Mondelez CEO sees focus fueling growth
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld is happy with her new company's current portfolio, but told Reuters on Wednesday that there may be chances to add to it.
Speaking in New York on Wednesday, the company's second day of trading as a stand-alone snacks firm, Rosenfeld said she liked the range of brands and geographic breadth of her company, which sells Oreo cookies, Cadbury chocolates and Trident gum.
"I feel very good about the portfolio we have today," Rosenfeld said at the Nasdaq stock market, where she rang the opening bell. "Most of our growth will come organically."
Rosenfeld added, however, there are opportunities to supplement the organic growth with acquisitions in select markets - "particularly developing markets where we believe we can access new capabilities or a broader distribution."
Mondelez is the name of what remains from Kraft Foods Inc after this week's spin-off of its North American grocery business. That business, with brands including Oscar Mayer lunch meat and Planters nuts, is now called Kraft Foods Group Inc (KRFT.O).
Mondelez, whose name is meant to evoke "delicious world," derives 44 percent of its $36 billion in annual revenue from developing markets, with a strong presence in Brazil, Russia, India and China. Rosenfeld said she sees the footprint growing.
"We see a real opportunity, as we now become a more focused global snacking player, to start to invest more aggressively in the next wave of markets," Rosenfeld said, citing the Middle East, Africa and Indonesia. "We see accelerated growth potential as a standalone company."
Along with the expansion comes new technological developments and products. For example, Kraft executives have said they are working on a more heat-resistant chocolate more suitable to hotter climates.
Kraft was one of several consumer companies to break in to more bite-sized pieces over the last year. Ralcorp Holdings Inc RAH.N spun off Post Holdings Inc (POST.N); Sara Lee spun off D.E. Master Blenders 1753 DEMB.AS and changed its name to Hillshire Brands Co HSH.N; and Fortune Brands spun off Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc (FBHS.N) and changed its name to Beam Inc BEAM.N.
Dean Foods Co (DF.N) filed in August to spin off its WhiteWave unit.
Following news that Kraft was breaking up, speculation emerged that the pieces might make attractive takeover targets. Some on Wall Street wondered whether the snack business might fit with Frito-Lay, owned by PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N).
When asked about that, Rosenfeld declined to comment.
"There's lots of market rumors around at any time," she said. "My focus is on the realization of the potential of this unique new company."
Mondelez shares were down 5 cents at $27.95 on Wednesday afternoon on the Nasdaq.
(Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Matthew Lewis)
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