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ConAgra First-Quarter Net More Than Doubles on Stronger Sales

Wall Street Journal - Sep 21, 2012

ConAgra Foods Inc.'s (CAG) fiscal first-quarter earnings more than doubled as price increases helped the food company profit more from its sales to consumers, despite continued declines in the number of items sold.

The maker of Hunt's ketchup, Peter Pan peanut butter and Slim Jim meat snacks says that while it expects its U.S. consumer business to improve throughout the year, it's looking for additional acquisitions and international expansion to fuel long-term growth.

"What we're not going to do is just plant a lot of flags," Chief Executive Gary Rodkin said on conference call. "We're going to build out from the infrastructure in places that we already have pretty good scale, like India or Mexico, where we can grow not just in those companies but from that geography." He said ConAgra is looking for "the right assets at the right price," so it can leverage its supply chain, marketing and sales distribution to generate sustainable value. Its recent acquisition of Lamb Weston potato operations helped boost first-quarter profit significantly.

ConAgra's consumer-foods unit, which includes the packaged foods stocked on grocery-store shelves, has benefited in recent quarters from rising prices. Like its competitors, though, ConAgra has seen its sales hit by the tough economy and its margins squeezed by higher costs for raw materials.

Read Full Article from Wall Street Journal

- Posted: 2012-09-21 14:16:08

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