“Our top line growth accelerated in the fourth quarter, with worldwide pro forma volume up 4.3% and all six segments posting growth over the prior year,” said Roger K Deromedi, co-chief executive officer of Kraft Foods. “For the full year, pro forma volume increased 3.1%, driven by new products, growth in developing markets, and tack-on acquisitions.
“As we enter 2003, our business momentum remains strong,” Deromedi said. “On the top line, we are again projecting volume growth of around 3%. However, on the bottom line, three significant items—benefit cost increases, stock-based compensation expenses, and devaluation-driven cost increases in Latin America—will restrain earnings growth, with diluted earnings per share expected to be $2.10 to $2.15, an increase of 4% to 6% from the pro forma 2002 base.”