Campbell stocks fall despite higher revenues

Revenues at Campbell Soup are up as U.S. soup sales have increased.
Revenues at Campbell Soup are up as U.S. soup sales have increased. (PAUL SAKUMA / AP, File)
Posted: May 22, 2013

Campbell Soup Co. shares tumbled Monday despite a rebound in U.S. soup sales and an increased earnings forecast for the fiscal year that ends in July.

The Camden company's shares closed at $45.78, down 3.88 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange, but remain at a level last seen in the late 1990s.

Overall revenue was up 15 percent in the quarter ended April 28, to $2.09 billion, with 11 percentage points of the gain from Bolthouse Farms, which Campbell bought for $1.55 billion last summer.

Even so, excluding Bolthouse, the 4 percent increase in sales was the company's strongest quarterly showing since 2009, chief financial officer B. Craig Owens said in a conference call with analysts.

Soup sales were a strong point in the quarter, climbing 14 percent from the comparable quarter a year ago, when they were down 3 percent.

"Colder weather clearly helped soup sales in the quarter as we cycled last year's weather, which was one of the warmest winters on record," Denise Morrison, Campbell's president and chief executive, said on the analysts call.

Morrison, who became CEO in August 2011, also attributed the gains to better execution by the company. "We're very encouraged by the progress we've made in this business," she said.

Beverages were a weak spot in the quarter, falling 5 percent from a year ago, to $198 million from $208 million. Operating profits in that segment, which includes V8, V8 Fusion, and V8 Splash juices, were $33 million, down 27 percent from $45 million in 2012.

The problems were concentrated in the higher-priced, shelf-stable products, such as V8. Lower-priced V8 Splash was doing better, Campbell said, and new Bolthouse Farm premium juices sold in the refrigerated section of stores were exceeding expectations.

Overall quarterly net income was $181 million, or 57 cents per share, up from $177 million, or 55 cents per share, last year.

The company raised its fiscal 2013 earnings target, excluding restructuring charges, to the range of $2.58 to $2.62 per share from the range of $2.51 and $2.57 per share.


Contact Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.

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