Colgate-Palmolive Co. (NYSE: CL -$66.74) reported third quarter sales increased about 2% from a year earlier, helped by higher volumes and prices. The maker of its namesake toothpaste, Irish Spring and Speed Stick deodorant reported a profit of $578 million compared with $523 million a year ago. Excluding one-time costs, the company reported an adjusted profit of $0.71 a share compared to an adjusted $0.72 last year and beating consensus estimates by a penny. Net sales rose to $3.93 billion from $3.85 billion a year earlier, a bit shy of Street expectations of $3.95 billion. Global unit volume increased 3%, pricing increased 1.5% and organic sales, which excludes divestments and currency fluctuations, increased 4.5%. North America net sales increased 1.5% during the quarter. While the third quarter results were mostly in line with analysts’ views, the company’s gross margin was 59%, below the 60% what was expected and the operating margin was 22.9%, trailing the 23.5% forecast.
Looking ahead, the company expects its organic sales to increase 3-4% this year, up from 2-4% previously. The company also expects 2019 net sales to be flat to up in the low single digits. With a growing and well-covered dividend of $1.72 per share yielding 2.4%, shares can continue to be considered in well-diversified conservative account.