Top Companies Report

15. Sun Products

June 28, 2012

Wilton, CT
Sales: $2 billion.

Key Personnel: Jeffrey P. Ansell, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Al Drewes, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Perry Beadon, senior vice president, customer development; Gretchen Crist, senior vice president, human resources and communication; Blair Hawley, senior vice president, logistics and distribution; Beth Hecht, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary; Jeffery Strong, executive vice president, retailer brands and Canada; Mitch Tinnan, senior vice president, product supply; Ed Vlacich, executive vice president, national brands.

Major Products: Fabric and dish care products including All, Wisk, Snuggle, Sunlight and Sun brands. Also, a small number of personal care brands sold under the White Rain label.

New Products: All Mighty Pacs.

Comments: Nearly every player in the household product category has felt the effects of the price wars that erupted in the category, but few companies have been hurt as much as Sun Products, which derives a large portion of its sales from the detergent category. Last month Standard & Poor’s cut Sun Products rating to “B,” stating that the company will maintain a “vulnerable” business risk profile and a “highly leveraged” financial risk profile. Sun Products also generated negative cash flow in 2011, which Standard & Poor’s attributed to a deterioration of the company’s operating performance (mainly from a more competitive environment in the detergent and household cleaning products segment) and the higher inventory levels that resulted, as well as to IT system conversion issues.

Still, Sun remains the No. 2 player in the US laundry category behind P&G. Sun entered the single dose laundry category in March with the introduction of All Mighty pacs, which are available in two variants, original and free clear. The pacs are available in sizes ranging from 10-count trial size to a 72-count package.

In January, Sun Products named Jeffrey Ansell, currently president and CEO, chairman of the board, succeeding Neil P. DeFeo who stepped down as chairman but remains on the board as a non-executive director. And in April, Sun hired Ed Vlacich as executive vice president, National Brands. Prior to joining the company, Vlacich was with Novartis where he spent more than seven years in senior leadership roles, most recently serving as global chief marketing officer for Ciba Vision.


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