Preliminary income down at ConAgra; e.p.s. outlook rises

by Staff
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OMAHA — ConAgra Foods, Inc. on Thursday reported income from continuing operations fell 66% to total $108,500,000 for the first quarter ended Aug. 27. ConAgra omitted net income until the results of discontinued operations have been finalized in preparation for the closing of the sale of its refrigerated meats business.

Sales for the quarter totaled $1,509,600,000, up 1% from $1,499,500,000 in the same period last year. Looking ahead, the company raised its earnings-per-share outlook for fiscal year 2007 by 5c to a range of $1.17 to $1.22.

First-quarter operating profit in the Consumer Foods segment was $181 million, up 9% from the same period last year. The increase reflected a strong performance by the company’s high-focus brands.

Operating profit in the company’s Food and Ingredients segment was $106 million, up 10% from the first quarter of last year. The increase reflected strong sales and higher volumes in the Lamb Weston specialty potato operations and Gilroy Foods vegetable operations.

The company’s Trading and Merchandising segment saw operating profit fall 71% to $16 million, primarily due to unfavorable trading for energy-related products and agricultural commodities.

The International Foods segment saw a 1% dip in operating profit.

"I am pleased with our progress on cost savings and on completing the divestitures outlined last March," said Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer of ConAgra. "Rapid implementation of the divestiture program allows us to focus on further cost-reduction opportunities earlier than originally expected. We will allocate an increasing portion of the savings toward high-quality marketing programs and investments in innovation, a process which will likely accelerate through the balance of fiscal 2007."

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