Top Companies Report

2. Colgate

July 1, 2015

New york, NY

Sales: $15.0 billion for oral care, personal care and household products. Corporate sales: $17.2 billion.

Key Personnel: Ian Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Fabian Garcia, chief operating officer, global innovation and growth, Europe, South Pacific and Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Franck J. Moison, chief operating officer, emerging markets and business development; Dennis Hickey, chief financial officer; Andrew D. Hendry, vice chairman; Manuel Arrese, vice president and chief procurement officer; Nigel B. Burton, chief marketing officer; James Capraro, VP-global information technology; Mike Crowe, chief information officer; Suzan F. Harrison, president, global oral care; John J. Huston, SVP-office of the chairman; Alain Semeneri, VP-global customer development; Jose Fernando Serrano, VP-Colgate-Latin America; Drew Shepard, VP-Colgate-North America; Justin Skala, president, Colgate-North America & global sustainability; Michael Sload, VP & GM, global personal care; Rick Spann, VP-global supply chain; Vangelis Spyridakos, VP-Colgate-Europe/South Pacific; Tina Stoian, VP-Colgate-Europe/South Pacific; Neil Stout, VP-global toothbrush division; Robert Tatera, VP-Colgate-Africa/Eurasia; Orlando Tenorio, VP-Colgate-Asia; Richard Thorogood, VP-Global Insights; Linda Topping, VP-global supply chain; Panagiotis Tsourapas, president, Colgate-Europe/South Pacific; Bill Van de Graaf, VP & GM, Colgate-US; Patricia Verduin, chief technology officer; Lucie Claire Vincent, VP & GM, global home care; Noel R. Wallace, president, Colgate-Latin America; Ruben Young, VP & GM, Colgate-Greater Indo-China; Alberico Zenzola, VP-Colgate-Global Supply Chain.

Major Products: Oral Care—Total Advanced, Optic White, ProClinical White toothpastes; 360°, Max White, Professional toothbrushes; Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, 2-in-1 children’s toothpastes; Orabase mouth pain relief; Phos-Flur rinse; Peroxyl oral cleanser; dental professional products. Personal Care—Speed Stick, Lady Speed Stick, Irish Spring deodorants; Softsoap and Irish Spring body washes; Softsoap hand soap; Irish Spring and Softsoap bar soaps; Afta men’s toiletries. Home Care—Palmolive, Ajax and Dermassage dishwashing liquids; Murphy Oil Soap, Fabuloso and Ajax household cleaners; Suavitel fabric conditioner.

New Products: Irish Spring Signature for Men, Sanex Advanced, Suavitel Complete, Colgate Optic White Platinum Express White, Colgate Optic White Toothbrush + Whitening Pen, Colgate Enamel Health Toothbrush + Sensitivity Relief Pen. Laser toothpaste (acquisition, Myanmar); Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool toothpaste, Tom’s of Maine Baby Care, Body Care and Lip Care.

Comments: Few companies on earth can squeeze so much out of a single category, but a combination of being the global market leader in oral care and fixation on margin has Colgate brass smiling these days. The company’s share of the global toothpaste market continues to expand, reaching 44.8% through the first quarter of 2015. In contrast, CP’s closest competitor has just a 14.3% share. Impressive, sure, but consider these country toothpaste shares for Colgate: Brazil, 71.8%; Russia, 31.8%; India, 54.7% and China, 33.7%. Ironically, there’s room for growth in the US, as P&G’s Crest still holds the top spot with 37.3% share, compared to Colgate’s 35.3% share.

It’s the same story of dominance in the toothbrush segment, as Colgate’s global share has climbed to 33.8% during the past 20 years, while its chief competitor has seen its share drop from 26.2% to 19.7%. It’s a different tale, however, in mouthwash, where Colgate is a distant No. 2 with a 16.5% share, compared to P&G’s 40.4% share.

Yet, despite its dominance in the global oral care segment, Colgate posted a 1% decline in corporate sales last year. Net income fell 3%. Gross margin was 58.5%. Company CEO Ian Cook blamed the decline on exchange rates and divestitures, noting that organic sales rose 5% on a 3% increase in unit volume and positive pricing of 2%.

Oral care accounted for 46% of sales last year, followed by personal care (21%), home care (20%) and pet nutrition (13%). It may be based in New York, but Colgate is truly multinational; in fact, it’s biggest markets lie outside North America. By region, Latin America accounted for 28% of sales, followed by Europe-South Pacific (20%), North America (18%), Africa/Eurasia (7%).
In Latin America, sales fell 5%, but organic sales increased 9%. Consumers snapped up an array of Colgate products, including Colgate Luminous White Advanced, Colgate Total Breath Health and Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection Plus Neutrazucar toothpastes. Also Suavitel Complete fabric conditioner and Axion Goodbye Odors dish liquid contributed to volume growth throughout the region.

Within the Europe/South Pacific business sales increased .5% on organic sales growth of 1.5%. Brands that helped grow the business include Colgate Max White One Optic and Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer toothpastes. On the home care side, Ajax All Usage Gel liquid cleaner and Soupline Paradise Sensations fabric conditioner contributed to volume growth.

Sales in North America increased 1.5%, driven by a 2.5% increase in organic sales. Regional results received a boost from sales of Colgate Optic White and Colgate Total Lasting White mouthwashes, as well as Fabuloso Fiesta Orange liquid cleaner and Suavitel Fast Dry fabric conditioner.

Exchange rates took their toll in Africa/Eurasia, were sales fell 4%, despite organic growth of 7%. Colgate Optic White Instant, Colgate Altai Herbs, Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal manual toothbrush and Protex for Men shower gel contributed to volume growth.

In a review of the sustainability of its products, the company proudly notes that 70% of products were determined to be “more sustainable,” having an improvement in at least one of the following areas: responsible sourcing and raw materials, energy and greenhouse gases, water, waste, ingredient profile, packaging and social metrics.

What’s more, Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program has reached 800 million children around the world through 2014, with the goal of reaching 1.3 billion kids by 2020. 

For the first quarter of 2015, worldwide net sales fell 6% to $4.0 billion, on unit volume gains of 1.5%, pricing increases of 2.5% and -10% foreign exchange. Global unit volume grew 1.5%, pricing increased 2.5% and foreign exchange was negative 10.0%. Organic sales (net sales excluding foreign exchange, acquisitions and divestments) grew 4.0%.

“In the face of challenging macroeconomic conditions worldwide, we are pleased to have started the year with solid organic sales growth and higher profitability as a percent to sales, despite significant foreign currency headwinds,” said Cook.  “Where organic sales grew a strong 6.5%, despite economic challenges in certain countries.”

By region, North America net sales increased 0.5%. Latin American sales fell 5.5%, even as unit volume increased 1.5% and pricing rose 8.0%. Europe/South Pacific net sales decreased 14.5%, due to lower price and a weak exchange rate. Sales in Asia declined 1.5% and sales in Africa/Eurasia fell 15.0%, due to foreign exchange’s negative 23.0% impact.
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