Retail grocery unit drives TreeHouse income in year

by Staff
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. — Sales growth in the North American Retail Grocery and Food Away from Home segments helped boost income in the fourth quarter and full-year 2009 for TreeHouse Foods, Inc.

Net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, was $81,314,000, equal to $2.54 per share on the common stock, up sharply from $28,224,000, or 90c per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $1,511,653,000, nearly flat compared with the previous year at $1,500,650,000.

“We finished the year on an excellent note with continued unit sales growth and further improvement in margins,” said Sam K. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer. “Private label continues to be fueled by both consumer preference for value and our customers’ goal to increase profitability. We see strong momentum heading into 2010.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company had income of $22,093,000, or 68c per share, up sharply from $6,791,000, or 22c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $404,787,000, up 2% from $398,082,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

In 2010, TreeHouse is acquiring Sturm Foods, and the transaction is expected to close during the first quarter. The company expects earnings per share before the acquisition to be in the range of $2.32 to $2.37 per share. The transaction is expected to add between 38c and 40c in earnings.

“We see 2010 as a year of opportunity,” Mr. Reed said. “We expect to add Sturm to the TreeHouse family and will work to expand their base of customers throughout our North American distribution network. We see a relatively benign cost environment that will allow us to focus on new business opportunities while maintaining our diligent pursuit of production and distribution efficiencies.”

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