US packaged food manufacturer ConAgra Foods has reported a 10.3% fall in second-quarter earnings due to the divestment of its meat processing activities, but earnings from continuing operations rose.

Net income was US$242.3m, or 47 cents per share, for the second quarter to 28 November 2004, compared to $270.1m, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier. However, the company said earnings from continuing operations rose to 47 cents per share from 45 cents a year earlier.

Sales for the quarter increased 8% to $4.1bn. Operating profit rose to $545m, 10% above last year, with all segments posted operating profit growth in the latest quarter.

"The company is tracking with its plan for solid EPS performance this fiscal year. Our sales growth this quarter builds on last quarter's strong top-line performance and reflects continued progress with marketing and operating initiatives being implemented to fuel profitable growth," said Bruce Rohde, chairman and CEO.

"As expected, we continued to experience increased input costs in several areas of our business, which we were able to largely offset through volume gains, price adjustments, better sales and marketing, and cost-saving initiatives. We look forward to this momentum continuing through May, which concludes the second half of our fiscal year," he added.