Ralcorp Private Label Buffeted in Latest Quarter By Rising Costs

November 30, 2011
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Ralcorp Holdings had mixed results in its private label business during the quarter ending Sept. 30, the St. Louis private label processor reported Tuesday.


Sales volume for its ready-to-eat private label cereals rose 2 percent in the quarter and private label hot cereal volume rose 4 percent. But “segment profit declined 18 percent as increased sales were more than offset by higher raw material costs (driven by wheat, oats, fruits and nuts), production costs, freight costs” and other costs such as higher promotion expenses, the company says in its quarterly earnings report.


In pasta, net dollar sales rose 13 percent in the quarter on lower volume, thanks to higher prices. “Retail sales volume was down 3 percent due to declines in domestic and international private-brand products as well as branded products,” the company says. Ralcorp in 2010 bought American Italian Pasts Co., a major private label pasta maker.


Ralcorp reported a $370 million loss for the quarter, compared to a $41 million gain in the same quarter last year, largely because of charges taken in relation to its Post cereal business which it is spinning off to shareholders. Adjusting for various special charges, the company reported earnings of $1.36 a share, below Wall Street analysts’ expectations of $1.39 a share. New sales for the quarter hit $1.22 billion, u from $1.12 billion in the same period last year. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2011, Ralcorp reported a net loss of $187.2 million compared with net earnings of $208.8 million in its prior fiscal year.

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