US spice giant McCormick & Co. today (30 September) lifted its earnings target for its financial year after a “strong” third quarter.

The company said it expects earnings per share for the fiscal year to the end of November to rise by 9-11%.

McCormick said earnings per share on a GAAP basis is expected to be US$2.67-2.71. On a comparable basis, excluding a one-off tax gain, EPS is predicted to reach $2.57-2.61, McCormick said. In June, when McCormick published its second-quarter results, it targeted EPS of $2.49-2.54.

Chairman, president and CEO Alan Wilson said McCormick’s cost-savings programme, combined with “a more favourable mix of products” increased the company’s gross margin in the third quarter by “nearly two percentage points”. Wilson added: “Due in large part to our excellent progress with margin improvement initiatives, we have raised our projected growth rate for 2010 earnings per share.”

For the three months to 31 August, McCormick posted net income of $102.4m, against $75.1m a year earlier. Operating income stood at $95.8m, compared to $88.3m a year ago. Net sales reached $454.1m; a year earlier, net sales were $450.5m.
Click here for the complete earnings statement from McCormick.