Input costs press ConAgra income

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Food-maker ConAgra Foods said Dec. 20 that fiscal second-quarter net income fell nearly 15 percent as high food costs continued to pressure results.

ConAgra Foods Inc., like many food companies, is dealing with higher costs for ingredients, packaging and fuel and has raised its prices to offset those increases.

The maker of Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee and other packaged foods says net income fell to $171.8 million, or 41 cents per share. That compares with $200.9 million, or 46 cents per share a year ago. Excluding one-time items related to derivatives and restructuring, net income was 47 cents per share.

Revenue during the 13 weeks ended Nov. 27 rose 8 percent to $3.4 billion from $3.15 billion last year. Analysts expected $3.34 billion.

Sales of branded consumer foods, the company's largest division that makes up 63 percent of sales, rose 4 percent to $2.18 billion.

General Mills raises prices

NEW YORK (AP) -- General Mills' second-quarter net income slipped 28 percent in the second quarter, the company said Dec. 20, citing rising costs. Revenue jumped by double digits as it was able to successfully raise prices.

The food company maintained its adjusted full-year earnings guidance, but cautioned that second-half gross margin as a percent of sales will be below year-ago levels.

The Minneapolis company earned $444.8 million, or 67 cents per share, for the quarter ended Nov. 27. That's down from $613.9 million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding charges tied to its Yoplait deal and other items, earnings were 76 cents per share.

Quarterly revenue rose 14 percent to $4.62 billion from $4.07 billion, helped by higher prices. Wall Street expected revenue of $4.6 billion.

County OKs biotech crops

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Boulder County commissioners have voted to allow farmers to plant some genetically modified corn and sugar beets on county-owned open space that they lease, with restrictions.

The Daily Camera reports that on Dec. 20, commissioners supported continuing to allow farmers to plant corn that has been genetically engineered to resist insects or the herbicide glyphosate, which is a key ingredient in the weed control product Roundup.

They also supported letting farmers plant Roundup Ready sugar beets, which have been modified to resist glyphosate.

Commissioners said they would consider whether to allow genetically modified crops with other traits, such as drought resistance, as they are developed in the future.

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