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Campbell Profit Drops 22%, Still Beats Street

Campbell beats expectations and issues better-than-expected forecast.



) -- Soup and summer don't go well together. Considering this, the state of the economy and some one-time charges,

Campbell Soups'

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(CPB) - Get Report

fourth-quarter earnings were actually better-than-expected.

During the quarter, the company earned $69 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $89 million, or 24 cents, in the year-ago period.

But excluding one-time items like commodity hedging and a charge related to European trademarks, the company actually earned $107 million, or 30 cents a share. This was better than the 26 cents analysts expected.

Sales dropped 10% to $1.53 billion from $1.7 billion. But sales of soups in the iconic red-and-white can rose 4%, while Prego pasta sauce jumped double-digits.

Campbell also forecast earnings that would beat Wall Street's forecast. The company expects earnings in the current year to grow between 5% and 7% from the $2.22 a share reported in fiscal 2009.

On Thursday, rival

General Mills (GIS) - Get Report said it's on track to top expectations in its first quarter




has also been in the news for its offer to purchase candy maker



. But Cadbury rejected its $16.7 billion offer, saying it is too low.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York

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