Campbell Soup 2Q income down

By Anastasia Tomazhenkova: An American producer of canned soups and related products, Campbell Soup Co., posted lower quarterly profit as the company was hurt by soaring commodity costs. 

The world's largest soupmaker announced it earned 274 million dollars, or 71 cents a share, for the three months ended January 27. That was down from 285 million dollars, or 72 cents a share, a year ago.

Its sales climbed 7.4% to 2.22 billion dollars from 2.06 billion dollars a year earlier.

Excluding earnings from discontinued operations, earnings were 260 million dollars, or 67 cents a share, up from 257 million dollars a year ago. The discontinued operations include the company's Godiva Chocolatier, which is being sold to Yildiz Holding AS.

Campbell shares rose 1.32 dollar, or 4.2%, to $32.83 in morning trading Friday.

Sales of the condensed soup, which have been revitalized in the last few years after a long, slow decline, slipped 1%. But ready-to-serve soup sales were up by 8%.

Lower-sodium soups have done well, the company reported, as have V8 juices and Pace Mexican sauces and its Pepperidge Farm brand cookies and crackers.

In the first six months of the fiscal year, the earned 544 million dollars, or 1.41 dollar a share, down from 576 million dollars, or 1.44 dollar a share, a year earlier.

But six-month sales rose 7% to 4.4 billion dollars from the same period a year earlier.

For all of fiscal 2008, Campbell still expects profits to be up 5% to 7%.

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