CEO Sheri McCoy took the reins of this global consumer products giant one year ago, and though she needed several quarters to formulate a game plan, Avon (AVP) is now making major strides toward a turnaround. In December, 2012, she announced a massive restructuring that would cut costs in many of the company's underperforming markets. Her new rule of thumb: Any country that is losing money for Avon is not a country that the company should be in.
To conserve cash, Avon also sharply reduced its dividend, identified $100 million in targeted working capital reductions, and is working with lenders to restructure the company's debt.>>5 Consumer Stocks Ready to Push Higher Now McCoy is tasked with rebuilding Avon's operating profit margins, which have fallen by half since 2010, and are now half of the industry norm. Part of the plan involves generating higher revenue per each employee, which is a current focus of the company's marketing and sales executives. In January, Avon announced further expense reductions, including the closure of a pair of distribution facilities. The company also brought in David Powell, a former Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) executive, to help oversee a radical overhaul of Avon's global supply chain, and Merrill Lynch's analysts add that he "will be responsible for Avon's business transformation efforts, including Process Excellence, the Global Project Management Office for cost savings, and the Service Model Transformation project." Merrill's analysts think the worst has passed, with 2012 per-share profits of 85 cents marking a low point for this era, and they see EPS moving back towards the $1.50 mark by 2015. Shares, which had fallen from $40 in 2008 to just $14 this past fall, have already moved up to $20, but as the turnaround unfolds, ample upside lays ahead.
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