(By Balachander) ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE:CAG) reported stronger-than-forecast earnings for the fourth quarter, helped by sales growth at its consumer and commercial food segments and the company forecasts "good" profit growth for 2013.
On an adjusted basis, earnings per share from continuing operations increased 9 percent to 51 cents, topping market expectations by a penny. The company slipped to a loss of 21 cents a shares on a net basis from profit of 61 cents a share in the the year-ago quarter.
Total sales rose 6.3 percent to $3.41 billion, coming in above expectations of a 5.2 percent growth. Sales at the company's consumer and commercial food segments advanced 6.1 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.
Looking ahead for fiscal 2013, ConAgra forecasts good earnings growth helped by acquisitions and margin management initiatives. It sees 6 percent to 8 percent earnings growth over the comparable EPS base of $1.84 in fiscal 2012.
The Omaha, Nebraska-based company's brands include: Alexia, Banquet, Lamb Weston, Healthy Choice and Snack Pack, among others.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range between $22.20 and $27.34, ended Wednesday's regular trading at $24.60.