Hain Celestial fiscal 3Q revenue and profit up

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. (AP) — The Hain Celestial Group Inc. reported major profit gains in its fiscal third quarter on stronger sales, but the company issued a weak full-year forecast.

Shares fell in after-hours trading Thursday.

Hain Celestial earned $ 40.7 million, or 85 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That compares with $ 24.1 million, or 52 cents per share, earned last year. It made 72 cents per share on an adjusted basis, excluding one-time items.

Total revenue increased 21 percent to $ 456.1 million.

Analysts expected 72 cents per share on revenue of $ 480.2 million, according to FactSet.

Hain Celestial benefited from recent acquisitions in the United Kingdom but also saw revenue gains around the world.

The Lake Success, N.Y.-based company expects to earn $ 2.43 to $ 2.47 per share for the year on revenue around $ 1.73 billion. Analysts forecast $ 2.46 per share on revenue of $ 1.74 billion.

The company also announced that it is buying organic baby food maker Ella’s Kitchen Group Ltd. for an undisclosed amount and creating a global infant, toddler and kids division in the U.S. Paul Lindley, founder of Ella’s Kitchen, will be CEO of the division.

Ella’s Kitchen, which sells baby food in flexible pouches, generated approximately $ 70 million revenue last year. The deal is expected to add 5 to 8 cents per share to the company’s earnings in 2014.

Hain Celestial shares fell $ 2, about 3 percent, to $ 63.50 in after-hours trading.


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Pier 1 fiscal 4Q profit falls 46 pct

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Pier 1’s fourth-quarter earnings sank 46 percent compared with last year, when the retailer logged a huge, one-time tax benefit.

The company earned $ 61.7 million, or 58 cents per share, in the three months that ended March 2. That compares with earnings of $ 115.2 million, or $ 1.04 per share, in last year’s quarter. Adjusted earnings totaled 60 cents per share.

Revenue climbed 16 percent to $ 551.6 million.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 60 cents per share on $ 553 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of Pier 1 Imports Inc., based in Fort Worth, Texas, fell 3.6 percent, or 84 cents, to $ 22.50 Thursday before markets opened.

The company recorded a $ 33.8 million gain in last year’s quarter from an income tax benefit but had to set aside a $ 37.9 million income tax provision in this year’s quarter. Pier 1’s gain from interest and investment income, among other things, also fell to $ 590,000 from nearly $ 4 million in last year’s quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses climbed more than 9 percent to $ 145.5 million, but it was a smaller percentage of revenue compared to the 2012 quarter.

The company also said sales at stores open at least a year climbed 7.9 percent in the quarter. That compares to a 10.3 percent increase last year. This metric is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes the volitility from stores recently opened or closed.

For the full year, Pier 1 earned $ 129.4 million, or $ 1.20 per share, on $ 1.7 billion in revenue.

For fiscal 2014, the company expects earnings to range between $ 1.26 and $ 1.31 per share.

Analysts expect, on average, earnings of $ 1.38 per share.


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Apogee shares fall after fiscal 4Q results

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Apogee Enterprises Inc., a glass products company, said Wednesday that its net income jumped 48 percent on improved revenue but investors were not impressed and shares fell in after-hours trading.

The Minneapolis-based company earned $ 4.4 million, or 15 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 2. That compares with $ 3 million, or 11 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago. Excluding one-time items, it earned 15 cents per share.

Apogee’s revenue increased 7 percent to $ 179.7 million on gains in its architectural segment and declines in its optical business. Apogee CEO Joseph Puishys said that the company’s architectural segment revenue gains were led by the installation, window and architectural glass business. It was also helped by better prices. There was one less week in the period than in the prior year.

Puishys said the company expects improved performance in 2014, forecasting revenue gains in the high single percentage digits and earnings from continuing operations of 90 cent to $ 1 per share.

Puishys said the company is experiencing stronger bidding activity for future work and its margins on new orders are improving. He said the company’s plan to grow through new markets and new products should allow it to reach $ 1 billion in revenue by the end of its 2016 fiscal year.

Shares fell $ 1.99, or 6.8 percent, to $ 27.20 in after-hours trading.


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Cargill fiscal 3Q profit falls on higher costs

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cargill said Tuesday that its fiscal third-quarter net income fell 42 percent, hurt by higher costs at its meat processing businesses.

For the quarter ended Feb. 28, the privately held agribusiness company earned $ 445 million, down from $ 766 million in the same period a year ago. Revenue edged up 1 percent to $ 32.2 billion.

Minneapolis-based Cargill said its North American meat processing businesses were pressured by the high cost of feed ingredients stemming from last year’s drought conditions in many parts of the country.

In addition, results at the company’s animal nutrition business were pulled down by Venezuela’s currency devaluation in February and by tough economic conditions in meat and dairy production, Cargill said.

Origination and processing earnings fell from year-ago levels on mixed results from different regions.

While export demand for U.S. soybeans and meal was strong all quarter due to limited pre-harvest supplies in South America, weather delays and logistical problems resulted in lower-than-expected Brazilian soybean and soybean product exports, the company said.


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ConAgra fiscal 3Q profit falls on Ralcorp charges

NEW YORK (AP) — ConAgra Foods reported a third-quarter profit that fell shy of Wall Street expectations as the maker of Chef Boyardee and Hebrew National hot dogs booked charges related to its acquisition of Ralcorp and struggled to grow sales for its existing brands.

The Omaha, Neb.-based company had announced last year that it was buying Ralcorp Holdings, which makes crackers, pretzels and other store-brand foods for retailers such as CostCo, Kroger and Whole Foods. ConAgra noted at the time that such products are gaining popularity in the U.S. as supermarkets and drug store chains improve their offerings as a way to cultivate shopper loyalty.

The deal, which closed on Jan. 29, made ConAgra the nation’s biggest producer of store brands.

For the quarter, ConAgra said sales rose 7 percent in its consumer foods segment as a result of acquisitions and a more favorable mix of prices and packages. Sales volume for existing brands declined 3 percent from a year ago, but the company noted the figure has been improving sequentially and is expected to continue doing so in coming quarters. It noted that it’s significantly stepping up its marketing spending.

The company’s other brands include Hunt’s ketchup, Slim Jim and Marie Callender’s frozen meals.

In the commercial food segment, which provides goods to restaurant chains and other outlets, sales rose 1 percent. The company noted that its Lamb Weston potato unit benefited from higher prices, which offset a volume decline that resulted primarily from softness in Asian markets.

For the three months ended Feb. 24, ConAgra Foods Inc. said it earned $ 120 million, or 29 cents. That’s down from $ 280.1 million, or 67 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 55 cents per share. Analysts on average expected a profit of 56 cents per share.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $ 3.85 billion, which was also shy of the $ 3.9 billion that Wall Street expected.

ConAgra stood by its full-year guidance of adjusted net income of $ 2.15 per share, representing a 17 percent increase from the previous year. The forecast includes a 5-cents-per-share benefit from its acquisition of Ralcorp. Next year, the company expects a 25-cents-per-share benefit from the acquisition.

Analysts expect annual earnings per share of $ 2.16.

The board also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share, payable May 31 to shareholders of record April 30.

In morning trading, ConAgra shares fell 15 cents to $ 35.39.


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