U.S. Markets closed

Edited Transcript of PG earnings conference call or presentation 30-Jul-19 12:30pm GMT

Q4 2019 Procter & Gamble Co Earnings Call

CINCINNATI Aug 1, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Procter & Gamble Co earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 12:30:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* David S. Taylor

The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President

* Jon R. Moeller

The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Ali Dibadj

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - SVP and Senior Analyst

* Andrea Faria Teixeira

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD

* Bonnie Lee Herzog

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Beverage & Tobacco Analyst

* Caroline Shan Levy

Macquarie Research - Senior Analyst

* Dara Warren Mohsenian

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD

* Jason M. English

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP

* Jon Robert Andersen

William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner

* Jonathan Patrick Feeney

Consumer Edge Research, LLC - Senior Analyst of Food & HPC, Director of research and Managing Partner

* Kaumil S. Gajrawala

Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD & Research Analyst

* Kevin Michael Grundy

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior VP & Equity Analyst

* Lauren Rae Lieberman

Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Mark Stiefel Astrachan

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD

* Olivia Tong

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director

* Robert Edward Ottenstein

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD, Head of Global Beverages Research & Fundamental Research Analyst

* Stephen Robert R. Powers

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst

* Steven A. Strycula

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst

* Sunil Harshad Modi

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - MD of Tobacco, Household Products and Beverages

* William Bates Chappell

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning, and welcome to Procter & Gamble's Quarter End Conference Call.

P&G would like to remind you that today's discussion will include a number of forward-looking statements. If you will refer to P&G's most recent 10-K, 10-Q and 8-K reports, you will see a discussion of factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from these projections.

Also as required by Regulation G, Procter & Gamble needs to make you aware that during the discussion, the company will make a number of references to non-GAAP and other financial measures. Procter & Gamble believes these measures provide investors with useful perspective on underlying business trends and has posted on its Investor Relations website, www.pginvestor.com, a full reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures.

Now I will turn the call over to P&G's Vice Chairman, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Jon Moeller.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good morning. David Taylor, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer; and John Chevalier, Vice President, Investor Relations, join me this morning. I'm going to provide an overview of company results. David is going to update us on 4 strategic focus areas: superiority, productivity, constructive disruption and organization and culture. I'll close with guidance for fiscal 2020, and we'll of course take your questions.

For the fiscal year we just completed, organic sales, up 5%; core earnings per share, up 7%; currency-neutral core earnings per share, up 15%; adjusted free cash flow productivity, 105%; $12.5 billion of cash returned to shareowners. Each of these metrics in line or ahead of objectives set going into the year. GAAP earnings per share are lower, reflecting a onetime noncash accounting charge to adjust goodwill and intangibles carrying values of the Gillette shaving business.

Grooming continues to be a very attractive business. Organic sales up year-over-year. April-June sales up 4%. A truly global business with strong market positions. A highly profitable and cash-generative operation. Initial carrying values for Gillette were established nearly 14 years ago in 2005. We significantly overdelivered acquisition cost synergy commitments. But as outlined in each of our quarterly filings for the past 3 years, this global business has faced significant and increasing currency impacts over the last decade. Lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razors market. More recently, and much less of an impact, new competitors have entered at prices below the category average. These factors caused us to reduce the accounting carrying value for this business on our balance sheet.

As I mentioned earlier, all core metrics: organic sales growth; core earnings per share growth; currency-neutral core earnings per share growth; adjusted free cash flow productivity; cash returned to shareowners, in line or ahead of objectives set going into the year. All of these progress against strong headwinds. Foreign exchange, commodities, transportation cost and tariffs created a $1.4 billion fiscal year after-tax headwind, a 13 point negative impact on core earnings per share. Within this, currency heads up more than $900 million after tax.

Large markets with significantly weaker currencies. British pound, down 4%; Mexican peso, down 4%; Chinese yuan, down 5%; Russian ruble down, 12%; Brazilian real, down 18%; Turkish lira, down 14%; the Argentinian peso, down 97%.

Commodity cost increases of $400 million after tax; pulp, up 14%; resin, up 7%; propylene, up 10%; and kerosene, up 16%.

Trucking cost up significantly in the U.S., with increases in many additional markets. Annualized tariff impacts approaching $100 million. All overcome with innovation-driven volume growth, pricing and productivity, yielding strong results for the year.

Capping a strong year of very strong April-June quarter. Organic sales, up more than 7%. The 4 quarters of the fiscal year: 4%; 4%; 5%; and 7% on the top line. Volume, pricing and mix each contributing to top line momentum.

Broad-based growth. All 10 global categories growing organic sales. Skin and Personal Care and Personal Health Care each up mid-teens. Fabric Care and Home Care each up double digits. Oral Care and Feminine Care up high singles. Family Care and Grooming, each up mid-single digits.

All 6 geographic regions also growing organic sales. India, Middle East and Africa, up mid-teens. Greater China, up double digits. North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific, up high singles. Europe, up mid-singles.

Strong organic sales growth in our 2 largest markets; up over 7% in the U.S, 10 out of 10 categories growing. Continued progress in China, improving from a 5% sales decline in fiscal '16; 1% growth in fiscal '17; 7% organic sales growth last year; fiscal '19 growth up 10%; up 12% in the April-June quarter. Global e-commerce organic sales up 25%, now well over $5 billion in annual sales or about 8% of the company total.

Strong and improving market share trends. Aggregate global value share up versus year ago. 33 of our top 50 category country combinations holding or growing value share in fiscal '19; up from 26 in fiscal '18; 23 in fiscal '17; and 17 in fiscal '16. So in chronological order, 17, 23, 26 and now 33. 8 of 10 global categories holding or growing share.

On the bottom line. Core earnings per share of $1.10, up 17% versus the prior year; up 26% on a currency-neutral basis. Fourth quarter margins improving, both sequentially and versus year ago. Core gross margin up 120 basis points. Strong top line leverage and productivity improvement more than offset FX, commodity cost and mix headwinds. On a currency-neutral basis, core gross margin up 160 basis points.

Core operating margin increased 130 basis points. On a currency-neutral basis, up 210 basis points, including 340 basis points of productivity-driven cost savings.

Cash flow remains strong. Adjusted free cash flow productivity of 122% for the quarter, 105% for the year. $12.5 billion of cash returned to shareowners, a combination of dividends and share repurchase.

Our Board increased the dividend by 4% in April, the 63rd consecutive annual increase and 129the consecutive year in which P&G has paid a dividend. P&G is 1 of only 10 U.S. companies to pay a dividend for more than 120 consecutive years. Only 3 U.S. companies have increased dividends more consecutive years than Procter & Gamble. Over the last 10 years, the annual dividend has increased from $1.64 per share to $2.90 per share, up almost 80%, returning almost $67 billion of cash to shareowners. Over the last decade, we've returned more than 100% of net earnings to shareholders as dividends and share repurchase.

In summary, we delivered or overdelivered on each of our going-in targets, other than GAAP earnings per share. We did this while offsetting a foreign exchange, commodity, transportation and tariffs tsunami. We built momentum on sales, share and margin as the year progressed. We delivered very strong constant currency core earnings per share growth and continued our best-in-class track record of cash returned to shareowners. We still face challenges and continue to operate in a very difficult, competitive and macro landscape. Our work is not over, but we're making progress behind the integrated and mutually reinforcing strategies David will discuss next.

