Inflation Hurts Del Monte Net - TheStreet

Higher commodity costs squeezed

Del Monte Foods'

(DLM)

profit in the third quarter.

The San Francisco-based company posted net income of $48.5 million, or 23 cents a share, down from $53.5 million, or 26 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Based on continuing operations, Del Monte earned 23 cents for the third quarter ended Jan. 30, vs. 25 cents a share a year ago.

The consensus earnings estimate was 24 cents, according to Thomson First Call.

Revenue increased 6.2% to $861.3 million, driven by higher volume from new product introductions, increased marketing support and increased pricing.

The company blamed "increased inflationary costs" in steel and energy, logistics and other transportation-related costs and fish.

For fiscal 2005, the company expects EPS from continuing operations of 65 cents to 70 cents, which includes 17 cents in various items; for its fiscal 2005 fourth quarter, the company sees EPS of approximately 18 cents to 23 cents, including charges of 12 cents. The consensus forecasts are 82 cents and 31 cents.

Shares closed at $10.82 Wednesday.