Kraft Warns on Fourth Quarter, but Raises Outlook

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Kraft Foods Group said fourth-quarter revenue likely declined about 11 percent from a year earlier mainly due to reductions in trade inventories, but raised its earnings forecast for 2013.

Kraft shares were down 1.3 percent in premarket trade.

The company, spun off late last year from Mondelez International, now expects full-year earnings of about $2.75 per share, up from the $2.60 per share it forecast earlier.

Kraft, whose brands include Oscar Mayer lunch meat and Maxwell House coffee, said revenue in the fourth-quarter was hurt mainly by reductions in trade inventories and product pruning.

Product pruning is the discontinuation of a product or brand due to declining demand or other reasons.

The company expects per-share earnings of about 15 cents in the fourth quarter, including a one-time, non-cash charge of about 24 cents due to post-employment benefits, 14 cents of restructuring charges and 4 cents on account of hedging activities.

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Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 22 cents per share on revenue of $4.74 billion in the fourth quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Kraft said this month that it would only report a financial update about its fourth quarter this month, not the full earnings, due to complexities in accounting after the spin-off.

The company said it will issue final 2012 results by March 29. Its shares closed at $47.16 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.