ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), a major U.S. packaged food company that makes Slim Jim snacks and Chef Boyardee items, reported a 26 percent rise in third-quarter earnings as it raised the prices amid softening volume.
Net income for the three months ended Feb. 26 rose to $271.6 million, or 65 cents per share, compared with $214.8 million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter, the Omaha, Neb.-based company said.
Adjusted earnings, which includes the impact of ConAgra’s acquisition of majority interest in Agro Tech Foods Ltd., an Indian food company, and other items, was 51 cents per share, up 2 percent from a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average expected adjusted earnings per share of 49 cents.
There were fewer shares outstanding in the recently completed quarter compared to the year-earlier quarter.
Revenues of $3.37 billion were up 7.4 percent from the previous year's $3.14 billion.
ConAgra’s consumer foods group, which includes well-known consumer brands such as Chef Boyardee, Hebrew National and Slim Jim, increased revenues by 4 percent year-over-year. That increase reflects a 5 percent contribution from price increases, a 4 percent contribution from recent acquisition, but a 5 percent decline in organic volume.
“Conditions have been difficult across the industry due to high inflation and soft volumes for retail consumer food brands,” CEO Gary Rodkin, said in a statement.
ConAgra affirmed its previous guidance for earnings per share in fiscal 2012 to reflect a low- to mid-single-digit rate of growth.
Shares fell eight cents in early trading to $26.29.