* 4th-qtr earnings/shr $0.46 vs est. $0.48
* Takes $778 mln charge related to Venezuela accounting
* Sale of coffee unit tempers sales
* Shares down as much as 9 pct (Adds conference call, analyst comments, updates shares)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 3 (Reuters) - Oreo cookie maker Mondelez International Inc forecast 2016 revenue growth below analysts’ expectations, raising concerns about the company’s ability to reverse a two-year slide in sales in a tough economic environment.
The company’s shares fell as much as 9 percent on Wednesday after Mondelez also reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by a strong dollar and weak demand in Europe, its biggest market.
Mondelez, which makes Cadbury and Milka chocolates, is struggling due to a shift in consumer taste to less processed foods that has prompted retailers to provide less shelf space for its sugary snacks.
The company has also been battling a strong dollar by raising prices in markets such as Europe and Latin America, but this has taken a toll on volumes.
Sales in Europe fell 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, after stripping off the impact of certain items such as divestitures and integration costs.
While Mondelez raised prices by 0.2 percent in the region, volumes fell 1.3 percent.
Mondelez does not expect the overall impact of pricing on volume to be as significant this year as it was in 2015, Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld said on a post-earnings call.
But the outlook for the year indicates for “somewhat less volume growth than what the Street had expected,” RBC Capital Markets analyst David Palmer said.
Mondelez forecast 2016 organic revenue to grow by at least 2 percent - the slowest growth since the company was separated from Kraft Foods Inc in 2012.
Analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group called the forecast “disappointing”, adding that they see little chances for the stock to outperform given worsening macro-economic conditions this year. The brokerage said it expected sales to rise 4 percent.
Revenue fell 16.6 percent to $7.36 billion in the latest quarter, due partly to the sale of its coffee business.
The company reported a loss of $729 million, or 46 cents per share, in the quarter, compared with net income of $500 million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.
Mondelez took a charge of $778 million, or 48 cents per share, due to the deconsolidation of its Venezuelan operations.
Excluding items, the company earned 46 cents per share.
Analysts had expected earnings of 48 cents per share and revenue of $7.27 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company’s shares were down 7.6 percent at $38.73 in afternoon trading on Wednesday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Anil D‘Silva)