Wrigley Profit Hurt by Restructuring Costs

Chewing gum and candy maker Wm Wrigley Jr. Co. (WWY) Tuesday posted the smallest increase in quarterly profit in almost two years, weighed down by supply chain restructuring costs and interest expenses related to recent acquisitions.

Wrigley shares fell 2 percent, or $1.41, to $69.11 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The world's largest chewing gum maker bought the Life Savers (search) and Altoids candy businesses from Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) earlier this year and has said that acquisition would cut into 2005 earnings as it spends more on marketing those brands.

The maker of Doublemint gum said third-quarter profit rose 3 percent to $129.7 million, or 57 cents a share, from $125.8 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding restructuring charges, earnings were 59 cents a share. Analysts on average forecast 60 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales rose 15.8 percent to $1.06 billion, with about 9 percentage points of the increase coming from the newly acquired brands.

Wrigley shares rose 4 percent in the third quarter, outperforming the Dow Jones U.S. Food Producers Index , which was up only 1 percent in the period.

The stock trades at about 25 times next year's estimated earnings, compared with 16 percent for the index.