Sales: $12.9 billion for household, oral and personal care products.
Corporate sales: $15.1 billion.
Key Personnel: Ian Cook chairman, president and chief executive officer; Franck J. Moison, vice chairman; Dennis Hickey, chief financial officer; Jennifer M. Daniels, chief legal officer and secretary; P. Justin Skala, chief operating officer, North America, Europe, Africa/Eurasia and global sustainability; Noel Wallace, chief operating officer, global innovation and growth and Hill’s Pet Nutrition; Michael A. Corbo, chief supply chain officer; Mukul Deoras, chief marketing officer; Victoria Dolan, chief transformation officer and corporate controller; Jean-Luc Fischer, president, Colgate-Africa/Eurasia; Thomas Greene, chief information & business services officer; Suzan F. Harrison, president, global oral care; John J. Huston, senior vice president, chief of staff; Al Lee, chief ethics & compliance officer; Daniel B. Marsili, chief human resources officer; Vinod Nambiar, president, Colgate-Asia Pacific; Elaine Paik, vice president and corporate treasurer; Prabha Parameswaran, president, Colgate-Europe; Panagiotis Tsourapas, president, Colgate-Latin America; Patricia Verduin, chief technology officer.
Major Products: Oral Care—Colgate Baking Soda and Peroxide Whitening, Plus, Total, Optic White, Enamel Health, 360°, Kids, Sensitive, MaxFresh, 2in1, Sparkling White, Tartar Protection with Whitening, Triple Action, Ultrabrite, Wave, Wisp, Mouth Sore Rinse; Peroxyl Mouth Sore Rinse, Elmex, Meridol and Sorriso oral care products, Gel-Kam Preventative Treatment Gel, Tom’s of Maine; Personal Care—Irish Spring deodorants; Softsoap and Irish Spring body washes; Protex soap, Sanex cleansers; Gard anti-dandruff shampoo with conditioner; Speed Stick and Lady Speed Stick antiperspirants and deodorants; Softsoap hand soap; Irish Spring and Softsoap bar soaps; Tahiti; Tender Care, Afta men’s toiletries. Dishwashing—Palmolive Ultra Strength, Antibacterial, Oxy Pure Degreaser, Pure & Clear, Fusion Clean, Soft Touch, Lavender and Lime, Eco; Hard Surface—Axion, Fabuloso, Murphy Original Formula, Orange Oil Spray, Soft Wipes, Squirt & Mop, Pinho Sol; Laundry—Bonus, Brite, Express Power, Fleecy detergents, Fluffy, Cuddly, Soupline and Sta-soft fabric conditioner.
New Products: Colgate Total Clean-In Between, Colgate Optic White Radiant, Colgate Sensitive Smart and Tom’s of Maine Rapid Relief Sensitive toothpastes; Colgate Total Advanced Health and Colgate Kids mouthwashes, Colgate Total 360° Whole Mouth Clean battery toothbrush and Softsoap Luminous Oils and Irish Spring Signature for Men bodywashes; Sanex Advanced Reviva Firm.
Comments: Corporate sales fell 5% last year and unit volume was off 3%. Net sales increased 4%, driven by an increase in toothpaste and manual toothbrush sales, as well as shower gel and fabric softener sales. When Hill’s Pet Nutrition is taken out of the equation, sales fell 6.5% last year.
Chairman Ian Cook blamed the decline in corporate sales on challenging macroeconomic conditions and foreign currency headwinds. And yet, Colgate’s leadership in the global toothpaste market reached 44% by the end of 2016. Colgate held the top spot, too, in the manual toothbrush segment with a global share of 33.1%. Oral care represented 47% of sales, followed by personal care (20%) and home care (18%). Hill’s Pet Nutrition accounted for the remaining 15%.
By region, Latin America accounted for 24% of sales, followed by North America (21%), Asia-Pacific (18%), Europe (16%), Africa/Eurasia (6%) and Hill’s Pet Nutrition (15%).
Sales in Latin America slumped more than 15% due to volume declines and negative foreign exchange rates. North American sales increased 1.0%, driven by volume growth of 2.5%, which was partially offset by net selling price decreases of 1.0% and negative foreign exchange of 0.5%. Oral care and personal care both contributed to the gain. Sales in Europe fell 3%, which the company blamed on forex and weak pricing. Gains in oral care sales were more than offset by declines in personal care and home care. Finally, net sales in Asia-Pacific fell 5% due to a volume decline and negative exchange rate.
For the first quarter of 2017, sales were flat at $3.7 billion, but global unit volume fell 2%. Organic sales grew less than 1%.
“Clearly the first quarter was challenging and did not meet our organic sales growth expectations, driven mainly by softer results in North America,” noted Cook. “Net sales were even with the year ago quarter, while organic sales grew 0.5%, led by emerging markets where organic sales grew 3.0%.”
According to Cook, Colgate’s leadership of the global toothpaste market rose to 43.8% and the company’s global share of manual toothbrush sales was 32.7%.
Last month, at a Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, Cook noted that 2017 challenges include slowing category growth worldwide, retailer destocking, and political and social unrest. To help overcome some of these barriers, Colgate aims to grow sales by making oral care a two-times a day habit in growing populations such as India and Africa. According to Cook, India’s annual per capita usage of toothpaste is just 171g, compared to 518g in the US and 679g in Brazil. In fact, 95% of the company’s growth through 2030 is expected to come emerging markets.
Colgate will also invest in consistent advertising every quarter and put money behind key brands to drive growth. At the same time, Colgate will increase digital and equity advertising, such as two-minute video clips aimed at kids to show that brushing is fun.
Cook said Colgate is transforming insights and R&D into innovations to drive growth. One example is the recent launch of Colgate Total Clean-In-Between toothpaste. According to the company, Clean-In-Between toothpaste’s advanced micro-foaming formula reaches even deep in between teeth to reduce 83% more plaque germs than non-antibacterial fluoride toothpaste 12 hours after brushing for healthier gums. Colgate Total Clean-In-Between toothpaste provides 12-hour antibacterial protection for 100% of the mouth’s surfaces: teeth, tongue, cheeks and gums. Other examples of innovation include Colgate Optic White High Impact White toothpaste, which promises to get teeth four shades brighter, and Sanex Advanced Reviva Firm for mature skin.
At retail, Colgate’s new Customer Engagement Centers are collaborations with retailers to drive growth. The goal is to leverage brand with category and shopper expertise, according to Cook. At the same time, Colgate is determined to reach dentists and other professionals in new ways such as #Colgate Talks for dentists. Cook noted that French dermatologists recommend Sanex body lotion more than any other brand.
Of course, Colgate has been hyping gross margin gains for years. In 2017, it reached 60.7%, up 40 basis points. One way to boost margin is through productivity and Colgate has a state-of-the-art soap facility in Mexico, where productivity rose 39%. Other ways Colgate is driving down costs is simplifying formulas in Latin America and using advanced analytics to optimize shipping.