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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark one)
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018
OR
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from ___________ to ______________

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 1-16483
mdlzlogoa03.jpg
Mondelēz International, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Virginia
 
52-2284372
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
 
 
Three Parkway North, Deerfield, Illinois
 
60015
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: 847-943-4000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
  
Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, no par value
  
The Nasdaq Global Select Market
2.375% Notes due 2021
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
1.000% Notes due 2022
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
1.625% Notes due 2023
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
1.625% Notes due 2027
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
2.375% Notes due 2035
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
4.500% Notes due 2035
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
3.875% Notes due 2045
  
New York Stock Exchange LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  
Note: Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes       No  
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer  ☒
 
 
 
 
 
Accelerated filer  ☐
Non-accelerated filer  ☐
 
 
 
Smaller reporting company  ☐
 
 
 
 
 
 
Emerging growth company  ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of the shares of Class A Common Stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of such stock on June 30, 2018, was $59 billion. At February 1, 2019, there were 1,444,169,449 shares of the registrant’s Class A Common Stock outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its annual meeting of shareholders expected to be held on May 15, 2019 are incorporated by reference into Part III hereof.
 


Table of Contents

Mondelēz International, Inc.

 
 
Page No.
 
 
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 7A.
Item 8.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
 
 
Item 16.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In this report, for all periods presented, “we,” “us,” “our,” “the Company” and “Mondelēz International” refer to Mondelēz International, Inc. and subsidiaries. References to “Common Stock” refer to our Class A Common Stock.

i

Table of Contents

Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains a number of forward-looking statements. Words, and variations of words, such as “will,” “may,” “expect,” “would,” “could,” “might,” “plan,” “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “likely,” “drive,” “seek,” “aim,” “potential,” “objective,” “project,” “outlook” and similar expressions are intended to identify our forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements about: our future performance, including our future revenue growth, profitability and earnings; our new strategic plan and our plan to accelerate consumer-centric growth, drive operational excellence and create a winning growth culture; our leadership position in snacking; our ability to meet consumer needs and demand and identify innovation and renovation opportunities; the results of driving operational excellence; price volatility and pricing actions; the cost environment and measures to address increased costs; our tax rate, tax positions, transition tax liability and the impact of U.S. tax reform on our future results; market share; the United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union and its impact on our results, including if the United Kingdom exits the European Union without an agreement; the costs of, timing of expenditures under and completion of our restructuring program; category growth; our effect on demand and our market position; consumer snacking behaviors; commodity prices and supply; investments; research, development and innovation; political and economic conditions and volatility; the effect of the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers or similar restrictions on our sales or key commodities and potential changes in U.S. trade programs, trade relations, regulations, taxes or fiscal policies; currency exchange rates, controls and restrictions and volatility in foreign currencies; the application of highly inflationary accounting for our Argentinian subsidiaries and the potential for and impacts from currency devaluation in other countries; our e-commerce channel strategies; manufacturing and distribution capacity; changes in laws and regulations, regulatory compliance and related costs; our ownership interest in Keurig Dr Pepper; matters related to the acquisition of a U.S. premium biscuit company and the acquisition of a biscuit operation in Vietnam; the outcome and effects on us of legal proceedings and government investigations; the estimated value of goodwill and intangible assets; amortization expense for intangible assets; impairment of goodwill and intangible assets and our projections of operating results and other factors that may affect our impairment testing; our accounting estimates and judgments and the impact of new accounting pronouncements; pension obligations, expenses, contributions and assumptions; employee benefit plan expenses, obligations and assumptions; compensation expense; sustainability initiatives; the Brazilian indirect tax matter; our liability related to our withdrawal from the Bakery and Confectionery Union and Industry International Pension Fund and timing of receipt of the assessment from the Fund; the impacts of the malware incident; our ability to prevent and respond to cybersecurity breaches and disruptions; our liquidity, funding sources and uses of funding, including our use of commercial paper; the planned phase out of London Interbank Offered Rates; interest expense; our risk management program, including the use of financial instruments and the impacts and effectiveness of our hedging activities; working capital; capital expenditures and funding; share repurchases; dividends; long-term value for our shareholders; compliance with financial and long-term debt covenants; guarantees; and our contractual obligations.

These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, risks from operating globally including in emerging markets; changes in currency exchange rates, controls and restrictions; continued volatility of commodity and other input costs; weakness in economic conditions; weakness in consumer spending; pricing actions; tax matters including changes in tax rates and laws, disagreements with taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes; use of information technology and third party service providers; unanticipated disruptions to our business, such as the malware incident, cyberattacks or other security breaches; competition; protection of our reputation and brand image; our ability to innovate and differentiate our products; the restructuring program and our other transformation initiatives not yielding the anticipated benefits; changes in the assumptions on which the restructuring program is based; management of our workforce; consolidation of retail customers and competition with retailer and other economy brands; changes in our relationships with suppliers or customers; legal, regulatory, tax or benefit law changes, claims or actions; strategic transactions; significant changes in valuation factors that may adversely affect our impairment testing of goodwill and intangible assets; perceived or actual product quality issues or product recalls; failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting; volatility of and access to capital or other markets; pension costs; and our ability to protect our intellectual property and intangible assets. We disclaim and do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement in this report except as required by applicable law or regulation.




1

Table of Contents

PART I
Item 1. Business.

General

We are one of the world’s largest snack companies with global net revenues of $25.9 billion and net earnings of $3.4 billion in 2018. We make and sell primarily snacks, including biscuits (cookies, crackers and salted snacks), chocolate, gum & candy as well as various cheese & grocery and powdered beverage products. We have operations in more than 80 countries and sell our products in over 150 countries around the world. Our portfolio includes iconic snack brands such as Cadbury, Milka and Toblerone chocolate; Oreo, belVita and LU biscuits; Halls candy; Trident gum and Tang powdered beverages.

