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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 3, March 2011, Posted On: 2/17/2011

Cadbury Boosts Kraft Sales, Hits Profit; Commodity Costs Dampen Outlook

Emily Jed
Vending machines, vending, vending machine business, Kraft Foods, Cadbury, Oreo Cookies, Maxwell House, Trident, Stride, candy, Kraft fourth quarter

GLENVIEW, IL -- Kraft Foods Inc.'s sales jumped 30% during the fourth quarter, helped by its acquisition of Cadbury, but profits fell 24% due to costs related to integrating the British confectionery company.

The maker of Oreo cookies and Maxwell House coffee posted sales of $13.8 billion in the quarter ending Dec. 31, up from $10.6 billion a year ago, attributing the increase largely to the addition of Cadbury. Kraft acquired Cadbury, which makes Trident and Stride gum, a year ago for $19.5 billion.

Net income for the quarter slid to $540 million, or 31¢ a share, down from $710 million, or 48¢ a share, a year earlier. Excluding costs of integrating Cadbury, earnings were 46¢ per share.

The Glenview, IL-based food giant said organic sales in its base business, which excludes Cadbury products, increased 6.5% during the quarter. The Cadbury business's organic revenues climbed 2.2%.

Kraft lowered its 2011 earnings growth forecast, anticipating that its planned price increases to offset rising commodity costs will impact sales. The company already has raised prices on most of its products in Europe, and on more than half of those in North America. It now expects operating earnings per share to increase by 11% to 13% in 2011, down from its previous forecast of growth in the mid-teens.

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