Kraft to cut 1,600 jobs as it splits into two companies

NORTHFIELD, Ill. ― Kraft Foods Inc. said that splitting into two companies would lead it to cut about 1,600 jobs in North America this year and that its 2011 profit should be slightly higher than it had previously forecast.

Kraft also said its 2011 net revenue would be up by about 10 percent, as it ended the year with strong momentum around the world despite a tough operating environment. It expects to report 2011 operating earnings per share of at least $2.28, including a penny per share hit from currency in the fourth quarter.

Previously Kraft had forecast operating earnings per share of at least $2.27, excluding any potential currency impact in the fourth quarter.

Analysts, on average, had expected Kraft to earn $2.27 per share this year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

About 40 percent of the job cuts come from the company realigning its U.S. sales division, Kraft said. About 20 percent of the jobs being cut in the United States and Canada are currently open positions, the company said. The planned job cuts do not include any cuts at manufacturing facilities.