Campbell beats Street 2Q forecasts but soup sales decline

Campbell Soup Co. beat Wall Street second-quarter expectations, but declining soup and juice sales and an ongoing dispute with Walmart left investors cold and shares fell in morning trading.

U.S. soup sales were down 7 percent amid a disagreement with Walmart over a promotional program, an issue Campbell hinted at six months ago. Campbell said it is making progress with Walmart on the issue and expected the decline in soup sales to moderate in the second half of the fiscal year.

Another disappointment was the Campbell Fresh segment, which did not recover as the company expected. Poor sales of its Bolthouse Farms refrigerated beverages drove a 1 percent decline in the segment, which also includes salad dressings, hummus and salsa.

The soup, snack and juice maker reported fiscal second-quarter earnings more than doubled to $285 million from $101 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

On a per-share basis, the Camden, New Jersey-based company earned 95 cents. Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, earnings per share rose to $1 from 91 cents.

The results beat Wall Street expectations of 81 cents per share, according to an analyst survey by Zacks Investment Research.

The maker of canned soup, Pepperidge Farm cookies and V8 juice posted revenue of $2.18 billion in the period, also exceeding the average Street forecast of $2.17 billion.

Based partly on the new tax law, Campbell raised its full-year earnings projections between 2 and 4 percent to a range of $3.10 to $3.17 per share.

Campbell shares have fallen 26 percent in the past year.


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