Colgate-Palmolive continues to dominate oral care sector

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Latin america, Revenue, Ceo, Colgate-palmolive

Oral care provider Colgate-Palmolive has benefited from strong fourth quarter sales growth and positive foreign currency effects, leading it to report a substantial profit increase.

The New York-headquartered company has reported net income for the final quarter of 2009 of $631m, a 20 percent increase on the same quarter the previous year.

This significant increase was driven in part by global sales growth of 11.5 percent to reach $4.1bn.

An increase in the number of products sold accounts for about 3 percent of this figure, price increases account for 3.5 percent and gains of foreign exchange for 5 percent.

“We are particularly pleased that our renewed focus on unit volume growth is indeed working, with global unit volume increasing sequentially in each of the last two quarters,”​ said CEO Ian Cook.

Increasing market share

Throughout the quarter the company made further inroads into the global oral care markets particularly in Latin America, finishing 2009 with a 78.7 percent share in the regional toothpaste market.

The Latin American region makes up nearly a third of the company’s business and sales in the region grew 22.5 percent over the quarter to $1.2bn. Five percent of this was down to increases in numbers of products sold, with higher pricing adding 12 percent to the figures.

North America sales grew 5 percent to $746m. Prices were lowered in the region, which is likely to have played a role in the 5.5 percent unit volume increased in the market.

Europe/South Pacific also saw a unit volume increase although on a smaller scale (2.5 percent) mainly led by France, Italy and the UK. This coupled with significant benefits on the back of foreign exchange led to 12.5 percent sales increase for the region.

The company’s fourth geographical region, Greater Asia/Africa, saw a growth in market share in a number of countries including India, China, Russia, Turkey and Hong Kong.

New product launches

For 2010, the company said it is planning a number of product launches early in the year which should help drive next year’s results.

“We expect the excellent gross profit margin to continue which should allow for higher advertising spend behind new and existing Colgate products,”​ Cook said.

Although no figures were mentioned, the company’s CEO said he was confident that Colgate-Palmolive would attain double digit earnings per share growth in 2010.

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