CHICAGO — Despite suffering customer disruption in Europe during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Mondelez International, Inc. posted double-digit gains in biscuits, reinforcing the company’s recently stated position to focus primarily on chocolate and biscuits earlier this fall. The Oreo brand is performing particularly well in both developed and emerging markets, the company said.
“Biscuits grew 11.5% for the quarter, with nearly 1 point coming from volume,” said Luca Zaramella, chief financial officer of Mondelez, in a Nov. 1 conference call with analysts. “Emerging markets again grew strong double digit, while developed markets increased high single digit. Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Ritz, Triscuit and Club Social were among brands that deliver outstanding growth.”
In the third quarter, Mondelez earnings were $532 million, equal to 39¢ per share on the common stock, down 56% from $1.26 billion, or 89¢ per share in the third quarter of 2021. The earnings decrease was primarily due to unfavorable year-over-year change in mark-to-market impacts from derivatives, lower adjusted operating income margin and higher acquisition-related costs, partially offset by lower restructuring costs, the company said.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter were $1.02 billion, equal to 74¢ per share, up 16% on a constant currency basis driven by strong operating gains, lower taxes, fewer shares outstanding and higher income from equity method investments, partially offset by higher interest expense, according to Mondelez.
Quarterly sales rose to $7.76 billion, up 8% from $7.18 billion the previous year. Sales results were driven by organic net revenue growth of 12% and incremental sales from the company's acquisitions of Clif Bar and Chipita, partially offset by unfavorable currency. Both pricing and volume drove organic net revenue growth, according to the company.
Sales in North America rose 20% during the quarter to $2.50 billion from $2.09 billion in the third quarter of 2021. Growth in North America was driven by higher pricing in biscuits, strong candy growth and increases from Tate's and Give & Go, the company said. Volume/mix was flat.
Mondelez additionally announced further pricing actions across numerous markets across the globe, including the US, which will take effect in December.
“The good news about the third round of pricing in the US is that it's been announced and it's been accepted by the clients,” said Dirk Van de Put, chief executive officer. “We will see how the consumer reacts, but so far, the two previous price increases, we have not seen a major impact on consumer offtake and penetration and frequency; (volume growth) and so on is all still very strong.
“We see signs that consumers really want to continue to consume chocolates and biscuits. I think our pricing execution is now really coming through. And on top of all that, we have volume growth, which is quite unique in today's world.”
Executives pointed to third-quarter growth in emerging markets demonstrating both top- and bottom-line growth.
“Emerging markets were a clear highlight for the quarter with broad-based trends on both top and bottom lines,” Mr. Zaramella said. “Emerging markets net revenue grew more than 24% in the quarter, with 8 points of that growth coming from volume/mix. Developed markets grew 5.2%. Volume/mix was down 3 points, entirely as a result of customer disruptions in Europe related to pricing negotiation, nearly all of which has since been resolved.
“We still have huge headrooms, I believe, with brands like Oreo, Milka, Cadbury, etc. And I believe we will continue to be positively surprised by this market also going forward. But importantly, the locomotive of all these markets is the performance of Oreo, which is just amazing. So I think all in all, I would say I can't call out one specific market here. It is pretty much all of them doing quite well.”
Mr. Van de Put added, “Our volume in Q3 is up 7%, which is quite extraordinary … We are investing now across the board a little bit more in Oreo, and we're seeing good results from that, so Oreo's becoming very strong for us in these markets.”