Birds Eye boosts Pinnacle earnings, sales

by Eric Schroeder
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MOUNTAIN LAKES, N.J. — Net income at Pinnacle Foods Finance L.L.C. rose sharply in the second quarter of fiscal 2010, helped primarily by the acquisition of Birds Eye Foods, Inc. in late 2009. Net income at Pinnacle in the quarter ended June 27 totaled $14,174,000, up from $2,525,000 in the same period a year ago.

Net sales rose 41% to $576,080,000 from $408,822,000. Pinnacle said the acquisition of Birds Eye Foods added $197.2 million in net sales during the quarter. On a pro forma basis, after the benefits of Birds Eye Foods, net sales for the second quarter were down 7% compared with the same period a year ago, with net sales in the company’s North American retail businesses down 5% and Specialty Foods Division net sales down 17%.
Pinnacle said net sales in the Birds Eye Frozen Division totaled $230.7 million during the quarter, up from $98.1 million in the same period a year ago. The acquisition of Birds Eye Foods added $138.1 million to net sales.

“Birds Eye Steamfresh vegetables grew compared with the same period a year ago driven by new product volume, promotional increases and strong market share performance,” the company said. “Birds Eye Voila! complete bagged meals showed a significant increase. The net sales of the remaining businesses in the division declined $5.5 million. Celeste Pizza sales declined in the quarter as there was increased competitive activity from new market entrants, more than offsetting increased sales of Aunt Jemima frozen breakfasts.”

Net sales in the Duncan Hines Grocery Division rose 6% to $244.4 million from $229.8 million, with the acquisition of Birds Eye Foods adding $22.1 million and the remaining businesses declining by $7.5 million.

“Sales of Duncan Hines baking mixes and frostings declined in the quarter in the face of intense competition,” Pinnacle Foods said. “However, Vlasic pickles, Armour canned meats and our Canadian business posted sales increases.”

In the Specialty Foods Division, net sales climbed 25% to $101 million behind a $37 million boost from Birds Eye Foods. The net sales of the remaining businesses in the division declined $16.9 million during the quarter, which was in line with Pinnacle’s initiative to de-emphasize lower margin food service and private label products.

For the six months ended June 27, net income was $18,104,000, up from $425,000 in the same period of fiscal 2009. Net sales totaled $1,232,516,000, up from $836,230,000.

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