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Campbell Soup adjusted profit tops Street view
Campbell Soup 4Q earnings drop on charges; adj. results top Wall Street's forecast
By The Associated Press

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) ' Campbell Soup Co.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit slipped 12 percent, weighed down by restructuring charges.

But the food maker's adjusted results reported Friday surpassed Wall Street's expectations, and its fiscal 2012 earnings guidance is expected to meet or beat analysts' estimates.

Campbell's stock added $1, or 3.1 percent, to $32.86 in premarket trading.



The maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies, Goldfish snacks and its iconic soup reported net income of $100 million, or 31 cents per share, for the period ended July 31. That's down from $113 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding the charges, earnings were 43 cents per share. That topped the 38 cents per share analysts polled by FactSet forecast.

Revenue climbed 6 percent to $1.61 billion from $1.52 billion, helped partly by higher prices, lower promotional spending and strength in the baking and snacking segment. Wall Street expected revenue of $1.58 billion.

The Camden, N.J. company said Friday that soup profits improved on reduced promotional spending, while higher costs and increased promotional spending lowered U.S. beverage profits.

Sales of for the U.S. Simple Meals division dropped 8 percent in the quarter, as soup sales fell 9 percent. Campbell said soup volumes were hurt by reduced promotional spending and increased prices Sales of Prego pasta sauce fell due to competition, while sales of Pace Mexican sauce declined mostly because of people buying store brands.

The U.S. beverage unit's sales dipped 1 percent, with sales of "V8" vegetable juice down because of competition. Sales of V8 V-Fusion were helped by the debut of V-Fusion + Tea, some new flavors and 8 oz. slim cans.

Sales for the global baking and snacking segment increased 17 percent, helped by higher sales of Pepperidge Farm products, cookies, crackers and frozen products. Arnott's sales rose, driven by sales of Shapes crackers and Tim Tam chocolate biscuits.

North American foodservice sales climbed 10 percent.

The international simple meals and beverages unit reported a 12 percent rise in sales, with sales up in Europe, Canada and the Asia Pacific region.

For the year, net income fell 5 percent to $805 million, or $2.42 per share, compared with $844 million, or $2.42 per share, in the prior year.

Annual revenue edged up 1 percent to $7.72 billion from $7.68 billion.

Campbell's President and CEO Denise Morrison, who took the helm on Aug. 1, said in a statement that the company is moving in a new strategic direction. Over the summer Campbell said that it would cut 770 jobs worldwide and close its operations in Russia and a plant in Marshall, Mich. as it tries to lower overhead costs. The company is also looking to roll out more products within its simple meals, baked snacks and healthy beverage segments and expand abroad in key markets.

"Fiscal 2012 will be a year of transition, as we build the foundation for a new Campbell with a renewed focus on meeting consumers' needs," Morrison said.

Campbell still expects fiscal 2012 revenue to be flat to up 2 percent, which would imply revenue of $7.72 billion to approximately $7.87 billion. Adjusted earnings are predicted to fall 5 percent to 7 percent from 2011's $2.54 per share. This implies 2012 earnings of about $2.37 to $2.41 per share.

Analysts predict full-year earnings of $2.37 per share on revenue of $7.83 billion.


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