Saturday, February 15, 2003

Buyer of Jif and Crisco prospers

Enquirer wire services

ORRVILLE, Ohio - J.M. Smucker Co., the country's largest maker of jams and jellies, Friday said its profit surged in the latest quarter as sales more than doubled on the strength of its newly acquired Jif and Crisco brands.

The company also raised its earnings outlook for fiscal 2003.

Orrville-based Smucker said it posted net income of $28 million, or 56 cents a share, for the fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 31.

That's up sharply from $7.9 million, or 34 cents a share, in the prior third quarter.

Smucker last June completed its acquisition of Jif peanut butter and Crisco cooking oil and shortening from Cincinnati consumer products giant Procter & Gamble Co. for an estimated $810 million in stock.

Excluding $1.5 million, or 2 cents a share, in related merger and integration costs, Smucker said it earned 58 cents a share in the latest quarter. That compares with earnings, excluding items, of 36 cents a share in the previous third quarter.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast, on average, third-quarter earnings of 54 cents a share, excluding items.

Sales soared to $340.8 million from $168.4 million, with the Jif and Crisco brands contributing $167.6 million to the latest quarter's sales. Excluding Jif and Crisco sales, the company's total sales rose 3 percent, Smucker said.

"Once again, our traditional brands performed well while we are seeing the benefits of our investments in the Jif and Crisco brands," president and co-chief executive Richard K. Smucker said in a statement.

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