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Ralcorp Buys PL Cookie Maker, Earnings Slump

May 23, 2012
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St. Louis-based Ralcorp Holdings Inc. announced Wednesday that it completed the acquisition of Petri Baking Products, Inc.,  a private label wire-cut cookie maker. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Petri manufactures and distributes a complete line of cookies that include both soft style and crunchy wire-cut cookies for a variety of retail channels. The Silver Creek, N.Y.-based company employs more than 240 workers and will become a part of Ralcorp’s Snacks, Sauces and Spreads division.


“We are pleased to complete this transaction, which complements Ralcorp’s cookie product offerings,” Ralcorp CEO Kevin Hunt said in a news release.


Ralcorp, a private label food maker, made the announcement the morning after releasing its second-quarter earnings. The company said its earnings fell to $26.2 million, or 46 cents a share, from $83.3 million, or $1.50 a share, a year earlier.


Adjusted net income was 72 cents a share, down from 75 cents a share a year prior and well short of the 85 cents a share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.


Those results led Stifel Nicolaus analysts to cut their price target on Ralcorp in a note to investors Wednesday. The company has a “buy” rating on the stock, but lowered its target to $78 a share from $84 a share. Its shares closed trading Tuesday at $69.42 a share.


“We believe the pricing versus volume balance remains the main item for investors to watch and assess for the remainder of the (2012 fiscal year), and we believe it is this dynamic that will dictate the earnings performance in the second half,” analysts wrote in the note. “We are continuing with our buy rating for the shares, acknowledging that this earnings performance was disappointing, but the shares remain cheap and we continue to see improving growth for the business through the remainder of the year.”

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