Top Companies Report

14. Church & Dwight Co.

June 28, 2012

Princeton, NJ
Sales: $2.2 billion for household, personal care and oral care products.
Corporate sales: $2.7 billion. Net income: $310 million.

Key Personnel: James R. Craigie, chairman and chief executive officer; Jacquelin J. Brova, executive vice president, human resources; Mark G. Conish, executive vice president, global operations; Steven P. Cugine, executive vice president, global new products innovation; Patrick de Maynadier, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary; Matthew T. Farrell, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Bruce F. Fleming, executive vice president and chief marketing officer; Adrian J. Huns, executive vice president, president, international consumer products; Paul A. Siracusa, Ph.D., executive vice president, global research and development; Louis H. Tursi Jr., executive vice president, domestic consumer sales.

Major Products: Household—Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, Arm & Hammer Fridge Fresh, Arm & Hammer Clumping Litter, Arm & Hammer Clean Shower, Arm & Hammer Scrub Free, Orange Glo Wood cleaners, Kaboom Scrub Free! Continuous Toilet Cleaning System, Kaboom Ultra Scrub, Kaboom Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner, Arm & Hammer liquid laundry detergent, powder laundry detergents, Fresh ‘n Soft fabric softener sheets and liquid fabric softener, Arm & Hammer Essentials liquid laundry detergent and fabric softener sheets, Arm & Hammer Wet Dryer clothes, Arm & Hammer with OxiClean detergent, OxiClean laundry stain remover, OxiClean versatile stain remover, OxiClean baby stain soaker, OxiClean baby stain remover, OxiClean Max Force laundry stain remover, Xtra liquid laundry detergent; Parson’s Ammonia, Cameo. Personal Care—Arm & Hammer toothpaste, Arm & Hammer Spinbrush, Pepsodent, Aim, Close Up, Pearl Drops, Rigident, Arrid, Arm & Hammer Ultramax, Lady’s Choice deodorants, Nair, Orajel.

New Products: Arm & Hammer Spin Brush Pro Sensitive toothbrush, Arm & Hammer Advance White toothpaste. Acquisition—Batiste dry shampoo.

Comments: Corporate sales rose 6% and net income was up 14%. Consumer domestic sales rose nearly 5% last year, driven by sales of Arm & Hammer liquid and powder laundry detergent and Xtra liquid laundry detergent. But the gains were tempered by lower sales of Oxiclean laundry additive and Arm & Hammer Dental Care and other toothpaste products.

A year ago, Church & Dwight acquired Batiste dry shampoo from Vivalis, Ltd. for $64.8 million. Batiste’s annual sales were $20 million. That purchase helped push international sales up 14.7%. Gains were led by Canada, Australia and Mexico.

For the first quarter of 2012, Church & Dwight’s sales increased 7.5% to $690.6 million. Organic sales increased 8.4% driven by 10.5% volume growth offset by 2.1% unfavorable product mix and pricing. Net income jumped 14% to $95.8 million.

“We had an excellent first quarter and are off to a great start,” said James R. Craigie at a Goldman Sachs Consumer Products Symposium in May. “The environment is tough, with weak consumer spending, high commodity pricing and retailers struggling.”

That makes it tough for Church & Dwight and every consumer products company to improve gross margin. Despite the difficult times, Craigie expects 2012 sales to rise 3-4% and to get gross margin growing again. That’s because C&D has several advantages over its competitors.

For starters, the company has a roster of recession-resistant brands. In fact, 40% of the company’s product portfolio is value-based. Consumers who traded down during the recession have no interest in trading back up.

“They learned that the value products have quality,” Craigie insisted. “In our study, 75-80% of people who traded down are not going back. They don’t need to. They don’t perceive a difference.”

Another C&D advantage is its people. Unlike many multinationals, Craigie doesn’t move executives around. His team remains focused on the task at hand and can draw from years of experience in certain categories. In time, it becomes easier for them to do their jobs and that enables these executives to assume greater responsibilities without having to add payroll.

“They know their business and the know when a competitor makes a mistake.”

Along those lines, Craigie noted that of C&D’s 80 brands, eight of them are power brands and of those, seven were acquired during the past 10 years.

“We love acquisitions and are very good at it,” he insisted. “It’s a key part of our growth.”

Go West, C&D
• Keeping an eye on costs is a constant at C&D. The company’s new plant in California—it’s first one west of Missouri—will bring dramatic reductions in shipping costs.