Mondelēz Raises Outlook On Emerging Markets Demand
Ritz crackers-owner Mondelēz International Inc raised its 2019 sales forecast after reporting a 1.1% rise in third-quarter revenue, driven by higher demand in emerging markets where Mondelēz has been ramping up investment.
As demand slows in developed countries, Illinois-based Mondelēz has been spending more on marketing and creating products for shoppers in markets with rising incomes and e-commerce sales.
In China, for instance, Mondelēz has been working for years with Alibaba's online marketplace Tmall to expand its reach, even creating novelties like wasabi or hot chicken flavoured Oreos to attract shoppers.
The company told Reuters this year that "the big bulk" of a $150 million increase in global investment this year - the first hike in five years - would be in rural India.
Demand from these markets - along with Southeast Asia, Russia and Mexico - drove up organic sales by 6.6%, the company said.
Mondelēz said it expects full-year organic net revenue growth of over 3.5%, up from its previous forecast of over 3% growth. Mondelēz also said it now expects adjusted earnings per share growth of 5% to 7% on a constant-currency basis.
The company, which warned in July that a hard Brexit could mean changes to its prices and sourcing, said this outlook did not account for a so-called hard Brexit.
"We have to remain a little bit mindful again about Brexit which didn't happen this year but it will have an effect potentially on the first quarter," chief executive Dirk Van de Put said on a post-earnings call.
"If it will be a hard Brexit with the devaluation of the pound and a big consumer reaction, that is not included for us."
Cadbury, one of Mondelēz's biggest and most storied brands, is based in the United Kingdom. The company told Reuters in February that it had increased warehousing and transportation capacity in the UK, and begun stockpiling all its European-made products, which include BelVita biscuits and Milka chocolate.
In Brazil, margins were squeezed between weak demand for powdered drinks and higher logistics costs as the company restructures operations there.
Mondelēz said it expected these issues to mostly be resolved by next year, but that costs would continue to hurt fourth-quarter profit.
Mondelēz reported third-quarter earnings of $1.42 billion, or 98 cents per share, up from $1.19 billion, or 81 cents per share a year earlier.
The company earned 64 cents a share on an adjusted basis, beating analysts' estimate of 60 cents of according to Refinitiv I/B/E/S data.
Net revenue rose to $6.36 billion in the quarter ended 30 September from $6.29 billion a year earlier, just beating analysts' estimate of $6.34 billion.