PARSIPPANY, N.J., May 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pinnacle Foods Inc. (NYSE: PF) today reported its financial results for the first quarter ended March 30, 2014 and reaffirmed its guidance for double-digit EPS growth for the year.
Consolidated net sales in the first quarter ended March 30, 2014 increased 5% versus year-ago, largely reflecting the benefit of the Wish-Bone acquisition, partially offset by the unfavorable impacts of a later Easter in 2014 and a decline in sales at the Company's Specialty Foods division. Net sales for North America Retail, which is comprised of the Birds Eye Frozen and Duncan Hines Grocery segments, increased 7.6% versus year-ago, fueled by the benefit of Wish-Bone.
GAAP diluted earnings per share increased 21% to $0.35 in the first quarter of 2014, compared to $0.29 in the year-ago period. Excluding items affecting comparability, on a pro forma basis which is described in the accompanying reconciliation tables, diluted earnings per share advanced approximately 6% to $0.36, compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.34 in the year-ago period.
Commenting on the results, Pinnacle Foods Chief Executive Officer Bob Gamgort stated, "We are pleased with our performance in the quarter and continue to expect 2014 to be another year of double-digit EPS growth. Our focus on driving margin improvement through productivity and enhanced product mix, while maintaining our lean operating structure and driving strong free cash flow, continued to serve us well during a quarter in which the industry continued to be pressured for growth. Despite the industry headwinds, we again outpaced the performance of our composite categories, driving another quarter of market share growth."
On May 12, 2014, Pinnacle announced that it signed a definitive agreement for the sale of the Company to Hillshire Brands for a combination of cash and Hillshire common stock. The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close by the end of September 2014. Full report.