ConAgra earnings slip on Ralcorp acquisition costs

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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OMAHA – Costs related to the Ralcorp acquisition pressured results at ConAgra Foods, Inc. during the third quarter and contributed to a 57 percent decline in income for the Omaha-based company.

Net income for the quarter ended Feb. 24 was $120 million, equal to 29 cents per share on the common stock, which compared with $280.1 million, or 68c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $3,850.5 million, up 13 percent from $3,396 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

The company, which Marie Callender's frozen meals and Slim Jims, said diluted earnings per share adjusted for items impacting comparability was 55 cents per share during the quarter.

“We are pleased with the earlier-than-planned closing of the Ralcorp transaction, sequential improvement in our Consumer Foods volumes, comparable profit growth in both of our core business segments and the announcement of Ardent Mills, a new proposed joint venture for our milling operations,” said Gary Rodkin, CEO. “Challenges remain for key areas of our business, but a combination of successful margin improvement initiatives and a more favorable input cost environment is enabling us to significantly increase our brand investment and deliver EPS growth.”

The Consumer Foods segment posted operating profit of $805.7 million in the third quarter, up 3 percent from $783.8 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $6,768.9 million, up 9 percent from $6,227.1 million.

Operating profit within the Commercial Foods segment was $475.5 million, up 17 percent from $408.3 million during the same quarter of the previous year. The segment had sales of $3,837.2 million, up 4 percent from $3,705.9 million.

For the nine months ended Feb. 27, the company as a whole had income of $581.7 million, or $1.42 per share, up 5 percent from $554.1 million, or $1.34 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the nine months were $10,897.9 million, up 10 percent from $9,933 million.

“Our organization is very focused on the ongoing integration of Ralcorp, which will play a key role in creating shareholder value,” Rodkin said. “We reaffirm our expected comparable EPS benefit of 5 cents in fiscal 2013 results and 25 cents in fiscal 2014 results, and are very excited about our earnings potential over the next few years.”

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