By Cliff Peale
Enquirer staff writer
Procter & Gamble Co. has three new billion-dollar brands: Head & Shoulders, Wella and Actonel.
In addition, P&G is up to nine brands between half a billion and a billion dollars in annual sales, including rising powerhouses Herbal Essences and SK-II skin care.
Part of P&G's recovery in the past three years has been its focus on its biggest brands. That includes icons such as Tide and Pampers and newer entries such as Olay and Crest.
But with the newest to reach that level, 16 P&G products beat the $1 billion level for the fiscal year that ended Wednesday. Others: Pringles; Iams; Charmin; Pantene; Olay; Tide; Always; Folgers; Crest; Bounty; Pampers; Ariel; and Downy.
The growth made P&G a $50 billion company for the first time, with sales up more than 27 percent since 2001.
"In my 27 years with P&G, I can't recall a stronger sustained total-company performance," chairman and chief executive A.G. Lafley wrote in a June letter to P&G retirees.
The newest P&G billion-dollar brands:
Head & Shoulders: P&G is trying to recast the shampoo, traditionally known as a dandruff treatment, with more of a beauty-care focus. It's seen strong growth overseas.
Wella: P&G bought a controlling stake in the German company last year for $5.7 billion, giving it a stronger presence in the beauty salon business.
Actonel: This osteoporosis drug is the standard-bearer for P&G's pharmaceuticals unit in Mason.
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