* 3rd qtr sales $4.0 bln vs est. $4.07 bln
* Sees full-year EPS to fall by low to mid-single digit
* Shares down as much as 3.4 pct (Adds conference call details; updates shares)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Oct 30 - Colgate-Palmolive Co reported a steeper-than-expected drop in quarterly sales, mainly due to a strong dollar, and the world’s biggest toothpaste maker said full-year earnings would likely be lower than anticipated.
The company’s shares fell as much as 3.4 percent on Friday.
Colgate has been trying to cushion the impact of the dollar’s strength by raising prices, mainly in Latin America, but the move has hit both revenue and volumes in the region.
Sales in Latin America fell 11 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while volumes fell 1 percent on the back of a 12 percent hike in pricing. The region accounts for 27 percent of the company’s sales.
Overall volumes rose 1 percent in the third quarter, their slowest rise in almost five years.
The effects of higher pricing needs to work its way through for volumes to improve, which is not likely to happen this year, Chief Executive Ian Cook said on a call with analysts.
Foreign exchange had a 13 percent negative impact on total sales, Colgate said on Friday.
Colgate relies on international markets for about 77 percent of its oral, personal and home-care sales.
The company said it now expected full-year earnings per share to decline by a “low to mid-single digit”, excluding items, based on current exchange rates.
The earlier forecast was for a “low single-digit” decline.
Colgate extended its 2012 restructuring program by a year to Dec. 31, 2017, and said the funds it received from the sale of its laundry detergent business in South Pacific would be invested in the program.
Colgate’s total sales fell 8.7 percent to $4 billion in the latest quarter - the fifth straight decline, and slightly below the average analyst estimate.
Net income attributable to Colgate rose 34 percent to $726 million, or 80 cents per share, from a year earlier, and included a $120 million gain from the sale of its laundry detergent business.
Excluding items, the company earned 72 cents per share, matching the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Anil D'Silva