UPDATE 2-Lance Q4 profit misses Street view

Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:37am EST

* Q4 EPS $0.34 vs est $0.38

* Q4 rev up 7 pct to $231.1 mln, tops Street

* Sees EPS growth of 25 pct-35 pct in FY10

* Sees Stella D'oro deal to be accretive going forward

* Sees 2010 gross margins 40.5 pct to 41.5 pct (Adds conference call details and updates stock activity)

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Snack-food maker Lance Inc (LNCE.O) posted lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by weakness at its branded product segment, sending its shares down as much as 4 percent.

The company also said it expects its acquisition of specialty cookie brand Stella D'oro, which it completed in October, to add to its results going forward.

"There was a slight dilution with special items as related to Stella in the fourth quarter. But going forward we should see a positive trend for Stella," Chief Financial Officer Rick Puckett said in a conference call with analysts.

In 2010, Lance expects earnings per share to grow by 25 percent to 35 percent and revenue growth of 5 percent to 7.5 percent. In 2009, the company earned $1.11 a share, including an integration charge of 2 cents related to the Stella D'oro deal, on revenue of $918.2 million.

Analysts were expecting 2010 earnings of $1.54 a share on revenue of $978.7, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

2010 gross margins are expected to be between 40.5 percent to 41.5 percent, the company said on the call.

The company said net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 26, was $11 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with net income of $7.5 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue at the company, which makes Toastchee and Captain's Wafers brands of snacks, rose 7 percent to $231.1 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 38 cents per share, on revenue of $229.2 million.

Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company were trading down 69 cents at $22.18 Wednesday on Nasdaq. They had earlier touched a low of $21.90. (Reporting by Shobhana Chadha in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

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