P&G To Reassure Retirees Their Pensions Are Safe

14 October 2008

CINCINNATI, Ohio: Later today (Tuesday) worried Procter & Gamble retirees will crowd into the company's annual shareholders meeting to be addressed by chairman/ceo Alan G Lafley.

They are demanding he dispel their concerns about the effect on pensions of the company's southbound stock price – down 16% last week and plunging to a 52-week nadir of $54.92 (€40.77; £32.24) on Friday.

Lafley, more accustomed to clam-happy shareholders than insecure retirees, is not assured of a smooth ride on this occasion.

He is expected to iterate P&G's significant sales gains over the past thirty year – through economic thick and thin – over which period sales grew from $10 billion in 1980 to $83.5 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30.

He will also point to P&G's near-unique record of paying dividends every year for the past 118 years. But past glories may not be what the retirees want to hear, focused as they are on present dire events.

It is not only the retirees that will be hanging on Lafley's every word.

Other shareholders and the attendant moneymen will have their fingers firmly presed to P&G's financial pulse to see if they can detect any missed beats ahead of the fmcg giant's fiscal first-quarter earnings report on October 29.

Meantime, Lafley will likely reprise the mantra he has already drummed into Wall Street analysts: that even in the direst of times, consumers continue to brush their teeth, launder clothes and shave their beards - many using P&G products.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff