Sales rise and profit falls at TreeHouse Foods

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TreeHouse Foods Inc., which makes soup in the former Heinz plant on the North Side, saw sales rise in the fourth quarter although profit was dragged down by previously announced charges related to a plant closing and some restructuring moves.

The Oak Brook, Ill., company this morning reported profit of $25.2 million, or 68 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares to $29.9 million, or 81 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding charges related to restructuring the company's soup operations and the closure of a salad-dressing plant in Canada, TreeHouse earnings per share were 86 cents, meeting the expectations of analysts polled by Thomson Financial Network.

Net sales for the fourth quarter of $592.8 million compared to $535.8 million a year earlier.

Sales in the North American retail grocery segment, which includes the soup operation, rose 12.9 percent although the company has said the partial loss of a retail customer reduced soup sales.

TreeHouse, which produces both branded and private-label products, also makes non-dairy powdered creamers, pickles, jams and hot cereals.

chairman, president and CEO Sam K. Reed said in this morning's announcement that the company continues to look for acquisition opportunities.

TreeHouse rose about 6 percent in early trading today, with shares trading at $56.01, up $3.13.

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Teresa F. Lindeman: tlindeman@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2018.


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