Top Companies Report

1. Procter & Gamble

July 1, 2016

Cincinnati, OH

Sales: $48 billion (estimated) for personal care, household care and oral care products. Corporate sales: $76.2 billion for the year ended June 30, 2015.

Key Personnel: David S. Taylor, president, chief executive officer and chairman; Mark Biegger, chief human resources office; Steven D. Bishop, group president, global health care; Giovanni Ciserani, group president, global fabric & home care and global baby & feminine care; Linda W. Clement-Holmes, chief information officer; Gary Coombe, president, Europe selling & market operations; Philip J. Duncan, global design officer; Mary Lynn Ferguson-McHugh, group president, global family care and global brand creation and innovation; Thomas M. Finn, president, global personal health care; Kathleen B. Fish, chief technology officer; William P. Gipson, senior vice president, global diversity and research & development, Asia Innovation Centers; Colleen E. Jay, president, beauty specialty businesses; Shailesh G. Jejurikar, president, global fabric care and brand building organization, global fabric and home care; Henry Karamanoukian, senior vice president, go-to-market, China; R. Alexandra Keith, president, global skin and personal care; Hatsunori Kiriyama, president and advisor to the chief executive; Patrice Louvet, global president, global beauty; Deborah P. Majoras, chief legal officer and secretary; Jon R. Moeller, chief financial officer; Julio Nemeth, president, global business services; Charles E. Pierce, group president, global grooming; Juan Fernando Posada, president, Latin America selling and market operations; Matthew S. Price, president, greater China selling and market operations; Marc S. Pritchard, chief brand officer; Martin Riant, group president and advisor to the chief executive and executive sponsor, global sustainability; Mohamed Samir, president, India, Middle East and Africa, selling and market operations; Jeffrey K. Schomburger, global sales officer, customer business development; Valarie Sheppard, senior vice president, comptroller and treasurer; Kirti Singh, vice president, global consumer and market knowledge; Yannis Skoufalos, global product supply officer; Magesvaran Suranjan, president, Asia Pacific selling and market operations; Carolyn Tastad, group president, North America selling and market operations; George Tsourapas, president, global home care and P&G professional.

Major Products: Household Care—Tide, Ace, Ariel, Cheer, Gain, Bold, Dreft and Era detergents; Joy and Cascade dish detergents; Febreze and Downy laundry additives; Mr. Clean, Comet and Swiffer household cleaners. Personal Care—Head & Shoulders, Nioxin, Pantene, Herbal Essences, Sebastian, Vidal Sassoon and Aussie hair care; DDF, Olay and SK-II skin care. Oral Care—Crest, Scope.

New Products: Household Care—Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection, Tide Purclean, Downy Fresh Protect, Unstopables, Bounty with Dawn, Tide HE Turbo Clean; Personal Care—Oral B Genius, Old Spice Hardest Working Collection, Head & Shoulders Nourishing Collection, SK-II Facial Treatment Oil, Crest 3D White Brilliance 2 Step, Gillette Shave Club, Crest Pro-Health (HD), Head & Shoulders Instant Relief Collection, Vidal Sassoon Salonist, Olay Regenerist Luminous Collection, Wella Professionals Elements.

Comments: Less is more. At least that’s the strategy at Procter & Gamble. A year ago, P&G sold more than 40 brands to Coty for $12.5 billion. The deal included P&G’s global salon professional hair care and color, retail hair color, cosmetics and fine fragrance businesses, along with select hair styling brands. The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2016.

P&G announced its brand trimming strategy three years ago. When it’s all finally over, the number of brands will shrink from 166 to 65 and sales growth will increase one point and before-tax margin will improve two points, according to the company.

But the divestment strategy hasn’t worked so well. In fiscal Q3, P&G’s sales fell more than $1 billion to $15.7 billion. It was the seventh time in the past eight quarters that sales have either been flat or declined from one quarter to the next. In the most recent quarter, P&G blamed the sales decline on a combination of weak organic growth, foreign currency headwinds, and the portfolio divestment initiative. Profits are on course to decline for their second straight fiscal year, and income investors received their smallest dividend raise in years.

