3 Heavyweight Consumer Stocks: Robust Growth And Strong Financial Performance

Includes: KO, MDLZ, WMT
by: Equity Watch

In this article I will be discussing three consumer companies which hold leading market positions in their sub-sectors. These companies are expected to experience high growth rates in coming years as compared to their competitors, have large international exposures and boast a strong balance sheet. Also, these companies have delivered strong financial results in the past and are expected to outperform their competitors in the future as well. These companies are as follows:

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO)
KO is the number one beverage company of the world. The company holds the leading market share in most of the markets. The company has delivered strong results consistently over time and despite unfriendly economic conditions. KO has significant emerging market exposure which I believe is the key catalyst for the stock's performance. Approximately 60% of the company sales are generated from markets other than U.S.

The company has been surrounded by volume concerns of carbonated soft drinks (NYSEARCA:CSD) in recent years. However, I believe that due to large and growing international exposure (especially in emerging markets), KO will be able to expand its top and bottom lines in the future. Analysts are expecting a strong growth rate of 8.2% per annum for the next five years for KO.

KO has a higher operating margin of 23% than that of its competitors' PepsiCo's (NYSE:PEP) 15% and Dr Pepper Snapple Group's (NYSE:DPS) 18%. Also, the company has a strong balance sheet with a low debt equity ratio of 95% as compared to its competitors and has a substantial cash position. In addition, a strong operating cash flow yield of more than 6% leads me to the conclusion that KO will be able to sustain and increase its current dividend yield of 2.7% and furthermore return cash to its shareholders in the form of share repurchases.

Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT)
WMT is the leading retail store business. It has diverse geographical outreach with operations in 26 countries. Its international exposure is the key growth driver for the company. Wal-Mart international contributes nearly 30% of the total company sales and the company has been increasing its international exposure. Furthermore, WMT has been focusing on small stores format to drive up its sales and earnings. I believe the small store concept, on which WMT has been working on, will bring positive results for WMT since it will allow easy and wide access to customers and address the growing competition threat from other small stores.

In the first half of 2012, the company reported strong financial performance. Total sales and comparable store sales were up ~5% and ~2.5% respectively. Operating profit for the same time period outpaced sales growth and was up ~6.5%.

WMT is expected to have strong earnings growth rate of 9.2% per annum for the next five years. Also, the company has a strong balance sheet position evident by its low debt to equity ratio of 72%, as compared to Target Corp's (NYSE:TGT) 113%. I believe as the company has a strong balance sheet, it may opt for mergers and acquisitions to expand its business worldwide. Lastly, the company has a strong operating cash flow yield of 11%, indicating that the company will be able to maintain its current dividend yield of 2.3%.

Recent News
WMT has announced that it will offer discounts on Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhones and iPads. WMT will be offering the 16GB iPhone 5 for $127 with a two year contract, as compared to the normal price of almost $190. Also, WMT will offer the iPad for $399. Usually AAPL does not discount its products, however this move will help WMT to boost its sales.

Mondelez International (NASDAQ:MDLZ)
MDLZ is a snacks company which started trading a couple of months ago after its spin-off. Almost 45% of the company's sales are generated from emerging markets which I believe is a key growth driver for the company. Also, the company has a strong portfolio of brands, most of which hold leading market shares. The company has a great opportunity to expand its operations and achieve above average growth rate by tapping the available market space.

MDLZ can boost its financial performance by improving upon its cost structure. Currently MDLZ margins are not in line with that of its competitors and are on the lower side. I believe the spin-off will allow the company to increase its margins.

Analysts are expecting the company to enjoy a healthy EPS growth rate of 12.14% per annum for the next five years. Top line is expected to grow in the range of 5% - 7%. Also, MDLZ has a strong balance sheet and lower debt as compared to its competitors. MDLZ has a debt to equity ratio of 80% compared to Kellogg's (NYSE:K) 325% and The Hershey Company's (NYSE:HSY) 200%. MDLZ offers its shareholders a dividend yield of 2%, which seems to be sustainable given its operating free cash flow yield of ~10%. Also, due to its strong balance sheet, it can opt for mergers and acquisitions to expand its business.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.