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Heinz Raises Earnings Outlook, Aided by New Products

Ketchup maker H.J. Heinz said on Wednesday it expects to report fiscal first-quarter earnings per share of 62 cents to 63 cents, above analysts' estimate, helped by the launch of new products, increased marketing and the weak dollar.

Analysts on average had been expecting 55 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Heinz, which also makes foods such as Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen meals, said it expects operating income to increase 14 percent, aided by sales gains and productivity improvements. It also said the weak dollar boosted earnings and offset higher commodities costs.

The company said it expects quarterly sales growth of 9 percent, supported by double-digit organic sales growth of its ketchup, beans and soup brands.

The company, which plans to report earnings on August 24, also said it expects full-year profit to be near the top of its forecast range of $2.54 to $2.60 per share.

Analysts had been expecting $2.59 per share, excluding items.

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