Kelloggs growth over 2014 has been boosted by the success of Pringles

Kellogg's growth over 2014 has been boosted by the success of Pringles

Kellogg today (6 February) posted higher fourth-quarter profits but saw its shares fall in early trading after its top line missed Wall St forecasts.

The Special K and Pringles maker booked an 8.8% rise in underlying internal operating profit, a company metric that excludes factors like foreign exchange, M&A,  mark-to-market accounting and costs linked to the company's Project K restructuring programme.

However, net sales for the quarter to 28 December fell 1.7% to $3.5bn. Fourth-quarter internal net sales dropped 0.9%.

Internal net sales fell in North America as sales of US morning foods and snacks dropped faster than in the third quarter of the year.

The consensus forecast among Wall Street analysts was for Kellogg's net sales to fall 1.2%.

Shares in Kellogg were down 1.81% at $56.33 at 09:55 ET.

Compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, Kellogg reported net income of US$818m, versus a loss of $32m. Reported operating income was $1.26bn, compared to $3m a year earlier. Last year, the company incurred a mark-to-market charge after adopting a new method for accounting for pensions. 

For the year as a whole, Kellogg's net income almost doubled to $1.81bn. Operating profit was up 81.6% at $2.84bn.

Full-year reported net sales increased by 4.2% to $14.8bn. However, internal net sales inched up 0.3%. US morning foods and snacks sales were down. Revenues from each of Kellogg's international regions were higher.

"Our Pringles business had an excellent year in 2013, although we continue to face challenges in some of our developed cereal businesses," president and CEO John Bryant said.

"Our expectations are that, over time, Project K will begin to provide us the fuel we need to drive growth in our categories, and across our businesses, in the years to come."