AP News

Campbell Soup 4Q profit rises on US soup sales


CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Campbell Soup's net income rose 27 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter on strong sales of soup and other simple meals in the U.S. The results beat analysts' expectations and the food maker gave fiscal 2013 revenue guidance above Wall Street's view.

Its stock climbed almost 5 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday.

The Camden, N.J., company earned $127 million, or 40 cents per share, for the period ended July 29. A year earlier it earned $100 million, or 31 cents per share.

Stripping out acquisition-related costs, earnings were 41 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 39 cents per share.

Revenue was basically flat at $1.61 billion, but that beat Wall Street's $1.59 billion estimate.

Sales of simple meals — which includes sauces, soup and broths — increased 7 percent in the U.S. during the quarter, while soup sales for the region gained 9 percent. Condensed soup sales rose 14 percent, while broth sales climbed 4 percent. Sales of ready-to-serve soups edged up 1 percent, with sales of the "Campbell's Chunky" soups up slightly.

Sales of sauces rose 4 percent in the U.S. on better sales of Prego pasta sauces and Pace Mexican sauces. Sales for U.S. beverages climbed 3 percent, led by increased sales of "V8 Splash" and better sales of "V8 V-Fusion."

The global baking and snacking segment reported a 1 percent decline in sales, with sales of frozen products falling. Sales of Pepperidge Farm products and Goldfish snack crackers were strong.

North American foodservices sales dropped 3 percent, while sales of international simple meals and beverages fell 7 percent partly because of unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

Gross margin declined mostly because of higher costs and increased promotional spending. The company said that this was somewhat offset by higher selling prices and productivity improvements.

For the full year, Campbell Soup earned $774 million, or $2.41 per share, down from $805 million, or $2.42 per share, in the previous year. Annual revenue dipped slightly to $7.71 billion from $7.72 billion.

For fiscal 2013, Campbell Soup Co. foresees adjusted earnings of $2.51 to $2.57 per share. Revenue is expected to climb 10 percent to 12 percent. Based on 2012's $7.71 billion, this implies $8.48 billion to $8.64 billion.

Wall Street expects earnings of $2.52 per share on revenue of $8.47 billion.

Its shares rose $1.75, or almost 5 percent, to $36.89 in premarket trading.


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