Kraft's profit beats Wall Street expectations

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft Foods reported first-quarter results that beat Wall Street expectations as it increased sales and cut costs following its split from its global snack business.

The company, based in Northfield, Ill., makes Miracle Whip, Oscar Mayer, Jell-O and other staples found in American pantries. It split from Mondelez, which took brands including Oreo and Cadbury, so that each could focus on a more narrow mix of products.

Kraft faces a bigger uphill climb in growing its business, however, given its focus on North America, where the packaged food industry is already mature. As such, Kraft executives are focusing on becoming leaner, in part by pruning out less profitable brand extensions, and coming up with big new innovations. They're also trying to refresh the images of brands such as Kool-Aid and Grey Poupon.

For the quarter, Kraft Foods Group Inc. earned $456 million, or 76 cents per share. That's down from $483 million, or 82 cents per share, a year ago when it paid less in interest and other expenses.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $4.55 billion.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 63 cents per share on revenue of $4.49 billion.

Operating income rose 9 percent to $809 million, as it increased productivity and cut overhead costs.

The company stood by its outlook for the year, with earnings expected to be about $2.75 per share.

Shares of Kraft were up almost 2 percent at $51.37 in afterhours trading.

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