David?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Jon. One of the most encouraging points about the strong results we've delivered is the breadth of the progress we've made across categories and countries. The breadth of growth gives me confidence that the strategies and focus areas that are guiding our choices of investments are the right ones. It also gives me confidence that we're building the capabilities to sustain the growth at or above market levels. The mutually reinforcing strategic choices we've made are critical to the progress. We've focused and strengthened our portfolio in daily use categories where performance drives brand choice, in categories where we occupy a #1 or #2 position, which have historically grown faster than the balance of the company and are more profitable. And the benefits of the portfolio choices are clearly paying out.

Within these 10 categories, where performance drives brand choice, we've taken a deliberate step to invest in and advance the superiority of products and packages, brand communication, retail execution and value advantage, growing the markets in which we compete and strengthen the long-term health and competitiveness of our brands. We've raised minimum standards of competitive advantage across each of the superiority drivers and are investing to meet or beat these new standards.

And superior offerings drive market growth, and this is one thing that's incredibly important about the plan. Increasing consumption, creating additional usage occasions, bringing more spent into a category grows the market. This creates top line growth that is typically more sustainable than simply taking business from a competitor. It creates a winning proposition for our retail partners. The pie expansion versus zero-sum. It's a positive versus negative spiral. And when -- where we grow markets disproportionally and more sustainably, we build share.

We've spoken a lot about the role of product and package superiority in growing markets and P&G share, but communication, go to market and value must also win. We start with understanding our consumers and their needs, wants and aspirations. We've increased advertising that makes you think, talk, laugh, cry, smile, share and, of course, buy. Advertising that drives growth for categories and brands. Advertising that clears the highest bar for creative brilliance, sparking conversations, affecting attitudes, changing behavior and sometimes even defining popular culture. This year at the Effie Awards, which recognized the most effective marketing communication, P&G won the top honor of most effective marketer and Tide won the Grand Effie Award. At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, P&G advertising earned 16 Lions: 3 gold; 6 silver; and 7 bronze. And at the event, we announced a series of innovative new creative partnerships that reinvent advertising by merging the world of advertising with other creative worlds, such as filmmaking, music, comedy, journalism and technology.

Superior in-store and online execution also grows categories in our brands. The right trade coverage with category mastery, with the right product forms, sizes and prices and the right in-store or online presence in merchandising execution, delivering against key business drivers for each category and brand across all channels in every store, every day.

On the last earnings call and in recent conference presentations, Jon has taken you through some of the recognition we've received directly from some of our top customers and in third-party retailer assessments of manufacturers' capabilities. We very much appreciate each of these recognitions, but what really matters is retailers improved view of P&G as a partner in joint value creation. Driving superiority to grow categories earn stronger distribution, share shelf, display and feature.

The fifth element of superior execution is a winning consumer and customer value equation. For consumers, this means a product that meets an important need and noticeable in a superior way with the package that enhances the usage experience, with compelling communication, presented in a clear and shoppable way at a compelling price. For the customers, this means margin, penny profit, thrift generation, basket size and, very importantly, category growth. We're going to continue to work to make progress in superiority, extending our margin of advantage and increasing the quality of execution, which will require ongoing investment. The need for this investment and the need to offset the macro cost headwinds we talked earlier and the need to drive balanced top and bottom line growth, including margin expansion, underscores the importance of productivity.

We are driving cost savings and efficiency improvement in all facets of the business, now just passed the midpoint of our second 5-year $10 billion productivity program. Through our productivity efforts, P&G has maintained and built its status as a highly profitable company. Now in the past, Jon has shown you the charts before, and it deserves repeating, P&G's before-tax operating margins are among the highest in the industry, behind only Reckitt and Colgate whose margins reflect their concentrations in health care. We have significantly -- significant below-the-line advantages, operating with one of the lowest interest expense percentages and one of the lowest tax rates, putting us near the top of the industry in after-tax margin, already highly profitable and aggressively driving more savings.

These results are due to a sustained intense focus on improving productivity across all cost folds. And we will continue to focus on these because it will be a critical driver of our success.

Superiority and productivity are critical, but insufficient to keep us ahead in a world with rapidly changing retail environment, quickly evolving consumer needs, media transformation and revolutionary changes in technology. We must and are leading the constructive disruption of our industry across all areas of the value chain. We are disrupting the way we innovate by accelerating the speed and quality of learning through lean innovation. This due approach is delivering significant benefits in time and cost, helping to reduce our learning cycles for months to even days. We're monetizing innovation across industries to accelerate investment in R&D and broaden societal impact.

We're disrupting retail execution. SK-II is using AI-supported technologies to enhance the consumer shopping experience with personalized recommendations based on smart scans of a person's skin, product browsing on virtual shelves and shopping through the wave of a hand. It's the first augmented reality retail environment, which merges physical and digital technology to give the shopper exactly the skincare regimen needed in a new smart packaging that features a companion app for personalized skin care every day. Going beyond broad demographic targets to deliver exactly what she's looking for, solutions designed to work for her.

We're reinventing brand building from wasteful mass marketing to mass one-to-one brand building fueled by data and technology. We're moving from generic demographic targets, like women ages 18 to 49, to more than 350 precise smart audiences, like first-time moms or millennial young professionals or first-time washing machine owners to reach the right people at the right time at the right place.

We continue to disrupt our supply chain with transformation across the globe. In Europe, we've optimized both distribution and manufacturing infrastructure to fewer, scaled, multi-category operations in optimum locations. Manufacturing sites are now down 30%, and distribution centers are down 35%.

We're making organization structure and culture changes to better position us to win. We're taking steps to simplify the organization, focusing effort, clarifying responsibility, increasing accountability and structuring compensation and incentive programs to better align with these objectives. We have an incredibly talented organization of more than 90,000 fully committed people. They have moved mountains for years to deliver the progress we're discussing this morning. They deserve the credit. We have historically put in their way a lot, competing management structures, lack of clear accountability, lack of end-to-end decision making and many people who can say no and few who could say yes. On July 1, we moved to a new organization structure designed to de-matrix the company and provide even greater clarity on responsibilities and reporting lines to focus and strengthen leadership accountability. We are operating as 6 industry-based sector business units or SBUs. The SBUs have profit and loss responsibility for the largest markets, the focus markets, which represent about 80% of sales and 90% of profit. The SBU CEOs are focused on winning and driving value-creation opportunities in these important markets.

We're optimizing the remaining markets, which we're calling enterprise markets, to accelerate growth in dynamic macro environments. The benefit of this design is the creation of a more focused, agile and accountable organization, operating at a lower cost, focused on winning through superiority, fueled by productivity and operating at the speed of the market. North America was the pilot region beginning 3 years ago for the end-to-end SBU approach and China followed 1 year or so later. The success of this design is evidenced by the sales and share progress we've made in both of these markets.

We are committed to winning everywhere we choose to compete across both the focus and enterprise markets, and we want to win in the right way. We want to be a force for good and a force for growth. We've integrated citizenship into how we do business, enabling us to have a bigger impact on the people we serve, the communities in which we live and work and the broader world that surrounds us. In turn, this helps us grow and build our business.

I hope that this is evidence that we have been disrupting P&G. The choices we've made to focus and strengthen our portfolio in daily use categories where performance drives brand choice to establish and extend superiority of our brands, to lead constructive disruption across the value chain, to make productivity an integral part of our culture just as much as innovation and to improve the organization focus, agility and accountability. These are not independent strategies. They reinforce and build on each other. They position us well within our industry to deal with near-term challenges from macro headwinds, trade transformation and anticipated competitive response. And they are the foundation for stronger, balanced growth and value creation over the short, mid- and long term.

