WRAPUP 3-Emerging markets lift global household goods firms

* P&G Q3 core EPS $0.89 vs Wall St view $0.82

* Unilever Q1 underlying EPS 0.34 euros vs analysts’ 0.32

* Colgate Q1 EPS $1.16 vs Wall St view $1.19

* Unilever shares higher; P&G falls, Colgate up modestly
(Adds company and analyst comments, updates stock activity)

By Jessica Wohl

CHICAGO, April 29 (BestGrowthStock) – Developing markets were
critical for consumer product makers last quarter, as strong
sales growth in countries like China helped drive profits while
markets such as the United States remained somewhat sluggish.

Anglo-Dutch Unilever Group (ULVR.L: ) (UNc.AS: ) and U.S.
manufacturers Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N: ) and Colgate-Palmolive
Co (CL.N: ) all posted solid volume growth on Thursday, albeit
based on easy comparisons with a year earlier, when consumers
held back on spending.

Now they are bringing out new products and spending more on
advertising to entice shoppers, while also trying to absorb
rising commodity costs without resorting to big price hikes.

Unilever, which makes everything from Knorr soups to Dove
soap, is seeing “green sprouts” of recovery, Chief Executive
Paul Polman said. His company saw robust growth in emerging
markets that offset stagnation in some developed regions, and
its shares rose 3.3 percent in London. [ID:nLDE63R0JP]

P&G reported disappointing sales and forecast results for
the current quarter below Wall Street estimates, sending its
shares down almost 2 percent. [ID:nN29137220]


Graphics comparing Unilever, P&G and Colgate:



Breakingviews column on Unilever: [ID:nLDE63S0OS]

Analysts highlighted P&G’s biggest volume gain in 18
quarters, led by double-digit sales increases in emerging
markets such as Brazil and Turkey.

But coupled with the weaker-than-expected dollar sales, the
7 percent rise in volume may point to heavier discounts as P&G
tries to lure consumers in a halting economic recovery. P&G’s
pricing was down 1 percent in the quarter.

“It’s pretty competitive out there,” said Morningstar
analyst Lauren DeSanto. “It’s definitely more promotional than
it has been in a long time.”

Colgate, which is about one-fifth the size of P&G, saw its
profit fall as it took a hefty charge to account for
hyper-inflation in Venezuela. [ID:nN29111394] Its sales also
grew a bit less than expected and its shares rose 0.2 percent.

The results came as the U.S. Labor Department said on
Thursday new applications for unemployment insurance fell
slightly less than expected, implying only gradual improvement
in the labor market. [ID:nN29243362]

Meanwhile, Mead Johnson Nutrition Co (MJN.N: ), the maker of
Enfamil baby formula, topped expectations as strong sales in
Asia and Latin America offset weakness in the United States.
[ID:nN29244020] Cosmetics maker Revlon Inc (REV.N: ) said sales
fell 4.7 percent in the United States but rose elsewhere.


The biggest players in consumer goods are focusing on new
products this year to get shoppers’ attention, but risk
over-promoting to gain volume at the expense of total sales.

P&G is placing its biggest bet in 30 years on new products
like Gillette Fusion Pro-Glide razors and updated Pantene hair
care, due to hit U.S. stores in June. Heavy discounts are
common for such launches and could hurt sales growth, but P&G
says it is confident that introducing products at a variety of
prices and across dozens of countries will pay off.

Chairman and CEO Bob McDonald also signaled that P&G is
working on expanding its healthcare portfolio, which includes
brands such as Vicks, but did not give details on such plans.

Unilever’s new items include Dove for Men in Europe and
North America and Magnum Gold ice cream heading to 28 markets.
Colgate’s introductions include new Softsoap body washes.

Unilever cut prices recently to be competitive, but now
expects prices to rise by the end of the year. Colgate’s
pricing was flat in the quarter and should be up 0.5 percent to
1.5 percent in 2010, Chairman and CEO Ian Cook said.

P&G, which raised its dividend payout by 9.5 percent last
week, said it will buy back about $6 billion worth of shares
this year, up from its prior estimate of about $5 billion.

Colgate raised its dividend by 20 percent earlier this year
and plans to repurchase about $1.8 billion to $2 billion of
shares in 2010, Cook said.

Growth Stocks

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago and David Jones in
London, editing by Dave Zimmerman, Gerald E. McCormick and
Matthew Lewis)

WRAPUP 3-Emerging markets lift global household goods firms