Kraft Foods expects profit to top estimates

, The Associated Press

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Kraft Foods expects fourth-quarter adjusted earnings above analysts' current estimates, but foresees lower revenue than a year ago.

The company, whose brands include Oscar Mayer and Miracle Whip, also raised its 2013 earnings forecast Friday and announced that it will look to level out annual pension contributions after this year.

"The fourth quarter was one of real progress and some significant disappointment," Kraft CEO Tony Vernon told investors during a conference call Friday. "We made great strides in productivity, profit, and cash, but we really missed our topline."

But Vernon noted he feels good about the solid financial foundation for the future of the "new Kraft."

The outlook comes as Kraft, based in Northfield, Illinois, looks to redefine itself after splitting last year from its global snack foods business called Mondelez International Inc. Mondelez has brands including Oreo and Nabisco. The split was intended to allow each of the companies to focus on a more targeted portfolio of products, thus accelerating growth. As part of Kraft's strategy, it's working to clean up the company's lineup of less-profitable product extensions and revitalize languishing brands like Jell-O by betting on innovations.

Kraft anticipates quarterly earnings of about 15 cents per share.

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