• EPS climbs 177%
  • Operating profit up 27.6%
  • Sales grow 6.7%
ConAgra Foods has reported a strong rise in first-quarter profits

ConAgra Foods has reported a strong rise in first-quarter profits

ConAgra Foods has reported a strong rise in profits in the first quarter.

In the three months ended 26 August, earnings per share up by 177% to US$0.61 and by 42% to $0.44 on a comparable basis. Operating profit climbed 27.6% to $374.9m.

Group sales amounted to $3.31bn, a 6.7% increase on the prior-year.

The company reported that its Consumer Foods division increased operating profit by 14% on a comparable basis to $212m, on sales up by 8% at $2.0bn. The company stated the sales increase was buoyed by acquisitions, with an organic volume decline of 4%.

Among the brands recording sales growth in the quarter were ACT II, Lightlife, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip and Rosarita, ConAgra said.

Operating profit at its Commercial Foods division rose by 37% on a comparable basis, with sales up by 5% at $1.3bn. ConAgra said the sales increase was due to a strong top-line performance for the Lamb Weston potato operations. The company added that all of the segment's product lines posted volume growth

ConAgra upped its its full-year earnings estimate $1.95 to $1.99 per share, which it forecast in June, to $2.03 to $2.06 a share.

"We have raised our EPS expectations for fiscal 2013 while continuing to make strong levels of marketing investment as part of long-term brand building initiatives," Rodkin said.