Del Monte Foods 2Q profit rises, ups 2010 outlook

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2009 10:26 AM

Del Monte Foods Co. said Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter profit climbed on higher sales of its food and pet products.

The company, whose brands include College Inn, Meaty Bone and its namesake, also lifted its full-year earnings forecast, citing lower costs and its strong results during the first half of the year.

Del Monte Foods' second-quarter earnings rose 24 percent to $62.6 million, or 31 cents per share, from $50.4 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago.

Quarterly results included an expense of 5 cents per share related to a recently closed notes offering and tender offer.

The performance surpassed the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who forecast a profit of 21 cents per share. These estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Sales for the three months ended Nov. 1 rose 6 percent to $958.9 million from $901 million, with consumer product sales increasing 9 percent to $536.8 million and pet product sales up 3 percent to $422.1 million.

But the results fell short of Wall Street's estimate for total revenue of $973.4 million.

Del Monte Foods now anticipates earnings from continuing operations of 93 cents to 97 cents per share for 2010, up from a prior range of 88 cents to 92 cents per share.

The company expects annual sales to climb 4 percent to 6 percent from 2009's revenue of $3.63 billion, which would imply sales of approximately $3.77 billion to $3.85 billion.

Analysts predict 2010 profit of 93 cents per share on revenue of $3.82 billion.

Shares of Del Monte Foods gained 46 cents, or 4.2 percent, to $11.42 in morning trading. The stock has traded in a range of $6.19 to $12 over the last year.