Conagra shares slump as inflation forecast to make an even bigger impact

Conagra Brands Inc.
shares fell 3.2% in Tuesday premarket trading after the food company warned of inflation pressure for the beginning of fiscal 2022. Net income for the fiscal fourth quarter totaled $309.5 million, or 64 cents per share, up from $201.4 million, or 41 cents per share, last year. Adjusted EPS of 54 cents beat the FactSet consensus for 52 cents. Sales of $2.74 billion were down from $3.29 billion last year but ahead of the FactSet consensus for $2.71 billion. Conagra divested the Egg Beaters egg whites business at the end of the quarter. Chief Executive Sean Connolly says inflation will make a bigger-than-expected impact on fiscal 2022. “In response, we have further enhanced the aggressive and comprehensive action plan already being executed, which includes broad-based pricing,” he said in a statement. “While we are pleased with the initial results, there will be a lag between the time we are hit with higher costs and when we realize the benefits of our actions. The impact of this lag is expected to be most acute in the first half of fiscal 2022.” Organic net sales growth is now expected to be flat year-over-year and adjusted EPS is forecast to be $2.50. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $2.62. After the end of the quarter, Conagra approved an annual dividend increase to $1.25 per share from $1.10 per share. A new quarterly dividend of $0.3125 per share will be paid on Sept. 2 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Aug. 3. Conagra stock is down 0.9% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index
has gained 16.7% for the period.