US-based organics group Hain Celestial saw its shares slide yesterday (4 May) after posting a third-quarter loss and lowering its full-year guidance.

For the quarter ended 31 March, the company booked a net loss of US$41.2m compared with a profit of $8.3m in the previous year.

The figure was hurt by foreign-exchange rate changes and sent shares tumbling 7% yesterday to $16.70.

On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted net income was $12.5m for the quarter.

Despite this, net sales edged up to $267.7m versus the prior year’s sales of $264.6m. The figure was affected by reduced inventories and consumers “using their pantry goods”, the company said.

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“Hain Celestial’s US business delivered a solid quarter as health conscious consumers remain committed to natural and organic products even in tough economic times,” said president and CEO Irwin Simon. “We believe that, as the quarter progressed, our strong brand portfolio and innovative range of healthy products offered through various distribution channels at reasonable prices provided consumers with the core goods they need for a healthy lifestyle.”

The company recorded an estimated non-cash impairment charge of $52.6m from the write-down of goodwill and other intangibles in its European and its Hain Pure Protein operations.

The company lowered its fiscal year 2009 guidance narrowing the range to $1.162bn to $1.170bn in sales and $1.25 to $1.30 earnings per share excluding the impairment and other adjustments. The earnings outlook includes stock compensation expense of 10 cents a share.

At the close of trading yesterday, shares edged up slightly to $18.05.