Mondelez to separate cheese & grocery business in Europe

Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:02pm EDT
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By Devika Krishna Kumar

(Reuters) - 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 said.

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, Mitchell said.   Continued...

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