ConAgra income down 43% on accounting charge

by Staff
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OMAHA — Accounting charges for pensions pressured results for ConAgra Foods, Inc. during the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2012, contributing to a 43% decrease in income during the year and causing the company to swing to a loss during the fourth quarter.

For the year ended May 27, the company had income of $467.9 million, equal to $1.13 per share on the common stock, which compared with income of $817.6 million, or $1.90 per share, during fiscal 2011. Sales for the year were $13,262.6 million, up 8% from $12,303.1 million during the previous year.

“Although the business environment remains challenging, we posted comparable year-over-year e.p.s. growth for the fiscal fourth quarter, as planned,” said Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer. “The Consumer Foods segment posted comparable year-over-year profit growth for the fiscal fourth quarter due to contribution from acquired businesses, moderating inflation and progress with pricing and other margin management initiatives. This represents a significant turning point in the year-over-year profit comparisons for this segment given the industry conditions that have weighed on this segment’s results over the past several quarters. In the Commercial Foods segment, the Lamb Weston potato operations continued to post strong growth in sales and profits, demonstrating momentum that we expect to continue into fiscal 2013.”

During the year the Consumer Foods segment had operating profit of $1,053.3 million, down 7% from $1,126.4 million during the previous year. The segment had sales of $8,376.8 million, down 5% from $8,002 million.

The Commercial Foods segment had an operating profit of $546.3 million, up 7% from $509.5 million during the previous year. The segment had sales of $4,885.8 million, up 14% from $4,301.1 million during the previous year.

During the fourth quarter the company as a whole suffered a loss of $86.2 million, which compared with income of $250.1 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales during the quarter were $3,413.6 million, up 6% from $3,210 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“As we look to fiscal 2013, we expect good earnings growth,” Mr. Rodkin said. “We will lap the pricing increases taken in fiscal 2012, which should benefit the year-over-year organic volume performance for our Consumer Foods segment in the second half of the fiscal year. Contribution from acquisitions completed in fiscal 2012, momentum in our potato operations, moderating inflation and strong margin management initiatives should allow us to overcome the impact of marketplace challenges.”

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