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·         Conagra's profit forecast upbeat as pandemic continues to fuel grocery demand

·         Conagra shares rise after earnings and sales beat expectations



Conagra's profit forecast upbeat as pandemic continues to fuel grocery demand


Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Anil D’Silva, Reuters

January 7, 2021


(Reuters) - Conagra Brands Inc on Thursday forecast current-quarter profit above Wall Street estimates, betting on continued demand for its frozen dinners, cake mixes and snacks as the COVID-19 pandemic shows little signs of easing.


Shares of the Chicago-based company rose 2% in premarket trading after Conagra also posted a 45% rise in second-quarter earnings.


With a surge in cases in the United States and signs of more pandemic-related curbs, shoppers have been restocking pantries in preparation for potential lockdowns, prompting retailers to place more orders for Conagra’s packaged foods with long shelf lives.


That has led to a surge in demand for products including, Birds Eye frozen vegetables and Duncan Hines cake mixes, driving a 12.5% rise in sales at Conagra’s grocery and snacks business and a 6.8% rise in its refrigerated and frozen unit.


Conagra said it continued to see a “sustained increase” in demand from its retail customers so far into the third quarter. It expects adjusted earnings between 56 and 60 cents per share for the period, compared with analysts’ estimates of 57 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.


Organic sales are expected to rise in the 6% to 8% range, with adjusted operating margins seen between 16% and 16.5%.


For the second quarter...





Conagra shares rise after earnings and sales beat expectations


By Tonya Garcia, MarketWatch

Jan. 7, 2021


Conagra Brands Inc. shares rose 2% in Thursday premarket trading before pulling back to a 0.2% rise after the food company reported fiscal second-quarter earnings and sales that beat expectations.


Net income totaled $378.9 million, or 77 cents per share, up from $260.5 million, or 53 cents per share, last year.


Adjusted EPS of 81 cents beat the FactSet consensus of 74 cents.


Sales totaled $3.00 billion, up from $2.82 billion last year and also ahead of the FactSet consensus for $2.99 billion.


Conagra's lineup includes the Slim Jim jerky brand, Vlasic, and Duncan Hines.


"We remain confident that Conagra Brands is well-positioned to capture the benefits of the shifting consumer behavior, many of which we believe will continue well into the future," said Chief Executive Sean Connolly in a statement.


For the third-quarter, Conagra is guiding for organic net sales growth of 6% to 8%, and adjusted EPS of 56 cents to 60 cents. The guidance does not include the pending sale...