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Heinz grows in developing world

Heinz has reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits thanks to strong demand for ketchup and sales growth in developing countries.

The US food manufacturer's net income was $251m (£157m) in the three months to October, up 9% from a year ago.

Sales in developing countries - which represent 15% of the company's business - were up 10%, led by Latin America, while global ketchup sales rose 3.3%.

But revenues fell as the strong dollar depressed the value of foreign sales.

Total revenues were down 1.2% to $2.61bn. But stripping out the effect of the dollar, so-called organic sales were up 0.9%, the company said in its results announcement.

Although the revenue figure fell slightly short of expectations, Heinz's profits still surprised analysts, delivering 78 cents earnings per share, versus expectations of 76 cents.

Heinz is concentrating on growing its developing markets business, and wants the unit to account for 20% of the company's overall sales by 2013.

Meanwhile, its sales in other markets continue to struggle, with sales volumes in North America up 1.6%, while in Europe they rose just 0.7%.

The company was reporting the results for the second quarter of its operating year. It said it was still targeting revenue growth of 3-4% and earnings growth of 7-10% for the year as a whole.

BBC News

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