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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 3, March 2010, Posted On: 2/26/2010

Cost Cuts Boost Kraft's Fourth Quarter Profits

Emily Jed
Kraft, Kraft Foods, vending, vending machine, vending foods, vending drinks, vending operator, vending news, Cadbury, Maxwell House, office coffee service

NORTHFIELD, IL -- Kraft Foods Inc. reported that its 2009 fourth-quarter net income more than tripled to $710 million compared with $178 million for the same period in 2008. Sales during the quarter rose 3.2% to $11 billion.

Kraft completed its three-year restructuring plan at the end of 2009 by shedding less-profitable brands, discontinuing product lines, closing plants and reducing its workforce.

Contributing the strongest sales in the fourth quarter, according to Kraft, were Capri Sun and Crystal Light drinks, Oscar Mayer deli meats and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Revenue from Ritz crackers and Oreo cookies also rose during the quarter, despite overall declines in the category.

In the coffee segment, weak sales of Maxwell House and Starbucks were partially offset by double-digit growth of Tassimo, Kraft reported.

Kraft is selling its U.S. pizza business to Nestlé to help fund its $19 billion acquisition of Cadbury announced earlier this month. Under Kraft's ownership, DiGiorno and Tombstone pizzas registered strong sales in the fourth quarter.

The food giant reiterated its long-term forecast for the combined companies, projecting organic sales growth at 5% or more and earnings growth of 9% to 11%.

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