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P&G managed to protect profitability in its fiscal third quarter, too, with the help of cost cuts and higher selling prices. The company also achieved a balanced mix of higher prices and rising sales volume instead of relying on only price increases to deliver all of its revenue growth. By category, P&G's Beauty and Fabric care segments led the way higher - thanks to strong demand in franchises like Tide detergent and SK-II skincare. The grooming category, home to Gillette razors and blades, was its weakest performer in the fiscal third quarter.
P&G's Fabric Care and Home Care EBITDA Margin: EBITDA margin for the Fabric Care and Home Care division gradually declined from 22.7% in 2011 to 19.6% in 2014 due to a combination of commodity cost inflation, unfavorable product mix resulting from the disproportionate growth of developing regions and mid-tier products, and foreign currency headwinds. It improved significantly through 2017 to 24%, on the back of strong cost savings. However, it declined to 23% in 2018, due to challenging economic conditions in emerging markets. Going forward, we expect P&G to witness a slight improvement in margins through its ambitious cost savings program and a heavy focus on productivity improvements. Divestment of under-performing brands will also provide a boost to margins. There could be a 10% downside to our price forecast if P&G's Fabric Care and Home Care EBITDA margins fall to 15% by the end of our forecast period in case of failure of divestment strategy and rise in competition from the local players.
P&G's Beauty EBITDA Margin: P&G's Beauty EBITDA Margins started the decade with a gradual decline, from around 24% in 2011 to 23% in 2012 mainly due to the higher commodity cost environment. However, margins improved to 28% by 2018 due to substantial cost savings and divestment of under-performing brands. Going forward, we forecast P&G's Beauty EBITDA margins to improve gradually, to approximately 29% by the end of our forecast period, as the company intends to focus more on core performing brands.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a global company with operations in over 180 countries. P&G manufactures and sells consumer goods across multiple product segments that are part of the larger beauty, grooming, health care, household care and baby care reportable business segments.
P&G has built significant scale by acquiring popular brands such as Gillette, Wella Professional, Iams, and Ambi Pur. 2014 was a watershed moment in the global behemoth's history as it switched from unchecked expansion to a brand consolidation strategy. In 2015, P&G announced the disposal of a large number of brands as part of its brand consolidation program, under which it would divest 100 under-performing and non-core brands. Following the completion of the program, the company would retain just 60 core brands which are leaders in their respective categories. As part of the program, P&G sold the Duracell battery business and nearly 50 beauty brands in 2015.
Note: After the divestiture of non-performing brands, P&G has restated its income statement for the last 5 years. Some values which were not restated by the company, have been estimated in the Trefis model and content, and the assumption is stated explicitly in our content.
P&G's easy access to capital resources offers its capabilities to invest heavily in research and development (R&D) programs, brand building, marketing campaigns, direct-to-consumer advertising, and market research. P&G has an international presence with an established network of retail channels that provide it a route to leverage high growth in emerging markets by easily reaching the end consumer.
The North American markets contribute about 44% to the net sales of Procter & Gamble followed by developing markets (33% of net sales) and Western Europe (23% of net sales). The percentage of sales from developing regions have decreased in the last few years because of the emergence of local players in these regions. In addition, there has been a slowdown in Latin American and Chinese economies since 2015, leading to P&G's increased dependency on North American countries.
We believe 1) Detergents (Tide, Ariel) & Household Cleaning (Down & Cascade), and 2) Gillette (Mach3, Fusion, Venus) & Braun are the most valuable segments for P&G for the following reasons:
Procter & Gamble leads the $80 billion global detergents market (including laundry detergents like Tide & Ariel with close to a 18% market share (Trefis Estimate), making its products easily the most popular and most widely available laundry detergents globally, especially in the U.S. The Tide, Downy & Gain brands account for close to 60% of the U.S. detergent market.
In comparison, P&G’s share of the $18 billion global grooming market (including Gillette & Braun brands) is about 35%. Gillette has gained substantial brand equity from years of heavy investment into R&D and advertising campaigns. However, P&G’s share in the wet shaving market has declined from over 70% in 2010 to 52% in 2018, due to rising competition from smaller subscription based startups such as Dollar Shave Club. Though Gillette's revenues have suffered in the past few years due to the growing trend of beards, the introduction of subscription models, coupled with brand recognition among consumers worldwide, offers P&G an opportunity to expand into other shaving and male grooming products and increase its overall market share (including Gillette & Braun brands) in the segment to the previous levels of around 50% to 60%. In fact, P&G also launched its own direct-to-customer model Gillette-On-Demand to compete with the likes of Dollar Shave Club, in order to capture a larger share of the male grooming market.
Gillette (Mach3, Fusion, Venus) & Braun have EBITDA margins of over 35%. This is higher than the 24% margins generated for P&G Laundry, Beauty, and Baby & Family Care brands, which generate more than 70% of the company's sales. This is driven in part by low manufacturing cost of razors and blades sold.
