Energizer Holdings keeps going, and going...and leading the battery market in the process. Known for its pink bunny marketing icon, the company was spun off in 2000 by pet food maker Nestlé Purina PetCare (formerly Ralston Purina). Its popular Energizer and Eveready battery products -- which include alkaline, carbon zinc, lithium, miniature, and specialty batteries -- are sold in more than 165 countries. Its Energizer lithium batteries provide additional power for portable electronics. Other products include flashlights, razors, shaving cream, moist wipes, and feminine care products. Its largest customer, Wal-Mart, makes up about 20% of sales. Energizer gets about half of its sales from the US.
Behind the contribution of recently acquired American Safety Razor (ASR) and favorable currency exchanges, Energizer's net sales in 2011 were up 9% over 2010. The company also remained profitable though it carries a lot of debt -- almost $2.4 billion. Both its growth and its debt are driven in part by acquisitions. Energizer also spends large amounts on advertising and promotions, as well as product development.
By segment net sales for personal care increased about 20%. The product groups in this segment that performed well were wet shave (increasing 29%) and skin care (up 9%).
Year-over-year sales for household products in 2011 were flat. The company restructured that group in 2011, which included closing its carbon zinc battery factory in the Philippines and its alkaline battery plant in Switzerland. The same year Energizer developed business in the portable electronic device market by launching new chargers and cables that meet the USB standard.
Both internal development and acquisitions have fueled Energizer's growth.
In 2010 Energizer acquired ASR for about $301 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. Energizer had the winning bid in an auction of the assets of ASR, which filed for bankruptcy earlier in the year. The purchase of ASR added private-label shaving razors and blades, which are sold under retailer names, to its Schick-Wilkinson Sword unit. The products were a strategic fit for Energizer's branded shaving products.
In 2009 the company purchased the Edge and Skintimate shaving cream business of S.C. Johnson & Son for about $275 million. The deal added products that complement the company's Schick-Wilkinson Sword shaving business.
In 2007 Energizer acquired Playtex Products for about $1.2 billion in cash, adding feminine hygiene, infant care, diaper disposal systems, sun care products, moist wipes, and household gloves to its portfolio. (Playtex Apparel, a maker of bras, is a separate company and was not part of this transaction; it is a subsidiary of Hanesbrands.) Energizer also assumed Playtex's debt, putting the value of the deal at around $1.9 billion.
In 2003 Energizer purchased Schick-Wilkinson Sword, the world's second-largest razor and blade maker, from Pfizer for $930 million. The deal brought Schick wet shaving brands (Xtreme, Silk Effects, Intuition, Quattro) into the fold, and aligned Energizer against Gillette, a leader in the wet shaving market. (Gillette lost its suit claiming that the Quattro razor is a violation of its Mach3 patent and was ordered to reimburse Energizer's court costs.) The companies also competed in the battery market, as Gillette owned Duracell, prior to Gillette's 2005 acquisition by Procter & Gamble (P&G). Duracell and Energizer compete in the flashlight market, as well.
By combining Playtex Products with Schick-Wilkinson Sword, Energizer assembled a portfolio of personal care products to better compete with the P&G behemoth. Its Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic brands of sunscreen and tanning lotions, Wet Ones brand moist wipes, and Playtex brand household gloves are among the leaders in their markets. Playtex is the second largest tampon brand in the US. Playtex Products also includes a broad line of infant care products, including pacifiers, bottles, cups, plates, utensils, placemats, and Diaper Genie brand diaper disposal systems.
The Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 100 TV commercials since the character was introduced in 1989.