ConAgra Foods' Fiscal First-Quarter EPS Higher Than Planned

Sept. 19, 2014

OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) one of North America’s leading food companies, today reported results for the fiscal 2015 first quarter ended Aug. 24, 2014. Diluted EPS from continuing operations was $0.25 as reported for the fiscal first quarter, versus $0.30 in the year-ago period. After adjusting for items impacting comparability, current-quarter diluted EPS of $0.39 increased over the comparable $0.37 earned in the year-ago period. 

Fiscal 2015 First-quarter Highlights (% cited vs. year-ago period amounts, where applicable):

  • Diluted EPS from continuing operations was $0.25 as reported, versus $0.30 a year-ago. Current quarter EPS adjusted for items impacting comparability was $0.39, ahead of $0.37 a year ago.
  • Consumer Foods’ volumes were flat and comparable operating profit increased substantially, improved from the performance seen in recent quarters.
  • Commercial Foods’ sales increased, and comparable operating profit declined due to a less favorable product mix and comparatively weak potato crop quality. The company expects a better quality potato crop and related efficiencies starting in the fiscal second quarter.
  • The Ardent Mills transaction was completed during the fiscal first quarter, and flour milling results prior to the transaction have been reclassified as discontinued operations. Revised historical amounts are provided in accompanying tables.
  • Private Brands sales declined slightly, and comparable operating profit declined substantially, as expected, largely due to pricing concessions made last fiscal year which have not yet been lapped. As previously communicated, full-year profits are expected to increase modestly, with the growth occurring in the second half of the fiscal year.
  • The company continues to expect comparable fiscal 2015 EPS to show a mid-single digit rate of growth over comparable fiscal 2014 EPS of $2.17, and for operating cash flow to be approximately $1.6-$1.7 billion.
  • After reducing debt by approximately $500 million in the fiscal first quarter, the company is on track to reduce debt by a total of approximately $1 billion in fiscal 2015 from a combination of operating cash flow and net cash proceeds from the Ardent Mills transaction. After reaching the $1 billion target for fiscal 2015, overall debt is expected to be reduced by approximately $2 billion since the completion of the Ralcorp acquisition.
  • The company reaffirms its commitment to maintaining a strong dividend. Full report.