US food company Campbell Soup has reported a 35% rise in quarterly earnings, boosted by lower costs and improvements in its US soup business.

The Camden, New Jersey-based company reported earnings of US$74m, or 18 cents a share, for the fourth quarter to 3 August, compared with $55m, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been expecting, on average, earnings of 17 cents a share before items, reported Reuters.

Year-ago results included an amortisation expense of $14m, which has since been eliminated under new accounting rules.

Net sales for the quarter increased 19% to $1.46bn, helped by foreign exchange gains and reduced promotional spending.

The company said shipments of so-called wet soup increased 7% in the US, as ready-to-serve soups offset weakness in sales of condensed soup.

Campbell Soup said it expects fiscal 2004 earnings of around $1.58 per share, and first-quarter earnings of between 48 and 50 cents per share.