We are proud members of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Standard and Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq 100. Our Common Stock trades on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “MDLZ.” Mondelēz International has been incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2000.

Strategy

We aim to be the global leader in snacking by focusing on growth, execution and culture and leveraging our strong foundation of iconic global and local brands, an attractive global footprint, and deep innovation, marketing and distribution capabilities.
 
In September 2018, we announced our new strategic plan that builds on our strong foundations, including our unique portfolio of iconic global and local brands, our attractive global footprint, our market leadership in developed and emerging markets and our margin expansion in recent years that will allow us to make ongoing investments in our product portfolio.

Our plan to drive long-term growth includes three strategic priorities: accelerating consumer-centric growth, driving operational excellence and creating a winning growth culture.

Accelerate consumer-centric growth. As demands on consumers’ time increase and consumer eating habits evolve, we aim to meet consumers' needs for what they eat, why they buy and how and where they buy. We have developed a new approach, which we call demand spaces, to identify and address how consumers snack across different emotional or functional needs and occasions that we believe will allow us to meet consumer needs and identify innovation and renovation opportunities. We are also evolving our innovation approach to meet diverse, local consumer needs and we plan to test, learn and scale new product offerings quickly to meet evolving local and global snacking demand. We believe our greater understanding of consumers’ snacking needs will lead to meeting more of their needs and demand for snacks.

Drive operational excellence. Over the last five years, we have driven productivity gains and cost improvements across our business and increased our operating margins as a result. We plan to continue to improve efficiency by leveraging our global shared services platform, driving greater efficiencies in our supply chain and continuing to utilize Zero-Based Budgeting (“ZBB”) across our operations. We plan to focus on continuous improvement with a special focus on the consumer-facing areas of our business such as sales, marketing and customer service. We expect the improvements and efficiencies we drive will provide funds for growth and continue to expand profit dollars.

Build a winning growth culture. To support the acceleration of our growth, we are shifting toward a more agile, digital and local-first commercial focus. We are giving our local teams more autonomy to drive commercial and innovation plans as they are closer to the needs and desires of consumers. We will continue to leverage the efficiency and scale of our regional operating units while empowering our local commercial operations to respond faster to changing consumer preferences and capitalize on growth opportunities. Our digital transformation program will also help to enable consumer demand and sales opportunities. We believe these shifts will help drive profitable top-line growth.

We run our business with a long-term perspective, and we believe the successful implementation of our strategic plan will drive top- and bottom-line growth and enable us to create long-term value for our shareholders.


2

Table of Contents

Operating Segments

Our operations and management structure are organized into four operating segments:
Latin America
Asia, Middle East, and Africa (“AMEA”)
Europe
North America

On October 1, 2016, we integrated our Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (“EEMEA”) operating segment into our Europe and Asia Pacific operating segments to further leverage and optimize the operating scale built within the Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan were combined within our Europe region, while the remaining Middle East and African countries were combined within our Asia Pacific region to form the AMEA operating segment. We have reflected the segment change as if it had occurred in all periods presented.

We manage our operations by region to leverage regional operating scale, manage different and changing business environments more effectively and pursue growth opportunities as they arise in our key markets. Our regional management teams have responsibility for the business, product categories and financial results in the regions.

We use segment operating income to evaluate segment performance and allocate resources. We believe it is appropriate to disclose this measure to help investors analyze segment performance and trends. For a definition and reconciliation of segment operating income to consolidated pre-tax earnings as well as other information on our segments, see Note 17, Segment Reporting.

Our segment net revenues for each of the last three years were:
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
(in millions)
Net revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
Latin America
$
3,202

 
$
3,566

 
$
3,392

AMEA
5,729

 
5,739

 
5,816

Europe
10,122

 
9,794

 
9,755

North America
6,885

 
6,797

 
6,960

 
$
25,938

 
$
25,896

 
$
25,923


Our segment operating income for each of the last three years was:
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
(in millions)
Segment operating income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latin America
$
410

 
11.1
%
 
$
564

 
14.7
%
 
$
272

 
8.8
%
AMEA
702

 
19.0
%
 
514

 
13.4
%
 
505

 
16.3
%
Europe
1,734

 
46.9
%
 
1,610

 
42.0
%
 
1,198

 
38.5
%
North America
849

 
23.0
%
 
1,144

 
29.9
%
 
1,128

 
36.4
%
 
$
3,695

 
100.0
%
 
$
3,832

 
100.0
%
 
$
3,103

 
100.0
%

Please see Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for items affecting the comparability of results and a review of our operating results.


3

Table of Contents

Our brands span five product categories:
Biscuits (including cookies, crackers and salted snacks)
Chocolate
Gum & candy
Beverages
Cheese & grocery

During 2018, our segments contributed to our net revenues in the following product categories:
 
 
 
Percentage of 2018 Net Revenues by Product Category
Segment
 
Biscuits
 
Chocolate
 
Gum &
Candy
 
Beverages
 
Cheese & Grocery
 
Total
Latin America
 
2.8
%
 
2.9
%
 
3.3
%
 
2.1
%
 
1.3
%
 
12.4
%
AMEA
 
6.6
%
 
8.0
%
 
3.4
%
 
2.1
%
 
1.9
%
 
22.0
%
Europe
 
12.1
%
 
19.6
%
 
2.8
%
 
0.4
%
 
4.2
%
 
39.1
%
North America
 
21.6
%
 
1.0
%
 
3.9
%
 
%
 
%
 
26.5
%
 
 
43.1
%
 
31.5
%
 
13.4
%
 
4.6
%
 
7.4
%
 
100.0
%

Within our product categories, classes of products that contributed 10% or more to consolidated net revenues were:
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Biscuits - Cookies and crackers
36
%
 
36
%
 
36
%
Chocolate - Tablets, bars and other
32
%
 
31
%
 
30
%

Significant Divestitures and Acquisitions

For information on our significant divestitures and acquisitions, please refer to Note 2, Divestitures and Acquisitions.