P&G's razors & blades product segment has a market share of 40% in the overall grooming market. Trefis believes that the increasing demand from emerging markets, increasing awareness for health and wellness among male consumers, and an increasing number of advanced products are expected to bolster future growth of manual razors and blades. Gillette, which has the highest market share, will accrue a large portion of this incremental growth in the grooming market. P&G's other grooming brands like Braun, which is mostly into electric trimmers and shavers are also likely to perform well, as the demand for beard maintenance products is likely to increase in the future.
The presence of low-cost competition from generics gives Gillette an incentive to innovate and introduce better products such as Fusion (a 6 blade razor). This gives it an opportunity to charge higher prices by expanding into the premium product segment, thereby increasing its revenues and operating margins in the future.
In August 2014, P&G announced its plan to trim its portfolio of nearly 200 brands to just 70-80 core brands. These top 70-80 brands account for over 90% of P&G's revenues and 95% of net profit. The strategy shifts attention away from acquisition-fueled growth to organic growth potential and profitability. This effort was estimated to provide cumulative savings of about $10 billion in cost of goods sold, marketing expenses and non-manufacturing related overhead by the end of 2016.
P&G kicked off the brand consolidation program with the sale of its remaining European pets food business in September 2014. With this sale, it exited the pet nutrition industry entirely. The major move in the brand consolidation program came in November 2014, when P&G announced the sale of the leading disposable batteries maker, Duracell, to Berkshire Hathaway. The $4.7 billion deal rid P&G of a sluggish business with low growth potential. It also exited its China-based batteries joint venture, which marked its exit from the disposable batteries business. Further, in December 2014, P&G announced the sale of its Camay and Zest soap brands to Unilever for an undisclosed sum.
In July 2015, P&G announced the bulk sale of 43 beauty brands to cosmetics company Coty Inc. in a $12.5 billion deal. The transaction will be structured as a Reverse Morris Trust for tax efficiency purposes and is expected to be completed in calendar 2016. Brands sold include marquee names like cosmetic brands Cover Girl and Max Factor, fragrances brands like Hugo Boss, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, and other hair styling brands.
In light of the declined earnings and recent market share losses in its core business segments, P&G has decided to slow down its expansion across emerging markets in order to refocus resources on stabilizing its market share growth and operating margin performance. Even though expanding the geographical and product footprint across emerging markets is critical for the growth of consumer giants, a high commodity cost environment, expansion costs and supply chain shortages made P&G's fast-paced expansion more difficult and costly than previously expected. It should be noted that P&G is still expected to continue its geographical expansion plans, albeit at a slower rate than before.
Emerging markets currently account for about 33% of P&G's annual sales, up from 20% in 2000. P&G plans to add manufacturing facilities in emerging markets such as Brazil, China, India and Eastern Europe. However, the new manufacturing facilities are more a cost-control play rather than a measure to bolster volumes and revenues. As stated earlier, in the current scenario, P&G is likely to proceed with a more measured approach. It has now decided to focus on the health and competitiveness of its core and most profitable businesses, starting with its top 40 country-product categories (out of a total 1,000 categories) that account for more than half of the company's sales. The next step is to strengthen its position in its 10 largest emerging markets, including China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Russia, in which it already has a presence.
Nonetheless, as developed markets near saturation, emerging markets continue to grow in the high single digits (developed markets witness comparatively lower growth). New innovations and product launches with broad-based marketing support can quickly create significant opportunity for market share consolidation in emerging markets. For instance, in late 2015, China ended its one child policy to bring in two child policy. This can help P&G's baby diaper division to gain massive revenues from the country, and its effect is likely to be visible within a short period of time.
P&G estimates that it generates annual sales of about $96 per person in the U.S, $20 per person in Mexico, $4 per person in China and just $1 per person in India, Sub-Sahara and Indonesia. Increasing per capita spend in these four big markets to the level of Mexico would add more than $60 billion to annual sales. A BCG study estimates China is likely to add about 250 million consumers to its middle and affluent class over the next decade, roughly the same as in the U.S.
P&G invests about $2 billion annually in research & development, approximately 50% more than its closest competitor, Unilever, and more than most of its competitors combined. The high R&D outlay helps P&G launch improved and innovative products at regular intervals to maintain, as well as expand its market share. The latest examples of innovation by P&G include Gillette Fusion ProGlide, Crest 3D White, Laundry additives and the Pampers thinness and absorbency upgrade. Trefis believes that innovation, particularly in the premium categories, is the key to driving profitability as P&G already has significant scale and a high level of concentration in developed markets like the U.S., Western Europe and Japan.
P&G continues to invest heavily on advertising and promotion of its brands. Trefis believes P&G's advertising and marketing capabilities are important growth drivers for sales as they help maintain brand novelty and defend the high market share position that P&G enjoys.