Originally created 05/25/04

Campbell Soup profits rise 10 percent in third quarter

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Campbell Soup Co.'s profit rose 10 percent in its third fiscal quarter, with favorable currency exchange rates offsetting increased promotional spending and lower volume.

The world's biggest soup maker said Monday it earned $142 million, or 34 cents a share, in the three months ended May 2, compared to $129 million, or 31 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2003.

This latest earnings included a one-time gain of 2 cents a share stemming from Campbell's share of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit involving ingredient suppliers.

Excluding the 2-cent gain, earnings of 32 cents a share matched expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Sales were $1.67 billion in the quarter, up 4.2 percent from $1.6 billion a year earlier.

The Camden-based company said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents a share, and $1.60 for the year - $1.58 excluding the settlement gain. Analysts forecast 19 cents and $1.58 a share, respectively.

For the first three quarters of the fiscal year, Campbell earned $588 million, or $1.43 a share, up from $521 million, or $1.26 a share, a year ago.

Sales were $5.68 billion fore the first nine months of the fiscal year, up 8.7 percent from $5.22 billion in the same 2003 period.

Campbell's president and CEO Douglas R. Conant said, "Despite lower U.S. soup sales in the third quarter, the year-to-date performance of U.S. soup demonstrates continued progress.

"We have delivered strong growth in ready-to-serve soup and broth while improving the trend in condensed soup. Our convenience platform for soup is gaining wider consumer acceptance."

On the Net:

Campbell Soup Co: http://www.campbellsoup.com


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