By GEOFF MULVIHILL
Campbell Soup Co. said Monday that its third-quarter net income slipped 3.4 percent as restructuring expenses and taxes rose but that its U.S. revenue increased almost 7 percent.
CEO Douglas R. Conant said its U.S. beverage and sauce businesses led by V8 V-Fusion juices and Prego and Pace sauces improved. He said Campbell's products used to prepare meals at home are resonating with consumers.
He said the company expects adjusted net earnings per share for the entire fiscal year to be at the high end of the company's previously issued outlook of 9 to 11 percent growth.
The world's largest soup maker reported net income declined 3.4 percent to $168 million, or 49 cents per share, in the three months ended May 2, down from $174 million, or 49 cents a share, a year ago.
But overall revenue increased 6.9 percent to $1.8 billion from $1.69 billion a year ago as U.S. soup revenue rose 2 percent.
The company, based in Camden, N.J.. said it adjusted earnings came to 54 cents a share. That beats the 51 cents that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected though revenue was in line with expectations.
Sales of condensed soups -- the products that made the company famous more than a century ago and are still important because of their high profit margins -- declined 1 percent as higher promotional spending more than offset gains in sales volume.
Ready-to-serve soup sales increased 4 percent. The company did not release precise figures, but said that its Chunky soup sales were strong. That means the products rebounded from the second quarter, when company officials they made mistakes with the way they promoted a relaunched line of healthier Chunky soups.
In the quarter ended May 3, promotional spending on Chunky and the Select Harvest line of ready-to-serve soups was up.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year, the company reported net income of $731 million, or $2.09 per share, on sales of $6.16 billion. That is up from net income of $667 million, or $1.83 a share, on sales of $6.06 billion a year earlier.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.