Rather than the conjuring images of Americans gorging themselves on Frosted Flakes, Kellogg NYSE: K +2.02 percent needs a new business brand that implies snacking and international expansion. Mystical or innocuous? Are there any takers yet for the name ‘Munch-iversal!’
According to this week’s announcement, the corporation would break into three separate entities: Global Snacking Company, North American Cereal Company, and Plant Company. So relax: the plant-themed store will be selling vegetarian hamburgers rather than flower-themed plants. Don’t be alarmed.
The company aims to pull a Mondelez International MDLZ +2.64 percent, in other words (MDLZ). Back in the early 2000s, Kraft Foods spun off its snack division, which included Oreos, Ritz crackers, and other favorites, and sponsored a naming contest to come up with a new name for the division. The winning entry, “Mondelez,” is a play on the terms “world” and “delicious” in the romance language. The word “International” was tacked on at the end by a sly prankster.
Mondelez trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 21 because there is unending demand for cookies, chips, and chocolates throughout the globe. This week, the business announced that it will acquire Clif Bar. Is PepsiCo’s PEP (PEP) worth 25 times its earnings? No, it’s not because of soda. Think Sun Chips, Doritos, and Cheetos. This year, Pepsi’s Frito-Lay business is predicted to have a double-digit gain in North American sales.
At a mere 17 times profits, Kellogg stands out. This is the time for food to shine, as it is a natural defense mechanism. Pringles, Pop-Tarts, Cheez-Its, and Town House Crackers are just a few of the snacks available at the firm. The forthcoming cereal and plant spinoffs will contribute just a tiny fraction of the total income of the corporation.
Cereal remains the finest example of what the term conjures up. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a vegetarian and administrator of a health resort in Battle Creek, Michigan, goes into great depth on maintaining good gastrointestinal transit in the 1994 film The Road to Wellville, starring Anthony Hopkins.
When Will Keith “W.K.” Kellogg took over the flaked corn formula from his brother, Dr. Kellogg, he converted it into the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company.
The company’s cornflakes image should be improved as a result of the division. Why, therefore, did the stock only climb by 2% in response to this news? According to Bryan Spillane, an analyst with BofA Securities, the value generation is still up in the air.
Project K, Kellogg’s efficiency push-started eight years ago, includes combining buildings and business processes across divisions. There are some similarities to Project Reverse-K here, which might lead to greater expenses. An additional issue is that Kellogg is reorganizing to emphasize its revenue growth from snacks at a time when interest rates are rising, growth stocks are underperforming, and investors appear more interested in cash flows than revenue gains.
So it’s uncertain if this corporate slacktivism will pay off for investors, and it may be two years before we discover, and we don’t even have a name. What’s that? PringleTarts are available all over the world. Kellogg, you’re welcome.
The BofA’s Spillane thinks that food businesses with solid cash flows, lots of pricing power, and items that hold up well in a slowing economy should be preferred by investors. Mondelez and Hershey HSY +1.31 percent (HSY) are two of his favorite food companies, thanks to the success of its Reese’s, Kisses, and Twizzlers lines. Lamb Weston Holdings (LW), a company known for its french fries, is another favorite of his. Due to a historically low yield of potatoes, fry production was negatively affected last year. However, this year’s crop looks better. Last but not least, there’s Kraft Heinz KHC +1.45% (KHC).
Do you recall when Kraft changed its name to Mondelez and reorganized its cheese division under the new banner of the Kraft moniker? As it turned out, Kraft and Heinz joined forces in 2015. If 3G Capital had been involved, it would have been a huge failure. Too much focus was placed on decreasing costs and not enough on coming up with new products. It was a bad day for the company’s sales, income, and stock price.
As a result, the firm decided to remove the cheese from the menu once again. In addition, nuts are in order. In addition, there is management. Things are starting to look up now.
Both Spillane and the others had two pans to themselves. Lockdowns gave Campbell Soup (CPB) a boost, but now it may lose part of it. At a time when the price of beef is soaring, McCormick (MKC) trades at 27 times profits. Seasonings and rubs may be less necessary if protein intake is reduced.
This previous week, stocks rose. Why? As inflation soars, the Federal Reserve has little choice but to hike interest rates to stifling levels, resulting in a recession. As a result, the Fed doesn’t have to be as forceful in its monetary policy, which implies that we won’t have a recession. At this point, things begin to take an intriguing turn.
Inquiring minds want to know what Michael Mullaney thinks. He’s the head of global markets research at Boston Partners, which controls close to $100 billion. It has been done twice previously, and both times it created a recession, he claims. According to him, “my gut feeling is that they may balk a little bit on their objectives.” For example, “We have made significant progress but there are still structural challenges that we do not have control over.” is a possible response.
At the risk of inflation, we may be able to avoid a recession. Some growth companies have gone below their intrinsic value for the first time in many years, says Mullaney. As a result, the market’s profit projections are expected to decline. As long as you aren’t an expert stock picker, this will be a dull era for investors.