Colgate Palmolive targets emerging markets

20 November 2009

NEW YORK: Colgate Palmolive, the household goods giant, is heightening its focus on several key emerging markets, which it expects to be among the main drivers of growth over the course of next year.

The company has predicted that its global volume sales will post an uptick in the 4% to 7% range during 2010, with a number of rapidly-developing nations acting as central contributors to this trend.

More specifically, Brazil, Russia, India and China – collectively known as the BRICs – will be especially important for the toothpaste-to-homecare manufacturer.

"We're looking to grow faster in the emerging markets than we do in the developed markets ... the BRIC countries would be obvious areas of growth," said Ian Cook, the company's ceo.

"I've travelled this year to all of them at least once if not twice, and my sense is that the economic confidence in China, in Guangdong, or in India (and) Brazil is quite vibrant."

China is likely to be "stronger than other markets" given the resilient performance of its economy in the financial crisis, according to Cook.

Russia, by contrast, has hit a small "bump" during the recession, but more positive signals are now coming from the country, he added.

Overall, Colgate hopes these areas will deliver annual gains of over 10% in 2010, building on the growth recorded in the last few years.

"If you take the product penetration and you take market share, it's not an enormous stretch to see a business going double-digit," Cook said.

"I hasten to add again our businesses are not really driven by consumer confidence per se," he continued, as Colgate's staple products have traditionally been relatively unaffected by broader changes in the trading climate.

This week, reports have emerged of a possible merger between Colgate and Reckitt Benckiser, the UK-based household goods specialist, a matter on which Cook refused to be drawn.

Data sourced from Reuters; additional content by Warc staff