ConAgra Foods stock seen rising 30 percent: Barron's

ConAgra Foods production facility is seen in Oakdale, California, December 18, 2015. ConAgra Foods is expected to report Q2 earnings on December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Greaves - RTX24PZY (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - ConAgra Foods' stock could climb up to 30 percent in the coming months as the U.S. packaged food company seeks to shed businesses, improve existing brands and achieve lower overheads, Barron's said in its latest online edition. After ConAgra sold its Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings for about $340 million to Givaudan last week, Barron's said analysts speculate it might consider sales of other brands including Lamb Weston, its commercial frozen potato business. Without Lamb Weston, the Omaha-based company would remain the second biggest U.S. frozen entree producer and top maker of shelf-stable meals with $9 billion in annual revenue, the paper said. Analysts expect ConAgra's revenue to fall to $11.7 billion in fiscal 2016 following the sale of its private-label food business to Treehouse Foods for $2.7 billion. This compared with $15.83 billion the prior fiscal year. ConAgra CEO Sean Connolly, who took over the post last April, might be preparing ConAgra for sale, Barron's said. Connolly aims to cut $300 million in annual costs, which make up of $200 million in selling, general and administrative expenses and $100 million in ineffective trade promotions, the business weekly said. ConAgra carries a hefty price tag. Its current market capitalization was nearly $19.8 billion on Friday when its shares closed down 0.4 percent at $45.29. "But with Lamb Weston gone and his new strategy kicking in, the food giant might be a tasty target," Barron's said. (Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Nick Zieminski)