Now I'm going to turn it back over to Jon to cover our outlook for fiscal 2020.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We provided the details of our outlook in the press release published this morning, so I'm going to focus on the primary guidance metrics in this call.

We expect organic sales growth in the range of 3% to 4%. We're operating markets in markets that are currently growing at a rate somewhat above 3% on a value basis. Our guidance range brackets current market growth with a bias toward continued share growth, while still expecting a strong competitive response. The range also implied acceleration of 2-year average growth rates, moving from 3% 2-year average growth for fiscal years '18 and '19 to more than 4% average organic sales growth across fiscal years '19 and '20 in a market growing somewhat above 3%.

On the bottom line, we expect core earnings per share growth of 4% to 9%, getting us back to our target mid- to high single-digit range.

Neither top line or bottom line guidance ranges are layups. Both represent meaningful sequential progress, innovation-driven market sales and share growth, meaningful gross margin expansion while investing in product and package superiority, increased investments in media and other demand-creation marketing programs, base period comps that include the Boston land sale and the gain on the sale of 2 Oral Care brands in Europe.

For fiscal 2020, we'll continue a long track record of significant cash generation and return to shareholders, ultimately, the most important and enduring measure of a successful enterprise.

We're targeting another year of 90% free cash flow productivity. We expect to pay over $7.5 billion in dividends and repurchase $6 billion to $8 billion of shares in fiscal 2020.

Our guidance is based on current market growth rates, current commodity prices, current foreign exchange rates. Significant currency weakness, commodity cost increases or additional geopolitical disruptions are not anticipated within this guidance range.

Now let me hand it back over to David for closing comments.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We delivered our fourth strong quarter in a row, continued to build top line momentum and improving the quality of our bottom line results. Market share has been improving for 8 consecutive quarters. Our efforts to extend our margin of competitive superiority to drive productivity savings to fund investments for growth and enhance our industry-leading margins, to simplify our organization structure and increase accountability, to constructively disrupt our industry are driving improved results. But we know our work isn't finished yet.

To further strengthen results, we will continue to accelerate the pace of change. The macro environment and strong competition are sure to present new challenges in the year ahead, but we're better positioned to manage through these challenges that we've been in many years.

With that, Jon and I are happy to take your questions.

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of Olivia Tong with Bank of America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Olivia Tong, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You guys are just finished which is -- what is arguably your best year in about a decade. So can you just talk through like what are sort of order of priority in the changes you've made that have led to this, the improving innovation, the portfolio changes, the divestitures you did several years ago and how the organizational changes that are now in place help to keep out -- excuse me, help up -- help to keep that up, that sustainability?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Olivia, first, thank you. The strategy truly is working. And we keep reinforcing it, but I'd come back to it. The combination of, first, starting with the consumer, making sure we delight the consumer. And we do that through superior products package communication, go-to-market capability and value is really making a difference. And what allows us to sustain that and you're seeing this now over 3 years in more and more category, country combinations is an organization design that's putting accountability closest to where the market is in a way that's working. And we've clarified responsibilities with focused markets and enterprise markets, recognize that not all markets are exactly alike. And to me, what we've seen increasingly each semester, if you will, the organization respond, clear priorities, clear strategy on superiority. They understand, have internalized and doing a great job on productivity across all cost buckets. And we continue to work to clarify the organization design in a way that delivers an engaged, agile and accountable organization. And you see in that better and better. It was reflected in the employee survey this year where the confidence in the strategy went up significantly by folks across markets and GBUs, which, to me, speaks to an alignment of 90-plus thousand people on a plan that's working. And that's why I think you're seeing the sequential progress that we're seeing quarter to quarter, semester to semester. And we really look year-to-year, and so it's very encouraging.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would just add a couple of things that David addressed in his prepared remarks. The first is, and it's the thing that gives me the most confidence and sustainability of results, is delivering growth by growing markets. And there are many examples. The inflection in the rate of the laundry market growth in North America and other markets behind PODS; significant acceleration in the rate of the market growth of fabric enhancers, behind things like beads; significant doubling actually of the growth of the adult incontinence market through Always Discreet. And there are many other examples, but those tend to be much more sustainable and much more profitable than when we're simply taking share from competitors.

The second piece just briefly is -- and David also mentioned this, is the importance of balance. It's the only way you sustain this level of growth and investment and still offer return to shareowners. We need to grow both the top and bottom line. The year and the quarter that we just completed are evidence of our ability to do that. And we've got a leadership team that's committed to continue that.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Lauren Lieberman with Barclays.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lauren Rae Lieberman, Barclays Bank PLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I was hoping I would ask a question looking for some example -- tangible examples because so much of the brand reinvestment work and portfolio work that we've heard about, that you've guys have talked about has been very U.S.-focused. And sometimes sitting here, it's a little tough to get a full picture of the P&G world. So if you could talk a little bit about some things that are maybe happening in other focus markets. Just an example would be we read last month about this relaunch of Oriental Therapy skincare in China. Just if you could run through some of the -- maybe to focus on China, some of the portfolio work that you're doing that we may not be that aware of just sitting as we are in the U.S.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lauren, there are many examples, and we can kind of run around countries and categories, but I'll just give a few, just to sprinkle around the world other than the U.S. If I look in Europe, where you've seen an acceleration of growth, our dish business, and I think auto dish is one we haven't talked a lot about. We've rolled out Platinum across many of the countries. It's -- again, it's a trade-up. It's a superior proposition, and we've seen meaningful share growth across many countries in Europe where auto dish now is one of our faster-growing categories.

If you look in China, we've given many examples over the last couple of years. We now have Fem Care growing double digits. You've got laundry growing, and you've got beads and PODS. And you've got just a series of initiatives across almost each country on whatever is the most appropriate for that country. The 2 of them that I mentioned are those, dish in Europe and, frankly, several of them in China.

