Mondelez raises earnings outlook on tax benefit

Tue May 7, 2013 5:35pm EDT

The logo of Mondelez International is pictured at the company's building in Zurich November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

The logo of Mondelez International is pictured at the company's building in Zurich November 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

(Reuters) - Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) posted quarterly earnings on Tuesday that were slightly better than expected and raised its full-year earnings forecast due to a benefit from a tax item.

The newly independent maker of Cadbury chocolates and Oreo cookies said net income was $568 million, or 32 cents per share, in the first quarter. That was down from $813 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier, before the company separated from Kraft Foods Group Inc (KRFT.O).

Excluding items, earnings were 34 cents per share.

On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 33 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose nearly 1 percent to $8.74 billion. That topped Wall Street's estimate of $8.68 billion, the first time the company beat revenue estimates since it became a standalone snacks company late last year.

Still, revenue growth was below the company's long-term target, and Chief Executive Officer Irene Rosenfeld said Mondelez is "certainly not satisfied with that."

Mondelez is using its profits to reinvest in emerging markets and to boost brand-building, production capacity and distribution.

"You'll begin to see the payoff of these investments more clearly as revenue growth accelerates in the second half," Rosenfeld told analysts.

The performance of Mondelez is of particular interest this quarter, given the recent revelation that Trian Fund Management has taken stakes in Mondelez and PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N). The move sparked speculation that Trian's Peltz would push for a merger of the two, given his involvement in Kraft's purchase of Cadbury and subsequent breakup.

Mondelez stood by its 2013 goal for revenue growth at the low end of its long-term growth target of 5 to 7 percent, but raised its earnings goal to $1.55 to $1.60 per share from a prior forecast of $1.52 to $1.57 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting $1.56 per share.

The company's shares rose 17 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $31.58 in afterhours trading after closing at $31.41.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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