Moskow sees potential for change at Mondelez

by Eric Schroeder
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Mondelez International products
Credit Suisse expects Mondelez to achieve its 1% organic revenue growth target for fiscal 2017.
 

NEW YORK — Mondelez International offers a “highly compelling risk-reward proposition” in the near term and over the next 12 months, according to an Oct. 23 research report from Credit Suisse.

Robert Moskow, Credit Suisse
Robert Moskow, research analyst with Credit Suisse

“Investors have overlooked Mondelez’s improving sales trends in international markets, and they have neglected to bake in any value in the stock for positive change that incoming (chief executive officer) Dirk Van de Put may bring,” Robert Moskow, research analyst, wrote in the report.

Mr. Moskow said Credit Suisse expects the Deerfield, Ill.-based company to achieve its 1% organic revenue growth target for fiscal 2017. Providing the company with sufficient revenue growth tailwind are unexpected strength in Western Europe, continued strength in the Chinese consumer, and the potential for stronger results in India, he said.

“China has plenty of economic momentum heading into 2018 according to our Asian research team because personal income and retail spending in lower-tier markets keeps accelerating,” Mr. Moskow said. “We expect the company’s 3Q relaunch of its Oreo brand in China to capitalize on this tailwind.”

Dirk Van de Put, Mondelez International
Mondelez's new c.e.o., Dirk Van de Put, may breathe new life into the company, Mr. Moskow said.
 

Mr. Moskow said Mr. Van de Put, who is set to take over as c.e.o. in November, has “a golden opportunity to breathe new life into Mondelez.” He said the possibility of China’s economic momentum spilling over into other Asian markets, coupled with the potential of Brazil stabilizing and India economic reforms reaping positive rewards, may give Mr. Van de Put more opportunities for positive return on investment projects than any other food c.e.o. in the United States.

“We don’t know enough about Van de Put to predict his strategic approach, but as an outsider, he has a golden opportunity to convince the board and the organization that it can win in these markets,” Mr. Moskow said. “By our math, it could generate as much as $500 million in savings to fund these investments if it exits its direct-store delivery network in the U.S. Making these bold moves and outlining a path for growth would help the c.e.o. shift the discussion on the stock away from take-out scenarios and back toward fundamentals.”

Credit Suisse has established a target price of $46 for Mondelez, along with an “outperform” rating. Mr. Moskow cited several potential risk factors that could impede the company from achieving the targets, including volatile conditions in emerging markets, continued shifting to healthier, less sugary snacks, and input cost increases that management cannot cover with pricing.

Mondelez International is scheduled to report its third-quarter financials on Oct. 30. 
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