ConAgra Foods: reaffirms FY 2009 EPS outlook

Omaha / NE. (caf) ConAgra Foods Inc. reaffirmed its earnings expectations for fiscal year 2009. The company said that it expects fiscal 2009 earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding items impacting comparability, of slightly above 1,50 USD. During the Consumer Analyst Group of New York (CAGNY) Conference in Boca Raton (Florida), CEO Gary Rodkin, Consumer Foods President Andre Hawaux, and Chief Financial Officer John Gehring discussed key strategic priorities, the company´s current financial outlook and the plan to overhaul ConAgra´s frozen foods products as the company tries to improve its consumer foods business.

Regarding the near-term outlook (EPS amounts refer to earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding items impacting comparability):

  • ConAgra Foods expects fiscal 2009 EPS of slightly above 1,50 USD, with more earnings expected to be generated in the company´s fiscal fourth quarter (March, April, May) than the fiscal third quarter, in which it is currently operating. This is a reaffirmation of previously communicated EPS expectations for fiscal 2009.
  • Regarding projections for fiscal 2010, the company expects EPS growth over fiscal 2009, and will provide more details when it has completed its plans and has more fully assessed the impacts of changing input costs and economic conditions. The company expects improved Consumer Foods operating profit in fiscal 2010 due to moderating input cost inflation, anticipated benefits from its offering of brands and products that appeal to value-conscious consumers, and new product introductions.

Regarding the long-term outlook (EPS amounts refer to earnings per share from continuing operations, excluding items impacting comparability):

  • The company expects annual EPS growth of eight percent to ten percent over the long term.
  • Return on invested capital is expected to range from twelve percent to 13 percent over the long term.

In the conference in Boca Raton, Rodkin and Hawaux explained the company´s strategic priorities, a significant rejuvenation of the company´s frozen foods business and new products that leverage the company´s strengths in the convenient meals and snacking categories.

«We continue to bring meaningful innovation and improve our marketing efforts in ways that we believe will strengthen our brand portfolio for the long term», Rodkin said in Florida. «While economic conditions are difficult right now, we are confident that our refined strategic focus, the new items we are bringing to market, the value orientation of our portfolio, and our cost-saving programs will allow us to generate strong profitability. We remain committed to sustainable profitable growth and look forward to discussing our future progress».

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