TreeHouse net up big as acquisitions provide boost

by Staff
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WESTCHESTER, ILL. — TreeHouse Foods, Inc. saw its net income and sales grow substantially in the fourth quarter and for the year as the acquisition and maximization of the soup and infant feeding business continued to contribute to the bottom line.

Net income for the year ended Dec. 31, 2006, rose significantly, totaling $44,856,000, equal to $1.44 per share on the common stock, compared with $11,576,000, or 38c, in 2005.

Net sales for the year totaled $939,396,000, up 33% from $707,731,000 in the previous year.

Net sales in the company’s Pickle segment rose 2% on the year, totaling $326,313,000.

Non-dairy powdered creamer sales rose 1% to $267,385,000 in 2006.

Net sales in the recently acquired soup and infant feeding business totaled $224,189,000 for the year.

"Our 2006 results show excellent improvement over last year and were marked by four straight quarters of meeting or beating our earnings expectations," said Sam K. Reed, chairman and chief executive officer of TreeHouse Foods. "We are especially pleased with our ability to focus on the business at hand while successfully establishing TreeHouse as the market leader in private label soup."

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, net income totaled $22,605,000, or 72c per share,, a vast improvement from a loss of $5,648,000 in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Net sales for the quarter totaled $282,870,000, an increase of 53% from $184,476,000 in the same period last year.

Pickle segment sales fell 1% in the quarter to $75,353,000 as retail sales volume declined faster than pricing and were not offset by increased volumes from the businesses acquired from Oxford Foods.

Non-dairy powdered creamer sales rose 1% to $75,912,000 as a result of the company’s focus on discontinuing lower margin branded powdered sales and an unseasonably warm December.

Net sales in the soup and infant feeding business totaled $224,189,000.

Looking ahead, the company expects net sales to rise 12% to 13% in 2007, with the soup and infant feeding business contributing to the bottom line in each quarter. The company forecast earnings per share in the range of $1.29 to $1.34.

The company will continue to grow its business in 2007 by investing "in acquisitions that allow us to take advantage of our existing distribution networks, while also pursuing new sales opportunities that match well with our existing customer base," Mr. Reed said.

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