ConAgra reaffirms guidance, announces buyback

by Eric Schroeder
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — ConAgra Foods, Inc. on Feb. 16 reaffirmed its fiscal 2010 profit forecast of $1.73 per share, while projecting annual sales growth of 3% to 4% over the long term and annual earnings-per-share growth of 8% to 10% over the long term. The full-year profit forecast was below analysts’ estimates of $1.75 per share.

In addition to the financial goals, ConAgra said its board of directors has approved a $500 million stock buyback with no expiration date. The announcement helped boost the company’s share price more than 2% in trading today.

“We are excited about the momentum under way at ConAgra Foods,” said Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer. “We made great progress over the last four years building the foundation for sustainable, profitable growth. ConAgra Foods has significant ongoing potential, based on the improvements we have made in our supply chain, sales execution, marketing and innovation capabilities.

“The share repurchase program … demonstrates our confidence in our ability to generate strong amounts of cash and to continue successfully executing our initiatives.”

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