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Markets / Your Money

Heinz Shares Slide

March 06, 2001|BridgeNews

The New Economy doesn't have a monopoly on profit warnings.

Shares of H.J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) slid in after-hours trading after the food maker surprised Wall Street late Monday with an earnings warning.

The Pittsburgh-based maker of Heinz 57 steak sauce and OreIda French fries revealed that it expects to earn only 65 cents per share in its fiscal third quarter, 5 cents less than the market's consensus expectation.

Heinz also revised its fourth-quarter profit projection to 52 to 54 cents per share, compared with the 69 cents Wall Street analysts expected. The company is scheduled to report fiscal third-quarter profit next week.

Heinz shares plunged 7% in after-hours trading, falling as low as $40.16 per share. Its shares closed at $43.09, up 5 cents, in regular trading on the NYSE.

Bill Johnson, Heinz's chief executive, blamed the company's shortfall on a slew of problems: its troubled StarKist tuna unit, high energy costs, scaled-back production at several plants, competitive pressures, inventory reductions in the company's European baby-foods business and reduced sales expectations in Australia and New Zealand.

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