Topic: How To Invest

Investing in stocks: ConAgra reports lower earnings, slightly higher sales

ConAgra Foods Inc. (New York symbol CAG) makes a wide variety of packaged foods, including Chef Boyardee canned pasta, Hunt’s tomato sauce, Peter Pan peanut butter and Orville Redenbacher popcorn.

The company gets 67% of its revenue by selling its products to consumers. It gets the remaining 33% by selling foods to businesses.

In its 2011 second quarter, which ended November 28, 2010, ConAgra’s sales rose 2.0%, to $3.2 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier. Sales rose 1.0% at the consumer foods division, to $2.1 billion from $2.07 billion. The commercial foods division’s sales rose 3.0%, to $1.1 billion from $1.0 billion. The company sold more of its Lamb Weston specialty potato products. As well, ConAgra’s flour-milling operations raised their prices to offset higher wheat costs.

In the latest quarter, the company earned $200.9 million, or $0.45 a share, down 16.2% from $239.7 million, or $0.53 a share, a year earlier. Strong price competition and rising ingredient costs cut profit margins. That was the main reason for the decline.

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