Campbell unit posts $57 million in earnings
by Eric Schroeder
CAMDEN, N.J. — Operating earnings within the Baking and Snacking division of the Campbell Soup Co. totaled $57 million in the third quarter ended May 3, which compared with a loss of $92 million in the same period a year ago. The most recent quarter included $1 million in costs related to a previously announced restructuring initiative, which compared with $144 million in charges sustained during the third quarter of fiscal 2008.
Sales fell 14% to $431 million, compared with $502 million in the same period last year. Despite the overall sales decline in the division, several aspects of the business performed well.
"Sales of Pepperidge Farm products increased, driven by double-digit growth in Goldfish snack crackers and in Milano cookies, as well as the introduction of Granola cookies," the company said.
In the company’s Arnott’s business, sales declined due to the divestiture of certain salty snack food brands, the discontinuance of the private label biscuit and industrial chocolate businesses associated with the closing of a production facility in Australia, and the unfavorable impact of currency.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2009, operating earnings within the Baking and Snacking division were $193 million, up sharply from $48 million. Sales eased 10% to $1,380 million.
Overall, Campbell Soup Co. posted earnings of $174 million in the third quarter, equal to 50c per share on the common stock, down from $532 million, or $1.43 per share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2008. Excluding items affecting comparability, adjusted net earnings in the most recent quarter were $171 million, or 48c per share, up from $154 million, or 40c per share. Net sales were $1,686 million, down 10% from $1,880 million.