Kraft Foods saw profits more than treble in the final quarter of last year, as the US food giant gears up for life after its Cadbury swoop.

Profits for the three months to 31 December rose to $710m (£453m), up from $178m for the equivalent period in 2008.

Sales for the period grew by just over 3% to $11bn, but improved by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. Overall sales for the year fell nearly 4% to $40.4bn, which the company blamed on fluctuations in currency.

Chief executive Irene Rosenfeld (pictured) labelled the performance “a strong finish to our three-year turnaround”.

She said: “Despite the challenging economic environment, we generated exceptional profit and free cash flow. We continue to benefit from investments in our iconic brands. This is driving volume gains and leveraging our cost structure to deliver sustainable, profitable growth. And our top line reflected our resolve to avoid chasing unsustainable, promoted volume."

Rosenfeld hailed the start of “an exciting new chapter” after Kraft today confirmed it had passed the 90% threshold needed to complete a compulsory purchase of Cadbury shares.

“Together, we'll remain focused on driving sustainable top-line growth, while delivering against our cost savings and synergy opportunities,” Rosenfeld added.

“As a combined entity, we are well positioned to deliver top-tier performance and accelerate our long-term growth.”

Read more
Kraft to complete compulsory purchase of Cadbury (16 February 2010)
Carr blames hedge funds for Cadbury sale (10 February 2010)
Kraft goes back on pledge to keep Cadbury Somerdale open (9 February 2010)