ConAgra Rises Most Since September as Profit Tops Estimates

ConAgra Foods Inc., maker of Chef Boyardee pasta and Pam cooking spray, gained the most in nine months after quarterly profit topped analysts estimates as acquisitions drove sales in its consumer foods unit.

The shares rose 5.1 percent to $35.04 at the close in New York for the biggest one-day gain since Sept. 20. ConAgra advanced 19 percent this year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 Consumer Staples Index added 14 percent.

ConAgra, which bought Unilever’s North American frozen meals business in August and Ralcorp Holdings Inc. in January, said sales in its consumer division increased 7 percent in the quarter ended May 26, with acquisitions contributing 5 percent.

Adjusted earnings per share for the fiscal fourth quarter were 60 cents, according to a statement today. That compared to an average estimate of 59 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit from continuing operations was 45 cents, compared with a loss of 21 cents in the year-earlier period.

Revenue jumped 34 percent to $4.59 billion. Analysts had projected $4.61 billion.

The Ralcorp acquisition contributed $962 million to sales in the fiscal fourth quarter, Omaha, Nebraska-based ConAgra said.

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