Ralcorp acquisition weighs on ConAgra results

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

Net income for the quarter ended Feb. 24 was $120 million, equal to 29c 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% from $3,396 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

The company said diluted earnings per share adjusted for items impacting comparability was 55c 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, chief executive officer. “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 e.p.s. growth.”

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

Operating profit within the Commercial Foods segment was $475.5 million, up 17% from $408.3 million during the same quarter of the previous year. The segment had sales of $3,837.2 million, up 4% 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% 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% 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,” Mr. Rodkin said. “We reaffirm our expected comparable e.p.s. benefit of 5c in fiscal 2013 results and 25c in fiscal 2014 results, and are very excited about our earnings potential over the next few years.”
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