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    ConAgra First Quarter Earnings Lower

    OMAHA, Neb. - ConAgra Foods said today its quarterly earnings fell 14 percent reflecting the divestiture of its fresh beef and pork operations, and some other business lines.

    OMAHA, Neb. - ConAgra Foods said today its quarterly earnings fell 14 percent reflecting the divestiture of its fresh beef and pork operations, and some other business lines. Sales fell to $4.4 billion from $6.6 billion due to the sale of these businesses, which also included canned seafood and cheese units.

    ConAgra earned $194.9 million, or 37 cents a share, for the first quarter ended Aug. 24, compared with $227.6 million, or 43 cents, in the year-ago period.

    "Our first quarter is typically one of the lightest of our fiscal year, and, because of that and divestitures, we planned for this fiscal year's first-quarter sales and earnings to be below last year's," ConAgra CEO Bruce Rhode said in a statement.

    He added, however, the company expects solid earnings performance this year and next. ConAgra has been progressively shifting away from commodity-oriented businesses toward higher margin, branded retail foods.

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