Kraft to split itself in two as sales rise

KRAFT said yesterday it would split into two listed companies, comprising its global snacks business and its North American grocery business, less than two years after swallowing Cadbury in a controversial takeover.

The company is the latest in a host of firms moving to separate their disparate operations, including Fortune Brands, Sara Lee and ITT.

The maker of Cadbury chocolate bars, Oreo cookies (pictured) and Velveeta cheese told its shareholders it would spin off its North American grocery business.

The grocery business -- which would have annual revenue of about $16bn (£9.7bn) -- would include its US beverages, cheese and convenient meals with brands like Maxwell House coffee and Jell-O desserts.

The global snacks company will consist of its Europe and developing markets units and its North American snacks and confectionery businesses. The new firm -- with annual sales of $32bn -- will have brands like Oreo cookies and Cadbury.

Kraft aims to complete the spin-off by the end of 2012.

Kraft also announced that its second-quarter earnings climbed four per cent to $976m, or 55 cents per share, from $937m, or 53 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 13 per cent to $13.88bn from $12.25bn. It also raised its full year forecasts for revenue and operating earnings.