Who Had the More Savory Quarter: Kraft or Mondelez?

Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International recently released first-quarter earnings. Here's what you need to know about each of the company's results and who fared better.

Earnings growth
Kraft served up first-quarter profits of $0.85 per share, up 12% from the year-ago period. The maker of Oscar Mayer, Capri Sun, and Velveeta has not provided guidance for full-year 2014 EPS, but consensus estimates come in at roughly $3.17. Meanwhile, Mondelez reported earnings of $0.39 per share for the first quarter, up 17% from the year-ago period. The maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates is targeting adjusted full-year 2014 EPS up double digits over last year. 

Sales growth
Kraft's revenue fell 3.3% in the first quarter, compared to 2.1% growth during the same quarter last year. The packaged foods powerhouse dished up $4.4 billion in sales for the quarter, down from $4.5 billion for the year-ago quarter. Quarterly sales declines were due to the timing of Easter-related shipments versus the prior year as well as softness in sales of ready-to-eat Jell-O desserts, cold cuts, and bacon. Kraft has not provided guidance for full-year 2014 sales, but it's estimated at $18.58 billion. Meanwhile, Mondelez posted revenue growth of 2.8% in the first quarter, down 1.2% from the year-ago period. Mondelez's "power brands," which include Oreo and Chips Ahoy! cookies and Cadbury chocolate, grew 4.8% for the quarter. Mondelez expects full-year 2014 revenue growth to come in around 4%.

Improvement opportunities
Confined to North America for its sales, Kraft has focused on profitability metrics like free cash flow and return on invested capital ever since its October 2012 breakup from Mondelez. During the first quarter, the mac-and-cheese maker posted $175 million in free cash flow, up 19% from the year-ago quarter. Kraft posted an impressive $1.5 billion in free cash flow for full-year 2013. Yet while this figure reflected improved inventory and payables management, $600 million of it was attributed to the impact of pension plan contributions. 

Global snack-food maker Mondelez derives 40% of sales from developing markets, but it's vital to the long-term success of the company for this percentage to grow. For the first quarter, Mondelez posted 6.7% revenue growth from emerging markets, led by solid performance in Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and Egypt. But this figure was down substantially from the 9.3% emerging-markets revenue growth during the year-ago quarter. The snack-food maker has some work to do in order to achieve its long-term target of double-digit growth in these key markets.

Foolish takeaway
When looking at last quarter's results, it appears Mondelez can claim sweet victory in both earnings and revenue growth. As Mondelez spins off its coffee business and concentrates on its snacks and sweets, the company boasts ample long-term growth opportunities. But Kraft continues to cut costs and post impressive free cash flow. Stay tuned in coming quarters to see how these packaged foods giants stack up against each other.  

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The article Who Had the More Savory Quarter: Kraft or Mondelez? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Nicole Seghetti owns shares of Mondelez International. Follow her on Twitter @NicoleSeghetti. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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