Six months after the rollout of its new strategy, Mondelēz International, Inc. reported better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter but fell just short of top-line estimates. The confectionary company reported revenues of $6.54 billion and earnings per share of 65 cents compared to analysts’ estimates of $6.55 billion and 61 cents.
Mondelēz International, Inc. Chairman and CEO Dirk Van de Put said in the company’s first-quarter earnings conference call on Tuesday (April 30) that he is “encouraged by our performance and progress that we are making.” The executive reiterated that the company is the global leader in snacking, with an expansive international presence as almost 75 percent of its sales occur outside of North America. He also pointed out that the company has large and powerful global brands as well as well-known brands that are local and resonate with consumers. Van de Put also said that the company has built a culture of cost discipline to help with future growth and the team is rallying behind a focused and clear strategy.
To create an organization that is more consumer-centric, Van de Put said, the company is focused on three strategies: Accelerating its top-line growth, driving operational excellence and creating a winning consumer-focused culture. The combination, he said in the call, “leaves us well-positioned to create sustainable long-term shareholder value.” He noted that the newest financial results show clear progress against the strategies. The results “reinforce my confidence in what we can achieve with a consumer-centric mindset” and with people in power to act with speed as well as agility, Van de Put said.
Van de Put pointed out that emerging markets grew and continued to build on the momentum created with strong execution. He said China, India, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Russia and Africa all performed very well, and Brazil returned to growth. He also noted that developed markets displayed sustainable growth, which was supported by Europe and continued improvement in North America. The company also continued to improve cash generation with a free cash flow of $200 million, Van de Put said, while deploying more than $1 billion to its shareholders via share buybacks and dividends.
In India, the company expanded its presence during the quarter with a new Oreo cookie dipped in Cadbury Chocolate. Van de Put said the result creates an offering that is premium and aids the company in gaining biscuit market share. The company also rolled out a Cadbury Little Treasures product in the United Kingdom, which Van de Put described as a portion-controlled serving of chocolate with collectible toys. He said that the product’s launch was strong and exceeded the company’s expectations.