Mad Money

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Spotlight on Heinz

As CEO David Novak pointed out Tuesday’s Mad Money, U.S.-only companies won’t survive in this global economy. The profits made from Yum!’s big three – KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut – in untapped China have been key to the company’s weathering of higher food costs and a lagging economy here at home.

Well, the story’s no different for Heinz. This solidly American brand is growing exponentially overseas, Chairman and CEO William Johnson told Cramer today. Heinz’s baby formula and frozen foods are in big demand in markets like India, Latin America, Indonesia and China. Some areas are even seeing double-digit growth.

Just like Yum!, Heinz is innovating, too. Two hundred new products have hit the shelves in the past year, and Johnson said there are no plans to slow down.

Cramer said he’s been a bit perplexed that a company like Wrigley gets a buyout offer, but Heinz, with its cheaper multiple and stronger brand equity, gets overlooked. But Johnson didn’t seem concerned with that.

“I think the opportunity for us is to continue to drive consistent, solid results like we’ve been doing,” the CEO said. “Eventually, people will recognize the story,” especially the growth in emerging markets.

“Relative to all our U.S. peers,” Johnson continued, “I think we have just as good brands, if not better. And we are certainly better-positioned in all the developing markets around the world. So I think it’s a story that’s still in development.”

“Great dividend. Great buyback. Unassailable brand.” – Cramer hadn’t nothing but accolades for Heinz. He said it’s better than Wrigley.

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