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Safeway announces its Q3 earnings for 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway today reported a net income total of $199.7 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for 2008’s third quarter. This total compares to its net income for the same time 2007, $194.6 million, or $0.44 per diluted share.

Safeway said that its total sales were up by 3.9 percent, totaling $10.2 billion for the third quarter 2008, up from last year’s third quarter total of $9.8 billion. The company said that the rise was caused by profits from Safeway’s Lifestyle stores as well as an increase in fuel prices. Same-store sales were up 2.8 percent with fuel (0.5 percent not considering fuel).

“During the third quarter we took action to provide our customers with better everyday values,” chairman, chief executive officer and presiden, Steve Burd, said in a statement. “As we begin the fourth quarter, our sales momentum is building, with identical-store sales (excluding fuel) currently above 1.5 percent, and we are continuing to reduce costs. We continue to believe our diluted earnings per share for 2008 will be in the range of $2.25 to $2.35 for this 53-week year.”

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Del Monte sells its seafood business to Korean food company

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO Del Monte Foods Company Tuesday announced that it has completed the sale of its seafood business, including popular canned tuna brand StarKist, to Dongwon Industries for nearly $359 million. The total buyout price including considerations for the business’ estimate of working capital which had not yet been totaled and finalized.

“The divestiture of StarKist improves Del Monte’s margin structure, eliminates a source of earnings volatility and reduces debt leverage,” Rick Wolford, chairman and chief executive officer of Del Monte Foods said. “This sale also increases Del Monte’s focus on faster growing, value-added, higher margin branded businesses, a key component of our accelerated growth plan.”

Included in the sale of Del Monte’s seafood business are manufacturing operations in American Samoa and Manta, Ecuador. Also rolled into the sale, StarKist seafood assets in Terminal Island, California and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Del Monte has said that its seafood business plant personnel have now joined Dongwon, as well.

Dongwon Industries has most of its business in fishing—about 28 percent of its Korean market comes from fish suppliers. More information about the company can be viewed at www.dwml.co.kr.

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Mars successfully completes acquisition of Wrigley

BY Jenna Duncan

MCLEAN, Va. Mars Inc. Monday announced the completion of its acquition of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company. Mars has purchased all shares of Wrigley’s common stock as well as Class B common stock shares for $80 each in cash, a total of about $23 billion, the company said.

“We are excited to welcome Wrigley and its associates to our team,” Paul Michaels, president and chief executive officer of Mars, Inc. said in a press release “Mars and Wrigley share a culture of innovation, quality and integrity, as well as a focus on providing consumers with great-tasting products. The combination of our two strong international businesses, with best-in-class global brands, also creates one of the world’s leading confectionery companies.”

Mars, Inc. said that the Wrigley Company will remain a separate business keeping its headquarters in Chicago, but will operate as a subsidiary of Mars. Mars also plans to move its global non-chocolate confectionery brands to the Wrigley business, including such candies as Skittles, Starburst, Tunes and Rondo, as well as moving production from sites in Czech Republic, Mexico and other countries.

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