Customers

No single customer accounted for 10% or more of our net revenues from continuing operations in 2018. Our five largest customers accounted for 16.8% and our ten largest customers accounted for 23.0% of net revenues from continuing operations in 2018.

Seasonality

Demand for our products is generally balanced over the first three quarters of the year and increases in the fourth quarter primarily because of holidays and other seasonal events. Depending on when Easter falls, Easter holiday sales may shift between the first and second quarter. We build inventory based on expected demand and typically fill customer orders within a few days of receipt so the backlog of unfilled orders is not material. Funding for working capital items, including inventory and receivables, is normally sourced from operating cash flows and short-term commercial paper borrowings. For additional information on our liquidity, working capital management, cash flow and financing activities, see Liquidity and Capital Resources, Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, and Note 8, Debt and Borrowing Arrangements, appearing later in this 10-K filing.

Competition

We face competition in all aspects of our business. Competitors include large multinational as well as numerous local and regional companies. Some competitors have different profit objectives and investment time horizons than we do and therefore approach pricing and promotional decisions differently. We compete based on product quality, brand recognition and loyalty, service, product innovation, taste, convenience, nutritional value, the ability to identify and satisfy consumer preferences, effectiveness of digital and other sales and marketing, routes to market and distribution networks, promotional activity and price. Improving our market position or introducing a new product

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requires substantial research, development, advertising and promotional expenditures. We believe these investments lead to better products for the consumer and support our growth and market position.

Distribution and Marketing

We generally sell our products to supermarket chains, wholesalers, supercenters, club stores, mass merchandisers, distributors, convenience stores, gasoline stations, drug stores, value stores and other retail food outlets. We distribute our products through direct store delivery, company-owned and satellite warehouses, distribution centers and other facilities. We use the services of independent sales offices and agents in some of our international locations.

Through our global e-commerce organization and capabilities, we pursue online growth with partners in key markets around the world, including both pure e-tailers and brick-and-mortar retailers. We continue to invest in both talent and digital capabilities. Our e-commerce channel strategies will play a critical role in our ambition to be the best snacking company in the world.

We conduct marketing efforts through three principal sets of activities: (i) consumer marketing and advertising including on-air, print, outdoor, digital and social media and other product promotions; (ii) consumer sales incentives such as coupons and rebates; and (iii) trade promotions to support price features, displays and other merchandising of our products by our customers.

Raw Materials and Packaging

We purchase and use large quantities of commodities, including cocoa, dairy, wheat, palm and other vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, flavoring agents and nuts. In addition, we purchase and use significant quantities of packaging materials to package our products and natural gas, fuels and electricity for our factories and warehouses. We monitor worldwide supply, commodity cost and currency trends so we can cost-effectively secure ingredients, packaging and fuel required for production.

A number of external factors such as weather conditions, commodity market conditions, currency fluctuations and the effects of governmental agricultural or other programs affect the cost and availability of raw materials and agricultural materials used in our products. We address higher commodity costs and currency impacts primarily through hedging, higher pricing and manufacturing and overhead cost control. We use hedging techniques to limit the impact of fluctuations in the cost of our principal raw materials; however, we may not be able to fully hedge against commodity cost changes, and our hedging strategies may not protect us from increases in specific raw material costs.

While the costs of our principal raw materials fluctuate, we believe there will continue to be an adequate supply of the raw materials we use and that they will generally remain available from numerous sources. For additional information on our commodity costs, refer to the Commodity Trends section within Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Intellectual Property

Our intellectual property rights (including trademarks, patents, copyrights, registered designs, proprietary trade secrets, technology and know-how) are material to our business.

We own numerous trademarks and patents in many countries around the world. Depending on the country, trademarks remain valid for as long as they are in use or their registration status is maintained. Trademark registrations generally are for renewable, fixed terms. We also have patents for a number of current and potential products. Our patents cover inventions ranging from packaging techniques to processes relating to specific products and to the products themselves. Our issued patents extend for varying periods according to the date of patent application filing or grant and the legal term of patents in the various countries where patent protection is obtained. The actual protection afforded by a patent, which can vary from country to country, depends upon the type of patent, the scope of its coverage as determined by the patent office or courts in the country, and the availability of legal remedies in the country. While our patent portfolio is material to our business, the loss of one patent or a group of related patents would not have a material adverse effect on our business.


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From time to time, we grant third parties licenses to use one or more of our trademarks, patents and/or proprietary trade secrets in connection with the manufacture, sale or distribution of third party products. Similarly, we sell some products under brands, patents and/or proprietary trade secrets we license from third parties. In our agreement with Kraft Foods Group, Inc. (“Kraft Foods Group,” which is now part of The Kraft Heinz Company), we each granted the other party various licenses to use certain of our and their respective intellectual property rights in named jurisdictions following the spin-off of our North American grocery business.

Research and Development

We pursue four objectives in research and development: product safety and quality, growth through new products, superior consumer satisfaction and reduced costs. Our innovation efforts focus on anticipating consumer demands and adapting quickly to changing market trends. Well-being and healthy snacking are a significant focus of our current research and development initiatives. These initiatives aim to accelerate our growth and margins by addressing consumer needs and market trends and leveraging scalable innovation platforms and breakthrough technologies. We are in the process of completing a $65 million plan to build out and modernize our network of global research and development facilities. We celebrated the official opening of our Wroclaw, Poland technical center in 2017, and during 2018 we completed the modernization at the technical centers located at Suzhou, China; Jurong, Singapore and Thane, India. We are focusing our technical resources at eleven large locations to drive growth and innovation. Our network of technical centers enable greater effectiveness, improved efficiency and accelerated project delivery. These locations are in Curitiba, Brazil; Suzhou, China; Thane, India; Mexico City, Mexico; East Hanover, New Jersey; Wroclaw, Poland; Jurong, Singapore; Bournville, United Kingdom; Reading, United Kingdom; Saclay, France and Munich, Germany.

