Colgate-Palmolive's Q4 net earnings fell 5.4% year-over-year to US$590M, on slower growth sales, higher raw materials costs; net sales for the quarter jumped 5% year-over-year to US$4.17B

NEW YORK , January 26, 2012 (press release) – Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE:CL) today reported worldwide Net sales of $4,172 million in fourth quarter 2011, an increase of 5.0% versus fourth quarter 2010. Global unit volume grew 4.0%, pricing increased 3.0% and foreign exchange was negative 2.0%. Excluding divested businesses, global unit volume grew 4.5%. The Sanex acquisition contributed 1.5% to sales and volume growth. Organic sales (Net sales excluding foreign exchange, acquisitions and divestments) grew 6.0%.

“We are pleased to have finished the year with excellent top-line momentum and to have achieved our profit goals, despite continuing increases in material costs, an intense competitive environment and volatile macroeconomic conditions worldwide.”

Net income and Diluted earnings per share in fourth quarter 2011 were $590 million and $1.21, respectively. Net income in the quarter included $44 million of aftertax charges ($0.09 per diluted share) resulting from the previously disclosed implementation of various business realignment and other cost-saving initiatives, the sale of land in Mexico and a previously disclosed competition law matter in France related to a divested detergent business.

Net income and Diluted earnings per share in fourth quarter 2010 were $624 million and $1.24, respectively. As previously disclosed, Net income in fourth quarter 2010 included one-time items which fully offset and had no aftertax impact on earnings (see Table 3 for detail on fourth quarter 2010 other items).

Excluding the above noted items in both periods, Net income in fourth quarter 2011 was $634 million, an increase of 2% versus fourth quarter 2010, and Diluted earnings per share in fourth quarter 2011 was $1.30, an increase of 5% versus fourth quarter 2010 and in line with expectations.

Gross profit margin was 57.4% in fourth quarter 2011, down 170 basis points versus the year ago quarter. Excluding the costs associated with the business realignment and other cost-saving initiatives noted above, gross profit margin was 57.7% in fourth quarter 2011, down 140 basis points versus the year ago quarter, reflecting continued increases in raw and packaging material costs worldwide. These increases were partially offset by higher pricing and cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were 34.6% of Net sales in fourth quarter 2011 and 2010. Excluding costs associated with the business realignment and other cost-saving initiatives noted above, Selling, general and administrative expenses were 34.5% of Net sales in fourth quarter 2011, 10 basis points lower than the year ago quarter, as overhead expenses decreased by 20 basis points and advertising increased by 10 basis points. Worldwide advertising spending increased 5% versus the year ago quarter to $428 million.

Operating profit increased 2% to $923 million in fourth quarter 2011 compared to $905 million in fourth quarter 2010. Excluding the above noted items in both periods, operating profit increased 3% to $972 million.

Net cash provided by operations for full year 2011 and 2010 was $2,896 million and $3,211 million, respectively. Net cash provided by operations for full year 2011 and 2010 reflects $178 million and $35 million, respectively, of cash used to voluntarily fund pension plans. Working capital as a percentage of Net sales was 0.7%, up 40 basis points versus the year ago period. This increase was primarily due to higher levels of accounts receivable and inventories, which though higher in absolute dollars, were in line with prior year levels of days sales outstanding for receivables and months coverage of inventory.

For the full year 2011, worldwide Net sales were $16,734 million, up 7.5% versus full year 2010. Global unit volume grew 3.5%, pricing increased 1.0% and foreign exchange was positive 3.0%. Excluding divested businesses, global unit volume grew 4.0%. The Sanex acquisition contributed 1.0% to full year sales and volume growth. Organic sales grew 4.0%.

Net income and Diluted earnings per share for full year 2011 were $2,431 million and $4.94, respectively. Full year 2011 results include an aftertax gain of $135 million ($0.27 per diluted share) resulting from the sale of the Company’s laundry detergent business in Colombia, $177 million of aftertax charges ($0.36 per diluted share) resulting from the previously disclosed implementation of various business realignment and other cost-saving initiatives, the sale of land in Mexico and a previously disclosed competition law matter in France related to a divested detergent business.

