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January 6, 2010

P&G First Quarter Sales Exceed Expectations

The Procter & Gamble Company reported fiscal first quarter net sales declined 6% to $19.8 billion for the July-September quarter. Still, sales exceeded the company’s guidance, which had projected a decline of 7-10%. P&G blamed much of the decline on unfavorable exchange rates.

Organic sales rose 2% versus a guidance range of flat to -3% on better than expected results across most business segments, said the company. P&G raised its outlook for the October-December 2009 quarter and fiscal 2010 organic sales growth citing modestly higher expectation for market growth.

“Our September quarter results give us encouragement we are making the right choices to grow market share profitably,” said president and chief executive officer Bob McDonald. “We are investing in innovation, expanding our portfolio and improving consumer value to serve more consumers, in more parts of the world, more completely. We are driving simplification and improving execution while leveraging scale to create cost efficiencies that help fund these investments and accelerate growth.”

Beauty net sales fell 5% to $4.9 billion and net earnings decreased 1% to $777 million.

Fabric care and home care net sales fell 5% to $6.1 billion. Fabric care volume was down low single digits due to trade inventory reductions in North America and global market share declines, partially offset by the new product launches and growth in Western Europe behind incremental merchandising activities. Home care volume grew mid-single digits primarily due to new initiative launches in North America and Western Europe.

Cleaning Up at Church & Dwight

Church & Dwight Co., Inc. reported net sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 25, 2009 increased approximately 2.5% to $646.2 million. Organic sales grew 5.7%. Operating income increased 38% to $117.9 million. Consumer domestic sales rose 8.3% to $481.7 million. Excluding a divestiture, the third quarter organic sales increased by 9.1% as a result of higher sales of brands such as Xtra Liquid Laundry Detergent, Arm & Hammer Liquid Laundry Detergent and Oxiclean Laundry Additive, said the company.

James R. Craigie, chairman and chief executive officer, commented, “The strong organic sales growth was driven by consumer appeal of our high quality premium products and value-oriented products, new products, carryover benefits of 2008 pricing actions and a record level of marketing spending, partially offset by soft sales in the specialty products division. We increased sales and market share for seven of our eight “power brands” in the quarter, and achieved strong organic sales growth in both our household and our personal care product lines. Our results also reflect exceptional gross and operating margin expansion. The improved gross margin reflects lower commodity costs, pricing, and our continuing robust cost reduction programs.”

Clorox’s Profits Up 23%

Clorox posted a 23% jump in first-quarter profit for the period ended Sept. 30, 2009 to $157 million. According to recent reports, the boost was due to increased sales of disinfectants to combat swine flu. Revenue slipped less than 1% to $1.37 billion.

Sales Rise at Energizer

Personal care sales for the fourth quarter at Energizer rose 12% to $503 million. The most significant driver of the increase in sales was the shave preparation acquisition, which added $57 million for the quarter. Excluding the impact of the shave preparation acquisition and unfavorable currency, net sales increased 2%. Skin care sales increased 9% due to higher shipments of Wet Ones. For the year, sales rose 2% to $1.9 billion.

Beiersdorf’s Sales Slip

Beiersdorf’s sales for the consumer business segment—which includes its personal care and beauty brands such as Eucerin, Nivea and La Prairie—fell 1.3% to $5.6 billion for the nine months ended Sept. 30. Still, Beiersdorf lifted its full-year outlook, noting that despite ongoing difficulties, the consumer business will grow faster than the market, as planned, and will gain market share. The company will launch Eucerin Aquaporin Active, billed as a next-generation moisturizer aimed at further extending the brand's market share in the facial skin care market.

Huet Named Unilever CFO

Unilever has named Jean-Marc Huet as its chief financial officer. Huet, who has been CFO of Bristol-Myers Squibb since March 2008, joined Unilever on Jan. 1, replacing Jim Lawrence.

Huet, 40, will be proposed for election to Unilever plc and Unilever NV’s boards at an annual general meeting in May. His résumé also includes a stint as CFO of Royal Numico NV and as executive director of investment banking services at Goldman Sachs International.

“[Huet] joins Unilever at an exciting time,” stated Paul Polman, the company’s chief executive officer.“His background and expertise will be important in helping us realize the growth ambitions we have for the future.”