But that's true as well. I can -- in almost every focused market, and there will be a list of them, but it's hard to list 1 because each of the 10 categories now has a very specific innovation plan that addresses what it takes to grow the markets and better delight the consumers. And even our expansion markets or our newer brands are also doing well. So it's a broad-based support right now.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Dara Mohsenian with Morgan Stanley.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dara Warren Mohsenian, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So first, just a clarification. The Q4 top line result was so strong. I'm wondering if it included any timing benefit or retailer inventory shifts and if that might impact fiscal Q1. And then you were clear in your prior answers on the internal momentum and what's driving that internal momentum. I was hoping you could give us a bit more detail on the level of risk from an external standpoint, just as you look at a competitive standpoint on both pricing and marketing reinvestment going forward given a number of your competitors have publicly announced margin resets recently. So I'd love a bit more detail on what gives you confidence behind continued market share gains and how you think about that external environment.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dara, I'll hand your second more important question to David. On the first part, though, we did see small inventory builds in a couple of customers, primarily in the U.S., who increase their service commitments to their customers relative to the number of days or hours that they were going to have products delivered to their shoppers. And they built a little bit of inventory to support that. For perspective, though, the organic sales growth rate in the fourth quarter, if you exclude that small inventory build, would have remained or does remain well over 7%.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the second half on competition, certainly, our eyes are wide open, and we respect all our competitors. And yes, we have followed the many announcements on investments in becoming more competitive. And we're aware of the guidance that they publicly offer. What we're trying to do and have continuously been doing, though, is staying focused on the consumers on market-growing innovation. If we maintain superiority, when we see innovations come out in the marketplace, ensure there are innovations, deliver on meaningful superiority, then I think we're well placed. Part of the reason we've continued to emphasize the need to generate productivity is we anticipate that we're going to have to invest. It's -- we don't know exactly where, how much or what category, but we know that if we can continue to invest meaningful -- or rather create meaningful buckets of investment opportunity, then we're able to remain competitive in the key markets. To date, we've seen a number of innovations come on from our competitors. And to date, we've been able to address those with our innovation. And where possible, our intent is to provide innovations that grow the category. And in that environment, it frankly does create a disruptive market situation. We have shifted our focus over the last several years on market growth and on meaningful superiority across the 5 elements. We're mindful of and aware of what competition does. But we've made sure we don't get distracted on chasing a specific competitor and/or innovation, instead play our game and stick to our strategy, and it's working well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And there's a concern -- the concern that the competitive environment is heating up is a valid one. It's only logical and natural. But what we're seeing so far, take the U.S. for example. Volume moving on promotion, indexing at 94 in the last quarter versus a year ago. So generally, we're in a fairly constructive environment where people are trying to innovate to grow markets, and that's a gain that we like.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Jason English with Goldman Sachs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason M. English, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division - VP [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess I'm going to try to jam in two. One, a quick follow on to Dara's question. Your guidance calls for commodities and currencies, et cetera, all kind of being net neutral. So certainly, a lot more accommodative than we've been in the past. And presumably, this is the same set of environment for all competitors, and you overlaid the investment. How do we think about category growth, particularly in context of the price trajectory as those dynamics play out? So that's part 1. And then part 2, still sort of linked to it. If commodities, currencies, et cetera, kind of go net neutral for you and you deliver the productivity ramp you have, it looks like you should have around 260 basis points of margin tailwind from productivity. Midpoint in guidance seems to suggest around 80 bps, implying that there's over $1 billion of reinvestment. Is that math roughly right? And if so, where do you expect that reinvestment to go to?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jason, I'll take the first part and I'll let Jon address the margin side. First, on category growth rates, as Jon mentioned, they've been relatively healthy. And frankly, if we continue to do our job and if competition does innovate in constructive ways, then I think the categories will remain healthy. And if I look across the world, the U.S, which is our biggest market, has been very constructive at 3% or better. Europe, it's been -- it's at 2%. Our view going forward is probably about 2%, maybe a little bit softer next year. The India, Middle East and Africa areas in mid- to high single digits -- at least mid-single digits. China, there's been a modest slowing down, but still very healthy. In our categories, we're seeing, call it, high single digits, 7, 8s. And we haven't seen a major slowdown, just a little bit of softening. Asia Pacific, more like 2. Latin America, it's actually been sequentially improving. Brazil, sequentially improved a bit, from a recession to now modest growth, call it, 1 to 2. But that's encouraging versus where it was before. So broadly, when we look across the focus markets, the top 10 markets, we're seeing constructive growth rates. And at least in our categories, when we bring meaningful innovation, we're seeing a tick-up and that's the -- to me, the strength of the strategies. You've got a consumer right now that is interested in our categories. And the innovation that we're delivering is ticking up some of the growth rates where we have a meaningful share. In most of the categories we participate, we do have a meaningful share. So that works well.

There's very few places that aren't growing now in our major markets. India is one I did mention. It's double digits. And frankly, as we look forward right now, we don't see a reason why it wouldn't stay in the 10 to 12 range. So with the exception of, what I call, modest growth in Europe, many markets are growing faster. And Europe is very solid and profitable, so we like that region as well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And on the income statement question, I think your observations are generally correct in terms of directionality. We should have, under current -- under the current macro assumptions the ability to grow margin and to reinvest and maintaining and building our levels of superiority.

Also as you look at the comparisons, remember that there are several significant onetime gains in the base period that we have to lap as well. But we are very cognizant, as I think is reflected in the conversation we're having here, about the competitive nature of our categories, our need to continue working on superiority, the investment that's required to do that, but still being conscious of the need and, I think, the ability to grow margin.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Steve Powers with Deutsche Bank.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephen Robert R. Powers, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Analyst [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I guess I was hoping maybe you could zero in and just expand on some of the benefits that you're getting from the focus on the lean innovation initiative that David, I think, you talked about in your prepared remarks. Just maybe an example or 2 you could share that illustrates the continued progress on that front. And then I guess what I'm really interested in is the benefits that you're getting. Is that really measured just in terms of speed to market? Or is there early evidence that the lean innovation can actually lead to improved consumer acceptance of the products that are yielded by that process?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steve, I think the benefits of lean innovation are meaningful across many dimensions. First, there are several examples we've given in the past. Pampers Pure came to market much, much faster than it would have in the past because we had a small team dedicated, working on it. They fell in love with the problem they were trying to solve, developed a product, the materials, the communication and they went to market and has done very well. We gave in the past, I think, the example of micellar water in China, which was the line extension on Pantene that's now been added to many brands in many other countries. The benefits I'm seeing, one is speed. The second is the number of hypotheses that we can advance in one problem area. And what happens then, as you find the consumer idea that's more powerful, and I've given illustration. If you have one hypothesis and you do a large base test, you can get a significant break on a 300-base test. If you test 10 and have small teams and only give them 20 base size, you have to have a major advantage in order to break significance. And we actually like the smaller base size because you have to have a meaningful advantage for it to be significant. And what we're getting then out of this is we're testing more ideas and finding bigger ideas that then we can focus on, incubate and then advance. And whether it's Pampers Pure or micellar water, there's many more to come to market.

The last comment I'd make, and I think we've released some of this in either the Consumer Electronics Show or others, the number of transactions, learning experiments we have going now, which allowed us to learn fast with small teams, with relatively small investments is at a very high level. And that gives me confidence. Again, we're going to find ideas -- consumer ideas and business propositions that have a great promise with minimal investment. The idea is you want learning to stay ahead of investment. And as long as that happens, to me -- along with a focus on delighting the consumer, to me, we're going to see a robust innovation program come out of our 10 categories. Each of the 10 categories has a growth works effort to make sure they're growing the core, first and foremost, but also looking at underserved or fast-growing areas that we can enter and win in. And the lean innovation allows us to explore more of those at a cost that's affordable. And what you're seeing is accelerated top line and continued strong productivity efforts. So it's done -- you can do more with less people and, arguably, with a better employee value proposition because it's more exciting work. So we're quite excited about it, and we're staying in the learning mode. We're learning from people inside and outside the company. And to me, this is an area that holds great promise going forward.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Nik Modi with RBC.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunil Harshad Modi, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - MD of Tobacco, Household Products and Beverages [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm going to try to squeeze in 2, if I can. One of the areas that Procter has been addressing for the last few years has been in-store execution. So David, Jon, maybe you can just give us some metrics on kind of how things have progressed there, how things have improved. And then the second question is you've talked about data and kind of targeting consumer groups in a more specific fashion. But I'm just curious, like, if you think about the next 3 to 5 years, how good is Procter's data capture as it relates to individual consumer, so you can actually target Joe or John versus first-time mothers?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In terms of in-store execution, it's obviously a very broad topic, which extends out of store. So for example, one of the biggest things we need to do is be in stock on a shelf and/or behind a shelf on the case of a virtual shopping environment. And we've made a lot of progress there, coupled both by -- or driven both by the joint business plans we have with our retailer partners. But importantly, also, the reconfiguration and transformation of our supply chain, which puts 80% of our production within 24 hours of a shelf and allows us to significantly increase service to customers, which turns in to service to shoppers.

