P&G - Strong corporate partner in our midst

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It was about two years ago when many local Procter & Gamble stockholders were shocked at the drop in P&G's share price like many 401(k) participants were with their stock investments.

Now things have changed dramatically for the positive as the following article from Barron's relates:

"Last Tuesday brought a tide of good news from consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble. The company boosted its dividend, split its stock and raised estimates for its fiscal third-quarter and full-year profit. Also, its shares hit a 52-week high.

"A Dow Jones Industrials component, P&G enhanced the dividend on its 1.3 billion common shares and its Series A employee stock-ownership plan convertible preferred stock by 10 percent, to 50 cents a share from 45.5 cents. Disbursement will take place on or after May 14 for investors of record April 23. The Cincinnati company has sweetened its dividend for 48 consecutive fiscal years, and this is the second increase in fiscal 2004, ending June 30, which translates into an annualized increase of 13.2 percent. P&G has been paying dividends without interruption since its incorporation in 1890.

"A 2-for-1 stock division will be distributed on or after June 18; the record date is May 21. The split-adjusted quarterly dividend will be 25 cents a share. Chief executive A.G. Lafley says that P&G's 'strong results, reflecting balanced, consistent growth' gave directors the confidence to raise the dividend again and divide the shares.

"P&G predates more than 99 percent of U.S. corporations. A sweeping restructuring program launched in 1999 was completed two years early, in 2003, and will bring about an annual after-tax savings of some $1.65 billion this year. Selling some 300 products to more than five billion consumers in 140 countries, the company is proud to say that its brands touch people's lives around the world two billion times a day. A handful of those well-known items include Tide, Ivory, Zest, Cascade, Downy, Pampers, Bounty, Cover Girl, Pantene, Clairol, Pringles, Folgers, Crest and Vicks.

"This is the ninth time in 10 quarters that P&G has increased its quarterly earnings guidance. For the three-month period ending March 31, it expects to better Wall Street estimates of $1.0y a share by as much as two cents, on a 20 percent sales gain.

"On Wednesday -- P&G's triple play came after the Big Board's closing bell Tuesday -- the stock got up to 107.21, easily surpassing the previous 52-week high of 104 set Feb. 24, and trading volume of 9.5 million shares was three times the daily average. The stock has climbed over 30 percent in the past year."

Also as reported in the Sunday Post-Dispatch in a reprint of a New York Times article: Procter & Gamble has come up with a new line of deodorants, hair gels, body washes, even scents, targeted to boys and their mothers.

We're happy and blessed to have a P&G plant here in Cape Girardeau County not only for the jobs it creates, taxes paid and United Way donations, but also for the fine executive management it brings to this community.

The stock market goes up, down and sideways, but history has shown a decided upward trend line.

Don't get frustrated by the daily movements, comments and predictions of the so-called experts. Like those in the political arena, too many have predictions of what is happening or will happen. But few review the history of what has happened -- NCAA basketball included.

Holy humor: There was a church that had problems with outsiders parking in its parking lots, so the church put up a sign: "Church car park -- for members only. Trespassers will be baptized! "

An ad for one church has a picture of two hands holding stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments are inscribed and a headline that reads, "For fast, fast, fast relief, take two tablets."

"People are like tea bags -- you have to put them in hot water before you know how strong they are."

Hispanic growth ... in the United States, including Missouri and other Midwest states.

There are 36 million Hispanics in the country, the largest and fastest growing sector of the population. The group's buying power is $600 million and is expected to break $1 trillion in 2007.

What is going on here? It's definitely not an alien invasion as some people might see it. It is a reality that is changing the face of our country. Those who don't understand that change are missing out on a huge potential market of consumers. -- The Inlander, Inland Press

Numerous Spanish restaurants, workers, and the United Methodist-sponsored Hispanic church here in Cape Girardeau are an indication of an increase of the Hispanic influence in this area.

In one Iowa market in which we have a newspaper, 65 percent of the elementary students are Hispanic.

By 2050, Caucasians are projected to be less than 50 percent of the U.S. population, while Hispanics will be 24 percent.

Gary Rust is the chairman of Rust Communications.

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