(By Balachander) Campbell Soup Co. (NYSE:CPB) posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly results on strong soup sales and the company issued earnings forecast for 2013 above consensus, sending its shares 6.77 percent higher in premarket trading on Tuesday.
The Camden, New Jersey-based company said it recorded organic sales gains, with growth across most of its portfolio, including a 14 percent jump in sales of "Campbell's" condensed soups.
Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) declined 5 percent to 41 cents, yet topped Wall Street projections of 38 cents. Net income attributable to the company jumped 27 percent to $127 million.
Sales inched up 0.4 percent to $1.61 billion, while market expectations called in for a drop of 0.40 percent for the fourth quarter. Organic sales grew 3 percent.
Gross margin shrank to 38.5 percent from 39.8 percent, mainly because of cost inflation and higher promotional activities.
Segment wise, sales at Campbell Soup's U.S. Simple Meals increased 7 percent with soup sales up 9 percent, while International Simple Meals and Beverages declined 7 percent. Global Baking and Snacking and North America Foodservice sales fell 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Sales of U.S. Beverages gained 3 percent.
Looking ahead for 2013, the company forecasts adjusted EPS in the range of $2.51 to $2.57, on net sales growth between 10 and 12 percent. Analysts expect EPS of $2.52 on sales gain of 10.20 percent.
CPB closed Friday's regular trading at $35.14. The stock has been trading in the 52-week range between $29.93 and $35.60.