(By Balaseshan) Kraft Foods Inc. (NYSE:KFT), a food company, reported a 5.4% increase in quarterly earnings on higher gross margins as well as lower costs and expenses. Despite revenue missing consensus, earnings exceeded Street's expectations.
In addition, the company announced its intention to spin off the North American Grocery business, Kraft Foods Group Inc., on October 1. At the time of the spin-off, each of the company's shareholders entitled to receive shares of Kraft Foods Group will receive one share of Kraft Foods Group for every three shares of Kraft Foods Inc.
Beginning October 2, Kraft Foods Group will begin to trade on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol "KRFT". Kraft Foods Inc. will change its name to Mondelez International Inc. and change its ticker symbol to "MDLZ". The current ticker symbol, "KFT", will be retired.
Profit rose 5.4% to $1.03 billion for the second quarter, while earnings per share (EPS) increased 5.5% to $0.58. Operating earnings grew 9.6% to $0.68 per share, driven primarily by operating gains. On a constant currency basis, operating EPS increased 12.9%.
Revenue declined 4.3% to $13.29 billion, due to a 5.0 percentage point headwind from currency and a negative 2.7 percentage point impact due to the benefit of accounting calendar changes in the prior year quarter.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $0.66 per share on revenue of $13.96 billion for the second quarter.
Organic revenue increased 3.4%, driven by 6% growth from Power Brands. Pricing contributed 4.0 percentage points of growth, while volume/mix contributed 0.6 percentage point.
Revenue from North America rose 1.2% to $6.39 billion, while revenue from Europe plunged 14.8% to $3.0 billion. Revenue from developing markets declined 3.6% to $3.89 billion.
Gross margin for the second quarter increased to 36.7% from 35.1%.
Looking ahead, the company said its first half results are on-track with its previous annual guidance of Organic Net Revenue growth of about 5% and Operating EPS growth of at least 9% on a constant currency basis.
KFT closed Thursday's regular session down 1.14% at $38.94. The stock has been trading between $31.88 and $40.29 for the past 52 weeks.