Kellogg Reports Slight Drop in Profit

Monday, January 31st 2005, 10:47 am
By: News On 6

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ Kellogg Co. posted a slight dip in fourth-quarter profit Monday that the cereal maker attributed primarily to a higher tax rate.

During the final three months of 2004, the Battle Creek-based company earned $186.4 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with $188 million, or 46 cents per share, in the last three months of 2003. Quarterly sales rose 12 percent, to $2.39 billion from $2.14 billion

Kellogg anticipated the decline in quarterly profit. Earnings were affected by a higher tax rate that came about because of the company's decision to repatriate foreign earnings as a result of passage of the American Jobs Creation Act, it said.

The earnings per share of 45 cents matched the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

For all of 2004, Kellogg reported a 13-percent increase in net earnings to $890.6 million. or $2.14 per share, compared with $787.1 million, or $1.92 per share, during 2003. Net sales rose 9 percent in 2004, to $9.61 billion from $8.81 billion.

``2004 was another excellent year for our company,'' said Jim Jenness, Kellogg's chairman and chief executive officer-designate. ``We remained focused on innovation and brand building, we added excitement to our categories and we improved mix. Importantly, we did all this while making significant investment in our future growth.''