For Cadbury Schweppes
The world's largest confectioner, and owner of such brands as Dr. Pepper, Snapple, 7-Up, and Trident and Dentyne gums, has been delivering sweet news for investors. Last month, it reported increasing sales, profits, and margins, and now it's taking market share from Coke
Cadbury's market share in the soft-drink business got a carbonated boost of 0.2%, up to 14.5%, on the strength of its Diet Dr. Pepper brand. Dr. Pepper's sales volume increased more than 16%, Beverage Digest reports.
In contrast, still-No.1 Coke Classic's market share fell to 17.9% on declines in volume of 3%. Overall, Coca-Cola still has 43.1% market share, but that's its lowest level in eight years. Pepsi was unable to get any traction, either; its volume fell 2.5%, and its market share was down 11.5%.
One bitter sip for Cadbury was that 7-Up fell out of the top 10 for the first time since tracking of such beverages began in 1985.
Coke and Pepsi tried -- with mixed success -- to capture the public's desire for diet sodas and energy drinks with their overhyped C2 and Edge. Now they'll be rolling out all sorts of new concoctions in an effort to win back palate share, everything from New Coke with Lime and Diet Pepsi with Lime (remember when lemon was the flavor of the moment?) to drinks made with Splenda sweetener. Coke will also be pushing its energy drink, Full Throttle, while Pepsi will introduce new Gatorade drinks. Cadbury isn't sitting on the sidelines, either: It responded with its reformulated 7-Up Plus, a neon pink "girlie drink," as well as Dr. Pepper Cherry Vanilla and Diet Cherry Vanilla.
The company was also realizing the benefits of its cost-reduction plan, which includes a 10% cut in its payroll and a 20% drop in the number of factories. The company says it's about halfway through the factory-reduction part of the plan and two-thirds of the way toward completion of employee reductions.
In the meantime, Cadbury got game with gum and began taking it to Wrigley's
While trading at 27 times free cash flow and 23 times earnings, Cadbury is not particularly cheap. But as the world's No. 1 confectioner, No. 2 gum maker, and No. 3 soft drink manufacturer, even Warren Buffett realized the brand is still sweet.
Got a thirst for more? Wet your whistle with these related articles:
- Cadbury Schweppes Schleps On
- Is 7-Up's New Drink a Plus?
- Coke's New "New Coke"
- Buffett Sells. Should You?
- Pepsi's Cutting Edge?
- Cadbury's Not Too Sweet
Fool contributor Rich Duprey is sweet for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. He does not own any of the stocks mentioned in the article.