Campbell earnings climb 15% in year

by Staff
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CAMDEN, N.J. — Helped by costs cuts and strong V8 sales, earnings for Campbell Soup Co. rose 15% for fiscal year 2010.

For the year ended Aug. 1, the company had earnings of $844 million, equal to $2.42 per share on the common stock, up 15% from $736 million, or $2.05 per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $7,676 million, up 1% from $7,586 million during the previous year.

“In a challenging year, we delivered strong earnings growth, overcoming softer-than-expected sales, particularly in our U.S. soup business,” said Douglas R. Conant, president and chief executive officer. “We had another year of strong cash flow performance, generating more than $1 billion in cash flow from operations. For the year, we expanded gross margins through supply chain productivity improvements and previously announced cost-saving initiatives.”

Operating earnings for U.S. Soups, Sauces and Beverages were $943 million, up 2% from $927 million during the previous year. Sales in the segment were $3,700 million, down 2% from the previous year.

Operating earnings in the Baking and Snacking segment were $322 million, up 23% from $262 million during the previous year. Sales in the segment were $1,975 million, up 7% from the previous year.

For the fourth quarter, the company as a whole had earnings of $113 million, or 33c per share, up 64% from $69 million, or 20c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $1,518 million, down 1% from $1,528 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“By effectively managing our margins in a tough economic environment, we have set the stage for next year and positioned the company for growth through continued innovation, category leading marketing spending and competitive pricing,” Mr. Conant said. “I am confident that we have the right strategies to drive growth across our strong portfolio of healthy beverages, baked snacks and simple meals.”

In fiscal 2011, the company expects sales growth of 2% to 3% and adjusted earnings growth of 4% to 5%.
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