Growth opportunities in India’s oral care market

Colgate-Palmolive (India) is a leading oral care company that has been present in India since 1937. Its entrenched Colgate brand occupies the number one spot across the country, has been ranked “Most Trusted Brand” in oral care for several years and is endorsed by more than 70% of dentists in India. Colgate has more than 52% share of the Indian market, 3x of its next largest competitor.

Under new CEO Ram Raghavan, its relentless focus on brand building (Colgate spends significantly more than peers on advertising and promotion) and its strong distribution advantage (reaching 240 million households across India via 6 million points of sales) has cemented its dominant market position. Rising commodity costs have led to concerns about profitability, but its dominant consumer brand should translate into strong pricing power, and we believe that Colgate should be able to increase its prices in response. The company has a long track record of improving its profitability consistently.

The potential growth opportunity for Colgate is significant, as per-capita consumption of toothpaste in India is still only half of that in other developing markets. Colgate is also expected to grow in other personal care categories, with new launches in the Palmolive brand. Its strong franchise drives exceptional returns. Median return on capital employed (ROCE) is 91% over the last 15 years. 

Oral care market is highly under-penetrated in India

Dominant market share and attractive return on capital employed (ROCEs) over 15 years

Source: Company presentations, FSSA Investment Managers, as at 31 May 2023. Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) is a measure of a company's profitability and the efficiency with which its capital is employed.

Disclaimer: Reference to specific securities (if any) is included for the purpose of illustration only and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell the same. All securities mentioned herein may or may not form part of the holdings of FSSA Investment Managers’ portfolios at a certain point in time, and the holdings may change over time.