At December 31, 2018, we had approximately 2,400 scientists and engineers, of which 1,800 are primarily focused on research and development and the remainder are primarily focused on quality assurance and regulatory affairs. Our research and development expense was $362 million in 2018, $366 million in 2017 and $376 million in 2016.

Regulation

Our food products and ingredients are subject to local, national and multinational regulations related to labeling, health and nutrition claims, packaging, pricing, marketing and advertising, privacy and related areas. In addition, various jurisdictions regulate our operations by licensing and inspecting our manufacturing plants and facilities, enforcing standards for select food products, grading food products, and regulating trade practices related to the sale and pricing of our food products. Many of the food commodities we use in our operations are subject to government agricultural policy and intervention, and the scrutiny of human rights issues in industry supply chains has led to developing regulation in many countries. These policies have substantial effects on prices and supplies and are subject to periodic governmental and administrative review.

Examples of laws and regulations that affect our business include selective food taxes, labeling requirements such as front-of-pack labeling and nutrient profiling, marketing restrictions, potential withdrawal of trade concessions as dispute settlement retaliation and sanctions on sales or sourcing of raw materials. We will continue to monitor developments in laws and regulations. At this time, we do not expect the cost of complying with new laws and regulations will be material. Also refer to Note 1, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies – Currency Translation and Highly Inflationary Accounting, for additional information on government regulations and currency-related impacts on our operations in the United Kingdom, Argentina and other countries.

Environmental Regulation

Throughout the countries in which we do business, we are subject to local, national and multinational environmental laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment. We have programs across our business units designed to meet applicable environmental compliance requirements. In the United States, the laws and regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. We track regulatory developments in various jurisdictions relating to the use of plastic in packaging materials and taxes linked to the costs of waste so that we can comply with evolving requirements. Based on information currently available, we believe that our compliance with environmental laws and regulations will not have a material effect on our financial results.


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Sustainability and Well-Being

A key strategic priority for us is to create a positive impact for people and our planet. Many of the challenges facing people and the planet are interrelated, so we design our core programs and initiatives holistically by working to reduce our environmental footprint, supporting farmers who grow our key ingredients, helping people to snack mindfully and investing in healthy lifestyle community programs through the Mondelēz International Foundation. We continue to leverage our global operating scale to secure sustainable raw materials and work with suppliers to drive meaningful social and environmental changes, focusing where we can make the greatest impact. For example, we launched our Cocoa Life program in 2012 and continue to invest up to $400 million through 2022 to build a sustainable cocoa supply. We are also improving sustainability in our wheat supply by working with farmers in North America and through our Harmony program in Europe.

Our 2020 sustainability goals aim to place us at the forefront in the fight against climate change with ambitious targets for an end-to-end approach to reduce our carbon footprint, including reducing our absolute CO2 emissions from manufacturing and addressing deforestation in key raw material supply chains. We are working to cut our absolute water footprint in manufacturing, focusing on priority sites where water is most scarce. We also continue to work on reducing waste in manufacturing and packaging.

Within well-being we are focused on mindful snacking to empower people to choose the right snack for the right moment. Expanding our portion control options - snacks that are 200 calories or less and are individually wrapped - enables people to enjoy the treats they love, become more mindful about what they eat and help manage their daily calories intake. At the end of 2017, our portion control options represented approximately 13% of revenue, becoming a meaningful segment of our portfolio. Mindful snacking is an important area of focus for us and aligns with our purpose to empower people to snack right. 

The Governance, Membership and Public Affairs Committee of our Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing our Impact strategy. Our Impact goals are part of our strategic planning process, and therefore, progress and key activities are regularly reported to the Board of Directors and the business leadership teams. Climate change, CO2, energy, well-being and other sustainability matters are key focus areas in our strategy.

We have a robust Enterprise Risk Management ("ERM") process for identifying, measuring, monitoring and managing risks, with oversight by the Risk and Compliance Committee ("MRCC"), which reports annually to the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors. The purpose of the MRCC is to oversee how we identify and assess the most significant inherent risks to our business so we may adequately mitigate them or monitor them across the Company. All identified risks are vetted by the MRCC and remain under the MRCC’s governance. Ownership of specific risks is assigned at the Mondelēz Leadership Team ("MLT") level (MLT members report directly to the CEO). As owners of each specific risk, MLT members are responsible for verifying that appropriate mitigation controls and monitoring systems are in place. The risk universe considered during this process is wide and varied. Climate change is included in this risk universe as well as other sustainability and well-being issues.

Our ERM methodology is governed by the MRCC and includes annual reviews with our four operating regions, considering Company-level risks by using information gathered at the asset level (regions, countries, individual facilities and separate business units). The resulting climate change, sustainability and well-being risks are captured as follows within the ERM framework: commodities, reputation and brand image, unanticipated business disruptions, changes in regulations and changes in consumer preferences.

In addition, we work with internal and external experts to review the impact of major societal issues on our business and to shape our strategic responses to them. Materials and processes that guide our assessment include our ERM process; analysis of stakeholder and regulatory issues; our total greenhouse gas, land and water footprint; proprietary consumer insight data; and publicly available data on societal issues, including statistics and reports from authorities, non-governmental organizations and peer companies.

We have been recognized for our ongoing economic, environmental and social contributions. Each year since we created Mondelēz International in 2012 we have been listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (“DJSI”) – World and North American Indices. The DJSI selects the top 10% of global companies and top 20% of North American companies based on an extensive review of financial and sustainability programs within each industry. We are at the 92nd percentile of our industry and achieved perfect scores in the areas of health & nutrition and addressing water-related risks.


