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May 11, 2022

Mondelez to offload Halls brand, gum assets

Gum brands to be sold include its Dentyne and Trident products.

By Andy Coyne

US snacks heavyweight Mondelez International has announced it is to sell its cough sweets brand Halls and some of its chewing gum assets.

The Cadbury chocolate and Oreo biscuits manufacturer said it planned to divest the global Halls throat sweets business.

In an investor day update on its long-term growth strategy held yesterday (10 May), Mondelez also disclosed its intention to “divest its developed market gum business after completing a strategic review over the past year”. The countries where Mondelez is to exit gum are in North America and western Europe.

Gum brands to be sold include its Dentyne and Trident products, part of a portfolio with annual net revenues of around US$450m.

But the company said it will continue to operate other brands and products within its candy business, as well as its emerging market gum business.

A spokesperson told US broadcaster CNN it had just started looking for a buyer for the assets it plans to sell and that there is no timeline yet for a sale.

The Chicago-based business said its long-term strategy is to accelerate growth and focus its portfolio on “attractive chocolate, biscuits and baked-snacks categories”.

Mondelez said it wants to redeploy capital to higher-growth businesses and acquisitions.

This was reflected in its acquisition last year of Chipita, a company that sells croissants and other baked goods in Europe, and, more recently, Mexican confectioner Ricolino.

It said Halls has the potential for greater value under new ownership.

CEO Dirk Van de Put told investors: “Our competitive advantages in the marketplace and focused strategy on global snacking leadership give us great confidence in our ability to sustain strong top- and bottom-line growth for many years to come.

“Building on our category leadership, favourable geographic footprint, and the power of our iconic brands, we are well-positioned for stronger growth in the decade ahead.”

Mondelez said last June that it was reviewing its position in the chewing-gum market, which has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, reducing mobility and on-the-go sales.

According to GlobalData, for example, the gum market in the US has been in steadily decline and is forecast to continue to fall in value.

Halls, which has annual net revenues of around $470m, dates back to the 1930s, when it was founded by the Halls Brothers in the UK. It is now a major player in the throat soothers and cough sweets markets on both sides of the Atlantic.

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