We're also working to do a better job of delivering an in-store experience that's consistent with what we know our key business drivers are, which are different by category, different by channel, and ensuring that we're measuring performance of our sales organization, not just on physical distribution, but delivery of key business drivers in-store. A huge number of brand choices are made in front of a shelf, whether it's a physical shelf or a virtual shelf. And ensuring that, that shelf serves that shopper, enables them to select the item that's right for them, is a significant focus. And I could go on. But this is an area where we still have a lot of improvement opportunity, but we've made significant progress.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [23]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And on the second half of your question, we're actually quite excited about this smart audience work that we're doing. In the past, we've had broad demographic groups that we targeted with our media. And it's always been said that half your media is wasted, you just don't know what half. And we have the data now to find out what half it is. And we have developed a very large proprietary database. We have over 1 billion consumer IDs worldwide meaningfully over that. That allows us to have these smart audiences, and once you have the smart audiences, you can do propensity marketing with people that have similar characteristics. We have a much larger number of cookie data that allows us to touch devices. But we like best where we got unique consumer ideas -- IDs. And we run programs around the world, and we certainly ask consumers and allow them to opt in. But then we collect the data the right way and use it with the appropriate privacy restraints. And to me, it's making a meaningful difference. It's part of what can fuel the lean innovation work we're doing because we can get very targeted audiences to test new business ideas, new products and new propositions.

So I think going forward, it's only going to get more powerful as we continue to collect data, refine it and become more accomplished at performance marketing, taking that data, use it in a respectful way to serve consumers' products and propositions and messages that meet their needs.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [24]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Bonnie Herzog with Wells Fargo.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bonnie Lee Herzog, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Beverage & Tobacco Analyst [25]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I actually wanted to ask about your Baby Care business. First, it incited positive course so I would like to hear more about what drove the improvement. And then I was hoping to get your outlook for this business and really what you guys need to do to continue to improve it. Do you still think additional price adjustments will be necessary in maybe the mid- and value tiers? And then given any innovation coming in the U.S., maybe on the premium end, counter the new innovation from Kimberly?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [26]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Bonnie, I'd give a couple of comments. First, overall, for global Baby Care, there's a very robust innovation program that myself, Jon and a team of the most senior officers in the company have spent an extended period of time with the Baby Care team looking at the next 3-year strategy, including the innovation program by tier for major markets. And certainly, we don't announce in advance when we're coming with major innovation. But in the premium, in the mid-tier and some of the specialty areas, we have a robust innovation program, and it will be coming sequentially and coming fast.

If I step back though, Baby Care improved the fiscal year, with organic sales from last year to this year. Global organic sales did grow in the fourth quarter. We've seen acceleration on most markets in the back half. China importantly, in the fourth quarter, turned very positive to plus 8, U.S. at plus 2. This is, for China, and the first time we've had sales and share growth in 5 years. And it's been driven by the results on both premium tape and pants. So those 2 combined are driving meaningful growth in China.

U.S. Baby Care is making progress. We know we have work left to do. Pure Protection is doing well. Swaddlers is doing well. Pants is doing well. And we're making -- we have innovation coming that will improve the superiority in the mid- and value tiers, and that will be competitive. We have our eyes wide open. We understand there's other participants in the category. And it will be something we have to sequentially continue to work on. But both global Baby, U.S. Baby, and then I have to look at China Baby, there's encouragement. And we're excited about the new bundle that's launching this month in China. Pampers Pure into a super-premium tier, with natural cotton tape and pants. Diapers with natural cotton. We have a masstige product on tape and pants, featuring cloud-soft diapers with breathability. We have upgrades coming right now on mainline and premium, which we call Ichiban, and new Ichiban-plus, taped with double breathable layers. So each of those tiers, we have meaningful upgrades coming. So yes, it's robust and yes, it's competitive, and our eyes are wide open and recognize this will be one of continuous innovation. It's just a highly engaged category for consumers, but still attractive.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [27]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And your question about pricing. Obviously, we can't comment on future pricing. But you should expect as we try and do premiumize the portfolio, that there are pricing opportunities associated with that premiumization that we'll take advantage of.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [28]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Steven Strycula with UBS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steven A. Strycula, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Director and Equity Research Analyst [29]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And congrats on a good quarter. So a question for a high level is that it seems like the end markets are really accelerating here in terms of total category. In addition to that, you're improving your market shares. So I wanted to see, is this analogous to, call it, prerecession levels when we're in a trade-up economy, when you saw a lot of premiumization across the different categories. That will be one perspective. And then the second follow-up question for Jon would be could you unpack the commodity versus transport versus FX a little bit. Are all 3 going to be relatively muted? Or is the net effect that they just kind of level out, maybe 2 are up, 1 is down?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [30]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Steve, I'll, again, take the first as you requested on the growth rates. The growth rates, for me, are pretty stable. They're not accelerating, but they're stable at a very good place. And again, our innovation is working to grow categories where we can. As I mentioned earlier, they're in the 3 to 4 range, a good 3 right now and it varies by country, but in the most important markets for us, the biggest markets, it's pretty healthy. U.S. is healthy, China is healthy, India is healthy, Europe is stable at around 2, and Japan, another large market, is flat, but yes, we're growing share. So in general, we feel pretty good. Whether it's as strong as it was prerecession, I'd have to go back and look at 7, 8 before it hit or 6 or 7, I think we were in the 4 to 5 then. We're right now, and I'd call it, the 3 to 4 range. But we feel good about that.

And what we have seen, to your point, when we offer premium products that have meaningful advantages in many of our big markets, the answer is yes. They are trading up. You're seeing that in some of the specialty areas, the natural. For sure, it's an area we've been very active, our Always and Tampax Pure. It was launched March of '19, is doing very well. The L. acquisition is doing well. Native, our deodorant acquisition, is doing well. Pampers Pure, we've mentioned before. So there's many examples. Tide beads -- Tide PODS and the Downy beads, those are also examples of premium-priced products where consumers have traded up and they offer delightful benefits. So yes on the trade-up when you have a meaningful consumer experience advantage, and I'd call it healthy, relatively stable growth rates of 3 to 4, call it, 3 to 3.5 right now.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [31]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So on the second part of your question, in a very broad sense, I would look at currencies' year-to-year, this is going into next year, as a relatively minor hurt. If you think about markets like Turkey and Argentina, where there has been significant devaluation that hasn't yet annualized, if you think about what's happening in the U.K. and what could continue to happen in the U.K., that's certainly not the order of magnitude that we saw last year. Having said that, if we were having this conversation last year at this time, I would be telling you the same thing, only to update you on our next earnings call with significant hurts. So it's a very -- what I would say is a constant in that space is volatility. But on a spot basis today, a slight hurt.

Commodities, on the other hand, are a slight help on a spot basis, that also is a very volatile environment when you consider the petro complex and pulp and natural gas as our biggest commodity exposures. And there's a lot that's happening in the world that can affect those prices, but right now, a small positive.

