Kraft reaffirms '06 earnings guidance

by Eric Schroeder
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NORTHFIELD, ILL. — Kraft Foods Inc. on Tuesday backed its full-year 2006 earnings guidance from continuing operations at $1.55 to $1.60 per share.

The guidance includes 24c per share for a tax audit resolution, 7c per share from a pet snacks divestiture, and 50c per share in charges for the company’s restructuring program and other impairment charges.

Commenting at its annual shareholders meeting held Tuesday in East Hanover, N.J., Roger K. Deromedi, chief executive officer, said the company has made progress with its growth plan, including accelerated revenue from new products, improved product mix, cost savings and growth in developing markets.

"While our financial performance lagged our improving business fundamentals last year, 2006 is off to a good start," Mr. Deromedi said. "I’m confident that strong execution of our guiding principles will continue to deliver improved financial performance in 2006 and beyond."

Kraft has closed facilities, cut jobs and simplified internal business practices as part of a more than two-year restructuring.

The company’s shares rose 10c to $31.26 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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