Sara Lee earnings rise 39% in year

by Meat&Poultry staff
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CHICAGO — Boosted by strength in North American Retail and International Beverage segments, net income for Sara Lee Corp. for the fiscal year 2010 was up 39%.

Net income for the year ended July 3 was $506 million, equal to 74c per share on the common stock, which compared with income of $364 million, or 52c per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $10,793 million, down slightly from $10,882 million during the previous year.

“Sara Lee concluded a very strong year, highlighted by robust earnings per share growth, an increase in cash flow and higher adjusted operating segment income in most of our ongoing business segments,” said Marcel H.M. Smits, interim chief executive officer. “In fact, fiscal 2010 results compare favorably to the guidance we provided on May 6, 2010. Cash from operations came in at the top end of the guidance range despite a $200 million voluntary cash contribution to the company’s pension plans in the fourth quarter, which was not included in the guidance.”

Operating income for the North American Retail segment during the year was $346 million, up 37% from $253 million during the pervious year. Sales for the segment were $2,818 million, up 2% from $2,767 million during the previous year.

In the North American Fresh Bakery segment, operating income was $44 million, up 72% from $26 million during the previous year. Sales for the segment were $2,128 million, down 3% from $2,200 million during the pervious year.

Sara Lee narrowed its loss in its International Bakery segment during the year to $14 million from $194 million in fiscal 2009. Net sales fell 1% to $785 million from $795 million.

Operating for the International Beverage segment totaled $592 million, up 20% from $493 million in fiscal 2009. Net sales rose 5% to $3,221 million from $3,062 million.

For the fourth quarter ended July 3, the company as a whole had net income of $187 million, or 28c per share, up from a loss of $14 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $2,769 million, up 4% from $2,657 million from the same quarter of the previous year.

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