February 25, 2010 / 1:24 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Heinz third-quarter sales up 12.6 pct

* EPS $0.83 from continuing operations

* Sales up 12.6 pct (Recasts, adds marketing spending, full-year forecast.)

CHICAGO, Feb 25 (Reuters) - H.J. Heinz Co HNZ.N posted a 12.6 percent jump in quarterly sales, helped by higher marketing spending, strength in emerging markets and new products in the United States.

The company also posted quarterly profit slightly above the amount it forecast just a week ago in a meeting with analysts.

The maker of Heinz ketchup, Ore-Ida potatoes and a host of other packaged foods, boosted marketing spending by 41 percent in the quarter.

Heinz has faced aggressive discounting by competitors like Nestle’s NESN.VX Lean Cuisine frozen food business and said late last year that it would ramp up product promotion to compete in certain areas.

Heinz posted profit of $231.1 million, or 72 cents a share, for the third quarter ended Jan. 27, compared with $242.3 million, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier.

Income from continuing operations rose to 83 cents a share, from 76 cents. Last week, Heinz said earnings would be about 82 cents a share on that basis.

Sales rose 12.6 percent to $2.68 billion.

For the full year, Heinz stood by its forecast of $2.82 to $2.85 a share. Analysts on average forecast $2.84 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)

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