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We also participate in CDP Climate and Water disclosures and continue to work to reduce our carbon and water footprints. From 2013 to 2017, we reported CO2 emission reductions from manufacturing of 10% and reduced incoming water usage by 25% in priority factories where water is most scarce. We are committed to continue this and other related work in the areas of sustainable resources and agriculture, well-being snacks, community partnerships and safety of our products and people.

Employees

We employed through our consolidated subsidiaries approximately 80,000 people worldwide at December 31, 2018 and approximately 83,000 at December 31, 2017. Employees represented by labor unions or workers’ councils represent approximately 60% of our 68,000 employees outside the United States and approximately 28% of our 12,000 U.S. employees. Our business units are subject to various local, national and multinational laws and regulations relating to their relationships with their employees. In accordance with European Union requirements, we also have established a European Workers Council composed of management and elected members of our workforce. We or our subsidiaries are a party to numerous collective bargaining agreements and we work to renegotiate these collective bargaining agreements on satisfactory terms when they expire.

International Operations

Based on where we sell our products, we generated 75.3% of our 2018 net revenues, 75.8% of our 2017 net revenues and 75.6% of our 2016 net revenues from continuing operations outside the United States. We sell our products to consumers in over 150 countries. At December 31, 2018, we had operations in more than 80 countries and made our products at approximately 132 manufacturing and processing facilities in 52 countries. Refer to Note 17, Segment Reporting, for additional information on our U.S. and non-U.S. operations. Refer to Item 2, Properties, for more information on our manufacturing and other facilities. Also, for a discussion of risks related to our operations outside the United States, see Item 1A, Risk Factors.

Executive Officers of the Registrant

The following are our executive officers as of February 8, 2019:
 
Name
 
Age      
 
Title
Dirk Van de Put
 
58
 
Chief Executive Officer
Luca Zaramella
 
49
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Paulette Alviti
 
48
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Maurizio Brusadelli
 
50
 
Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa
Timothy P. Cofer
 
50
 
Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer
Vinzenz P. Gruber
 
53
 
Executive Vice President and President, Europe
Robin S. Hargrove
 
53
 
Executive Vice President, Research, Development, Quality & Innovation
Alejandro R. Lorenzo
 
47
 
Executive Vice President and President, Latin America
Daniel P. Myers
 
63
 
Executive Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain
Gerhard W. Pleuhs
 
62
 
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Henry Glendon (Glen) Walter IV
 
50
 
Executive Vice President and President, North America

Mr. Van de Put became Chief Executive Officer and a director in November 2017 and became Chairman of the Board of Directors in April 2018. He formerly served as President and Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods Limited, a multinational frozen food provider, from July 2011 to November 2017 and as its Chief Operating Officer from May 2010 to July 2011. Mr. Van de Put served as President and Chief Executive Officer, Global Over-the-Counter, Consumer Health Division of Novartis AG, a global healthcare company, from 2009 to 2010. Prior to that, he worked for 24 years in a variety of leadership positions for several global food and beverage providers, including Danone SA, The Coca-Cola Company and Mars, Incorporated.

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Mr. Zaramella became Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in August 2018. He previously served as Senior Vice President Corporate Finance, CFO Commercial and Treasurer from June 2016 to July 2018. He also served as Interim Lead Finance North America from April to November 2017. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller from December 2014 to August 2016 and Senior Vice President, Finance of Mondelēz Europe from October 2011 to November 2014. Mr. Zaramella joined Mondelēz International in 1996.
Ms. Alviti became Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer in June 2018. Before joining Mondelēz International, Ms. Alviti served as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Foot Locker, Inc., a leading global retailer of athletically inspired shoes and apparel, from June 2013 to May 2018. Prior to that, Ms. Alviti spent 17 years at PepsiCo, Inc., a global snack and beverage company, in various leadership roles, including Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Asia, Middle East, Africa from March 2010 to May 2013.

Mr. Brusadelli became Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific in January 2016 and Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa in October 2016. He previously served as President Biscuits Business, South East Asia, Japan and Sales Asia Pacific from September 2015 to December 2015, President Markets and Sales Asia Pacific from September 2014 to September 2015 and President United Kingdom, Ireland and Nordics from September 2012 to August 2014. Prior to that, Mr. Brusadelli held various positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Brusadelli joined Mondelēz International in 1993.

Mr. Cofer became Executive Vice President and Chief Growth Officer in January 2016 and served as Interim President, North America from April to November 2017. Mr. Cofer served as Executive Vice President and President, Asia Pacific and EEMEA from September 2013 to December 2015 and Executive Vice President and President, Europe from August 2011 to September 2013. Prior to that, Mr. Cofer held various positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Cofer joined Mondelēz International in 1992.

Mr. Gruber became Executive Vice President and President, Europe on January 1, 2019. He previously served as President, Western Europe from October 2016 to December 2018 and President, Chocolate, Europe from August 2011 to September 2016. Mr. Gruber was formerly employed by Mondelēz International, in various capacities, from 1989 until 2000 and resumed his employment in September 2007.
Mr. Hargrove became Executive Vice President, Research, Development, Quality and Innovation in April 2015. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President, Research, Development & Quality for Mondelēz Europe from January 2013 to March 2015. Before joining Mondelēz International, Mr. Hargrove worked at PepsiCo, Inc., a global snack and beverage company, for 19 years in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Europe from December 2006 to December 2012.

Mr. Lorenzo became Executive Vice President and President, Latin America in January 2017. Mr. Lorenzo served as President, Global Biscuits Category from January 2015 to December 2016 and President, Brazil from September 2012 to December 2014. Prior to that, Mr. Lorenzo held various positions of increasing responsibility. Mr. Lorenzo joined Mondelēz International in 2003.