Transportation, good news, is neutral and hopefully, will get to the point, when we annualize some of the hurts, that it turns into a small help year-to-year. So that's it in a nutshell.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [32]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Ali Dibadj with Bernstein.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ali Dibadj, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - SVP and Senior Analyst [33]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So a couple of things. One is just obviously the organic sales growth, 7%, very pleasing to all of us. Can you give us a sense of how much of that growth is a true same-store sales growth versus shelf space gain growth versus kind of broader distribution reach growth? I've asked similar questions before, but I guess I ask in the context of the guidance of 3% to 4%. We get your lapping tougher compares, but trying to better understand what the drivers of the actual expected slowdown are along those metrics.

And then the second question is if one were to pick a little bit, one would look perhaps at margins and see that even the gross margins were up 120-plus basis points. SG&A investments were higher, of course, to drive the top line, but heavier investments throughout the business, higher comp expenses. And that seems to be a pattern across consumer packaged goods. So why don't you kind of elevate a little bit if you can? Maybe David, it's part of your constructive disruption you've talked about. But can you talk more specifically about where the industry is investing? Clearly, performance marketing as an example that. And whether we should think about this at all is kind of a profit pool shift in any way in terms of other places of the ecosystem. So are retailers getting the benefit here? Are there other partners getting the benefit of this reinvestment? And whether that investment just has to stay at this elevated level to get to this 3.5% kind of regrowth and whether you think that subsides over time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [34]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, let me start with the broader one, and then -- and Jon is going to jump into specifics, but we can kind of bounce back on this one. First, the broader question on the market and do I expect elevated investments are required to sustain this growth. In many ways, we have elevated the investment, and yes, I do believe we'll have to have meaningful productivity to cover both retailer needs for their value improvement as well as continue to meet the consumers' needs with what I expect will be elevated competitive action. But I think that's all doable within the current guidance, and that's why we've given a wide range. There's a lot of things that could happen.

Having said that, what we are seeing though is the innovation that we've delivered is contributing to markets that are growing. Our data would say we are a significant part of the reason the markets are healthy in our categories. And we know we have a robust innovation plan coming forth this year and beyond.

Secondly, we know and we have line of sight to continue on our current productivity program that is generating meaningful investments. And it is covering, and we will continue to work with our retailers to ensure that they have -- we have with them joint value creation plans that meet both needs and those we feel very constructive about. We don't overreact by quarter, so I don't get overly excited about an overly good or bad quarter. What we're looking for is trends over time, and there is very clear trends over the last 3 years of increasing brand-country combinations that we're growing share. That breadth covers category and country, look at it by both ways, and you're seeing it move up significantly from '16 to '17 to '18 to '19, which again gives me confidence that this is a sustainable strategy. And I think the elevated investment is built into our productivity program. Jon?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [35]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wouldn't have much to add. The one thing though I would make sure you understand, and you can follow up with John on this, when you look at the elevated SG&A as a measure of investment, you need to take out a significant increase year-to-year in our accruals for compensation. It's a 100 basis point impact on the quarter in SG&A. Everything that David said remains true with that excluded, but it's important you understand that as you think about the true year-to-year trend.

And then on the top line, the only thing I would add. You mentioned rightly the much tougher comps. And I mentioned in my prepared remarks that we're significantly accelerating the 2-year average just in terms of the top line growth rate, which just isn't easy to do in an environment, as we've all been discussing this morning, where we fully expect continued heightened competition, and to not allow for that reality within our guidance range would seem less than prudent. So we've done that. The way to contextualize the top line is we're growing at or ahead of the market with a bias towards growing ahead. And that's, as I said in my prepared remarks, not a lay-up.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [36]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Bill Chappell -- I'm sorry, Andrea Teixeira with JPMorgan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrea Faria Teixeira, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD [37]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And congrats on the results. David, can you comment a little bit on Grooming the same way as you gave on the Baby -- on the state of the union of the Baby side. It was definitely refreshing to see the inflection on a 2-year stack over the past 8 quarters. And as Jon Moeller was saying just now, I think that's an acceleration. But can you comment on how sustainable this trend is going forward and how the Gillette online initiatives can kind of sustain and also in the key markets where you've learned from the experience in the U.S. that you are bringing over, I believe, in the U.K. and as well as the channels in Club and then in particular is your key competitor consolidated? So if you can give us kind of that state of the union, it will be helpful.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [38]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Very good. Grooming remains an attractive business, as we said, and we haven't lost our enthusiasm for it for many, many reasons. And we did talk organic sales did grow this fiscal year, and we had a good ending of the year.

A couple of things that are frankly very positive about the future, one is the big new innovation called SkinGuard* continues to pick up share. It's already double digit in several of the focus markets that we have launched. It has been expanded around the world right now, and it addresses a very specific benefit of people that have sensitive skin.

The strategy that we've pivoted to, and I think will bear fruit over time, is looking at the full ladder, from double edge all the way up to the heated razor. So you go from pennies to very expensive products depending on what your need is. We're now more actively playing in disposables, including with innovation in disposables, with sensorial benefits being delivered with things like lube strips. We now innovation across the mid-tier, which is the MACH line in the premium line. All those to me are important.

Then by market, we have to figure out what is the right ladder and what is the right demand programs to be able to drive trial. And the other we have to do, and you've seen meaningful changes, is figure out how to be relevant to Gen Z and Millennials. And we've made progress there as well.

So the SkinGuard* initiative is performing well. It's in U.S., Canada, parts of Europe. And overall, acceptance has been strong. The after-use experience is very strong, so all of our efforts now are to drive trial and awareness. And as that continues, and that's a good tailwind for us, we have our eyes wide open. We recognize we've had a significant headwind on broad societal trend on shaving, and we're broadening our view with how we view Grooming and making sure we have products that also allow you to trim and other ways to take care of facial hair. And so both the Braun and the Gillette programs to me are very active and robust. And to me, the plan going forward is robust. It will be both relevant communication, innovation and focused on ensuring that we bring it to life in ways that work with consumers, each market in which we focus.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [39]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All right. And now we'll go to Bill Chappell with SunTrust.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

William Bates Chappell, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [40]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just a question on competitive response and what you're seeing. I mean I know you expect competitive response into the market share gains and the strength. But I just want to understand like are you seeing a different competitive response because it doesn't seem that we're seeing the same kind of price-cutting promotional levels kind of even around the world, but especially in the U.S., that we have in the past. And so are the competitors reacting differently, or you're just -- they haven't reacted yet, and so we're just kind of waiting for those price cuts to come?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [41]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We have seen competitive reactions, and I think, broadly, each competitor is acting consistent with their strategy. I would characterize the markets as constructive right now. You see an increased level of innovation, which frankly we like, we look forward to addressing. We're seeing innovation across all price tiers. That's again an approach that we're happy to address. I believe that, generally, people have learned a lot from past actions, and each company has to decide what their value-creation plan is. And to date, I have not seen behavior that would increase concern on market attractiveness in the 10 categories in which we participate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And next, we'll go to Kaumil Gajrawala with Crédit Suisse.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kaumil S. Gajrawala, Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division - MD & Research Analyst [43]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Can you talk a bit about media spending? I guess there's 2 conversations: one is a kind of increased focus on traditional media; and then also a conversation about increased spending -- media spending directly with the retailers. Can you talk about how you're thinking about that going forward?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [44]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, first, let me start with the macro headline. We're looking at stronger media delivery of stronger programs at lower cost. We found ourselves, in many cases, over frequented -- sorry, frequency of ad presentation was too high and our reach was too low. We're adjusting that. As we do that, we're finding efficiencies in our overall media program.

