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Company Interview Excerpt
NEIL DEFEO - PLAYTEX PRODUCTS INC (PYX)


Full article published: 04/06/2005


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TWST: Would you begin with an overview of Playtex Products?
Mr. DeFeo: Playtex is largely a US-based personal care products company with businesses in three core categories ' Infant Care, Sun Care, and Feminine Care. Also, in addition to these categories, we have several other smaller or minor brands. Our business is sold largely through the channels you would expect, mass merchandisers, drugstores, food and grocery stores, and also specialty retailers. The company dates back to the early 1930s, when we were originally formed as a latex company. We made plastic gloves. In fact, during World War II, we had one of the world's largest supplies of latex and helped the government. We then morphed into a consumer products company, and we had a lot of different products, including apparel products. In the 1980s, the apparel business was spun off. Now it is owned by Sara Lee, and we became a personal care products company again, which is what we are today.

TWST: In general terms, what is going on in that marketplace at this point?
Mr. DeFeo: The personal care market is a very competitive marketplace, but that is true today of most of American business. Each segment has its different dynamics. Let's look, for example, at the Infant Care business which is a growing category. It is dominated by products that are innovative and meet the needs of young mothers. Playtex is the number one brand in this category. We have the number one bottle-feeding systems, which include both disposable bottles and reusable bottles. And we built that number one position over a number of years by bringing innovation to the market. In this particular segment of the category, what the consumer wants is the ability to feed their baby, their infants, in a way most like natural breastfeeding and with minimal discomfort to the baby ' without problems such as air and burping. And also, they want to be able to, because we have a lot of working women, move from bottle feeding to actual breastfeeding, and so the nipples need to be designed in such a way that they complement the breastfeeding and that the infant finds them interchangeable. So we are the market leader in this subcategory. We also have in our infant products a wonderful product called Diaper Genie, which for the past seven or eight years has been among the must-have products, according to American Baby, for new mothers and is the number one purchased baby shower product in America. We also have soothing products, which are of course pacifiers and related products, and cups, which is another segment that we have been a historical leader in and innovator in.

 

Tickers included in this excerpt: PYX

 

For more information call (212) 952 7433. The Wall Street Transcript does not endorse any of the comments made by interviewees, and does not make stock recommendations.