Mr. Myers became Executive Vice President, Integrated Supply Chain in September 2011. Prior to that, he worked for Procter & Gamble ("P&G"), a consumer products company, for 33 years in a variety of leadership positions, most recently serving as Vice President, Product Supply for P&G’s Global Hair Care business from September 2007 to August 2011.

Mr. Pleuhs became Executive Vice President and General Counsel in April 2012. In this role, Mr. Pleuhs oversees the legal, compliance, security, corporate and governance affairs functions within Mondelēz International. He has served in various positions of increasing responsibility since joining Mondelēz International in 1990. Mr. Pleuhs has a law degree from the University of Kiel, Germany and is licensed to practice law in Germany and admitted as house counsel in Illinois.

Mr. Walter became Executive Vice President and President, North America in November 2017. Before joining Mondelēz International, Mr. Walter worked at The Coca-Cola Company, a global beverage company, in a variety of leadership positions, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of Coca-Cola Industries China from February 2014 to October 2017 and President and Chief Operating Officer of Cola-Cola Refreshments in North America from January 2013 to February 2014.

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Ethics and Governance

We adopted the Mondelēz International Code of Conduct, which qualifies as a code of ethics under Item 406 of Regulation S-K. The code applies to all of our employees, including our principal executive officer, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer or controller, and persons performing similar functions. Our code of ethics is available free of charge on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance and will be provided free of charge to any shareholder submitting a written request to: Corporate Secretary, Mondelēz International, Inc., Three Parkway North, Deerfield, IL 60015. We will disclose any waiver we grant to an executive officer or director under our code of ethics, or certain amendments to the code of ethics, on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance.

In addition, we adopted Corporate Governance Guidelines, charters for each of the Board’s four standing committees and the Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Non-Employee Directors. All of these materials are available on our web site at www.mondelezinternational.com/investors/corporate-governance and will be provided free of charge to any shareholder requesting a copy by writing to: Corporate Secretary, Mondelēz International, Inc., Three Parkway North, Deerfield, IL 60015.

Available Information

Our Internet address is www.mondelezinternational.com. Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), are available free of charge as soon as possible after we electronically file them with, or furnish them to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). You can access our filings with the SEC by visiting ir.mondelezinternational.com/sec-filings. The information on our web site is not, and shall not be deemed to be, a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or incorporated into any other filings we make with the SEC.

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

You should read the following risk factors carefully when evaluating our business and the forward-looking information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any of the following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, operating results, financial condition and the actual outcome of matters described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. While we believe we have identified and discussed below the key risk factors affecting our business, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that we do not presently know or that we do not currently believe to be significant that may adversely affect our business, performance or financial condition in the future.

We operate in a highly competitive industry and could be adversely affected if we do not effectively execute our strategy and timely respond to pricing and other competitive pressures.

The food and snacking industry is highly competitive. Our principal competitors include food, snack and beverage companies that operate in multiple geographic areas and numerous local and regional companies. If we do not effectively respond to challenges from our competitors, our business could be adversely affected.

Competitor and customer pressures require that we timely and effectively respond to new distribution channels and technological developments and may require that we reduce our prices. These pressures may also restrict our ability to increase prices in response to commodity and other cost increases. Failure to effectively and timely assess new or developing trends, technological advancements or changes in distribution methods and set proper pricing or effective trade incentives may negatively impact our operating results, achievement of our strategic and financial goals and our ability to capitalize on new revenue or value-producing opportunities. The rapid emergence of new distribution channels, such as e-commerce, may disrupt our current operations or strategies more quickly than we planned for, create consumer price deflation, alter the buying behavior of consumers or disrupt our retail customer relationships. We may need to increase or reallocate spending on existing and new distribution channels and technologies, marketing, advertising and new product innovation to protect or increase revenues, market share and brand significance. These expenditures may not be successful, including those related to our e-commerce and other technology-focused efforts, and might not result in trade and consumer acceptance of our efforts, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, if we reduce prices or our costs increase but we cannot increase sales volumes to offset those changes, then our financial condition and results of operations will suffer.


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In September 2018, we announced our new strategy, which focuses on accelerating consumer-centric and volume-driven growth, operational excellence driven by cost discipline and continuous operational improvement including in areas like sales execution, and building a winning growth culture with a “local first” commercial approach. If we do not achieve these objectives, effectively implement our strategy in a way that minimizes disruptions to our business or effectively adjust our culture to this change in strategy, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Maintaining and enhancing our reputation and brand image and health is essential to our business success.

Our success depends on our ability to maintain and enhance the health of our brands’ equity, launch our brands in new geographies, expand into new distribution platforms, including e-commerce, and evolve our brands with new product offerings that meet consumer expectations.

We seek to strengthen our brands through product renovation, innovation and marketing investments, including consumer-relevant advertising and consumer promotions. Failure to effectively address the continuing global focus on well-being, changing consumer acceptance of certain ingredients, nutritional expectations of our products, and the sustainability of our ingredients and our packaging could adversely affect our brands’ health. Increased attention from the media, shareholders, activists and other stakeholders in these areas as well as on the role of food marketing could adversely affect our brand image. Undue caution or inaction on our part in addressing these challenges and trends could weaken our competitive position. Such pressures could also lead to stricter regulations and increased focus on food and snacking marketing practices. Increased legal or regulatory restrictions on our labeling, advertising and consumer promotions, or our response to those restrictions, could limit our efforts to maintain, extend and expand our brands. Moreover, adverse publicity or regulatory or legal action against us on product quality and safety, where we manufacture our products, antitrust, bribery and corruption, or environmental risks or human and workplace rights across our supply chain could damage our reputation and brand health. Such actions could undermine our customers’ and shareholders’ confidence and reduce demand for our products, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or these matters are immaterial to our operations. Our product sponsorship relationships, including those with celebrity spokespersons or group affiliations, could also subject us to negative publicity.

