On Monday, April 15th, Procter & Gamble, Co. (NYSE:PG) declared a $0.6015/share quarterly dividend, which represents a 7% increase from the company's prior dividend of $0.562/share.
Procter & Gamble's forward yield now stands at 3.01%, based on Monday's closing price of $79.65/share. In the wake of the company's dividend hike, I wanted to take a closer look at two of the company's recent developments concerning its Old Spice brand and $1 billion dollar investment in China.
Shares of PG, which currently possess a market cap of $217.58 billion, a P/E ratio of 20.42, a forward P/E ratio of 18.27, settled at $79.65/share on Friday. For those of you who may be considering a position in Procter & Gamble, from an income perspective, shares of PG currently possess a forward yield of 3.01% ($2.406) and a fairly moderate payout ratio of 50.00%. One of the things to point out for growth investors is the fact that shares of PG are actually 14.71% higher since January 1st of this year.
PG data by YCharts
Procter's Attempt at Spicing Up "Old Spice": In an attempt to increase the overall annual sales of traditional bars of soap (which demonstrated an increase of just 1% in year-over-year sales growth between 2011 and 2012) Procter & Gamble has announced that it would be adding a new line of soap bars to its Old Spice brand. Old Spice, with about $564 million in annual sales, only slightly contributes to P&G's annual revenue of $83.66 billion, but could begin to have a greater effect on the company's revenue if sales of its new lines of soap catch-on and begin to play a bigger role in the revenue the Old Spice brand generates.
According to Jason Partin, a brand manager for Old Spice, "Knowing that 42 percent of guys use bar soap in the shower, and only 15 percent of all bar soap has a 'manly' scent," the company clearly makes a case to introduce a manlier scented soap line.
I strongly believe the old adage that says "Keep track of the pennies, and let the dollars take care of themselves" applies to Procter & Gamble and here's why.
Even though the company's Old Spice brand contributes just $564 million toward the company's overall revenue, it still plays a vital role for the company and as a result, key changes and initiatives are being taken for that particular brand to succeed. In other words, the company isn't just letting the fact sales of bar soap grew by only 1% fall to the wayside, but rather putting together a strategy in hopes that sales growth may even double or triple over the next 6-12 months.
Investing An Additional $1 Billion in China: For Procter & Gamble, China plays a vital role in its international footprint, and on February 28th, the company announced its plans to invest another $1 billion in the country over the next 5 years in an effort to take advantage of the massive growth its market has seen over the past several years.
According to Trefis Group, "China is P&G's second largest market worldwide and is hotly contested for market share with Unilever (NYSE:UL), which has also started constructing a new plant in China's Tianjin this month to manufacture liquid laundry detergent and fabric softeners." China is considered to be one of the more important international markets for Procter & Gamble and as Shannan Stevenson notes, "the construction of our 10th plant in the region not only marks P&G's commitment to providing the Chinese market with better products, but it is also part of the company's plan to invest at least $1 billion in the Chinese market by 2015."
Conclusion: If the company can continue to demonstrate a stronger sense of growth in terms of not only its Old Spice brand, but also its global footprint in terms of China (which has demonstrated a 17% increase in compounded annual growth since 2002), I see no reason why the company shouldn't be considered a long-term growth play at present levels.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.