Q4 slump leaves Campbell short of earnings estimates

Eric Strauss//September 1, 2016

Q4 slump leaves Campbell short of earnings estimates

Eric Strauss//September 1, 2016

Campbell Soup’s latest earnings report was not a pleasant one, as it reported a loss for the fiscal fourth quarter and adjusted earnings for the quarter and full year came in below analyst estimates.The Camden-based food company posted a loss of 26 cents per share for the fourth quarter, primarily due to a $141 million, or 41 cent-per-share charge tied to the Bolthouse Farms carrot and carrot ingredients unit, it said in a news release.

Overall for the quarter, adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share were down 6 percent from the year-earlier period.

Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance expected 50 cents per share.

The company said sales of $1.687 billion for the quarter were comparable to the prior-year numbers.

For the full fiscal 2016 year, Campbell said reported earnings of $1.81 per share were down 15 percent, but adjusted earnings of $2.94 per share were up 11 percent.

However, the adjusted figure was still short of the analyst estimate of $2.97 per share.

Overall, full-year sales were down 1 percent, to $7.961 billion, Campbell added.

“We finished the year in line with our guidance, including strong profit performance,” CEO and President Denise Morrison said in a prepared statement. “However, I am not pleased with the results of our fourth quarter. The performance of our Campbell Fresh business, driven predominantly by execution issues, is disappointing. We have taken and are taking steps designed to ensure the business performs to its potential. … Despite this difficult quarter, we delivered adjusted EPS growth of 11 percent for the year.”

For fiscal 2017, Campbell is predicting sales will be flat to 1 percent higher, while adjusted earnings per share will be up 2 to 5 percent, in a range of $3 to $3.09 per share.

Analysts were estimating earnings of $3.14 per share for 2017.

Campbell did announce that its quarterly dividend would rise 12 percent, from 31.2 cents per share to 35 cents per share. The dividend is payable Oct. 31 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 12.

“While we have made progress, we recognize we need to deliver sales growth, and it remains a top priority,” Morrison said.