Omaha / NE. (caf) ConAgra Foods Inc., one of North America´s leading food companies, is revising its fiscal 2014 diluted EPS expectations to a range of 2,34 to 2,38 USD, adjusted for items impacting comparability; the prior target was diluted EPS of approximately 2,40 USD, adjusted for items impacting comparability. The revised estimates represent eight to ten percent growth over comparable fiscal 2013 EPS of 2,16 USD (fiscal 2013 diluted EPS was 1,85 USD).
The revised outlook reflects lower-than-planned fiscal first-quarter EPS. First-quarter EPS was 0,33 USD as reported and 0,37 USD adjusted for items impacting comparability. While challenging industry conditions have weighed on overall results, the softer-than-planned first-quarter comparable EPS performance principally relates to the Consumer Foods segment, where difficult conditions for some branded retail categories and some customers have negatively impacted sales and profits. Unit volumes for that segment in the fiscal first quarter were below year-ago levels and below the company´s original plans.
The company is adjusting its merchandising, promotion, and pricing strategies for its retail brands to improve the Consumer Foods segment´s sales and profit performance as fiscal 2014 progresses. The company has also begun implementing aggressive cost management initiatives. The input cost environment for the remainder of fiscal 2014 has improved from earlier projections, which is also expected to improve the Consumer Foods segment´s financial performance in fiscal 2014.
The company´s near-term capital allocation goals, which include significant debt retirement in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, and its fiscal 2015 to 2017 EPS growth plans, which include realizing significant synergies from the Ralcorp acquisition, remain intact and are not impacted by the revision to the fiscal 2014 EPS estimates.
The company is finalizing the financial details of the fiscal 2014 first-quarter performance and will discuss actual performance and more details with the regularly scheduled earnings release on September 19, 2013.