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Heinz Quarterly Profit Gets Boost from Weak Dollar

H.J. Heinz posted an 18 percent jump in quarterly profit Thursday as the weak dollar helped boost its results in Europe and emerging markets and price increases helped offset rising ingredient costs.

The maker of Heinz ketchup, Ore-Ida potatoes and Smart Ones frozen meals also raised the top end of its fiscal 2008 earnings forecast.

Profit was $227.0 million, or 71 cents a share, in the fiscal second quarter ended Oct. 31, compared with $191.6 million, or 57 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had forecast 67 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales rose 13 percent to $2.52 billion. Organic sales, which exclude the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures, rose 8.1 percent.

"We're growing share in most of our businesses, but we're also growing the categories, because of great innovation behind terrific brands," Chairman and CEO William Johnson told CNBC. "We've got some of the greatest brands in the world, we're innovating, we're spending marketing money wisely and appropriately to drive growth, we're right now hitting on all cylinders."

Like most U.S. food companies, Heinz has been facing higher costs for ingredients like corn-based sweetener and dairy products. The company has raised prices and improved productivity to offset these higher expenses.

In the past several years, the company has also ramped up spending on marketing and new product development to help boost sales.

Heinz said it now expects earnings of $2.54 to $2.62 per share for the full fiscal year. It previously forecast $2.54 to $2.60. Analysts' average estimate is $2.61, according to Reuters Estimates.

CNBC.com contributed to this article.

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