ConAgra 3Q Hurt by Charge; Adjusted Profit Tops Expectations

ConAgra Foods Inc. moved to a loss in its fiscal third quarter because of a hefty impairment charge, but its adjusted profit beat analysts' expectations. The maker of Chef Boyardee and other packaged foods also boosted its full-year profit outlook.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra Foods Inc. moved to a loss in its fiscal third quarter because of a hefty impairment charge, but its adjusted profit beat analysts' expectations. The maker of Chef Boyardee and other packaged foods also boosted its full-year profit outlook.

The company's stock climbed in Thursday premarket trading.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company lost $954.1 million, or $2.23 per share, for the period ended Feb. 22. That compares with a profit of $234.3 million, or 55 cents per share, a year ago.

The current quarter included an impairment charge of $2.81 per share.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to 59 cents per share.

The results topped Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 53 cents per share.

ConAgra Foods posted revenue of $3.88 billion in the period, meeting Wall Street forecasts.

Sales for the consumer foods unit dipped 2 percent, while sales for the commercial foods segment edged up 1 percent. The private brands division reported a 5 percent drop in sales.

The company now expects a fiscal 2015 adjusted profit in a range of $2.15 to $2.19 per share. Its previous forecast was for $2.13 to $2.18 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predict a profit of $2.14 per share.

Shares of ConAgra Foods gained 61 cents to $35.55 before the market open.

The company said that it continues to expect to repay about $1 billion in debt in fiscal 2015. It has repaid more than $600 million of debt so far this fiscal year.

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