Campbell Soup first-quarter profit climbs 31 percent on tax benefit; board sets buyback

Monday, November 21st 2005, 10:11 am
By: News On 6

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Campbell Soup Co. said Monday its first-quarter profit climbed 31 percent, aided by lower expenses and a large tax benefit. The world's biggest soup maker also said its board of directors authorized it to spend up to $600 million to buy back its own shares until the end of fiscal 2008.

Campbell shares rose $1.15, or 3.9 percent, to $30.85 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Campbell Soup reported net income of $302 million, or 73 cents per share, for the quarter ended Oct. 30, compared with year-ago profit of $230 million, or 56 cents per share.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings were $242 million, or 58 cents per share, compared with $224 million, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Sales edged up a percent to $2.11 billion from $2.09 billion last year.

Wall Street had forecast earnings of 56 cents per share, the average view of 16 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on sales of $2.13 billion.

The quarter's results included a $47 million non-cash benefit resulting from the favorable resolution of a tax issue related to transactions involving government securities in a prior period.

Campbell also said it cut its interest expense and accrued interest payable by $21 million, and adjusted deferred tax expense by $13 million.

The items collectively bolstered profit by $60 million, or 14 cents per share, in the latest period.