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Colgate-Palmolive Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We will discuss organic sales growth, excluding foreign exchange, acquisitions and divestitures. We will also discuss gross profit, operating profit, net income and earnings per share, excluding the impact of the onetime items described in the press release. A full reconciliation with the corresponding GAAP measures is included in the press release and is posted on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.colgatepalmolive.com

We're very pleased with our second quarter results, particularly in light of an increasingly unpredictable global economy. Of particular note is our organic sales growth, which was positive in every division and up double-digit in the emerging markets, accelerating from the first quarter's strong pace. The total company organic sales growth of 8% reflected a good balance between volume of 4.5% and price of 3.5%. Our market shares are strong around the world, and our categories are growing. Even in the developed markets, we see category growth, albeit modest. And we believe we have the right strategies and plans in place for 2012 and beyond. As you know, 1 of our 4 strategic initiatives is innovation for growth, and that focus has been one of the key drivers of our top line momentum. You'll hear more about recent launches as well as new products to come when we go through the divisions.

Gross margin increased 50 basis points and continues to be higher than the fourth quarter of last year. The increase was somewhat less than previously anticipated due primarily to higher foreign exchange transaction costs from a rapidly strengthening dollar during the quarter. However, we expect gross margin to increase sequentially in the third and fourth quarter, and to be up within our targeted range of 75 to 125 basis points for the full year. Our increase in margin and control of overheads has allowed us to increase advertising, both absolutely and as a percent of sales, as we told you we would. And with EPS as expected, overall a healthy income statement. Earnings per share increased 6% and was up strong double-digit on a currency-neutral basis. Our balance sheet remains strong, both inventory and receivable days declined year-over-year and our free cash flow before dividends increased 8%.

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