Kraft Foods Group topped expectations for first quarter earnings
Thursday, despite costs related to its spin-off.
For the quarter ended March 31, the company posted earnings of $456 million, or 76 cents per share, down from $483 million. Analysts had been expecting 64 cents, according to Bloomberg.
Net revenue rose 2 percent, to $4.55 billion, thanks in part to an early Easter, and despite selling off some products. Analysts were expecting $4.48 billion.
Northfield-based Kraft, the maker of Oscar Mayer, Maxwell House and Planters, was spun off from Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo, Ritz and Trident, in October. In the first quarter, Kraft incurred $119 million in restructuring costs and $123 million in interest expense related to that.
"We're off to a solid start," Kraft CEO Tony Vernon said in a statement. "Our first quarter results reflect strong returns on our new product innovations to date, as well as the fact that our cost savings outpaced our plans to reinvest in our brands."
Kraft reiterated full-year earnings guidance of about $2.75 per share.
By division, Kraft's biggest business, grocery, with products including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, declined 3 percent to $328 million, due to weakness in Jell-O, Planters and Kraft dressings.
The company posted gains in its beverage business, up 28 percent to $125 million, with growth in Kool-Aid and Mio tempering the effect of green coffee prices on Maxwell House, and its cheese business, up 3 percent to $172 million, as consumption of natural cheese and Velveeta grew. The company's refrigerated meals business rose 4 percent to $97 million, thanks to higher prices and Lunchables.
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