Heinz CEO Touts Strong 1Q, Expects EPS to Top Street

Led by growth in emerging markets that has helped offset high commodity costs, Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) expects to report better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, putting the company on track to meet its earlier forecasted fiscal 2013 outlook.

Heinz CEO William Johnson on Tuesday said the company expects to earn more than 87 cents a share during the quarter ending Aug. 29, which would be up from 70 cents a year ago and top average analyst estimates of 80 cents in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Net income is expected to grow 10% from continuing operations, while organic sales, which include changes to both volumes and prices, are expected to increase by 5%, marking the company’s 29th consecutive quarter of organic top-line growth.

The improvements will help the company reach its earlier-provided full-year profit guidance of $3.60 to $3.70, which is above the consensus of $3.51.

Shares of Heinz climbed by more than 3% to a 52-week high of $58.24 after the announcement.

Johnson noted that earnings will grow during the quarter “despite the headwinds of a still weak economy and adverse foreign currency trends that reduced EPS by around four cents.”