Colgate-Palmolive, the toothpaste and soap maker, will suffer a one-off $120m loss as a result of Venezuela’s currency devaluation, which is also posing a threat to the earnings of other US and European multinationals. The Venezuelan government said it would devalue its currency by 32 per cent on Friday in a long-expected move to alleviate a growing fiscal deficit and shortages of foreign currency.
The official exchange rate for Venezuela’s bolívar is expected to move from 4.3 per dollar to 6.3 per dollar on February 13. Colgate, which gets roughly 5 per cent of its sales from Venezuela, said on Monday that the $120m post-tax loss would result from the translation of its financial statements at the new rate. Its shares fell 0.2 per cent to $108.29 on Monday.
Procter & Gamble, a Colgate rival with a Venezuelan business, said: “We’re looking at the impact and evaluating it.” Avon, the door-to-door cosmetics group that operates in the country, declined to comment ahead of its earnings on Tuesday.
Edenred, a French catering and services business, said on Monday the devaluation would reduce its 2013 revenue by 1.3 per cent and cut its earnings before interest and tax for the year by 2.4 per cent.
Multinationals are already facing restrictions on repatriating dividends, which were introduced in 2009 and have left some $13bn in dividends trapped in the country, according to Asdrubal Oliveros, a local economist. If the dividends are recognised at the new exchange rate, their dollar value would fall by some $4.1bn.
The Venezuelan operations of several Spanish companies leave them exposed to the devaluation, including Telefónica, the telecoms group, and BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank by assets. Other multinationals with Venezuelan operations include the oil groups Chevron, Repsol, Statoil and Eni, consumer goods groups Kimberly-Clark, Kraft and Diageo, and Cargill, the commodities trader.
Colgate’s expected loss...