Heinz has reported underlying third-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts, although its sales came in under analyst estimates.

The US food giant yesterday (21 February) booked earnings per share for continuing operations and excluding special items of US$0.99 for the three months to 27 January, up 3.1%. On average, analysts were expecting earnings of $0.90 a share, Thomson Reuters said.

Heinz, which has agreed to be taken private by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway fund and private-equity firm 3G Capital, reported underyling results that stripped out special items. These included a fee paid to Chinese unit Foodstar and charges incurred in its last financial year for changes to its supply chain and factory closures. 

Net income was up 3% at $320m. Operating income grew 4.3% to $467.9m. Heinz cited “higher pricing” and productivity improvements.

Increased prices also helped Heinz’s sales. Reported sales increased 2% to $2.93bn. On an organic basis, sales rose 2.3%, with Heinz posting a 0.3 percentage point increase in volumes. However, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast revenue of $2.99bn.

Emerging markets boosted sales. Heinz cited growth in Latin America, Indonesia and China.