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 OMAHA, Neb., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- ConAgra Inc. (NYSE: CAG) today reported earnings for fiscal year 1994's first quarter ended Aug. 29, 1993. Results were consistent with ConAgra's announcement on June 15, 1993 that first quarter earnings per share were likely to show little change.
 Fiscal 1994 first quarter earnings per share were 27 cents, the same as in fiscal 1993's first quarter. Net income decreased 3 percent to $67.6 million from $69.7 million. Pretax earnings declined 3 percent to $110.7 million from $114.0 million. Net sales increased 3 percent to $5.69 billion from $5.52 billion. The fiscal 1993 first quarter figures exclude the one-time cumulative effect of a required accounting change.
 Philip B. Fletcher, ConAgra's chairman and chief executive officer, said, "First quarter earnings were on plan. That's satisfying because inside our company we are emphasizing performance consistent with realistic business plans. Our plans call for earnings growth during fiscal 1994's latter nine months, and we continue to expect ConAgra's 14th consecutive year of record earnings."
 In ConAgra's largest industry segment, Prepared Foods, operating profit increased in fiscal 1994's first quarter.
 Operating profit and unit volumes increased significantly in the consumer frozen foods business. Branded packaged meats registered a good earnings gain, in part due to Armour Swift-Eckrich's acquisition of National Foods after last year's first quarter.
 Hunt-Wesson's earnings declined versus exceptionally strong results in last year's first quarter. The diversified products businesses enjoyed substantial earnings growth, led by profit growth in the Lamb-Weston potato processing business and Golden Valley microwave foods business.
 The chicken products business had much better margins and earnings, while profit dropped in turkey products. Fresh red meat earnings were down due to lower margins in the beef business.
 First quarter operating profit was down in ConAgra's Trading and Processing industry segment. The grain merchandising and flour milling businesses were adversely affected by rain and flooding in the Midwest. Conditions have improved, and Trading and Processing is expected to increase operating profit for the full fiscal year.
 In ConAgra's Agri-Products segment, operating profit was down in the first quarter. Earnings decreased in the crop protection chemicals and fertilizer businesses and increased in specialty retailing. Total segment earnings were on plan and are expected to be up for the year.
 In fiscal 1994's first quarter, pretax and net earnings decreased 3 percent but earnings per share were unchanged because weighted average shares outstanding decreased 2 percent.
 ConAgra adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 106 in fiscal 1993. This standard, which must be adopted by U.S. companies, requires that the estimated cost of postretirement benefits other than pensions be accrued over the period earned rather than expensed as incurred.
 Adopting the standard caused a non-cash one-time cumulative adjustment of $121.2 million after tax or 52 cents per share applied to fiscal 1993's first quarter. Including the adjustment, net income was a loss of $51.5 million and earnings per share were a loss of 25 cents per share in fiscal 1993's first quarter.
 Sales and earnings for fiscal 1994 first quarter (13 weeks)
 and fiscal 1993 first quarter (13 weeks) ended
 Aug. 29, 1993 and Aug. 30, 1992.
 In millions except per share amounts.
 FIRST QUARTER (June-August)
 Fiscal 1994 Fiscal 1993 Change
 Net sales $ 5,687.4 $ 5,516.0 3.1
 Costs and expenses
 Cost of goods sold 5,029.7 4,854.7 3.6
 Selling, administrative
 and general expenses 489.7 486.2 0.7
 Interest expense, net 62.4 67.1 (7.0)
 5,581.8 5,408.0 3.2
 Income before equity in earnings
 of affiliates, income taxes and
 cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle 105.6 108.0 (2.2)
 Equity in earnings of
 affiliates 5.1 6.0 (15.0)
 Income before income taxes and
 cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle 110.7 114.0 (2.9)
 Income taxes 43.1 44.3 (2.7)
 Net income before cumulative
 effect of change in accounting
 principle 67.6 69.7 (3.0)
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting for nonpension
 postretirement benefits (net of
 taxes of $74.2) --- (121.2) NM
 Net income (loss) 67.6 (51.5) NM
 Less preferred dividends 6.0 6.0 0.0
 Net income (loss) available
 for common stock $61.6 $(57.5) NM
 Earnings per common and common
 equivalent share:
 Before cumulative effect of
 change in accounting principle $0.27 $0.27 0.0
 Cumulative effect of change in
 accounting for nonpension
 postretirement benefits --- (0.52) NM
 Net income (loss) per share $0.27 $(0.25) NM
 Weighted average common and
 common equivalent shares
 outstanding 230.1 235.3 (2.2)
 Fiscal 1993 first quarter results have been restated because ConAgra adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 106, "Employers' Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions" in the year's fourth quarter. Before restatement, fiscal 1993 first quarter net income was $71.9 million and net income per share was 28 cents.
 -0- 9/21/93
 /CONTACT: Walt Casey of ConAgra, 402-595-4154/

CO: ConAgra Inc. ST: Nebraska IN: FOD SU: ERN

MC -- DV004 -- 4232 09/21/93 14:08 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 21, 1993

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