WHEN: Today, Wednesday, February 18th
WHERE: CNBC's "Power Lunch"
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with The Clorox Company CEO Benno Dorer and CNBC's Sara Eisen live from the CAGNY conference in Boca Raton, FL today. Following is a link to the interview on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000354707.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
MELISSA LEE: GOT TO GET TO SARA EISEN IN FLORIDA. SHE IS STANDING BY WITH THE CEO OF CLOROX IN HIS FIRST-EVER TV INTERVIEW. SO SARA, GO EASY ON HIM. THE STOCK, BY THE WAY, UP 25% IN A YEAR.
SARA EISEN: ALRIGHT. THANKS VERY MUCH, MELISSA. I'D LIKE TO WELCOME BENNO DORER TO CNBC. AND, AS YOU MENTIONED, FIRST INTERVIEW. WELCOME.
BENNO DORER: THANKS FOR HAVING ME, SARA.
EISEN: WELL, YOUR PREDECESSOR, DON KNAUSS, WAS THERE FOR EIGHT YEARS. SHAREHOLDERS LIKED HIM. HE FOUGHT OFF ACTIVISTS. WHAT DO INVESTORS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
DORER: WELL, THIS CHANGE REALLY HAS BEEN ABOUT CONSISTENCY OF PURPOSE. WE HAVE A STRATEGY THAT'S WORKING. WE HAVE GREAT BRANDS. AND MY MISSION REALLY IS TO ACCELERATE PROFITABLE GROWTH, AND WE'RE DOING THAT BY LEADING INTO BRAND INVESTMENT AND BY LEADING INTO INNOVATION. AND ON THAT NOTE, WE'RE FEELING REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE SECOND QUARTER WHERE WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO GROW 4%.
EISEN: WELL IT HELPS THAT YOU HAVE 80% OF YOUR BUSINESS IN NORTH AMERICA. GOOD PLACE TO BE RIGHT NOW WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON IN THE WORLD.
DORER: IT IS AND WE SEE PLENTY OF GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES IN NORTH AMERICA. WE ARE PROUD TO BE BASED IN NORTH AMERICA, AND THAT'S WHERE OUR STRENGTH IS. LIKE I SAID, INNOVATION IS REALLY HOW WE'RE GOING TO DRIVE OUR CATEGORIES. WE'RE SEEING SOME SIGNS OF LIFE IN OUR CATEGORIES MOST LATELY.
EISEN: INNOVATION. I KNOW ON CLEANING, ON WIPES. WHAT'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE FROM YOU?
DORER: BURT'S BEES IS AN AREA THAT WE ARE INVESTING IN VERY HEAVILY. AND ACROSS THE LIP, FACE, AND BODY PORTFOLIO. WE'RE DOING VERY WELL. WE'VE EXTENDED OUR LIP PORTFOLIO INTO COLOR. AN INNOVATION THAT'S BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL AND WE THINK THERE'S A LOT MORE ROOM TO GROW WITH BURT'S BEES.
EISEN: WITH SUCH A GOOD HANDLE ON NORTH AMERICA AND THE U.S., I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE STATE OF THE CONSUMER. IRENE ROSENFELD TOLD US THIS MORNING OF MONDELEZ THAT IT WAS VERY CHALLENGING AND CAUTIOUS. DO YOU AGREE?
DORER: IT IS CHALLENGING, BUT WE'RE SEEING SOME SIGNS OF LIFE. SO I WOULD ADD OPTIMISTIC TO THE CAUTIOUS. WE'RE CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISITC. WE'RE SEEING SOME GROWTH IN OUR CATEGORIES. OUR CATEGORIES HAVE GROWN ALMOST 2% IN THE LAST QUARTER. AND WE HOPE THAT THAT WILL CONTINUE AS CONSUMERS WILL SEE OIL AND GAS PRICES DECLINE.
EISEN: AND ALSO THE OIL FACTOR. I KNOW A LOT OF INVESTORS ARE ASKING ABOUT THIS TODAY. HOW MUCH DOES IT HELP YOU IN TERMS OF INPUT COSTS? YOU MAKE CHEMICALS AND BLEACH AND WIPES. SHOULDN'T THAT HELP THAT YOU ARE SEEING LOW OIL PRICES?
DORER: IN THE LAST QUARTER THAT ACTUALLY STILL WAS THE HEADWIND FOR US, BUT WE ARE EXPECTING THE LOWER OIL AND GAS PRICES TO FLOW THROUGH THE P&L LATER ON IN THE FISCAL YEAR. WE ARE OPTIMISTIC THAT IT WILL TURN INTO A TAILWIND LATER IN THE YEAR.
EISEN: ALRIGHT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. A PREVIEW OF WHAT WE CAN EXPECT THERE FROM BENNO DORER, THE BRAND NEW CEO OF CLOROX. BEEN ON THE JOB FOR A FEW MONTHS.
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