Private Label Buyer

Cereal Weakness Hurts Ralcorp Earnings

August 8, 2012

St. Louis-based private label food maker Ralcorp Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that sales at its cereal products business fell 10 percent in the third quarter, leaving the company just shy of analysts’ expectations for the quarter.

Ralcorp said it earned $30.3 million in profits in the third quarter, or 54 cents a share, nearly double the $15.8 million, or 28 cents a share, it earned in the third quarter of 2011.

Revenue overall rose 11 percent to $1.03 billion, pushed forward by the snacks, sauces and spreads division. That unit saw revenue rise 11 percent in the quarter to $427 million, helped by higher product prices.

Excluding expenses such as plant closures and integration costs, Ralcorp earned 60 cents a share in the quarter, just shy of analysts’ expectations of 61 cents a share on revenue of $1.03 billion.

The company announced last week that it would merge its cereal, pasta and snacks divisions into one unit going forward but did not provide details on the integration in its full earnings release.