Campbell's 4Q Results, Outlook Impress Wall Street

Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) beat the Street on Tuesday with a 27% jump in fiscal fourth-quarter profits and unveiled an outlook that surpassed expectations.

The earnings beat and rosy guidance helped lift the soup company’s shares more than 4% in premarket action.

Camden, N.J.-based Campbell said it earned $127 million, or 40 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $100 million, or 31 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 41 cents a share, topping estimates from analysts by 3 cents.

Revenue was essentially flat at $1.61 billion, compared with the Street’s view of $1.6 billion. When currency fluctuations are excluded, sales were up 3%. Gross margins shrank to 38.5% from 39.8%.

Campbell’s results were boosted by a 9% leap in U.S. soup sales and a 4% rise in domestic sauce sales.

“In the fourth quarter, we generated organic sales growth, with gains across most of our portfolio, including strong sales in U.S. Soup and U.S. Simple Meals,” CEO Denise Morrison said in a statement. “Retailers continue to respond favorably to our new product development, and we have started shipping new products for fiscal 2013 launches.”

Meanwhile, Campbell said it expects to generate fiscal 2013 sales growth of 10% to 12%, translating to non-GAAP EPS of $2.51 to $2.57. The midpoint of the new EPS range, $2.54, would beat the Street’s view of $2.52.

“As we begin the new fiscal year, we are confident that we will improve our sales and earnings trends,” said Morrison.

Shares of Campbell jumped 4.38% to $36.68 ahead of the open, putting them on track to add to their modest 2012 gain of 6%.