Bloomberg News

ConAgra Quarterly Profit Trails Estimates on Higher Food Costs

September 20, 2011

Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- ConAgra Foods Inc., the foodmaker that withdrew its offer for Ralcorp Holdings Inc. yesterday, posted first-quarter profit that trailed analysts’ estimates as costs for raw ingredients rose.

Net income in the quarter ended Aug. 28 fell to $85.3 million, or 21 cents a share, from $146.4 million, or 33 cents, a year earlier, the Omaha, Nebraska-based company said today in a statement. Excluding some items, profit was 29 cents, trailing the 31-cent average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

ConAgra’s consumer foods unit, which includes Banquet frozen meals and Slim Jim snacks, is grappling with soaring commodity costs. The company has raised prices in response, leading some consumers to spend less or trade down to cheaper store-brand items.

Revenue rose 9.5 percent to $3.07 billion. Chief Executive Officer Gary Rodkin failed to get Ralcorp to enter talks after offering as much as $5.18 billion for the St. Louis-based private-label foodmaker. The company withdrew its bid yesterday and will now look at other targets, according to analysts including Morningstar Inc.’s Erin Lash.

ConAgra fell 54 cents to $23.39 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock had advanced 3.6 percent this year before today.

(ConAgra will hold a conference call at 9:30 a.m. New York time to discuss results. To listen, visit LIVE <GO>.)

--Editors: Kevin Orland, James Callan

CAG

#<117117.4371737.2.1.95.14779.25># -0- Sep/20/2011 11:41 GMT

To contact the reporter on this story: Matthew Boyle in New York at mboyle20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net


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