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Mondelez International (
MDLZ) is a spinoff stock. Mondelez is Kraft's former snack business, a $35 billion annual enterprise that suddenly started trading under a very new name a little over a year ago. The Mondelez name may not be very familiar to most consumers yet, but its brands should be: the firm owns names like Oreo, Cadbury, Trident gum and Ritz crackers.
Unlike most diversified food companies, Mondelez has some big advantages in the snack food category. For example, private label competition is less invasive than in staple foods. That takes huge pressure off of the firm's margins, especially in a market where input costs are providing pressure enough. Emerging markets hold an attractive opportunity for Mondelez because the firm is already so deeply entrenched in them; developing countries already contribute 40% of the firm's total sales today.
MDLZ's spinoff unlocked a lot of value for shareholders -- and much of it remains on its balance sheet. As I write, MDLZ sports $2.5 billion in cash as well as a very tenable $18 billion long-term debt position. Mondelez has been hitting its debt load hard in the last year, wiping out almost half of its obligations on top of a "modest" $2 billion dividend payout.
Mondelez hasn't had any trouble prioritizing shareholder value in 2013. While this stock isn't cheap, it's got a lot of open runway in front of it too.
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