Categories Analysis, Earnings, Retail

Earnings preview: Buyouts could drive Conagra Brands Q3 results

Conagra Brands (CAG) is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Thursday before the market opens. The packaged food company’s results are expected to be boosted by the buyouts of Pinnacle Foods, Angie’s Boomchickapop and Sandwich Bros. of Wisconsin. The favorable price/mix, recent purchases, and robust supply chain realized productivity could positively impact the quarter.

However, the divestiture of the Wesson oil brand, including the facility in Memphis, Tenn, could pressurize the results. Also, the company has engaged BNP Paribas to assist with the process of exploring strategic alternatives for its Italian-based frozen pasta business, Gelit. This could hurt the results if a decision has been made.

The bottom line is likely to be hurt by higher costs and expenses as well as the charges related to the divestiture of the Wesson oil brand. Also, the company has been making investments for boosting the snacking and frozen business units. This could also have a negative impact on the bottom line.

Analysts expect Conagra to post earnings of $0.49 per share on revenue of $2.75 billion for the third quarter. In comparison, during the previous year quarter, the company reported a profit of $0.61 per share on revenue of $1.99 billion. Majority of the analysts recommended a “strong buy” or “buy” rating while expecting the stock to reach $30.36 per share in the next 52 weeks.

Image Courtesy: Conagra

For the third quarter, the growth in the Refrigerated & Frozen, Grocery & Snacks, and International segments could drive the volume higher. The improved pricing and mix could turn favorable for the company.

For the second quarter, Conagra posted a 41% dip in earnings due to higher costs and expenses. Net sales rose by 9.7% helped by Pinnacle acquisition. Conagra posted sales increases in Refrigerated & Frozen segment, while declines were seen in sales from Grocery & Snacks, International and Food Service segments.

For the fiscal year 2019, the company has expected sales growth in the range of 22% to 23% and organic sales growth, excluding Trenton, in the range of 1% to 2%. Meanwhile, adjusted gross margin was predicted to be in the range of 29.3% to 29.6%. Adjusted earnings were anticipated to be in the range of $2.03 to $2.08 per share.

Shares of Conagra opened lower on Tuesday and is trading in the red territory in the afternoon. The stock has plunged over 37% in the past year and over 19% in the past three months.


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