Investors: Consider Bubbles Certain to Burst

Michael is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

The housing bubble has caused economic pain in the U.S. and elsewhere since 2008. Some investors are avoiding real estate investing all together. They should consider other bubbles certain to burst, which can provide a good ROI. This means chewing gum, bubbles for bathing, and champagne. Investors can enjoy these - literally and equity-wise - and invest in companies with bubbles that consumers enjoy.

Mondelez International (NASDAQ: MDLZ) knows a thing or two about bubbles. Their brands include Trident Gum. Trident is the number one chewing gum brand globally. A core brand can prop up a company if less successful new product offerings hinder planned growth. Products with a rich history generally produce good cash flow while an enterprise reconfigures product offerings and marketing strategies.

This past November, Mondelez reported Q3 2012 results. Results on an Adjusted Pro Forma Continuing Operations Basis included Net Revenues declining 5.1 percent to $8.3 billion; Organic Net Revenues increased 1.5 percent. Operating Income increased 2.2 percent, up 7.5 percent on a constant currency basis.

Diluted EPS declined 2.6 percent to $0.37, up 2.6 percent on a constant currency basis. Mondelez reaffirmed 2013 guidance of Organic Net Revenue growth at the low end of the 5-7 percent range, and Operating EPS of $1.50 to $1.55 based on average August 2012 foreign currency rates.

Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO, made an interesting comment, (November 7, 2012 financial news release), "This reflected the lapping of our exceptional performance in the third quarter last year and a lower contribution from pricing.  We also had some short-term executional missteps in a few key countries, but these issues should be largely resolved by the end of the year.  Growth in our core categories continues to be robust.  And we remain confident in our ability to deliver our 2013 and long-term targets."

Investors must always research management and their business strategies. 'Executional missteps' should be rare, and must be resolved quickly. Encouraging in her words is the growth in the Company's core categories. Be comfortable, before you invest, that management teams will resolve missteps for shareholders' benefit.

Beiersdorf AG (NASDAQOTH: BRDFF) has the world's largest skin care brand, NIVEA (NIVEA Bath Lotions, creams, and such). Beiersdorf's a significant purveyor of cleansing bubbles. Their three core brands are NIVEA, Eucerin, and La Prairie.

The Company's sales grew by 4.7 percent organically in the past fiscal year (preliminary figures). In nominal terms, sales increased by 7.2 percent to €6,040 million from €5,633 million. Organic Sales in the Consumer Business Segment increased by 4.9 percent. Their tesa subsidiary produced an Organic Sales increase of 3.6 percent.

Stefan F. Heidenreich, CEO, said, "We have strengthened our NIVEA core brand and gained market share in many countries. Both the Consumer and tesa business performed well, in particular in the emerging markets. In addition, we significantly improved our innovative capabilities."

I typically gravitate to enterprises with strong core brands. They're often a security blanket when a company embarks on more daring initiatives. Think of their NIVEA brand as a veteran All-Star shortstop on a ball team that's gradually breaking in a new first baseman; say a new body care line. You want a strong anchor in place for the resultant business plays that will take place.

Improvement in innovative capabilities is something for investors to consider. Innovation can result in shorter product development lifecycles, and more efficient product production runs, which keep expenses in line. This all contributes to better profit.

New product development is a component of improving innovative capabilities. In July 2012, the Company expanded their research horizon for Eucerin and developed the new Eucerin DermoCapillaire scalp & hair care range. Eucerin research teams conducted rigorous research to discover an active ingredient that interrupts the inflammatory cycle.

This investment in R&D to develop better products is proactive behavior on a company's part. It speaks to investors that they will continue to build on their core strengths. Here, core brand Eucerin has new product innovation within itself.

Pernod-Ricard (NASDAQOTH: PDRDY) makes bubbly champagnes - Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, and major liquor and wine brands. Their consolidated net sales (excluding taxes and duties) totaled €2,203 million for the first three months of the 2012/13 financial year (July 1 to September 30 2012). This compares to €1,987 million in the same period of the year prior. The Company stated in October 2012 that they experienced a strong performance overall for champagnes.

Dynamic, strong brands with aggressive marketing programs focusing on particular niche markets are something for investors to consider in beer/wine/spirits companies. The key element is ensuring you believe that a company knows their target market precisely and has tailored campaigns that speak directly to them. Due diligence in researching these companies involves looking at their brand portfolio, studying how they're marketing each specific brand, who to, and through what channels. This gives investors an idea if the company is on top of things concerning understanding their audience in the ultra-competitive 'drinks' environment.

It may be time to soak with, blow, and raise a glass to bubbles you want to burst. While other investors negotiate the topsy-turvy real estate market, consider leading companies who know how to market bubbles creatively. These companies, with solid consumer brands, often negotiate economic downturns quite well. They can have investors clean, fresh breathed, and maybe even a touch tipsy from bubbles that produce significant ROI.


MichaelONTARIO has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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