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5/9/2004

Hain Celestial profit dives

Dow Jones/The Associated Press

MELVILLE, N.Y. — The Hain Celestial Group Inc. posted a 36 percent drop in profit for its latest quarter Friday due to higher costs, soup supply problems and the cost of launching a low-carb brand.
Melville-based Hain, which makes such brands as Arrowhead Mills, Rice Dream, Soy Dream and West Soy, had net income of $5.01 million, or 14 cents a share, for the third quarter ended March 31. In the same quarter last year, it earned $7.86 million, or 23 cents a share.
Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had on average expected the natural foods company to report earnings of 16 cents a share excluding items.
Shares of Hain dropped 72 cents, or 3.9 percent, to close at $17.85, on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Sales for the latest quarter rose 5.9 percent, to $136.9 million from $129.2 million.
Hain Celestial projects fourth-quarter earnings of 13 cents to 15 cents a share on revenue of between $127 million and $130 million. The company noted that it will take time to rebuild its soup business and its recently announced price increases won’t take effect until July.
Analysts had been expecting fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share on sales of $131.8 million. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2003, the company earned 19 cents a share on sales of $117.8 million.