Food products company ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG - Analyst Report) announced the completion of its Lamb Weston potato facility in Boardman, OR. With an investment of $200 million, the expansion plan was announced in 2012. Apart from adding nearly 100 jobs in the area, the plant expansion will increase the production of french fries and other frozen potato products.
The 192,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility is expected to increase the annual production capacity of frozen potato and other vegetable products by over 300 million pounds. This expansion further strengthens the company’s position in Columbia River Basin, where it operates 7 facilities with roughly 4,500 employees.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, the product line recorded strong revenue growth primarily due to increased international sales and enhanced productivity initiatives.
ConAgra recently reported disappointing results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. While adjusted earnings slipped 8.3% year over year to 55 cents per share, revenues also declined 2.8% to $4.4 billion. Revenues from the Commercial Foods segment inched up 1.0% year over year to $1,627.2 million primarily due to a rise in sales from the Lamb Weston potato business. ConAgra expects annual earnings per share growth in the ranges of mid-single digit for fiscal 2015 and high-single digit for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017.
With a market capitalization of $12.5 billion, ConAgra holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry include BRF S.A. (BRFS - Snapshot Report), Aramark (ARMK - Snapshot Report) and The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (HAIN - Analyst Report). While BRF sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Aramark and The Hain Celestial Group hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).