reported lower fourth-quarter earnings as the company continued to work through a restructuring, but still met analysts' expectations.
The food giant Tuesday said it earned $628 million, or 37 cents a share, vs. $869 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period. The quarter included 12 cents a share in exit and implementation costs for its restructuring program, and impairment charges. Excluding items, the company earned 49 cents a share, matching the Thomson First Call consensus.
Revenue rose 7.0% to $8.78 billion.
The company forecast 2005 EPS of $1.60 to $1.65 on a reported basis and $1.75 to $1.80 a share on an operating basis. That includes approximately 18 cents a share in exit and implementation costs for the restructuring program and impairment charges, 12 cents a share covering the completion of previously announced divestitures, and 4 cents a share in dilution from divestitures. Analysts expect $1.97 a share.