“Looking forward, we expect our growth momentum to continue as we enter 2013. Our new product pipeline is very full around the world and we are pleased that our global restructuring program is on track and proceeding smoothly. We also continue to be sharply focused on our aggressive funding-the-growth programs and our strategic worldwide pricing initiatives.
“Based on this, we anticipate another year of gross margin expansion in 2013 and that diluted earnings per share will grow at a double-digit rate, on a dollar basis, excluding charges related to the 2012 Restructuring Program and absent any major currency devaluations or significant macroeconomic events.”
At 11:00 a.m. ET today, Colgate will host a conference call to elaborate on fourth quarter results. To access this call as a webcast, please go to Colgate’s web site at http://www.colgatepalmolive.com.
The following are comments about divisional performance for fourth quarter 2012 versus the year ago period. See attached Geographic Sales Analysis and Segment Information schedules for additional information on divisional sales and operating profit.North America (18% of Company Sales) North America Net sales increased 4.0% in fourth quarter 2012. Unit volume increased 1.5% with 2.0% higher pricing and 0.5% positive foreign exchange. Organic sales increased 3.5% during the quarter. Operating profit in North America increased 23% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $236 million, or 30.0% of Net sales. This increase in Operating profit was due to an increase in Gross profit and a decrease in Selling, general and administrative expenses, both as a percentage of Net sales. This increase in Gross profit was driven by cost savings from the Company’s funding-the-growth initiatives and higher pricing, which were partially offset by higher raw and packaging material costs. This decrease in Selling, general and administrative expenses was primarily due to lower advertising expenses.