In addition, our success in maintaining and enhancing our brand image depends on our ability to anticipate change and adapt to a rapidly changing marketing and media environment, including our increasing reliance on social media and online, digital and mobile dissemination of marketing and advertising campaigns and the increasing accessibility and speed of dissemination of information. A variety of legal and regulatory restrictions limit how and to whom we market our products. These restrictions may limit our brand renovation, innovation and promotion plans, particularly as social media and the communications environment continue to evolve. Negative posts or comments about us or our brands on social media or web sites (whether factual or not) or security breaches related to use of our social media and failure to respond effectively to these posts, comments or activities could damage our reputation and brand image across the various regions in which we operate. In addition, we might fail to invest sufficiently in maintaining, extending and expanding our brands, our marketing efforts might not achieve desired results and we might be required to recognize impairment charges on our brands or related intangible assets or goodwill. Furthermore, third parties may sell counterfeit or imitation versions of our products that are inferior or pose safety risks. If consumers confuse these counterfeit products for our products or have a bad experience with the counterfeit brand, they might refrain from purchasing our brands in the future, which could harm our brand image and sales. If we do not successfully maintain and enhance our reputation and brand health, then our brands, product sales, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We must correctly predict, identify and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand and offer new and improved products that meet those changes.

Consumer preferences for food and snacking products change continually. Our success depends on our ability to predict, identify and interpret the tastes, dietary habits, packaging, sales channel and other preferences of consumers around the world and to offer products that appeal to these preferences in the places and ways consumers want to shop. There may be shifts in the relative size of shopping channels in addition to the increasing role of e-commerce for consumers. Our success relies upon managing this complexity to bring our products to consumers effectively. Moreover, weak economic conditions, recession, equity market volatility or other factors, such as severe weather events, could affect consumer preferences and demand. If we do not offer products that

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appeal to consumers or if we misjudge consumer demand for our products, we will not be able to meet our growth targets, our sales and market share will decrease and our profitability could suffer.

We must distinguish between short-term fads and trends and long-term changes in consumer preferences. If we do not accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences or category trends will be long-term, or if we fail to introduce new and improved products to satisfy those changing preferences, our sales could decline. In addition, because of our varied and geographically diverse consumer base, we must be responsive to local consumer needs, including with respect to when and how consumers snack and their desire for premium or value offerings, provide an array of products that satisfy the broad spectrum of consumer preferences and use data-driven marketing and advertising to reach consumers at the right time with the right message. If we fail to expand our product offerings successfully across product categories, rapidly develop products in faster growing and more profitable categories or reach consumers in efficient and effective ways leveraging data and analytics, demand for our products could decrease and our profitability could suffer.

Prolonged negative perceptions concerning the health, environmental and social implications of certain food products and ingredients could influence consumer preferences and acceptance of some of our products and marketing programs. For example, consumers have increasingly focused on well-being, including reducing sodium and added sugar consumption, as well as the source and authenticity of the foods they consume. Contemporizing our brand portfolio by developing more well-being products and refining their ingredient and nutrition profiles of existing products is critical to our growth. In addition, consumer preferences differ by region, and we must monitor and adjust our use of ingredients to respond to these regional preferences. We might be unsuccessful in our efforts to effectively respond to changing consumer preferences and social expectations. Continued negative perceptions and failure to satisfy consumer preferences could materially and adversely affect our reputation, product sales, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to risks from operating globally.

We are a global company and generated 75.3% of our 2018 net revenues, 75.8% of our 2017 net revenues and 75.6% of our 2016 net revenues outside the United States. We manufacture and market our products in over 150 countries and have operations in more than 80 countries. Therefore, we are subject to risks inherent in global operations. Those risks include:
 
compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, including anti-bribery laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”);
the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers or similar restrictions on our sales or key commodities like cocoa, potential changes in U.S. trade programs and trade relations with other countries, or regulations, taxes or policies that might negatively affect our sales or profitability;
compliance with antitrust and competition laws, trade laws, data privacy laws, anti-bribery laws, and a variety of other local, national and multinational regulations and laws in multiple regimes;
currency devaluations or fluctuations in currency values, including in developing markets such as Argentina, Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, Ukraine and South Africa as well as in developed markets such as the United Kingdom and other countries within the European Union. This includes events like applying highly inflationary accounting as we did for our Argentinean subsidiaries beginning in July 2018;
changes in capital controls, including currency exchange controls, government currency policies such as demonetization in India or other limits on our ability to import raw materials or finished product into various countries or repatriate cash from outside the United States;
increased sovereign risk, such as default by or deterioration in the economies and credit ratings of governments, particularly in our Latin America and AMEA regions;
changes in local regulations and laws, the uncertainty of enforcement of remedies in non-U.S. jurisdictions, and foreign ownership restrictions and the potential for nationalization or expropriation of property or other resources;
varying abilities to enforce intellectual property and contractual rights;
discriminatory or conflicting fiscal policies;
greater risk of uncollectible accounts and longer collection cycles; and
design, implementation and use of effective control environment processes across our diverse operations and employee base.


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In addition, political and economic changes or volatility, geopolitical regional conflicts, terrorist activity, political unrest, civil strife, acts of war, travel or immigration restrictions, public corruption, expropriation and other economic or political uncertainties, including inaccuracies in our assumptions about these factors, could interrupt and negatively affect our business operations or customer demand. High unemployment or the slowdown in economic growth in some markets could constrain consumer spending. Declining consumer purchasing power could result in loss of market share and adversely impact our profitability. Continued instability in the banking and governmental sectors of certain countries or the dynamics and uncertainties associated with the United Kingdom’s planned exit from the European Union (“Brexit”) could have a negative effect on our business. (See below and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Financial Outlook for more information on Brexit.)

All of these factors could result in increased costs or decreased revenues, and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, results of operations, and our relationships with customers, suppliers and employees in the short or long term.

