CINCINNATI -- Now that Procter & Gamble and Nelson Peltz have settled their differences by agreeing to add the hedge fund investor to the board, can everyone just concentrate on making the company better?
The Cincinnati-based maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers will update investors Tuesday about its ongoing turnaround efforts as it reports its second-quarter results.
While Peltz won't take his board seat until March, investors are already looking for the "Peltz effect."
Peltz, who has advocated cost cuts and break-ups at other companies, loomed large without saying a word last week as General Electric's CEO John Flannery floated the possibility of splitting up the struggling corporate giant. Like P&G soon will, the Boston-based conglomerate has a Peltz representative on the board.
But local analysts caution P&G investors may have seen all there is from Peltz – for now.
"I don’t expect any sign of Peltz’s influence – after a hard-fought seat for the board, I think P&G and Peltz will be friendly," said Andy Stout, managing director of investments at Simply Money in Symmes Township in suburban Cincinnati. "However, if there isn’t improvement in the next couple of quarters, I believe the Peltz camp will be very vocal for change."
Kyle Moore, portfolio manager at RiverPoint Capital Management, agreed.
"P&G is under a whole lot of pressure to deliver improved results, but they get it and they've got some momentum," Moore said. "Nelson Peltz is going to spend the early part of his time on the board playing nice and trying to win allies."
While the possibility of splitting GE apart sent shockwaves, including to Evendale in suburban Cincinnati where GE Aviation is based, Moore added GE is in worse shape than P&G.
Moore said P&G has already jettisoned struggling business units and cut more than a quarter of its workforce since 2012. GE has sold off some business but bought new problematic ones, keeping employment around 300,000 worldwide over the last five years.
"P&G has already seen the doctor and is taking medicine. GE is still in the waiting room," Moore said.
Analysts will be looking for continuing progress from P&G.
Specifically, analysts hope P&G will benefit from an expected shopping rebound at retailers such as Walmart and Kroger. They also hope P&G sales in China keep improving.
P&G's grooming segment is still expected to be a drag on results after the company slashed prices in a bid to win back Gillette razor customers its lost to digital competitors, such as Harry's and Dollar Shave Club.
Peltz has already affected P&G's stock.
P&G's stock price surged above $90 from mid-July to mid-October after Peltz announced and then waged his proxy fight for a seat on the board of directors. Shares lost nearly $5 apiece after Peltz lost in the initial shareholder count, but rebounded after a new count indicated he won.
Wall Street analysts expect P&G to report a $3.1 billion profit before one-time items for the quarter ended Dec. 31, according to Zacks Research. The company is also expected to notch $17.3 billion in sales.
Last year for the same period, P&G generated a $7.9 billion profit on $16.9 billion of sales. Results were boosted by a $5.3 billion windfall from the sale of 40 beauty brands, including Covergirl makeup.