Kraft again raises e.p.s.

by Eric Schroeder
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NORTHFIELD, ILL. – Kraft Foods Inc. on Jan. 12 raised its full-year earnings-per-share guidance to at least $2, the second time in two months it has raised expectations. In November, Kraft forecast e.p.s. of at least $1.97 per share, up from an earlier forecast of $1.93.

The company said the increased guidance reflects strong operating gains as well as a significant increase in marketing investments compared with a year ago.

“As we complete our turnaround, we’re delivering high-quality earnings growth, despite the difficult economic environment,” said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer. “And we’re doing this while continuing to invest in our brands and businesses. As a result, we’re well positioned to deliver sustainable top-tier performance, with or without Cadbury.”

Earlier this week, London-based Cadbury P.L.C. made its case against Kraft’s proposed $16.5 billion bid, saying its annual results would exceed estimates.

Kraft’s position received a boost after Italian chocolate company Ferrero International S.A. this week reportedly decided it’s not interested in bidding for Cadbury. Last week, Nestle S.A. removed its name from the bidding.

Shares of Kraft Foods rose as high as 2.7% to $30.10 in early morning trading on Jan. 13.

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