Conagra Brands Investors Not Hungry for Earnings

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When Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG) reported its fiscal first-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday, the company said that it had $0.47 in earnings per share (EPS) and $1.80 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates of $0.49 in EPS and $1.85 billion in revenue, as well as the $0.46 per share and $1.8 billion posted in the same period of last year.

During the most recent quarter, net sales grew 1.7% and organic net sales, excluding the sale of the Trenton production facility, grew 1.2%, with growth in all four operating segments.

In terms of its segments, Conagra reported as follows:

  • The Refrigerated & Frozen segment continued its momentum, with 3.2% net sales growth and organic net sales growth of 1.4%. The segment has delivered organic net sales growth for five consecutive quarters.
  • Grocery & Snacks reported another quarter of organic net sales growth, led by the snacks businesses.

Looking ahead to the fiscal second quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $0.57 to $0.60 and net sales flat to slightly down. Consensus estimates call for $0.65 in EPS and $2.2 billion in revenue.

Sean Connolly, president and CEO of Conagra, commented:

Fiscal 2019 is off to a good start despite a continued, challenging inflationary environment. Our first quarter results were largely in-line with expectations as we delivered net sales growth in all four operating segments behind a strong innovation slate. We also earned increased distribution, particularly in our frozen business. We continue to stay focused on supporting our brands with robust marketing programs, including increased retailer investments, to drive brand saliency, enhanced distribution, and consumer trial of our products.

Shares of Conagra were last seen down 6% at $33.79, with a consensus analyst price target of $42.55 and a 52-week trading range of $33.15 to $39.43.