More specifically, through March 31, 2016, net sales decreased 9% to $49.2 billion. Unit volume decreased 4%. Unfavorable foreign exchange reduced net sales by 7%. Higher pricing, primarily to offset inflation and devaluation, increased net sales by 2%. Volume decreased low single digits in fabric care and home care and decreased mid-single digits in beauty, grooming, health care and in baby, feminine and family care. Volume increased low single digits in developed regions and decreased high single digits in developing regions due to increased pricing, competitive activity, minor brand divestitures and the impact of the Venezuela deconsolidation. Organic sales were flat on a 2% decline in organic volume due to improved pricing.

By category, beauty net sales fell 10% to $8.7 billion on a 6% decline in unit volume. P&G’s global market share of the beauty category fell one point. Volume in hair care fell mid-single digits, but volume in skin and personal care declined double digits. Meanwhile, fabric and home care sales fell 8% to $15.6 billion on a 1% decline in unit volume. Volume increased mid-single digits in the developed region but fell double-digits in developing markets. Even oral care volume declined for the nine months.

To return to growth, P&G executives say that their company must act more quickly to changing markets and consumer tastes. 

“A few years ago we got too central and global and too slow to address market opportunities. We need more direct ownership for our regional managers all the way to the store shelf,” CEO David Taylor said at an analyst conference earlier this year.

To keep talent focused, P&G brass won’t move employees around as much as it has done in the past. Keeping executives in place has worked for Church & Dwight, where ex-CEO James Craigie liked to boast that C&D kept its top players in place to get the most out of their experience.

Its people may be staying put, but there is plenty of movement in NPD; P&G rolled out Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection, after an in-house study performed by Procter & Gamble found that over 70% of people have had problems with odors lingering in their active wear after its been washed. One reason these odors reoccur is because the clothes were not fully cleaned—an especially challenging feat when it comes to the active wear that many consumers are also using as everyday wear, which is made with synthetic fabrics that tend to trap dirt and odors deep down at the fiber level.

“Fitness-minded consumers demand a lot from their athletic gear, so it’s important they know how to properly care for these garments,” said Kristen Stutz, brand manager, North America Tide Innovation at Procter & Gamble. “This is also true for the many consumers who have embraced the athleisure trend we’ve been seeing as of late. With the Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection, they’re getting a full laundry regimen that works from the inside out to remove dirt and odors.”

In recent months, P&G sold its Escudo soap brand in Mexico and other Latin American countries to Kimberly-Clark de México. The transaction, for an undisclosed amount, was expected to close during the first half of 2016 subject to regulatory approvals. Escudo, launched in Mexico more than 50 years ago, is the leading local antibacterial soap brand.
Meanwhile, in March, P&G said it would sell its Pert shampoo brand to Henkel. Pert, introduced in 1980, was part of a larger package, including other brands Shamtu and Blendax. Henkel is counting on the brands to shore up its position in Africa/Middle East and Eastern Europe.

That same week, P&G sold its Hipoglós diaper rash cream brand in Brazil to Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. The transaction, for an undisclosed amount. The deal closed earlier this year, according to P&G. The Hipoglós brand has been present for more than 70 years in Brazil. P&G insists that it is one of the most traditional and beloved brands among Brazilian moms, loved and trusted during generations to care and protect their babies’ skin from diaper rash.

P&G did some brand trimming in India as well, and the unit is profitable. Specifically, P&G India has posted double-digit growth in its hygiene and healthcare unit. Most recently, Gillette has been on a tear in the country.

“The strategic portion of our India business is growing at a high single-digit pace,” said CFO Jon Moeller. “Sales in the portions we’re fixing or exiting have been down more than 30%. This top line pain is worth it.”

And, of course, there was that battery steal, er, deal with Warren Buffett. Under terms of the agreement, P&G transferred its Duracell business to Berkshire Hathaway. P&G contributed $1.8 billion in cash to the Duracell Company in a pre-transaction recapitalization in exchange for Berkshire Hathaway’s 52 million shares of P&G stock.

“Duracell is a strong, global business with a great future ahead of it as part of the Berkshire Hathaway family,” said Taylor.

Trimming brands, cutting businesses, improving margin—P&G has a laundry list of changes and CEO Taylor insists that these moves demonstrate the company’s willingness to change.

Just last month, Taylor was appointed chairman, replacing executive chairman AG Lafley who retired. Also last month, P&G said it would remove, on a global basis, phosphates from its Fairy ADW formula. Fairy will be phosphate free by 2017, when the phosphate ban goes into effect in Europe.