Consumer Foods segment boosts ConAgra earnings

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OMAHA, Neb. – Strong results in its Consumer Foods business helped boost income at ConAgra Foods, Inc. 17 percent during the second quarter ended Nov. 25, and the company is on track to complete its acquisition of Ralcorp during the first quarter of calendar 2013.

For the quarter, ConAgra Foods had an income of $211.6 million, equal to 52 cents per share on the common stock, which compared with an income of $180.2 million, equal to 43 cents per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $3,735.5 million, up 9 percent from $3,431.7 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“We are pleased that both of our segments posted operating profit growth in the midst of current economic conditions,” said Gary Rodkin, CEO. “Effective margin management initiatives, moderating input cost inflation, the benefit of acquisitions, and good results from our potato operations are collectively driving high-quality EPS growth. We are very excited about the pending acquisition of Ralcorp, which we announced on Nov. 27, 2012, given the strategically and financially compelling nature of the acquisition. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar 2013, and we look forward to updating our investors on the financial benefits of the acquisition in due course.”

Driven by growth in Act II, Hebrew National, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s and Reddi-wip, the Consumer Foods segment saw operating profit rise 12 percent during the quarter. Operating profit was $286 million, which compared with an operating profit of $256.3 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the segment were $2,432.1 million, up 11 percent from $2,178.2 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

The Commercial Foods segment had an operating profit of $169.3 million, up 5 percent from $160.8 million during the same quarter of the previous year. The segment had sales of $1,312.4 million, up 5 percent from $1,253.5 million during the same quarter of the previous year. The growth in the segment reflected a favorable price/mix and good volumes for Lamb Weston potato operations.

For the six months ended Nov. 25 ConAgra Foods as a whole saw income rise 69 percent to $461.7 million, equal to $1.13 per share, which compared with an income of $274 million, equal to 66 cents per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the six months were $7,047.4 million, up 8 percent from $6,537 million during the same period of the previous year.

The company said it now expects fiscal 2013 diluted EPS adjusted for items impacting comparability to be at least $2.06, an increase of the previous guidance of$ 2.04 to $2.06.

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