Heinz third-quarter earnings increase 11%

by Keith Nunes
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PITTSBURGH — Net income for the H.J. Heinz Co. rose 11% during the third quarter of fiscal 2009, ended Jan. 28, due to pricing actions taken during the year, the benefits of currency hedging actions and higher sales in the company’s ketchup, soup and pasta sauce brands.

For the quarter, the company recorded net income of $242,263,000, equal to 77c per share on the common stock, compared with $218,532,000, or 69c per share, for the same period during fiscal 2007.

Sales for the quarter were $2,414,576,000, which compared with $2,610,863,000 during 2007. The company attributed the decline in sales during the quarter to foreign exchange.

In the United States, the company said the launch of Ore-Ida Steam n’ Mash potatoes helped offset some of the unfavorable impact related to the timing of price increases.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2009, Heinz’s net income increased to $747,937,000, or $2.39 per share, compared with $650,863,000, or $2.04 per share. Sales for the period were $7,610,325,000, which compared with $7,382,527,000 during fiscal 2007.

The company reaffirmed its fiscal 2009 guidance of $2.87 to $2.91 per share with full year sales increasing approximately 6%.

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