ConAgra posted a 17 percent rise in net income for the second quarter Thursday after a $5 billion acquisition this year of Ralcorp.
The results beat Wall Street predictions and the Omaha, Neb., company, which makesBanquet, Chef Boyardee and Marie Callender's, boosted its profit guidance for the entire year.
For the quarter ended Nov. 25, ConAgra earned $211.6 million, or 51 cents per share, up from $180.2 million, or 43 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 57 cents per share.
Revenue rose 9 percent to $3.74 billion from $3.43 billion.
Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 55 cents per share on $3.68 billion in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.
The company said in November that it would acquire Ralcorp for $90 per share. That deal closes in March.
ConAgra said that sales at its consumer foods business, which accounts for about 63 percent of the company's sales, rose 11 percent to $2.42 billion. Most of the growth came from acquisitions, as better pricing and higher demand for more profitable products was offset by lower sales volumes at its existing businesses.
Sales at ConAgra's commercial food division rose 5 percent to $1.31 billion on better pricing and volumes at its Lamb Weston potato operations, which were particularly successful overseas.
ConAgra said it now expects to post a full-year profit of at least $2.06 per share. The company previous predicted a profit of between $2.03 and $2.06 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $2.07 per share.
ConAgra also said that its $5 billion acquisition of Ralcorp, which is expected to make ConAgra the nation's biggest maker of store-brand foods, is on track to close in the first quarter of calendar 2013.
Shares of ConAgra Foods Inc. rose 68 cents to $30.64 in morning trading.
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