ConAgra income down 38% in quarter

by Bakingbusiness Staff
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OMAHA, NEB. — Net income in the third quarter ended Feb. 22 fell 38% at ConAgra Foods, Inc., while adjusted results beat analysts’ expectations. Net income in the third quarter totaled $193.2 million, equal to 43c per share on the common stock, down from $309.1 million, or 63c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Excluding one-time items, earnings per share were 40c, 4c above the e.p.s. projected earlier by analysts.

Sales for the quarter were $3,134.7 million, up 6% from $2,955.3 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

"We expected the slight decline in Commercial Foods profits given the exceptionally high profits generated in the year-ago period by capitalizing on opportunities in the turbulent wheat markets," said Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer. "We are confident in the strength of our underlying Commercial Foods operations and the ability of our management to navigate the current challenging economic conditions."

The Consumer Foods segment had an operating profit of $245 million, up 12% from $218.3 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the segment were $2,013.9 million, up 5% from $1,921.1 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

In the Commercial Foods segment, operating profit was $140.1 million, down 3% from $144.6 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales in the segment were $1,120.8 million, up 8% from $1,034.2 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

"I am pleased that Consumer Foods profits grew over prior-year amounts and that we are positioned for even more improvement from that segment in the fiscal fourth quarter," Mr. Rodkin said. "Given our recent new product introductions, moderating inflation and strong cost savings, the foundation of this segment is much stronger than in recent years."

For the nine months ended Feb. 22, ConAgra had income of $803.7 million, or $1.77 per share, up 10% from $729.3 million, or $1.49 per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the period were $9,464.6 million, up 11% from $8,527.6 million during the same period of the previous year.

"We expect both of our operating segments to perform well in the fourth quarter and for supply chain savings and SG&A efficiencies to continue to be strong, resulting in fiscal 2009 e.p.s. of slightly above $1.50, excluding items impacting comparability," Mr. Rodkin said.

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