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ConAgra First-Quarter Earnings Rise

Earnings from continuing operations dip as the company's consumer foods division posts a decline in comparable operating profit.

Packaged food company

ConAgra Foods

(CAG) - Get Free Report

said first-quarter earnings rose to $442.4 million, or 95 cents a share, from $175.4 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier.

Earnings from continuing operations fell as the company's consumer foods division posted a decline in comparable operating profit.

ConAgra reported earnings from continuing operations of $107.4 million, or 23 cents a share, down from earnings of $131 million, or 27 cents a share, in the fiscal first quarter of 2007. The latest quarter includes certain charges of 4 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters estimated ConAgra to earn 24 cents a share in the first quarter.

Sales in the quarter rose 17%, while sales in the company's consumer foods segment rose 9% reflecting recent pricing actions.

ConAgra said it has made moves that should improve profits in consumer foods, particularly in the second half of the year.

The company slightly lowered its fiscal 2009 outlook based on a combination of volume and inflation expectations and increased investments for some brands. ConAgra said it now expects fiscal 2009 earnings from continuing operations to be slightly above $1.50, excluding items.