Kraft 4Q profit rises on cost cuts, one-time gains, but revenue misses Wall Street estimates

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Kraft said Thursday that cost cutting and one-time gains helped boost its quarterly profit, but its sales fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The maker of Oscar Mayer meats and Jell-O pudding said its core revenue during the period rose 3.2 per cent, as higher volume offset reduced prices. Its cheese business was hurt by a string cheese recall.

Kraft is trying to find its way as an independent company after its split from Mondelez International in 2012. The company, based in Northfield, Ill., held onto grocery brands such as Miracle Whip and Maxwell House that are sold in North America, where growth is expected to be relatively limited. Mondelez took global snack brands such as Oreo and Chips Ahoy that are expected to grow at a faster rate.

To improve its financial performance, Kraft has focused on cutting costs. The company is also trying to revive the dated images of brands such as Kool-Aid, Jell-O and Tang.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, Kraft earned $931 million, or $1.54 per share, including a $1.11 per share benefit tied to its retirement plans. The company did not specify an earnings-per-share figure adjusted for one-time items.

Excluding one-time items, analysts expected 61 cents per share, according to FactSet.

A year earlier, Kraft earned $90 million, or 15 cents per share.

Revenue for the quarter rose to $4.6 billion, but was shy of the $4.63 billion Wall Street expected.

Kraft's stock advanced 2 per cent at $54.75 in after hours trading.