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TreeHouse Foods 1Q profit up; backs 2013 forecast

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) -- TreeHouse Foods Inc. reported a 4 percent increase in its first-quarter net income as the food maker's revenue improved on recent acquisitions.

The Oak Brook, Ill., company, which makes a number of products including non-dairy powdered creamers, private-label canned soups and salad dressings, also backed its full-year forecast.

TreeHouse earned $23 million, or 62 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That is compared with net income of $22.1 million, or 60 cents per share, in the first quarter last year. After adjusting for restructuring costs, acquisition expenses and other items, it earned 74 cents per share versus 63 cents per share last year.

The company's revenue increased 3 percent to $540.1 million from $523.8 million, on acquisitions and minor pricing increases.

Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating earnings of 70 cents per share on revenue of $555.6 million.

TreeHouse CEO Sam Reed said the company believes that recent consumer purchasing trends indicate that 2013 will be a year of modest industry volume growth, compared to the negative results of the last two years. But he noted that it is early in the year and the company will continue to be prepared for the challenges associated with an ongoing choppy economic climate.

While TreeHouse Foods expects it may see some ebbs and flows in consumer buying habits, it finished the most recent quarter in line with its full-year plan and maintained the company's original forecast of earning $3.00 to $3.10 per share for the year.

Analysts were expecting TreeHouse to earn $3.08 per share for the year.

TreeHouse said it remains committed to its private-label strategy and said conditions are good for potential acquisitions this year.

The company also said Thursday that Christopher D. Sliva, 49, has been promoted to executive vice president of TreeHouse Foods and president of Bay Valley Foods, succeeding Harry J. Walsh. Walsh, 57, will move into a newly created role of executive vice president of acquisitions integration and will lead the company's efforts to integrate newly acquired companies as it tries to broaden into new categories and markets.

Shares of TreeHouse Foods fell 44 cents to $63.50 in afternoon trading. Its shares are trading at the upper end of its 52-week trading range of $46.15 to $67.41.