Campbell Soup Slips To Loss In Q4

05-Sep-2016 - USA

Campbell Soup Co., the world's largest soup maker, reported Thursday a loss in its fourth quarter, compared to prior year's profit, reflecting higher one-time charges and nearly flat sales. Organic sales decreased 1 percent. Looking ahead, for fiscal 2017, the company projects increase in adjusted earnings and sales.

In pre-market activity on the NYSE, Campbell shares were losing 4.15 percent to trade at $58.20.
For the fourth quarter, attributable net loss was $81 million or $0.26 per share, compared to last year's profit of $17 million or $0.05 per share.

The latest results included a non-cash impairment charge of $0.41 per share, pension and postretirement mark-to-market losses of $0.29 per share, and pre-tax charges related to cost savings initiatives of $0.02 per share. The prior-year results included pre-tax pension and postretirement mark-to-market losses of $0.22 per share, and pre-tax charges related to the implementation of the new organizational structure and cost savings initiatives of $0.21 per share.

Adjusted earnings, excluding these items, were $0.46 per share, compared to $0.49 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.50 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales were nearly flat at $1.687 billion, compared to $1.693 billion a year ago. Analysts were looking for sales of $1.69 billion for the quarter.

In the quarter, the benefit from the acquisition of Garden Fresh Gourmet was offset by the decline in organic sales and the adverse impact of currency translation.

Organic sales decreased 1 percent primarily driven by Campbell Fresh, reflecting declines in carrots and carrot ingredients, as well as the impact from the voluntary recall of Bolthouse FarmsProtein PLUS drinks.

Gross margin decreased to 32.4 percent from 33.2 percent last year.

Denise Morrison, Campbell's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "The performance of our Campbell Fresh business, driven predominantly by execution issues, is disappointing. We have taken and are taking steps designed to ensure the business performs to its potential."

Citing the confidence in long-term growth prospects and strong profit performance this year, the Board declared a 12 percent increase in quarterly dividend to $0.35 per share.

For fiscal 2017, Campbell expects adjusted earnings per share to increase by 2 to 5 percent, or $3.00 to $3.09 per share, adjusted EBIT to increase by 1 to 4 percent and sales to increase by 0 to 1 percent.
In the year 2016, the company recorded adjusted earnings per share of $2.94 and net sales of $7.96 billion.(dpa)

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