UPDATE 1-ConAgra warns on profit as consumer foods sales fall
* First-quarter adj. earnings/shr $0.37 vs est $0.39
* First-quarter sales $4.20 bln vs est $4.29 bln/
* Sees second-quarter earnings/share of about 55 cents vs est 63 cents
Sept 19 (Reuters) - ConAgra Foods Inc, the maker of Hunt's ketchup and Chef Boyardee pastas, forecast current-quarter profit well below estimates, hurt by weak sales of consumer foods, its biggest business.
ConAgra shares fell as much as 2 percent in premarket trading.
The company, whose products also include Slim Jim beef jerky and Marie Callender's frozen meals and desserts, said it expects second-quarter earnings to be about 55 cents per share. Analysts had expected a profit of 63 cents per share.
ConAgra's products compete in highly competitive categories that are dominated by larger players such as Heinz and Kraft Foods Group Inc. The company also faces competition from lower-priced private label players.
ConAgra said sales at its consumer foods business fell 2 percent, hurt by weak sales of frozen food items and increased promotions by competitors.
Sales in the first quarter rose 27 percent to $4.20 billion, but missed the average analyst estimate of $4.29 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income fell 42 percent to $144.3 million, or 34 cents per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 25, from $250.1 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned 37 cents per share, 2 cents below Wall Street's expectations.
ConAgra shares closed at $32.07 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.