Originally created 06/18/04

Smucker profit falls on weaker Crisco sales, charges



ORRVILLE, Ohio -The J.M. Smucker Co., the country's largest maker of jams and jellies, Thursday said profit for its latest quarter declined from a year ago, as slowing sales of Crisco oil, restructuring charges and the pending acquisition of International Multifoods hurt its bottom line.

The Orrville-based company posted net income of $22.2 million, or 44 cents a share, for the fourth quarter ended April 30, down from $23.2 million, or 46 cents, a year earlier.

The latest results included restructuring charges of 8 cents a share, and charges of 2 cents a share for merger and integration costs from the International Multifoods buy.

In March, Smucker agreed to buy Minneapolis-based International Multifoods for $500 million in stock and cash, plus assumed debt of about $340 million. The deal added old-fashioned food products such as Pillsbury cake mixes, Hungry Jack dried potatoes and Pet evaporated milk to the jam maker's cupboard.

The quarter also included a gain of 2 cents a share on the sale of a California plant. Excluding items, the company earned 52 cents a share, in line with the estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

In early Thursday trading, shares of Smucker fell $1.27, or 2.6 percent, to $47.38 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Sales in the latest quarter slipped 1.1 percent to $325.4 million from $329 million.

Smucker's consumer business saw an improved fruit spreads and toppings market, led by a 5 percent gain in Jif sales. Natural peanut butter sales jumped 13 percent.

The gains were offset by a 19 percent drop in Crisco sales, hurt by tough price competition. Overall U.S. retail sales declined to $218.1 million from $222.4 million.