Del Monte Foods' profit declines 47%

From Reuters

Del Monte Foods Co. reported a 47% drop in quarterly profit Thursday as it was hit by higher costs for fish, peaches and tomatoes as well as expenses for integrating acquisitions.

But earnings excluding one-time items exceeded expectations, helped by price increases and cost cuts.

The San Francisco-based maker of canned fruit, StarKist tuna and Meow Mix cat food posted a profit of $23.2 million, or 11 cents a share, for the fiscal second quarter that ended Oct. 29. That was down from $43.9 million, or 22 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items such as acquisition integration costs, earnings were 18 cents a share, unchanged from a year earlier and 4 cents better than the average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters Estimates.

Sales in the quarter rose 13% to $893.5 million.

The company's pet food business, which includes recently acquired Meow Mix and Milk Bone dog snacks, had a 57% increase in sales and a 65% increase in operating income in the quarter, helped by the acquisitions.

Del Monte shares rose 11 cents to $11.29.

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