And we've talked about the significant opportunities that exist within the media supply chain, including media compensation -- or agency compensation and production costs, and we're working to reduce that, all with the idea of increasing the overall effectiveness of our program, which includes the right mix, different by category, for both traditional and digital media.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [45]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Kevin Grundy with Jefferies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin Michael Grundy, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior VP & Equity Analyst [46]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And congratulations on a strong year. I wanted to come back to the Gillette business as well. First, the housekeeping question just for Jon on the impairment charge. I understand it's noncash, but I'm more concerned about potentially what it may signal. David said it's pretty positive a moment ago, and results have gotten better. So maybe just confirm this is an annual requirement as opposed to some sort of triggering event, that would be helpful.

And then David, I think the question was asked earlier. I'm not sure you necessarily touched on it just in terms of the potential implications from Edgewell's acquisition of Harry's and bringing on their leadership team, what they may bring, your current views on the implications of consolidation in the space and how you see the competitive dynamic potentially changing and what you guys have embedded in your outlook.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [47]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Kevin. We test each of our goodwill and our intangible assets every year. That's a requirement. And we've been indicating really for the last number of years that the cushion, if you will, in other words, the value that we're coming up with every year as compared to the value that we're carrying in our balance sheet, has been declining. If you look back at any of our financial statements over the last 3 years, you'll see a reference to that. And we've talked about how that cushion has been declining. The drivers of that are primarily twofold. One is foreign exchange. And then you've got here a business with a very broad global footprint, and particularly with the year that we've just been through, that impacts that value assessment.

The second we've also had many conversations about, which is the impact on market size in developed markets from overall shaving incidents, which is down. And those 2 things, as they get factored into our annual valuation, at some point, get us to a value that's less than the value we currently have in our balance sheet. And that kicks in a pretty complicated process to get to the new goodwill number, and John can take you through that off-line as needed. But it is a nondiscretionary annual valuation test that's led to this outcome as has been clearly telegraphed, I think, in our financial reports.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [48]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And I'll take the second part of the question. I'm happy to give more detail on Gillette. First that the Edgewell acquisition of Harry's, does this propose additional risk to the business? It's still early. The deal is not close. And we generally don't speculate on what we think the competition is going to do. I will say a few things that we are doing that I think positions us well and broadly if you step back Grooming -- or rather, Edgewell's going to have to make money. They bought a company. We've seen both Unilever's acquisition of Dollar Shave Club and now the Edgewell acquisition of Harry's. Both the parent companies that have bought those startups need to make money. And to me, that's not a bad thing for the overall value-creation opportunities in the industry.

If I step back again and look at what we're doing, we're doing more differentiation. You've seen our Joy that launched at Walmart has done very, very well. As we've again activate across the ladder and what we see now with our willingness to differentiate, we're rejuvenating both the Gillette and the Venus brands. The campaigns that we'd put out there are working. They're engaging very much with Gen Z and Millennials. And we've seen a significant positive, 80% positive response from Millennials to our recent campaigns and their likelihood to purchase Gillette, which I think is positive.

Online. You mentioned the U.S. Gillette DTC, while still small, has doubled in us in the past 12 months. Our e-commerce business is growing. In the U.K., when I think both competitors showed up, we, in this time, met them at the beach and were much more competitive defending our business, ensuring we provided attractive user experiences and value to those consumers, and we've maintained share leadership in that segment. We've recently expanded Gillette DTC in Germany and Australia, launched Venus DTC in the U.S. So we've stepped up, ensuring that we again serve consumers on and off-line. It's part of the superiority strategy, which is we want to win, we had a consumer who wants to shop. And while the majority has still done off-line, we recognize we needed to step up our game both user experience value and offerings, both direct-to-consumer and more broadly, in the e-commerce, and have done that. So I believe we are well positioned. We see it as a, again, a competitive category, but attractive category. And the acquisition by Edgewell to me doesn't change our interest or our, frankly, our confidence that the plan is robust.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [49]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Caroline Levy with Macquarie.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caroline Shan Levy, Macquarie Research - Senior Analyst [50]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And congrats on the quarter and the year. I'm wondering if you just step back and think about the last decade, it has been very challenging for the companies that have already got the big brands. And I'm wondering when you might -- if you do you expect something to shift from advantage -- a small disruptor to advantage P&G. And this quarter may be an example of where things are starting to come together. You've seen it in the U.S. You've seen it in China for more than a quarter, more than a year. Do you think this is going to start happening in other countries? And kind of a secondary question on this is has the organization changed such that a Harry's or other disruptors are not going to be allowed to flourish before you move?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [51]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, just a few comments. Certainly, again, our eyes are wide open and we do see the environment as highly competitive. We understand there's a lot of new entrants in the category. But we don't have just a strong quarter. We have got -- over the last 3 years, we have seen increasing brand-country combinations grow. And we've talked about the breadth of our brands and countries improving, and we've gotten now 4 quarters of 4% or better, which I think is a meaningful sustained level of progress. And we certainly expect we needed to go out and continue to earn it.

Big brands continue to do well when they address consumer needs. They have to stay relevant in how they present themselves in both package and communication, and they have to have an experience that justifies the cost and is better than the best alternative. And our big brands are doing well. And we've extended ourselves into the fast-growing areas. In many cases, it's been an extension of the parent brand. You've seen that on Tide, you've seen that on many other brands. You've also seen that where we've gone into additional areas, whether it's The L. acquisition, Native, Walker & Co. and others to ensure we continue to learn.

To your question, do we think the organization is better prepared to deal with the competitive environment win? Yes. We have simplified the organization in a way where the focused markets to me have increased focused. The enterprise markets, because of the high volatility, have an organization structure that allows them to address that and get -- and react much more quickly. We've shifted broadly to an organization that is engaged much more agile and it goes to everything, from how we innovate, which is a small team cycling fast, to the fact that we now have one axis of decision-making on primary choices that address this threat, which is the sector business unit. And so the need in the past at times, the need to get alignment across the organization has been meaningfully reduced. We value the input from other parts of the organization, but the leaders that run the businesses are accountable, in touch and they have folks in the market. So I think we're actually well-positioned to see and then respond to competitive threats. And if we do our job right, we understand the consumer needs and we're ahead of those, we're creating the new categories, opportunities and segments of growth.

And we're seeing progress there as well. But it's highly respectful of our competition, aware of increased competitive actions, but believing that this is a robust and sustainable strategy, focused on the core, superiority, funded by productivity and then brought to life by over 90,000 people that have embraced this strategy, believe in it and are executing with increasing excellence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [52]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Mark Astrachan with Stifel.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mark Stiefel Astrachan, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD [53]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wanted to ask more of a broad kind of longer-term question. So historically, your portfolio has fared less well during recessionary times. Not that we're imminently heading into one, but just curious how you think about readying the portfolio or how you think the current portfolio responds during an economic downturn and how that we compare to where the company was 10 years or so ago. What's different this time around, do you think?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [54]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just got a couple of comments. The -- one of the areas that I think causes us to be at least well-positioned to deal with whatever comes at us is, one, we're in categories where performance matters to the consumers, they're daily use categories so they don't go away and frankly, the need to engage with them generally doesn't get reduced in a recession. And the other is our brands today have broader ladders. We play across many price tiers and many benefit segments. So I think we're actually, in many ways, better positioned because we have now identified where we can create value in each category and then establish the appropriate, both price tiers and benefit delivery, for that category. And I mentioned automatic dish earlier. We have a base, we have a premium, and then we have a super premium. That's true in the laundry category. That's true certainly in Shave Care. That's true in Baby Care. We have many segments representing Fem Care. We have multiple segments representing our Family Care business. We have multiple segments in our Oral Care business.

