• Net income down 6.5%; sales fall 4.5%
  • Reports better at constant currency
  • "Strong" growth in emerging markets

Currency fluctuation has hit HJ Heinz's bottom line in its fiscal first quarter, the company has said.

The baked beans and ketchup maker said today (20 August) that net income for the three months to 29 July fell 6.5% to US$219.1m.

Meanwhile, operating income was down 6.7% at $365.9m and sales dropped 4.5% to $2.47bn.

CFO Art Winkleblack said the weakness of sterling against the euro and US dollar had hit Heinz's imports of raw materials into the UK.

However, on a constant-currency basis, operating income climbed 5.6% and turnover was up 4.5%.

"Led by strong organic sales growth in emerging markets, our sharply focused global portfolio of leading brands performed well, especially in our core categories of ketchup and sauces and infant/nutrition, even as the recession continued to impact consumer behaviour," Heinz chairman, president and CEO Bill Johnson said.

Click here for the full Heinz Q1 release and check back later for post-conference call comment from the company.