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EARNINGS ROUNDUP

Del Monte's Sales Climb but Merger Lowers Profit

June 27, 2003|From Times Wire Services

Del Monte Foods Co. said Thursday that sales rose but earnings declined in its fiscal fourth quarter, reflecting accounting adjustments from a December 2002 merger with several businesses of H.J. Heinz Co.

For the quarter ended April 27, Del Monte reported earnings of $23.5 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with earnings of $47.5 million, or 30 cents, last year.

The year-earlier results include the performance of only the acquired businesses. Quarterly sales rose 56% to $776 million from $498.4 million.

In December 2002, the San Francisco company bought Heinz's tuna, pet food, baby food and private-label soups in a $1.85-billion deal that helped the company diversify its traditional offerings of fruit, vegetable and tomato products.

For the fiscal year, Del Monte earned $133.5 million, or 76 cents a share, compared with $180 million, or $1.15, in fiscal 2002. Sales rose to $2.17 billion for the merged business from $1.82 billion for the acquired units alone.

The company's stock lost 6 cents, closing at $8.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.

* ConAgra Foods Inc. reported that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings fell nearly 22% to $150.4 million, or 28 cents a share, from $192.2 million, or 36 cents, in the year-ago quarter.

The Omaha company attributed the slumping results for the three months ended May 25 to lost revenue from assets divested over the last year.

For the year, ConAgra earned $774.8 million, or $1.46 a share, down from $783 million, or $1.47, a year ago. Sales for the year fell to $19.8 billion from nearly $25.5 billion a year earlier.

ConAgra shares fell 31 cents to $23.80 on the NYSE.

* Children's shoe maker Stride Rite Corp. said its fiscal second-quarter profit fell 3% in what it called a soft retail environment to $11.2 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, down from $11.6 million, or 27 cents, a year earlier.

The Lexington, Mass., company posted sales of $154.3 million in the quarter ended May 30, down 1.4% from $156.5 million. Its shares were unchanged at $9.45 on the NYSE.

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