• Cost and pricing measures boost profit
  • Sales rise 8.9%
  • Maintains fiscal 2010 sales growth target

Higher pricing and decreased costs helped boost Del Monte Foods first-half net profit today (3 November).

For the six-month period to 1 November, income from continuing operations rose to US$121.2 from $40.3m in the previous year.

The figure includes pre-tax costs of $17m relating to the company's recently closed notes offering and tender offer.

Net sales for the first half of fiscal 2010 amounted to $1.77bn, an increase of 8.9% on 2008. This was driven primarily by strong volume gains across the portfolio, as well as the benefit of fiscal 2009 pricing actions partially offset by the impact of elasticity.

Operating profit rose to $261.5m from $92.8m in the comparable period of the prior year.

"As we enter the holiday season, we are pleased with the early look at our developing merchandising initiatives and the execution of our promotional and pricing strategy," chief executive Richard Wolford said.

For fiscal 2010, the company said it is maintaining its net sales growth target of 4% to 6% over fiscal 2009.

For the second quarter profit from continuing operations was $62.6m compared with $27.3m a year earlier.

Sales came in at $958.9m a rise of 6.4%.#

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