Campbell Soup lowers fiscal 2015 outlook; anticipates softer-than-expected 2nd quarter

StocksAssociated Press

Campbell Soup altered its outlook, the second time it has done so in the past three months, citing headwinds from a strong U.S. dollar.

Campbell now expects revenue for 2015 to be down 1 percent to up 1 percent. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, the Camden, New Jersey, company said that its outlook is unchanged.

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The company previously predicted revenue would be flat to up 2 percent.

Like other established food producers, Campbell has wrestled with changing American tastes, namely a shift away from processed foods and preservatives. It announced in late January that it would realign the company, creating three divisions divided by food types, rather than by geography or brand groups.

The company has been able to sustain its stock price. Shares are up more than 8 percent this year, and more than 16 percent over the past 52 weeks. Shares hit a 52-week high on a week ago.

Yet a number of industry analysts have been lowering their estimates since September after the company posted fourth-quarter earnings, some citing a lofty stock price.

Citigroup reiterated its "sell" rating on the stock Friday, citing the price of the shares and "negative EPS growth."

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations are now expected between $2.32 and $2.38 per share. Its prior guidance was for $2.42 to $2.50 per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expect full-year earnings of $2.45 per share.

For the second quarter, Campbell Soup foresees earnings from continuing operations between approximately 65 and 66 cents per share. Revenue is expected to decline by about 2 percent. Wall Street had been looking for earnings of 68 cents per share.

Christopher Growe, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, lowered his estimates for the second quarter, but maintained a "hold" rating on the stock, citing talk of a buyout. However, he wrote that, "we believe fundamentals will remain challenged."

Campbell Soup Co., whose other brands include Prego, Pepperidge Farm and Goldfish, will report its second-quarter results on Feb. 25.