CAMDEN, N.J. — Despite a fourth quarter in which earnings rose 27% and sales edged up slightly, full-year income at Campbell Soup Co. fell 4%. Net income in the year ended July 29 was $774 million, equal to $2.43 per share on the common stock, down from $805 million, or $2.44 per share, in fiscal 2011. Excluding items impacting comparability in both years, adjusted net earnings declined 7%.

Net sales for the full year totaled $4,715 million, up 2% from $4,616 million in fiscal 2011.

For the fourth quarter ended July 29, the company had earnings of $127 million, equal to 40c per share on the common stock, up 27% from $100 million, or 31c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. The most recent quarter included transaction costs associated with the Aug. 6 acquisition of Bolthouse Farms. Sales for the quarter were $1,613 million, up slightly from $1,607 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“In the fourth quarter, we generated organic sales growth, with gains across most of our portfolio, including strong sales in U.S. Soup and U.S. Simple Meals,” said Denise Morrison, president and chief executive officer. “Retailers continue to respond favorably to our new product development, and we have started shipping new products for fiscal 2013 launches.

“In fiscal 2012, we advanced our strategies to stabilize and profitably grow North America soup and simple meals, to expand our international presence and to drive growth in healthy beverages and baked snacks. In the first year of our strategic transition, we’ve renewed our focus on consumer insights, reinvigorated our brand building efforts and significantly improved our innovation pipeline. With the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, we positioned Campbell for growth in the rapidly expanding packaged fresh market. While we’ve had some important accomplishments this year, we also recognize that driving change at Campbell will require a sharper focus on execution. Our strategic framework is a road map to drive disciplined and successful change at Campbell. We will continue to enhance and grow our core business, while we broaden our appeal with new consumer groups, new product platforms and new geographies.

“As we begin the new fiscal year, we are confident that we will improve our sales and earnings trends. Today, we’ve provided specific growth ranges for fiscal 2013 sales, adjusted EBIT and adjusted e.p.s.”
Earnings within the U.S. Simple Meals segment totaled $658 million in fiscal 2012, up narrowly from $657 million in fiscal 2011. Sales for the segment were $2,726 million, down 1% from $2,751 million.

The Global Baking and Snacking segment had income of $315 million, down 11% from $355 million during fiscal 2011. The segment had sales of $2,193 million, up 2% from $2,156 million during the previous year.

Earnings within U.S. Beverages totaled $134 million during fiscal 2012, down 26% from $182 million, while sales increased 2% to $774 million from $759 million.

The International Simple Meals and Beverages segment had earnings of $153 million in fiscal 2012, down 17% from $185 million in fiscal 2011. Sales were $1,404 million, down 4% from $1,463 million.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2013, Campbell said it expects to grow sales between 10% and 12%, adjusted EBIT between 4% and 6%, and adjusted e.p.s. between 3% and 5%. Bolthouse Farms is expected to contribute approximately $750 million to sales during fiscal 2013.