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Del Monte Fourth-Quarter Profit Falls, Hurt By Higher Costs

Del Monte Foods , maker of Meow Mix cat food, StarKist tuna and its own canned fruits, Thursday posted a drop in quarterly profit, hit by higher costs for some items and lower seafood sales volumes.

Del Monte
AP
Del Monte

The company said it still faces challenges, but has raised prices to help offset some of those pressures. Net profit for the fourth quarter that ended April 29, fell to $36.7 million, or 18 cents per share, from $57.9 million, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 22 cents a share, matching the average analyst forecast, according to Reuters Estimates. Sales rose 17.6 percent to $940.1 million, topping analysts' average forecast of $904.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the fiscal 2008 first quarter, the company expects a loss of about 2 cents per share to a 2-cent profit from continuing operations. The company expects first-quarter sales growth of about 5 percent to 7 percent.

For the full year, the company expects to earn 70 cents to 74 cents per share from continuing operations, including 8 cents from business-improvement costs, up from 55 cents per share in fiscal 2007. The company expects fiscal 2008 sales to increase 5 percent to 7 percent from $3.41 billion a year earlier.