Snyder’s-Lance profit falls in first quarter

Charlotte-based Snyder’s-Lance said Thursday that its net income shrank slightly in the first quarter as it launched new products and worked through acquisitions.

The snack maker earned $16.8 million in the quarter, down about 15 percent from the year before.

But executives said their earnings exceeded expectations. Revenue rose 4 percent, to $437 million, as new products sold better than hoped. That includes the company’s new Snyder’s of Hanover Sweet and Salty and Korn Krunchers pretzels.

The company also said it spent more than it usually does on marketing in the quarter to help launch those new lines.

The earnings report came a day after Snyder’s-Lance announced two significant transactions that bolster its presence in relatively healthier snacks and refocus the company on name brands.

The company agreed to buy Wisconsin-based Baptista’s Bakery Inc., a private-label baked snack manufacturer. It already produces the Snyder’s-Lance Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps line and is known for “better for you” snacks. The category encompasses snacks that have a redeeming nutritional value, such as a gluten-free snack or one that has whole grains.

Snyder’s-Lance also said it would sell its private brands business, which makes cookies and crackers under names that are alternatives to national brands. Ohio-based Shearer’s Foods LLC will acquire the business and two manufacturing facilities in the deal.

Shares in Snyder’s-Lance closed Thursday at $26.88, down less than 1 percent.