Procter and Gamble explores selloffs of slow-growth brands

Procter and Gamble explores selloffs of slow-growth brands

Cincinnati, 3 October Procter and Gamble Co is exploring the possible sale of slow-growth brands, which could include Folgers coffee, Pringles chips and Duracell batteries.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that P and G retained Blackstone Group LP to auction off the well known brands. The newspaper cited unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

P and G spokesman Terry Loftus said today the company doesn’t comment on possible divestitures.

However, P and G said in August, when it reported fourth-quarter earnings, that it was reviewing its portfolio and taking a look at businesses that were at the lower end of the consumer product company’s annual sales growth goals of 4% to 6%.

In a subsequent letter to shareholders, A G Lafley, chairman and chief executive, said businesses that don’t deliver solid sales, operating profit growth and shareholder return become “a candidate for divestiture. ... We have more work to do to strengthen our mix of businesses and we will do it."

P and G, which had $76.5 billion in total sales for its 2007 fiscal year, has said it is focusing on its core brands, high-margin businesses such as beauty and health care, and emerging overseas markets such as China and India. Its brands include Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Olay skin care.

Fourth-quarter sales for its snacks, coffee and pet care segment, which includes Folgers and Pringles, increased 2% over the previous year.