UPDATE 2-Heinz profit up on strength in emerging markets

Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:50am EST

* Q3 adj EPS 95 cents, tops Wall St view of 85 cents

* Sales also beat estimates

* Narrows 2012 EPS outlook

* Shares up 2.5 pct in premarket trade

Feb 17 (Reuters) - HJ Heinz Co posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, helped by growth in emerging markets, and narrowed its full-year outlook, sending its shares up 2.5 percent.

The ketchup maker said net income was $284.7 million, or 88 cents per share, in the fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 25, up from $273.8 million, or 84 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges related to productivity initiatives, earnings were 95 cents per share. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 85 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales were $2.92 billion, compared with $2.72 billion a year earlier and analysts' estimate of $2.89 billion.

Heinz said it now expects 2012 earnings of $3.27 to $3.29 per share excluding a benefit of 5 cents per share from foreign currency exchange rates and one-time charges.

Its prior forecast, which also excluded currency fluctuations and charges, was $3.24 to $3.32 per share.

Heinz shares rose to $53.40 in premarket trade from Thursday's close at $52.10 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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