After reporting earnings and revenue results that fell short of Mr. Market's expectations on Feb. 12, shares of snack maker Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ) fell nearly 2% in after-hours trading. Given that the company is one of the largest food providers in the world and owns iconic brands like Oreo, is the decline truly a time to panic or should the Foolish investor take this opportunity to buy this company's shares at a discount?
Mondelez just couldn't deliver
For the quarter, Mondelez reported revenue of $9.5 billion. Although this was flat with the year-ago period, it fell short of the $9.7 billion that analysts hoped to see. In its release, Mondelez claimed that its lackluster revenue numbers came about because of a decline in coffee prices as well as double-digit declines in its biscuit business in China.
As a result of the company's less-than-ideal fourth-quarter revenue, bottom-line results also fell short of analyst expectations. For the quarter, management reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.09. This is significantly lower than the $0.33 the company reported in the year-ago quarter and worse than the $0.44 that Mr. Market anticipated.
In addition to lower revenue, Mondelez reported that rising costs associated with producing its goods as well as an 187% rise in interest expenses negatively affected its performance. Fortunately, this was partially offset by a 2% reduction in the company's shares outstanding.
Does this change the picture for Mondelez?
Despite the relatively poor performance for the quarter, is it likely that this is a one-time event that grants investors an attractive buying opportunity, or is this a sign that the business is deteriorating? To find the answer to this question, we must delve into the company's past performance.
Over the past four years, Mondelez hasn't been the poster boy for the perfect business. Between 2009 and 2012, the company saw its revenue decline nearly 10% from $38.8 billion to $35 billion. In that same time frame, net income stayed virtually unchanged at around $3 billion but after adjusting for gains from discontinued operations declined 40% from $2.9 billion to $1.7 billion.
This performance was far worse than that of rival Hershey (NYSE:HSY). Over the past four years, Hershey has managed to grow its revenue by 25% from $5.3 billion to $6.6 billion, primarily as a result of international expansion. Seeing as how 84% of Hershey's revenue comes from domestic sales and considering that its international sales are growing nearly twice as fast as its U.S. sales, there is a lot of opportunity for the business moving forward.
In terms of profitability, Hershey has done even better. Over the same time frame, the business has seen its net income rise about 52% from $436 million to $660.9 million. While some portion of this is attributed to the business' rising revenue, it can also be chalked up to its costs, which have been falling relative to sales. For instance, while Hershey's cost of goods sold absorbed 61% of the company's sales in 2009, that number declined to 57% by year-end 2012.
Based on the data seen, it looks like shareholders shouldn't have been too surprised by Mondelez's poor performance. Historically speaking, the business has a tendency to underperform and it looks like this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. For this reason, as well as the fact that Hershey has demonstrated attractive growth on both its top and bottom lines, shareholders should consider analyzing Hershey before digging any deeper into Mondelez.
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