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Kraft hikes 2013 forecast but sees dip in quarterly revenue

Kraft Foods Inc.

JOHN GRESS/REUTERS

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

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.

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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.

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.

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