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Conagra Drops After Cutting Earnings Forecast Due to Cost Inflation

Conagra says inflation in the cost of the raw materials it uses will pressure its results.
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Shares of Conagra Brands (CAG) - Get Report were lower on Tuesday after the Chicago packaged-food giant said it expected inflation to cut into profit and reduced its full-year guidance.

Shares of Conagra at last check were down 4.2% to $34.42. 

"As the fourth quarter unfolded, input-cost inflation accelerated and we now expect fiscal 2022 input-cost inflation to be materially higher than we anticipated at the end of fiscal Q3," Chief Executive Sean Connolly said in a statement. 

Ingredients and packaging costs represent 60% to 65% of the company's total costs.  

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For fiscal 2022, the company cut its adjusted-profit estimate to $2.50 a share from its previous forecast of $2.63 to $2.73 a share. A FactSet survey of Wall Street analysts was estimating $2.72 a share. 

Conagra expects the impact of the lag between the time it faces inflation pressure and when its pricing catches up to be most acute in the first half of fiscal 2022. 

For the fiscal 2021 fourth quarter ended May 30, the company reported earnings of 54 cents a share as net sales fell 17% to $2.74 billion. Analysts in the FactSet survey were expecting earnings of 52 cents a share on revenue of $2.71 billion. 

"We successfully responded to the heightened consumer demand while continuing to invest in the long-term health of the business. ... [We] are well-positioned to continue to win with consumers," Connolly said.