Soup sales boost Campbell's first half

by Keith Nunes
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CAMDEN, N.J. – The Campbell Soup Co. posted net income of $285 million, or 74c per basic share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 that ended Jan. 28. The results compare favorably to net income of $254 million, or 62c per share, for the same period during fiscal 2006. Sales for the quarter were $2,252 million in 2007 compared to $2,159 the previous year.

The current quarter’s earnings from continuing operations included a $14 million gain, or 4c per share, from the sale of an idle facility in Connecticut. Excluding the gain, Campbell’s earnings from continuing operations were $270 million.

For the first six months of fiscal 2007, net income was $576 million, or $1.48 per share, vs. $556 million, or $1.35 per share, during the same period in fiscal 2006. Sales were $4,405 million during fiscal 2007 compared with $4,161 million during fiscal 2006.

"We’re off to a strong start in fiscal 2007," said Douglas R. Conant, president and chief executive officer. "For the first half, our U.S. soup business delivered strong results with solid sales growth and enhanced profitability. Sales increased 4% with solid gains in condensed, ready-to-serve and broth. We are encouraged by the early performance of our lower sodium soups. Initial trial and repeat purchases of these products have exceeded our plans and they are contributing to our growth.

"Beyond U.S. soup, we are especially pleased with the performance of our Pepperidge Farms, Arnott’s and U.S. beverage businesses in the first half. Our strategic growth platforms of simple meals and baked snacks continue to gain momentum in the marketplace."

Given the company’s strong first half performance, Mr. Conant announced the company was increasing its fiscal 2007 forecast to $1.73 per share.

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