,600 high-performance multi-crystalline silicon PV modules that are spread across 33 acres of land.

To date, this will be the biggest solar park in the state of Tennessee. Owned by Silicon Ranch Corp, the solar park is designed and constructed by Phoenix Solar Inc. On an annual basis, the facility is expected to produce 13.1 GWh of electricity.

Per a 20-year power purchase agreement, the electricity generated by the solar park will be sold to Volkswagen. Volkswagen's Chattanooga manufacturing plant will utilize 100% of the electricity produced. The solar park has a capacity to meet 12.5% of the electricity needs of the manufacturing plant during its peak production period and 100% of the needs during non-production periods.

Since 2011, Phoenix and Silicon Ranch have been working together for the development and implementation of photovoltaic ("PV") plants in southeast US. In Feb 2012, both had entered into a partnership to build a 200-kilowatt solar system on the roof of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee.

The US is one of the fastest growing markets in the global solar industry. Many a US energy company is showing a keen interest in solar products in order to meet their renewable energy standards required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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