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Dr Pepper Snapple Group sales, profits increase

BY Alaric DeArment

PLANO, Texas — Dr Pepper Snapple Group reported $629 million in profits for fiscal year 2012, up from $606 million in 2011, the beverage maker said Thursday.

Profits for the fourth quarter were $170 million, compared with $166 million in fourth quarter 2011, driven by fiscal year 2012 sales of $5.99 billion and fourth-quarter sales of $1.48 billion, compared with $5.9 billion and $1.46 billion in 2011, respectively.

"As I look back on 2012, I am proud of the team’s continuing ability to outperform the [carbonated soft drink] category, growing dollar share as measured by Nielsen and closing distribution gaps across CSDs, teas and juices," Dr Pepper Snapple Group president and CEO Larry Young said. "Our employees have embraced rapid continuous improvement, and it continues to drive tangible operational and financial improvements. Moving forward, nothing is more important than reinvigorating the CSD category and giving lapsed consumers a reason to come back to the brands they know and love."

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Ciao Bella unveils new products for 2013

BY Jason Owen

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — In a sneak peek of its spring slate, Ciao Bella today announced plans to expand its award-winning gelato and Adonia categories, including new novelty items and Greek frozen yogurt flavors.

Starting in April, Ciao Bella will add a new gelato novelty to its national retail offering: Sea Salt Caramel Gelato Squares. The new gelato sandwiches mark an addition to Ciao Bella’s established collection of dessert novelties that include the Key Lime Graham Gelato Squares, which are among the brand’s 17 NASFT Sofi Gold Award-winning products.

"We’re excited to share the Sea Salt Caramel Gelato Square, as it perfectly embodies what makes the Ciao Bella brand so unique," said executive chef Danilo Zecchin. "By pairing our handcrafted Sea Salt Caramel Gelato with our signature novelty sandwich concept, we’re allowing consumers to enjoy a familiar Italian-inspired flavor with an innovative twist."

Also joining the brand’s 2013 lineup are six new Adonia by Ciao Bella products, including five novelty items — Raspberry Vanilla Bars, Mango Vanilla Bars, Vanilla Squares, Chocolate Squares, and Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Squares — and one new yogurt flavor that infuses the brand’s Greek frozen yogurt line with a nod to its most popular sorbet flavor: Blood Orange Vanilla Swirl.


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Reports: Buffett, Lemann buy H.J. Heinz; Buffett investment group increases Costco holding

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The investment groups of billionaires Warren Buffett and Jorge Paulo Lemann will buy H.J. Heinz for about $23 billion, according to published reports.

Bloomberg reported that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Lemann’s 3G Capital would buy the condiment maker for $72.50 per share, and the deal includes $12 billion to $13 billion from Buffett’s group. Heinz also owns the Ore-Ida potato chip brand.

In other news, Berkshire Hathaway increased its holdings in Costco Wholesale, acquiring 6,457 shares of the company for $28.26 per share, bringing its total shares in the club retailer to 139,297, according to records filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.


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