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Weak Dollar Boosts Heinz

The condiment maker meets analysts' earnings estimates as profit almost doubles.
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H.J. Heinz

(HNZ)

almost doubled in the fourth quarter, as the weak dollar helped drive sales of its well-known ketchup and other condiments.

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The Pittsburgh-based company had net income of $196.5 million, or 55 cents a share, vs. $102.6 million, or 29 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $2.33 billion from $2.19 billion.

Excluding items, EPS from continuing operations was 58 cents a share, 12% higher than a year ago.

Analysts had forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share.

The company said it expects full-year 2004 EPS of $2.32 to $2.42 a share. The consensus estimate is for $2.36 a share.

Shares closed at $37.06 Monday.