March 24, 2009 / 12:13 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-McCormick Q1 sales dip; sees FY rev at low end of view

* Q1 EPS $0.44, in line with estimates

* Revenue falls 1 pct to $718.5 mln vs est $756.6 mln

* Reaffirms 2009 EPS view of $2.24-$2.28, including items

* Sees 2009 sales at lower end of 2-4 pct range

* Shares fall 10 pct (Adds details, analysts’ comments, updates share movement)

BANGALORE, March 24 (Reuters) - Spice maker McCormick & Co’s (MKC.N) quarterly sales slipped below market estimates as demand declined at U.S. food manufacturers and in Europe, prompting the company to forecast full-year sales at the lower end of its previous view.

Shares of the company, which have lost 10 percent of their value over the past year, were trading down $2.62 at $30.82 Tuesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. McCormick’s outlook is not particularly impressive, J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman said in a note to clients.

The company, which sells spices, seasonings and food coloring, said weakness in the restaurant industry continued in 2009 and sales to food manufacturers have slowed.

In the first quarter, sales in its industrial business fell 5 percent, while those at its consumer business rose 2 percent.

“More people are buying food from grocery stores, but each person is buying less on each trip,” Frost & Sullivan analyst Christopher Shanahan said.

The company said it will increase its marketing spending by $20 million in 2009 to revitalize its dry seasoning mixes and for a marketing campaign for its Lawry’s business, which it acquired last August from Unilever PLC (ULVR.L).

CEO Alan Wilson said the company was working to lower expenses and manage costs, and was on track to reduce costs by $30 million this year.

For the first quarter ended Feb. 28, net income rose to $57.7 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $51.4 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Shivani Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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