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Mondelez trims sales outlook; profit rises

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November 6, 2013 05:02 PM EST | AP

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NEW YORK (AP) — Oreo cookie maker Mondelez reported a jump in quarterly profit and raised its earnings outlook for the year, citing plans to improve productivity.

But the company, which owns Cadbury, Ritz and Trident, trimmed its revenue projection, in part because of disappointing cookie sales in China.

Mondelez has been under pressure to improve its performance after splitting from Kraft Foods last year. Activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management has said that CEO Irene Rosenfeld is "running out of time" with investors.

Peltz is pushing for PepsiCo to spin off its beverage business then merge its Frito-Lay snacks business with Mondelez. Representatives for Mondelez and PepsiCo have said they're not interested in such a deal.

Mondelez, based in Deerfield, Ill., said that sales were down in the "double-digits" for its China business during the quarter as cookie sales faltered. In North America, the company said strong results for its cookies and chocolate were offset somewhat by persistent weakness in gum sales.

Adjusted operating income margin for the third quarter improved from the previous quarter. But it was down from a year ago, which the company partly blamed on stepped-up investments in advertising and sales capabilities.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Mondelez International Inc. says it earned $1.02 billion, or 57 cents per share. Not including one-time items, it earned 41 cents per share, or a penny more than Wall Street expected.

A year ago, it earned $652 million, or 36 cents per share.

Revenue rose to $8.47 billion but was shy of the $8.58 billion analysts expected.

Mondelez now expect core sales to increase 4 percent for 2013. Previously, it had said it expected it to be on the low end of a 5 percent to 7 percent increase.

It raised its adjusted earnings forecast by 2 cents to $1.57 to $1.62 per share.

Shares of Mondelez were down 3 percent at $32.57 in after-hours trading. Over the past year, its stock is up more than 26 percent.