Kraft Foods 1Q profit rises

NORTHFIELD: Kraft Foods Inc. said Tuesday that its first-quarter profit rose 10 percent even as sales dropped as consumers pulled back on their spending.

That rise in profit compares to the same period a year ago, when Kraft results were dampened by $98 million in restructuring costs.

The maker of Velveeta, Oreo cookies and Maxwell House coffee said Tuesday it earned $660 million, or 45 cents per share in the three-month period ending in March. That compares to earnings of $599 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

The Northfield, Ill.-based company says revenue fell 6.5 percent to $9.4 billion from $10.05 billion.

Kraft said unfavorable currency comparisons dragged down revenue by 7.9 percentage points. Organic revenue grew 2.3 percent as Kraft raised prices.

The stronger dollar has been hurting many companies that have large overseas businesses. They convert international sales from foreign currencies into dollars when they report their financial results. If the dollar strengthens relative to those currencies, revenue in those currencies translates into fewer dollars.

The earnings beat analyst predictions for a profit of 40 cents a share. But revenue fell short of analysts' expectation for $9.67 billion.

The company also reiterated its 2009 profit forecast of $1.88 per share.