Corporate Sales: $16 billion
Beauty Sales: $10.7 billion (Personal/Oral Care)
Key Personnel: Ian M. Cook, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Suzan F. Harrison, president, global oral care; Vinod Nambiar, president, Asia Pacific; Prabha Parameswaran, president, Colgate Europe; Panagiotis Tsourapas, president, Latin America.
Major Products/Brands: Oral Care—Total Advanced, Optic White, 360°, Max White; Dora the Explorer; Peroxyl oral cleanser. 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; and Afta men’s toiletries.
New Products: Colgate Total Daily Repair and Colgate Kids mouthwashes, Colgate Optic White Express White toothpaste and Irish Spring Signature for Men body washes.
Comments: Chairman Ian Cook tried to put Colgate-Palmolive’s 2015 performance in a positive light, but the truth is that the foreign exchange rate hit Colgate-Palmolive hard, and right in its corporate pocketbook, causing sales to dip 7%. Volume and net selling price increases (1.5% and 3.0%, respectively) were more than offset by negative foreign exchange at -11.5%.
Colgate-Palmolive’s most prominent business is oral care. In 2015, it accounted for 47% of the company’s sales, which were +1% from 2014. Personal cares sales accounted for 20% of the corporate total, down from 21% in the previous year. The company pointed to the foreign exchange rate as the primary culprit. Interestingly though, organic sales across the Colgate Palmolive’s entire oral, personal care and home care product segment increased 4.5%.
A deeper look inside the company’s toothbrush business reveals that its global share of that market was 44.7% in 2015 and its share of the global manual toothbrush market was 34.7% for full year 2015. Its 2015 toothpaste market shares performed well in North America, Latin America, Europe/South Pacific and Africa/Eurasia but not as well in Asia in comparison to 2014.
Regionally, organic sales in North America increased 2% in 2015. The company attributed this to oral care. Personal care organic sales growth was driven by gains in the shower gel category. The U.S. comprises 25% of Colgate’s total global sales.
Latin American net sales were $4.3 billion, a decrease of 9.5%. In Europe/South Pacific, net sales fell sharply (-15.5%) to nearly $2.9 billion, as volume growth of 2% was more than offset by net selling price decreases of 3% and negative foreign exchange of 14.5%.
In Asia, net sales fell to $2.4 billion (-1.5%). Volume growth of 4% was more than offset by net selling price decreases of 1% and negative foreign exchange of 4.5%. However, organic sales in Asia grew 2.5%, as volume gains were led by the Greater China region, the Philippines and India. Colgate noted that organic sales increases were due to toothpaste and manual brush sales. Buoyed by shampoo sales, personal care sales were on the rise.
In Africa/Eurasia, foreign exchange was again to blame as sales fell 17.5%. Net selling price increases of 7.5% were more than offset by volume declines of 1.5% and negative foreign exchange of 23.5%. Organic sales in Africa/Eurasia grew 6% in 2015.
Volume declines in the Central Asia/Caucasus region and Ukraine were partially offset by volume gains in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and South Africa, according to Colgate. Organic sales rose due to strong organic sales in the toothpaste and the manual toothbrush categories.
As the company tries to steady itself for the coming year, so far, fate is not cooperating. Sales have continued to decline through the first quarter of 2016. Oral and personal care (as well as home care) sales dropped 10% to $3.5 billion.