Campbell Soup Q3 Earnings are M’m M’m Good

Andrew Klips  |

Campbell Soup Company (CPB) on Monday reported results from its fiscal third quarter that topped earnings estimates for the fifth straight quarter as the company continues to deliver on its turnaround efforts for its soup business and expansion into healthy beverages and baked snacks.

For the quarter ended April 28, Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co., who also makes V8 and Pepperidge Farm products, reported net sales of $2.09 billion; that’s up 15 percent from $1.82 billion in the same quarter last year. The acquisition of Bolthouse Farms added 11 percent to the improvement. Third-quarter profits were $181 million, or 57 cents per share, compared to $177 million, or 55 cents per share, in the year prior period. Adjust earnings, which excluded one-time charges for restructuring and acquisitions, were $195 million, 62 cents per share, up from $180 million, or 56 cents per share, in Q3 fiscal 2012.

Wall Street was expecting adjusted earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $2.04 billion.

U.S. sales in the simple meals segment, which includes soups and sauces, increased 11 percent to $627 million as U.S. soup sales jumped 14 percent, lead by an 11 percent improvement in Campbell’s brand condensed soups. Broth sales increased 18 percent, mostly because of higher sales of aseptic broth.

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Operating earnings from simple meals surged 30 percent to $156 million, compared to $120 million last year.

U.S. beverages were the dark spot on the report, declining 5 percent to $198 million from a sales perspective and 27 percent to $33 million with respect to earnings.

The global baking and snacking segment, which includes Pepperidge Farm, improved 5 percent in sales to $568 million, although earnings in the category were flat at $73 million.

“We remain committed to our dual mandate,” Morrison continued. “We are strengthening our core portfolio through consistent excellence in execution, optimized investment and sustaining product innovation. We are also expanding into higher-growth categories, adjacencies and geographies,” said Denise Morrison, president and chief executive at Campbell Soup.

Looking forward, the company now sees full-year sales growth at the upper end of its 10 percent to 12 percent range and adjusted EPS growth between 6 percent and 7 percent, equating to a range of $2.58 to $2.62. Campbell had previously guided adjusted earnings in the range of $2.51 to $2.57 for fiscal 2013.

Shares of CPB have been steadily trekking north in 2013, rising by about 37 percent so far this year. Shares jumped ahead at the opening bell, but have retraced just as quickly to be printing down by about 35 cents at $47.28 less than one hour into the trading session.

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