Global branded food giant Kraft Foods yesterday [Tuesday] announced positive results for the FY 2001 and Q4 that met anticipated targets.
Co-CEO Betsy D. Holden commented: “This was an outstanding year for Kraft. We delivered superior results and enhanced shareholder value, while strengthening our business for the future with the successful integration of Nabisco.”
“The integration of Nabisco continues to progress smoothly and is ahead of our business plan,” she added.
Year on year, FY diluted earnings per share rose 19.8% to US$1.21, while net earnings increased 19.9% to US$2.1bn. Operating revenues decreased 1.2% to US$8.8bn, due to the extra week of sales in 2000, reduced coffee prices in response to lower coffee commodity costs, product mix and the adverse effect of currency. On a comparable basis, operating revenues increased 3.8%.
For the Q4 meanwhile, earnings per share increased 33.3% to US$0.32 per share while net earnings were up 33.7% to US$556m. Worldwide volume increased 29.8%; operating revenues increased 27.3% to US$8.8bn; and operating companies income increased 38.4% to US$1.5bn, primarily reflecting the acquisition of Nabisco.
Roger K. Deromedi, Co-CEO, commented: “In the Q4, we achieved a strong increase in earnings driven by good volume growth across most of our businesses, significant productivity and synergy savings, and lower interest expense. Our volume increase was driven by new products and strong growth in developing markets.”
In June 2001, Kraft completed an initial public offering of 16.1% of its outstanding shares, raising US$8.4bn in net proceeds which were used to retire debt. Subsequently, Kraft declared two regular quarterly dividends totaling US$0.26 per common share.
Kraft Foods North America
In the Q4, volume for Kraft Foods North America (KFNA) increased 5.0% led by growth in the Beverages, Desserts and Cereals segment, the Biscuits, Snacks and Confectionery segment and the Cheese, Meals and Enhancers segment. KFNA operating companies income improved a strong 12.4% due to productivity and synergy savings.
For the full year, meanwhile, volume for KFNA increased 3.4%, aided by contributions from new products with gains across all four business segments. KFNA operating companies income improved a strong 9.0% driven by higher volume, productivity and synergy savings.
Kraft Foods International
In the Q4, volume for Kraft Foods International (KFI) increased 5.9% driven by strong momentum in the developing markets of Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific, and growth in the EU. Operating companies income increased 9.0% to US$425m, driven by volume gains, continued productivity savings and Nabisco synergies. On a constant currency basis, operating companies income increased 8.2%.
For the full year, KFI volume increased 4.7% benefiting from new products and a strong 11.3% growth in developing markets. Operating companies income increased 8.5%, driven by volume growth, continued productivity savings and Nabisco synergies. Excluding an unfavorable currency impact of US$48m, operating companies income increased 12.7%.
On 15 January 2002, Kraft announced the acquisition of Lanes Food Group, a privately-held Australian biscuit company.
Moving forward into 2002, Holden said: “We are building new growth opportunities with joint promotions and cross-branding initiatives. We exceeded our synergy target and we are on track to deliver our net cost synergy targets in 2002.”
Deromedi added: “We look forward to continued strong performance in 2002. For the FY, we project a 14% to 16% increase in diluted earnings per share to a range of US$2.00 to US$2.05.”