Tax matters, including changes in tax laws and rates, disagreements with taxing authorities and imposition of new taxes, could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

In December 2017, the United States enacted tax reform legislation (“U.S. tax reform”). The legislation implements many new U.S. domestic and international tax provisions. Many aspects of U.S. tax reform remain unclear, and although additional clarifying guidance is expected to be issued (by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), the U.S. Treasury Department or via a technical correction law change), it may not be clarified for some time. In addition, a number of U.S. states have not yet updated their laws to take into account the new federal legislation. As a result, there may be further impacts of the new law on our results of operations and financial condition. It is possible that U.S. tax reform, or interpretations under it, could change and could have an adverse effect on us, and such effect could be material.

In addition, foreign jurisdictions may enact tax legislation that could significantly affect our ongoing operations. For example, foreign tax authorities could impose rate changes along with additional corporate tax provisions that would disallow or tax perceived base erosion or profit shifting payments or subject us to new types of taxes such as digital taxes. Aspects of U.S. tax reform may lead foreign jurisdictions to respond by enacting additional tax legislation that is unfavorable to us.

Adverse changes in the underlying profitability or financial outlook of our operations in several jurisdictions could lead to changes in the realizability of our deferred tax assets and result in a charge to our income tax provision. Additionally, changes in tax laws in the U.S. or in other countries where we have significant operations could materially affect deferred tax assets and liabilities and our income tax provision.

We are also subject to tax audits by governmental authorities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, if a taxing authority disagrees with the positions we have taken, we could face additional tax liabilities, including interest and penalties. Unexpected results from one or more such tax audits could significantly adversely affect our income tax provision and our results of operations.

Our operations in certain emerging markets expose us to political, economic and regulatory risks.

Our growth strategy depends in part on our ability to expand our operations in emerging markets, including among others Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Argentina, the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and Ukraine. However, some emerging markets have greater political, economic and currency volatility and greater vulnerability to infrastructure and labor disruptions than more established markets. In many countries, particularly those with emerging economies, engaging in business practices prohibited by laws and regulations with extraterritorial reach, such as the FCPA and the U.K. Bribery Act, or local anti-bribery laws may be more common. These laws generally prohibit companies and their employees, contractors or agents from making improper payments to government officials, including in connection with obtaining permits or engaging in other actions necessary to do business. Failure to comply with these laws could subject us to civil and criminal penalties that could materially and adversely affect our reputation, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, competition in emerging markets is increasing as our competitors grow their global operations and low cost local manufacturers improve and expand their production capacities. Our success in emerging markets is critical to achieving our growth strategy. If we cannot successfully increase our business in emerging markets and

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manage associated political, economic and regulatory risks, our product sales, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our use of information technology and third-party service providers exposes us to cybersecurity breaches and other business disruptions that could adversely affect us.

We use information technology and third party service providers to support our global business processes and activities, including supporting critical business operations such as manufacturing and distribution; communicating with our suppliers, customers and employees; maintaining effective accounting processes and financial and disclosure controls; executing mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions; conducting research and development activities; meeting regulatory, legal and tax requirements; and executing various digital marketing and consumer promotion activities. Global shared service centers managed by third parties provide an increasing amount of services important to conducting our business, including a number of accounting, internal control, human resources and computing functions.

Continuity of business applications and services has been, and may in the future be, disrupted by events such as infection by viruses or malware, including a malware incident in June 2017 that affected a significant portion of our global sales, distribution and financial networks (the “malware incident”) (see Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Significant Items Affecting Comparability - Malware Incident); other cybersecurity attacks; issues with or errors in systems’ maintenance or security; power outages; hardware or software failures; denial of service attacks; telecommunication failures; natural disasters; terrorist attacks; and other catastrophic occurrences. Our use of new and emerging technologies such as cloud-based services and mobile applications continues to evolve, presenting new and additional risks in managing access to our data, relying on third-parties to manage and safeguard data, ensuring access to our systems and availability of third-party systems.

Cybersecurity breaches of our or third party systems, whether from circumvention of security systems, denial-of-service attacks or other cyberattacks such as hacking, phishing attacks, computer viruses, ransomware or malware, employee or insider error, malfeasance, social engineering, physical breaches or other actions may cause confidential information belonging to us or our employees, customers, consumers, partners, suppliers, or governmental or regulatory authorities to be misused or breached. When risks such as these materialize, the need for us to coordinate with various third-party service providers and for third party service providers to coordinate amongst themselves might increase challenges and costs to resolve related issues. Additionally, if new initiatives, such as those related to e-commerce and direct sales, increase the amount of confidential information that we process and maintain, it could increase our potential exposure from a cybersecurity breach. If our controls, disaster recovery and business continuity plans or those of our third-party providers do not effectively respond to or resolve the issues related to any such disruptions in a timely manner, our product sales, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected, and we might experience delays in reporting our financial results, loss of intellectual property and damage to our reputation or brands.

We continue to devote focused resources to network security, backup and disaster recovery, enhanced training and other security measures to protect our systems and data, such as advanced email protection to reduce the likelihood of credential thefts and electronic fraud attempts. We also focus on enhancing the monitoring and detection of threats in our environment, including but not limited to the manufacturing environment and operational technologies, as well as adjusting information security controls based on the updated threat. However, security measures cannot provide absolute security or guarantee that we will be successful in preventing or responding to every breach or disruption on a timely basis. Due to the constantly evolving and complex nature of security threats, we cannot predict the form and impact of any future incident, and the cost and operational expense of implementing, maintaining and enhancing protective measures to guard against increasingly complex and sophisticated cyber threats could increase significantly.

We regularly move data across national borders to conduct our operations, and we are subject to a variety of continuously evolving and developing laws and regulations in numerous jurisdictions regarding privacy, data protection and data security, including those related to the collection, storage, handling, use, disclosure, transfer and security of personal data. Privacy and data protection laws may be interpreted and applied differently from country to country and may create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulatio