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P&G To Prioritize FY13 Spending On Core Businesses -CFO

By Paul Ziobro Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) pledged to stabilize its largest, most profitable businesses before spending any money on further emerging market expansion, where Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said the company may have been overzealous in chasing growth. Moeller laid out a strategy to prioritize spending in its upcoming fiscal year in its 40 largest business lines--P&G says it operates in over 1,000 country-category combinations--that are mainly in North America and China. The product lines, which include business like razor blades, laundry and diapers in North America, make up about 50% of P&G's sales. "We will not spend a dollar outside these core businesses until we are broadly sufficient to win in these markets," Moeller said at a Citigroup conference Wednesday. "We're focusing on the health and competitiveness of our core business." The move appears to heed calls from investors to at least partially abandon P&G's current strategy of trying to push into more markets to get its vast portfolio of everyday goods into the hands of more people, and focus more on its core business lines. P&G sales are growing much faster in emerging markets, but those sales are generally less profitable than those in developed markets. Moeller said that P&G may have been better served by a more measured pace of growth in emerging markets. "We may have overextended ourselves a bit with our pace of expansions," he said. Moeller said that once P&G determines that its core businesses are in a position to grow, it will turn toward investing in the rest of the portfolio, starting with 10 emerging markets that have the most promise. P&G still expects either high-single or low double-digit growth from its emerging markets businesses, offsetting weakness in developed markets. On those largest business lines, P&G says it is looking at whether it needs to lower prices in areas, much like it recently did on oral care, razor blade and dishwashing detergent in North America, and laundry in a couple other countries. "We will not lose share because prices are too high," Moeller said. "We're closely monitoring a few additional situations and adjust as necessary." P&G shares fell 1.6% in recent trading to $62.17. The world's largest consumer-products company is currently undertaking a $10 billion restructuring program that will last four years. -By Paul Ziobro, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2194; paul.ziobro@dowjones.com; Twitter: @pziobro

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