Net income and Diluted earnings per share for full year 2010 were $2,203 million and $4.31, respectively. Full year 2010 results include a one-time, aftertax charge of $271 million ($0.53 per diluted share) related to the transition to hyperinflationary accounting in Venezuela as of January 1, 2010 and certain other items which fully offset and had no aftertax impact on earnings (see Table 4 for detail on full year 2010 other items).

Excluding the items noted above in both periods, Net income for full year 2011 was even with full year 2010 and Diluted earnings per share increased 4%.

Gross profit margin was 57.3% for full year 2011, down 180 basis points versus full year 2010. Excluding the costs associated with the business realignment and other cost-saving initiatives noted above, gross profit margin was 57.6% in full year 2011, down 150 basis points versus full year 2010, reflecting significant increases in raw and packaging material costs worldwide. These sharp increases were partially offset by higher pricing and cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives.

Ian Cook, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented on the results and outlook excluding the 2011and 2010 items noted above, “We are pleased to have finished the year with excellent top-line momentum and to have achieved our profit goals, despite continuing increases in material costs, an intense competitive environment and volatile macroeconomic conditions worldwide.

“The excellent 6% organic sales growth, which was the largest increase we have seen in six quarters, was driven by unit volume gains and higher pricing worldwide. The robust growth was led by the emerging markets where organic sales grew 12.0% in the quarter. This strong top-line momentum should continue into 2012, fueled by new products across all categories and in all geographies.

“Pleasingly, our continued sharp focus on cost-saving programs in all areas of the business enabled us to achieve full year gross profit margin at the high end of our forecasted range, while also lowering overheads as a percentage of sales.

“Colgate’s global market shares in toothpaste and manual toothbrushes are both at record highs year to date. Colgate’s share of the global toothpaste market strengthened to 44.3% year to date, up 0.3 share points versus year ago. Our global leadership in manual toothbrushes also strengthened during the quarter with Colgate’s global market share in that category reaching 31.7% year to date, up 0.5 share points versus year ago.

“As we enter 2012, macroeconomic conditions and foreign exchange volatility are an increasing challenge. Despite that, we are planning to improve our worldwide market shares and volume growth with increased advertising support behind many new and existing Colgate products. We continue to be sharply focused on our aggressive funding-the-growth initiatives and anticipate that the benefits from those programs, combined with our strategic worldwide pricing initiatives, many of which have already been implemented, will help us achieve gross margin expansion in 2012 and grow diluted earnings per share for the year at a double-digit rate, on a currency neutral basis. If average exchange rates for full year 2012 were to equal current spot rates, currency translation would decrease full year diluted earnings per share growth by approximately 4%.”

At 11:00 a.m. ET today, Colgate will host a conference call to elaborate on fourth quarter results. To access this call as a webcast, please go to Colgate’s web site at http://www.colgate.com.

The following are comments about divisional performance. See attached Geographic Sales Analysis and Segment Information schedules for additional information on divisional sales and operating profit.

North America (18% of Company Sales)

North America Net sales increased 3.5% in fourth quarter 2011. Unit volume increased 3.0% with 0.5% higher pricing and flat foreign exchange. Organic sales increased 3.5% during the quarter.

Operating profit in North America decreased 11% in fourth quarter 2011 to $192 million, or 25.4% of Net sales. This decrease in Operating profit as a percentage of Net sales was driven by a decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales and an increase in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales. The decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to higher raw and packaging material costs reflecting global commodity cost increases, which were partially offset by cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives. The increase in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales reflects higher advertising expenses as a percentage of Net sales, supporting new products launches.

In the U.S., new product launches including Colgate Optic White and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpastes and the relaunch of Colgate Total toothpaste are strengthening Colgate’s leadership in toothpaste, with its share of that market reaching 35.9% year to date, up 0.6 share points versus year ago. Colgate’s strength in manual toothbrushes also continued, driven by the success of Colgate 360° Optic White, Colgate 360° Sensitive Pro-Relief and Colgate 360° Surround manual toothbrushes.

