Business briefs: Kraft raises profit forecast for the year

  • Tuesday, November 3, 2009 8:15pm
  • Business

Kraft Foods said slower sales and lower retail food prices cut into its third-quarter profit, but the company raised its forecast for the year Tuesday. The company said it remains interested in a possible offer for UK candy company Cadbury PLC, but it did not disclose a time frame or price. Kraft Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld said the company will maintain a disciplined approach to the deal and is committed to maintaining its investment-grade credit rating and dividend as it considers its options. Kraft reported after the market closed Tuesday that it earned $824 million, or 55 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, down from $1.36 billion or 91 cents per share a year earlier, when the results included income from some operations that have been discontinued.

Kansas officials support Boeing

With hundreds of new jobs at stake, Kansas officials are keeping an eye on the competition for an Air Force contract to build a new refueling plane. Chicago-based Boeing Co., which has a plant in Wichita, is competing with Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. and Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defense and Space Co. for the $35 billion contract to build new air refuelers and replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 179 tankers. Northrop and Airbus are offering a tanker based on the Airbus A330. Boeing may offer tankers based on its 767 or 777 jets or both. Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson met this summer with the secretary of the Air Force to discuss military issues in the state, including the tanker project. Parkinson said Monday he and former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ administration have been strong supporters of Boeing’s bid.

Air New Zealand buys Airbus jets

Air New Zealand has ordered 14 Airbus A320 aircraft to replace its existing fleet of 15 Boeing 737-300s. The carrier will use its new Airbus jets on domestic and short-haul international routes. Air New Zealand also has placed purchase options for an additional 11 A320 aircraft.

Cost-cutting aids MasterCard profits

MasterCard Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter profit was bolstered by continued cost-cutting measures and an increase in the number of transactions it processed. However, worldwide purchase volume grew only 0.4 percent on a local currency basis during the quarter, providing further evidence that a global economic recovery is likely to be slow. Volume fell in the U.S. “The economic downturn has continued to affect consumer and business spending during the quarter,” Chief Executive Robert Selander said. “We don’t expect any global economic improvement until sometime in 2010.” But, Selander said he believed the worst of the downturn is likely over. Shares of MasterCard fell $6.79, or 3.1 percent, to $215.85 in afternoon trading as the broader market declined.

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