ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG: Quote) Thursday reported a loss for the fourth-quarter, compared to a profit last year, owing to an accounting change for pensions. Adjusted earnings topped Wall Street estimates. The company sees a modest increase in profit this year.
Net loss attributable to the company was $86.2 million or $0.21 per share in the quarter, compared to a profit of $250.1 million or $0.60 per share in the prior year.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, ConAgra Foods changed its methods of accounting for pensions to provide better transparency to the core business performance.
The latest results included $0.60 per share from the pension accounting change and $0.08 per share of net expense related to the mark-to-market impact of derivatives used to hedge input costs. The firm recorded $0.14 per share net benefit in the prior year.
Adjusted earnings from continuing operations grew to $0.51 per share from $0.47 per share. On average, 9 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.50 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Net sales grew 6.3 percent to $3.41 billion from $3.21 billion. Analysts expected revenues of $3.38 billion.
The Consumer Foods segment posted sales increase of 6 percent at $2.15 billion with brands such as Act II, Chef Boyardee, DAVID and Healthy Choice witnessing gains.
In the Commercial Foods Segment, sales grew 7 percent to $1.26 billion, reflecting increased volumes for Lamb Weston potato operations and the flour milling operations.
Full year net income attributable to the company fell to $467.9 million or $1.13 per share from $817.6 million or $1.90 per share in the prior year. Adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.84 per share. Sales grew 7.8 percent to $13.26 billion. Wall Street expected earnings of $1.78 per share on revenues of $13.18 billion.
The company expects earnings growth this year, benefiting from the price increases taken last year and contribution from acquisitions.
In fiscal 2013, adjusted earnings are expected to grow 6 percent to 8 percent from $1.84 in fiscal 2012. Analysts look for earnings of $1.93 per share this year.
CAG closed on Wednesday at $24.60, compared to the previous close of $25.04, on 5.02 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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