Campbell Soup Co reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday, helped by prices increases, easing costs for ingredients like grains and tomatoes and efforts to cut overhead costs.
The world's largest soup maker also raised its sales and profit expectations for the fiscal year, and its shares rose 2.9 percent to $35.10 in premarket trading.
Campbell earned $304 million, or 87 cents a share, in the first quarter that ended November 1, up from $260 million, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had forecast 81 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell 2.1 percent to $2.2 billion. U.S. soup sales were down 3 percent.
For the year, Campbell now expects sales to rise 4 percent to 5 percent, versus a prior forecast of 3 percent to 4 percent. It forecast fiscal 2010 adjusted earnings per share would rise 9 percent to 11 percent, including an expected lift from currency translation. It previously forecast a 5 percent to 7 percent gain.
Campbell said it has benefited from consumers eating more at home, pointing to the relative low price of a bowl of soup.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Maureen Bavdek)