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Campbell Reports Earnings Per Share At $.30; Consumer Purchases Of U.S. Soup Increased 12 Percent For Third Quarter

CAMDEN, NJ, May 16, 2001–Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) today reported diluted earnings per share of $.30 for the third quarter ended April 29, 2001, down 6 percent from the same period last year. Net sales in the quarter increased 3 percent to $1.4 billion, a 5 percent increase before the impact of currency. This performance was largely driven by a 7 percent volume increase in the U.S. soup business, which resulted in part from increased marketing investments. For the quarter, consumer purchases of U.S. soup increased 12 percent. For the first nine months of the fiscal year, consumer purchases of U.S. soup increased 6 percent. Net earnings for the quarter declined 12 percent to $122 million compared to $139 million a year earlier. Volume increases partially offset higher marketing, interest and corporate expenses.

Douglas R. Conant, Campbell’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are encouraged by our year-to-date business performance, especially with the increase of consumer purchases of soup in the U.S. The significant marketing investments we made in soup clearly had an effect on our third quarter performance. The balance of our portfolio also responded to marketing investments, including our soup businesses outside the U.S. And with the acquisition of the Unilever soup and sauces brands in Europe, we have taken an important step in building our global soup presence. However, we have much more work to do to revitalize our company. Our current market share performance in our U.S. soup business is unacceptable and over time we must improve it. We know that winning in the marketplace and regaining investor confidence will require continued sustained investment across our portfolio to drive consistent top and bottom line results in the future. We are currently working on strategic initiatives and will be ready to discuss them in July.”

The company expects earnings per share for the year to be between $1.60-$1.64, before the impact of the European acquisition and the Arnott’s reconfiguration announced on May 2, 2001. This is a result of projected tighter retail inventories and the company’s decision to proceed with business-building initiatives in the fourth quarter that had not been previously planned for the year. They include quality enhancements, research and development initiatives and new business development efforts.

The Arnott’s biscuit unit in Australia is reconfiguring its manufacturing network to drive greater efficiency and effectiveness in support of its growth agenda. The reconfiguration includes increased investments of approximately $30 million in three facilities — Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide — and the closure in September 2002 of its Melbourne plant. Although detailed plans are not finalized, the company expects to incur up to a $20 million pre-tax charge, or approximately $.03 per share, in the fourth quarter.

On May 4, 2001, the company announced completion of its acquisition of several market-leading soup and sauce businesses in Europe from Unilever for approximately 1 billion Euros or 900 million U.S. dollars. The company reported today that it now expects a $.02-$.03 per share dilutive impact in the fourth quarter as a result of transition costs and estimates of one-time costs.

The company also reported today:

  • Cost productivity programs continued, more than offsetting the impact of inflation on manufacturing costs.
  • Year-to-date, free cash flow increased to $831 million. This higher free cash flow was driven by improvements in working capital and lower capital expenditures, partially offset by lower net earnings.
  • Total marketing for the quarter was up 12 percent before currency, with advertising up approximately 50 percent before currency.

A summary of fiscal 2001 third quarter results by segment follows:

Soup and Sauces

Sales for the quarter increased 3 percent to $955 million, up 5 percent before the impact of currency. Operating earnings of $202 million were essentially even with the prior year due to increased marketing investments.

A 7 percent increase in U.S. soup shipments contributed to the worldwide wet soup shipment increase of 8 percent for the quarter. The growth in the U.S. soup performance was across most of the line, including continued strong momentum in “Chunky” and growth in “Campbell’s Select.”

Outside the U.S., wet soup shipments were up 9 percent, due primarily to strong performances in Europe, Canada and Australia. In Europe, results were driven by the launch of “Homepride” soup in aseptic bottles in the UK, the first full season of “Erasco” soup in a pouch in Germany and the rollout of “Liebig” soup in an aseptic carton in Belgium. In Canada, strong consumer programs, particularly advertising, drove double-digit growth. In Asia Pacific, Australia had double-digit volume growth driven by new ready-to-serve products.

In U.S. sauces, “Pace” sauces and “Franco-American” pastas reported gains in consumer purchases driven by new advertising. “Prego” consumer purchases were flat for the quarter, but up approximately 4 percent year-to-date. Total beverage consumer purchases increased during the quarter compared to last year driven by “V8” and “V8 Splash.”

Biscuits and Confectionery

Biscuits and Confectionery performance was strong across the board. Sales for the quarter increased 4 percent to $363 million, up 10 percent before the impact of currency. Operating earnings were up 9 percent, 14 percent before currency, to $46 million, reflecting the impact of volume growth that resulted from marketing investments and improved product mix and cost productivity. Pepperidge Farm delivered strong performance across the portfolio with its core “Goldfish” crackers as well as new products such as “Giant Goldfish” and “Farmhouse” breads.

Godiva Chocolatier delivered another outstanding performance with double-digit sales and earnings growth in the U.S. and Japan and strong performance in Europe.

Arnott’s sales were up strongly with growth across most core brands.

Away From Home

Away From Home reported sales for the quarter increased 3 percent to $135 million. Operating earnings increased 7 percent to $14 million due to improved mix and productivity gains. The division reported expanded distribution of “Campbell’s” branded soup in quick-service restaurants and increased placements of “Campbell’s” branded kettles in high-traffic venues such as colleges and universities.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains “forward-looking statements” which reflect the company’s current expectations about its future performance. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions and estimates which could be inaccurate and which are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could vary materially from those anticipated or expressed in any forward-looking statement made by the company. Please refer to the company’s most recent Form 10-K and subsequent filings for a further discussion of these risks and uncertainties. The company disclaims any obligation or intent to update the forward-looking statements in order to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.

About Campbell Soup Company

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high quality soup, sauces, beverage, biscuits, confectionery and prepared food products. The company owns a portfolio of more than 20 market-leading businesses each with more than $100 million in sales. They include “Campbell’s” soups worldwide, “Erasco” soups in Germany and “Liebig” soups in France, “Pepperidge Farm” cookies and crackers, “V8” and “V8 Splash” juices, “Pace” Mexican sauces, “Prego” pasta sauces, “Franco- American” pastas and gravies, “Swanson” broths, “Homepride” sauces in the United Kingdom, “Arnott’s” biscuits in Australia and “Godiva” chocolates around the world. The company also owns dry soup and sauce businesses in Europe under the “Batchelors,” “Oxo,” “Lesieur,”* “Royco,” “Liebig,” “Heisse Tasse,” “Blå Band” and “McDonnells” brands. The company is ably supported by 24,000 employees worldwide. For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website on the Internet at www.campbellsoup.com.

*Licensed to Campbell by Lesieur Alimentaire S.A.