* Q4 adj EPS 51 cents, tops Wall St view of 50 cents
* Sees 2013 EPS up 6-8 pct
By Martinne Geller
June 21 ConAgra Foods Inc's adjusted
quarterly profit narrowly beat Wall Street estimates as price
increases and easing commodity cost inflation boosted
performance in its consumer foods segment.
The company, which released results from its fiscal fourth
quarter on Thursday, also benefited from its recent acquisitions
of National Pretzel Co, Del Monte Canada, Odom's Tennessee Pride
and the pita chip business of Kangaroo Brands.
The consumer foods segment, which includes Banquet frozen
meals, Chef Boyardee pasta and Hebrew National hot dogs, saw its
profit grow as the acquisitions and price increases more than
offset the impact of commodity cost inflation and sales volume
declines that resulted from those price increases.
Commodity inflation in the quarter was 6 percent, ConAgra
said, down from the double-digit rates seen earlier in the
Excluding one-time items, ConAgra's earnings from continuing
operations for its fiscal fourth quarter ended May 27 were 51
cents per share, topping analysts' average estimate by a penny,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company posted a net loss of $86.2 million, or 21 cents
per share, due to a change in the way it accounts for pensions.
A year earlier it reported a net profit of $250.1 million, or 61
cents per share.
Net sales rose 6.3 percent to $3.41 billion. Analysts
expected $3.38 billion.
For fiscal 2013, ConAgra forecast adjusted earnings per
share growth of 6 percent to 8 percent and operating cash flow
in excess of $1.2 billion.
ConAgra shares rose 2.6 percent to $25.24 in early trading.