So if you look at that, at least now we're playing in these segments, and then what we're doing better and better using the data we have, is we're understanding the specific needs of consumers in each segment and designing to make sure we delight but recognize part of the delight is a competitive price point. And to me, we're doing that better. And -- but it gets back to superiority has to be in the eyes of the consumer or the customer or the evaluator. And to me, we're -- we've raised the bar on the expectation of what we deliver to delight the consumer.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [55]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Everything that David said is, of course, extremely relevant. I would just emphasize one point that he made, which is the difference in the portfolio. Just think, for example, of not -- of salon hair care, prestige fragrances, much more discretionary items in which discretion is exercised when times get tough. We have categories now that are, as David said, daily use, they're staples. That doesn't mean we're immune to trade-down, but that goes to his point of having a broader ladder of offerings, the right-size offerings in a store that address tightened cash outlay needs, et cetera.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [56]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Jonathan Feeney with Consumer Edge.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jonathan Patrick Feeney, Consumer Edge Research, LLC - Senior Analyst of Food & HPC, Director of research and Managing Partner [57]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So you've told us since 2013, if I add up all of the citation for currency headwind, that you've gotten headwind that has amounted to something like a little over $2 in today's tax rate and share count in total currency impact over the past 6 years. And I guess I'm wondering is it really just as simple as had we had a flat dollar since 2013, you'd be making 40% plus more? And presumably, if currency ever reverses or just stays the same. Is just that should we just think about -- or if it reversed back to 2013 levels proportionately, would we expect to get that as a tailwind in the coming years? Should -- I know you cited, Jon, that currency is still a little bit of a headwind for next year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [58]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I mean directionally, and you can go back and compare our earnings per share to the currency movements over time, you can do it on an industry level and you will see a clear relationship between those 2. Having said that, as you can imagine, in the scenario that you cite where things go back to 2013 levels, what ultimately ends up happening from an EPS standpoint is going to be dependent on pricing moves that competitors and others choose to make as a result of that. So it's not that simple, but directionally, it is. Tough currency years are tough earnings years. Easier currency years are easier earnings years.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [59]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And your next question comes from the line of Robert Ottenstein with Evercore ISI.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Edward Ottenstein, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD, Head of Global Beverages Research & Fundamental Research Analyst [60]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2 questions please. First, in April of this year, Amazon went to next-day Prime delivery and saw a sharp acceleration in their business. I'm wondering to what degree you also saw an acceleration in your business with Amazon. I know that you've got very well-coordinated logistics, shared warehouses with them. I just like little bit more detail in terms of how your business with Amazon is evolving. Are you gaining -- getting share gains there? And do you see this close coordination as a sustainable advantage? And the second question has to do with the detergent category, grew 5% volume in the quarter. Hard to believe that the global industry is growing that fast. So maybe a little bit of details in terms of where you're gaining share and what's going on in that category.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [61]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let me just provide a little bit of summary level in response to that, and then I'll get David in the details. The -- we don't comment on dynamics for individual retailers for reasons I'm sure you can readily understand. But we feel very well-positioned broadly, and we certainly view Amazon as a very strong partner.

The -- in terms of the question on detergent, I'll answer that more generally too, which is with the exception of what I mentioned earlier, which has been a small inventory build and customers looking to shorten delivery times to customers in the U.S., we have not seen significant changes in retail inventory levels. We are pretty much tracking our sales growth with consumption growth in most of the markets in which we're operating. So that volume growth you're seeing is largely consumption-driven.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [62]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then I may have one point on that, just if you kind of unpack a bit Fabric Care. Fabric Care is more than laundry. Fabric Care also includes fabric enhancers. So you get everything from dryer sheets to liquid fabric refreshers, all the way to beads. And that category fabric enhancers, is what we call it, has been growing very nicely, faster than the -- what you'll consider the detergent category because you are probably right. I can see a huge spike in detergents. But one of the things we've done in that category and many categories is broaden our view of the benefits we can provide. It's why we call it Fabric Care, not laundry. And in Fabric Care, there's many things you can do to extend the life of a fabric and to deliver a variety of benefits beyond just clean or stain removal. It can be antistatic, it can be softening, it can be extended freshness over time, and we do that in a way that's delightful for consumers and created a very large business.

Fabric enhancers is now, I think, over a $750 million business and growing, and that's part of what's been a driver of Fabric Care's outsized growth. And they have just done a beautiful job, again, understanding the consumer need in this broad category called Fabric Care and doing it very well. And it has contributed to an acceleration in category growth in many markets. The U.S. is probably one of the best examples. If you go back many years, it was flat to 1%, and it ticked up several percent behind Tide PODS, beads. And frankly, we reinvigorated even the Bounce business by again delivering benefits and communicating in a compelling way. So part of what every category has to take on is market growth is a key part of the sustainable strategy we have. And you're seeing more and more examples of superior innovation driving market growth, which then allows us to have the balanced top and bottom line growth that we aspire to deliver.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [63]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And we'll take our final question from the line of Jon Andersen with William Blair.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon Robert Andersen, William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division - Partner [64]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just one quick one. You're kind of 8 years now into 10 years of productivity and cost savings, which have been significant. This is obviously critical, as you've pointed out, key to achieving the balance that you're looking for in the business, top and bottom line growth, with margin improvement. So as you kind of look out beyond 2 years and take a longer-term perspective, is the kind of the cost and productivity opportunity similarly strong as you look out over time on an absolute or relative basis as it has been over the past 7 or 8 years with everything you've achieved?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jon R. Moeller, The Procter & Gamble Company - Vice Chairman, COO & CFO [65]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't have a specific visibility to something that's out that far, but I will make a couple of comments. One is the earnings progress that we made and the progress we made in offsetting some of the FX items that John was referring to earlier was largely productivity-based, and we were very clear that, that was not a sufficient program or strategy, that we simply had to get the top line growing at reasonable rates while maintaining a focus on productivity in order to create value. And so hopefully, at the end of the 2-year period you're talking about, our top line is, in fact, sustained at a higher rate.

From a productivity standpoint, while I'm not going to talk about dollars today, what I would say is that there are an increasing number of tools that are available, particularly in the digital space, which give us a reason to continue to become even more and more productive and more and more effective across our set of activity systems. So that's what I'd offer you today. The importance of productivity is not going to go away. The tools that we have available increase every day, but we also have to deliver that top line, which by itself, from a leverage standpoint, is a huge driver of margin improvement.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

David S. Taylor, The Procter & Gamble Company - Chairman of the Board, CEO & President [66]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think that ends the questions. And let me just close with one. Thank you for our investing the time and discussing P&G. Our strategies are beginning to deliver sustainable balanced growth and value creation. We have our eyes wide open. We know there's still work to do, but we're confident we're on the right track. We must continue and will continue to build the superiority advantage. We'll continue to invest in productivity. But the credit goes to 90,000 people that do -- 90,000-plus that are doing a wonderful job bringing the strategy to life around the world and continuing to build value for all the stakeholders of this company. Thank you.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [67]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes today's conference. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect. Have a great day.