(Updates source, adds comments from spokesman, shares, details)
By Devika Krishna Kumar
July 11 Mondelez International Inc,
maker of Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies, said it would
create a "stand-alone" European cheese and grocery business to
focus on its fast-growing snacks business, including biscuits,
gum and candy.
Mondelez shares were up 1.3 percent at $38.49 in afternoon
trading on the Nasdaq.
The company has been increasing its focus on its portfolio
of snack foods and refreshments, which includes 53 brands that
each generated annual revenues of $100 million or more in 2013.
"Given the impact of the coffee transaction on our European
operations, we've decided to create a predominantly stand-alone
cheese and grocery category in Europe," Mondelez spokesman Mike
Mitchell said in an e-mail.
Mondelez and rival D.E Master Blenders 1753 said in May they
would merge their coffee businesses in a deal aimed at taking on
market leader Nestle SA.
A stand-alone cheese and grocery category would likely have
a dedicated sales team to focus on selling products exclusively,
rather than a full array of products across categories, Mitchell
The segment would be managed independently. The European
cheese and grocery business' president will report to the
president of Mondelez Europe.
The company expects its European business to be 90 percent
snacking-focused after the coffee deal with Master Blenders,
The cheese and grocery segment accounted for about 10
percent of European sales for the quarter ended March 31.
Mondelez has come under pressure from activist investors
Nelson Peltz and Ralph Whitworth. Peltz urged Mondelez last year
to sell itself to beverage and snacks giant PepsiCo Inc,
but Pepsi balked at such a deal.
Bloomberg reported that the separation of the cheese and
grocery business in Europe could lead to a spinoff or a sale,
citing a source familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/1kLXXr8)
(Additional reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing
by Joyjeet Das)