ConAgra Sales Rise on Demand for Food Ingredients


ConAgra Foods reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a 3.5 percent rise in sales in its commercial foods business, which makes ingredients for other manufacturers and restaurants.

The maker of Slim Jim beef jerky and Chef Boyardee pasta said it expected to announce the outcome of the sale process of its private label food business in fall.

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ConAgra said in June it planned to exit the business, which has been plagued with problems ranging from customer service issues to pricing concessions since the acquisition of Ralcorp in 2013.

ConAgra, the largest U.S. private label foods maker till it sells the business, recorded a $1.41 billion loss from the business in the first quarter ended Aug. 30.

That pushed the company to an attributable net loss of $1.24 billion, or $2.85 per share, in the quarter. It recorded a profit of $482.3 million, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, ConAgra earned 45 cents per share, beating analysts average estimate of 40 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 1.1 percent to $2.79 billion, increasing for only the second time in six quarters. The commercial foods business accounted for 39.3 percent of total sales in the quarter.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)