Successful new products in the U.S. in other categories include Softsoap brand Pomegranate and Mango Infusions and Softsoap brand Coconut Scrub body washes and Palmolive Soft Touch with Vitamin E dish liquid. New introductions reaching store shelves now include Speed Stick Power deodorants, Irish Spring Clear & Fresh Skin body wash and Palmolive Fresh Sponge dish liquid.

Latin America (28% of Company Sales)

Latin America Net sales rose 6.5% during fourth quarter 2011 with unit volume increasing 3.0%. Excluding divested businesses, Latin America unit volume grew 6.0%. Volume gains were led by Brazil, Mexico and Colombia. Higher pricing added 8.5% and foreign exchange was negative 5.0%. Organic sales for Latin America increased 14.5% during the quarter.

Operating profit in Latin America increased 14% in fourth quarter 2011, driven by strong sales growth, to $364 million, or 30.2% of Net sales. This increase in Operating profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to a decrease in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales and a decrease in Other (income) expense, net, partially offset by a decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales. The decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales was driven by higher raw and packaging material costs reflecting global commodity cost increases, which were partially offset by higher pricing and cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales decreased primarily due to lower advertising as a percentage of Net sales. Other (income) expense decreased as a percentage of Net sales as fourth quarter of 2010 included a charge of $36 million related to the remeasurement of the Venezuelan balance sheet as a result of the currency devaluation in Venezuela.

Colgate’s strong leadership in oral care throughout Latin America continued during the quarter with toothpaste market share gains year to date led by Brazil, Venezuela, Central America, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Strong sales of Colgate Luminous White, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Multi-Protection, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Whitening and Colgate Total toothpastes contributed to growth throughout the region. Colgate strengthened its leadership of the manual toothbrush market throughout the region, driven by strong sales of Colgate 360° Surround, Colgate Twister and Colgate Triple Action manual toothbrushes. In mouthwash, Colgate’s market share is at a record high in the region with gains driven by the relaunch of Colgate Plax mouthwashes.

Products in other categories contributing to market share gains included Palmolive Naturals Relaxing Softness Cream and Lavender and Protex Advanced Clean bar soaps, Lady Speed Stick Stainguard and Speed Stick Sensitive Power deodorants, Suavitel Magic Moments fabric conditioner and Axion with Ajax dish liquid.

Europe/South Pacific (21% of Company Sales)

Europe/South Pacific Net sales increased 5.0% during fourth quarter 2011. Unit volume increased 7.5% with 3.0% lower pricing and 0.5% positive foreign exchange. The Sanex acquisition added 6.5% to sales and volume growth for the region. Volume gains were led by the United Kingdom, Spain and France. Organic sales for Europe/South Pacific decreased 2.0%.

Operating profit in Europe/South Pacific decreased 4% in fourth quarter 2011 to $164 million, or 19.4% of Net sales. This decrease in Operating profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to a decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales and an increase in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales. The decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to higher raw and packaging material costs reflecting global commodity price increases and lower pricing as a result of the increased promotional investments, which were partially offset by cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales increased due to higher overhead expenses, partially offset by a decrease in advertising expenses as a percentage of Net sales.

Colgate strengthened its oral care leadership in the Europe/South Pacific region with toothpaste share gains across the region led by Italy, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Norway, Portugal, Serbia and Slovakia. Successful premium products driving share gains include Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Multi-Protection, elmex Intensive Cleaning and Colgate Max White One toothpastes. New introductions to the market included Colgate Total Pro Gum Health and Colgate Max White One Active toothpastes. In the manual toothbrush category, Colgate 360° Surround toothbrush contributed to share gains throughout the region.

Recent premium innovations contributing to strength in other product categories include Sanex Dermo Repair shower gel, Palmolive “Authentic” shower gels and liquid hand soaps containing Mediterranean inspired fragrances and ingredients, the relaunch of Palmolive Aromatherapy and Thermal Spa shower gels with multi-sensory features and the Natura Verde line of home care products.

