Second-quarter earnings at
matched the analysts' consensus on a 9% rise in sales.
The company earned $231 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with 56 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Sales were $2.1 billion, compared with $1.9 billion a year ago.
"We are successfully executing our highest strategic priority of revitalizing our U.S. soup business. We continue to generate excellent growth in our ready-to-serve soups and we are encouraged by the improved performance of our condensed soups," the company said in a statement.
In the third quarter, the Camden, N.J.-based company sees earnings of 31 cents a share, which is a penny short of the Wall Street consensus.
In 2004, the company expects to earn $1.58 a share, in line with analysts' forecasts, compared with $1.52 a share in 2003, which was before an accounting change.
The shares were recently trading down 6 cents, or 0.2%, at $28.14. On Friday the stock closed at a new 52-week high.