Mondelez International (MDLZ -0.81%) reported earnings after the market closed on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know about the company's recent results.
Expectations disappoint, but sweeter outlook for 2014
Mondelez reported earnings of $0.42 per share for the fourth quarter, which was below Wall Street's expected Q4 profits of $0.44 per share. The maker of Chips Ahoy! posted full-year 2013 EPS of $1.51, which came up short of its $1.57 to $1.62 target range. However, Mondelez's outlook for 2014 was more optimistic. The company called for adjusted earnings in the range of $1.73 to $1.78 a share.
Slowing organic growth
Mondelez posted an organic net revenue increase of 2.5% in the fourth quarter, down from increases of 5.3% in Q3 and 3.8% in each of the first two quarters of 2013. Management had expected Q4 revenues to be down due largely to slowing GDP growth in China. The chocolatier anticipated its full-year 2013 organic net revenue growth to come in at 4%. But the company came up slightly short, delivering 3.9% growth. Mondelez's "power brands" were up 4.5% in Q4 and 6.5% for the full-year 2013, led by Oreo cookies, belVita biscuits, Cadbury chocolates, and Tassimo coffee.
Emerging markets remain primary focus
While Mondelez currently obtains more than 40% of sales from developing markets, it's crucial to the long-term success of the company for this percentage to grow. Revenues from emerging markets were up 8.8% for the full-year 2013, led by a 10% gain in BRIC markets. For the fourth quarter, the Illinois-based company posted 5.9% revenue growth from emerging markets, led by double-digit growth in India and solid performance in Russia and Brazil. Meanwhile, China declined considerably due to weak biscuit sales.
Up until this quarter, revenues derived from emerging markets had steadily increased. Mondelez had posted 9.3% revenue growth in Q1 2013, 9.5% in Q2 2013, and 10.7% in Q3 2013. The company was starting to close in on its long-term target of double-digit growth in these markets. But this most recent quarter was a setback.
Meanwhile, rival chocolatier Hershey (HSY -0.48%) has been gaining serious ground in international markets. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, international net sales rose 16% in 2013. Last year, Hershey posted net sales up a combined 25% in China, Brazil, and Mexico. The maker of Kit Kat, Reese's, and Twizzlers is on track to achieve close to $1 billion of net sales in international markets by the end of 2014, endorsing its strategy of focusing investments in key markets like Latin America and Asia.
Despite its near-term challenges, the snack-food giant boasts plenty of attractive long-term growth opportunities. Mondelez still holds a great deal of promise for the patient investor.