Acquisitions help spur earnings gain at J.M. Smucker

by Eric Schroeder
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ORRVILLE, OHIO — Boosted by the recently acquired Eagle and Carnation businesses, J.M. Smucker in the just ended third quarter overcame restructuring charges and higher commodity costs to post a 27% improvement in earnings. Net income in the third quarter ended Jan. 31 was $42,401,000, equal to 75c per share on the common stock, up from $40,427,000, or 72c per share, in the same period a year ago.

Net sales were $665,373,000, up 27% from $523,081,000 in the third quarter of fiscal 2007. Eagle Family Foods Holdings Inc., acquired in May 2007, contributed $69.3 million in sales during the most recent quarter.

"On the strength of our brands, we delivered good growth this quarter," said Richard Smucker, president and co-chief executive officer. "We were able to grow earnings despite commodity costs that continued to rise, and have reached record levels for certain raw materials. We remain enthusiastic about the opportunities for our brands, and continue to support them with investments in product quality, a steady stream of new products and marketing spending."

Sales in the retail market, including the Jif, Crisco, Pillsbury, Hungry Jack and Martha White brands, were $502.2 million, up 28% from $393.8 million in the third quarter of 2007.

Sales in the consumer strategic area increased 13% for the quarter, led by gains in peanut butter, fruit spreads and Uncrustables.

In the consumer oils and baking area, sales climbed 46% in the third quarter of 2008 compared with 2007. Excluding the contribution of $57.3 million from the acquired Eagle business, consumer oils and baking sales rose 13%, driven by growth in baking mixes, flour, frostings and pricing actions.

Sales in the special markets, excluding divested businesses, were $163.2 million, up 26% from $129.2 million last year. Net sales in Canada gained 49%, primarily due to the impacts of the acquired Eagle and Carnation canned milk businesses and favorable exchange rates.

For the nine months ended Jan. 31, net income at J.M. Smucker was $133,328,000, or $2.35 per share, up 16% from $114,720,000, or $2.03 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales were $1,934,776,000, up 17% from $1,654,545,000.

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