Sales were up 6.2% on the first three months of the previous year. This is a significant increase, as it marks the ninth consecutive quarter of growth after a painful decade of stagnation.

Indeed, free cash flow per share reached $3.7 in 2023, compared with $2.8 in 2014. On average, therefore, it has grown by just 2.8% a year over the past decade - and even this gain was only made possible by sustained share buy-backs.

The stagnation of the company's valuation was therefore hardly surprising, until the beginning of 2024, when the share price took off with the return of sales growth.

Despite the strength of its two flagship brands, Colgate operates in an ultra-competitive market in which all the major consumer goods groups are equally involved. As a result, Colgate's pricing power was limited until the recent wave of inflation, which the Group took full advantage of.

Organic growth reached 9.8% in the first quarter of 2024, fueled almost entirely by price increases of 8.5% - and a 1.3% rise in volumes. In the end, sales rose by "only" 6.2%, due to an unfavorable currency effect that reduced sales by 3.6%.

Colgate remains valued at twenty-five times free cash flow, in line with its ten-year average. Despite limited growth potential and a modest dividend, it is remarkable that the share price has not been adversely affected by concerns about rising interest rates.

This resilience reflects the genuine blue chip status that investors continue to give the Group and its stock.