Greater Asia/Africa (20% of Company Sales)

Greater Asia/Africa Net sales and unit volume increased 5.0% and 6.0%, respectively, during fourth quarter 2011. Volume gains in India, Russia, Malaysia and Thailand were partially offset by a volume decline in the Greater China region. The Sanex acquisition added 1.0% to sales and volume growth for the region. Pricing increased 3.5% and foreign exchange was negative 4.5%. Organic sales for Greater Asia/Africa increased 8.5%.

Operating profit in Greater Asia/Africa increased 5% in fourth quarter 2011 to $203 million driven by strong sales growth. Operating profit as a percentage of Net sales remained relatively flat with the year ago quarter at 25.5%. This was a result of a decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales which was fully offset by a decrease in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales. The decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to higher raw and packaging material costs reflecting global commodity cost increases, partially offset by higher pricing and cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales decreased due to lower overhead expenses.

Colgate continued its toothpaste leadership in Greater Asia, driven by market share gains in Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Turkey. Successful new products including Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Whitening, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Multi-Protection and Colgate Active Salt toothpastes and the relaunch of Colgate Total toothpaste contributed to growth throughout the region.

Successful products contributing to growth in other categories in the region include Colgate 360° Sonic power toothbrush, Colgate Slim Soft manual toothbrush, Colgate Plax Fresh Tea and Colgate Plax Whitening mouthwashes, and Lady Speed Stick Waterproof and Speed Stick Breathe & Protect deodorants.

Hill’s (13% of Company Sales)

Hill’s Net sales grew 2.0% during fourth quarter 2011. Unit volume decreased 1.5%, pricing increased 3.0% and foreign exchange was positive 0.5%. Volume gains in Russia and Brazil were offset by declines in the U.S. and Japan. Hill’s organic sales increased 1.5% during the quarter.

Hill’s Operating profit increased 4% in fourth quarter 2011 to $152 million, or 27.0% of Net sales. This increase in Operating profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to a decrease in Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of Net sales, partially offset by a decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales. The decrease in Gross profit as a percentage of Net sales was due to higher raw and packaging material costs reflecting global commodity cost increases, partially offset by cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives and higher pricing. Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased as a percentage of Net sales due to lower advertising expenses as a percentage of Net sales.

Recent new product introductions contributing to sales in the U.S. include Science Diet Ideal Balance Canine, which combines natural ingredients with the power of advanced nutrition in one balanced package, Science Diet Savory Stew Canine, Science Diet Age Defying Feline (11 years plus), Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health and the relaunch of Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Feline Bladder Health with evidence of improved efficacy and taste.

New pet food products contributing to international sales include reformulated Prescription Diet r/d Canine and Feline, the relaunch of Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Feline Bladder Health with evidence of improved efficacy and taste, Science Diet Mature Adult Light Canine and Feline, and reformulated Science Plan Adult Feline.

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About Colgate-Palmolive: Colgate-Palmolive is a leading global consumer products company, tightly focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition. Colgate sells its products in over 200 countries and territories around the world under such internationally recognized brand names as Colgate, Palmolive, Mennen, Softsoap, Irish Spring, Protex, Sorriso, Kolynos, elmex, Tom’s of Maine, Sanex, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hill’s Science Diet and Hill’s Prescription Diet. For more information about Colgate’s global business, visit the Company’s web site at http://www.colgate.com. To learn more about Colgate’s global oral health education program, Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™, please visit http://www.colgatebsbf.com. CL-E

The Company’s annual meeting of shareholders is currently scheduled for Friday, May 11, 2012.

Substantially all market share data included in this press release is compiled from data as measured by ACNielsen.

Explanatory Note Regarding Currency Neutral Estimates

Management’s estimate of earnings per share growth in 2012 on a currency neutral basis eliminates the impact of period-over-period changes in foreign exchange rates in the translation of local currency results into U.S. dollars. Accordingly, for purposes of estimating earnings per share growth, full year 2012 estimated local currency results, which include the impact of estimated foreign currency transaction gains and losses, are translated into U.S. dollars using 2011 average foreign exchange rates.

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