Spam and Ketchup on the Earnings Menu

Food makers Hormel and Heinz both say quarterly sales rise year over year.
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said its turkey business was a big factor in second-quarter earnings rising from a year ago, but the company's bottom line still came up a little short of Wall Street's estimates.

The meat and food maker, which features the Spam and Dinty Moore product lines in its portfolio of offerings, said Thursday that second-quarter earnings rose to $55.8 million, or 40 cents a share, from $53.7 million, or 38 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales totaled $1.3 billion, up from $1.1 billion in fiscal 2004.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 42 cents a share.

While Hormel said its turkey business "was the clear stand-out in the quarter," the grocery products and refrigerated foods segment margins were pressured by higher pork and beef raw-material costs.

For the third quarter, the company forecast a profit of 34 cents to 40 cents a share. The company maintained its fiscal year guidance for a profit of $1.70 to $1.80. On average, analysts expect earnings of 38 cents in the third quarter and $1.78 for the year.


H.J. Heinz


reported net income of $206.5 million, or 58 cents a share, for its fiscal fourth quarter. Earnings from continuing operations, excluding items, totaled 63 cents. Wall Street's consensus estimate was a profit of 62 cents a share. Sales rose to $2.45 billion from $2.33 billion a year ago.

For fiscal 2006, Heinz is targeting 4% to 6% sales growth and earnings of $2.35 to $2.45 a share. The maker of ketchup, sauces and other foodstuffs expects strong operating results, but said that will be partially offset by higher interest costs and a higher tax rate.

Analysts expect earnings of $2.46 a share for the fiscal year, according to Thomson First Call.

Heinz announced plans to sell the HAK line of prepared vegetables in northern Europe and has started a strategic review of its seafood and frozen businesses in Europe and its Tegel poultry operations in New Zealand. The company said the move was in line with its plan to focus on its core categories.

The company has also formed an office of the chairman that will include a number of Pittsburgh-based executives.