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Citrus Hill Squeezed Out of Juice Business : Beverages: Procter & Gamble will drop its pure juice brand and focus on juice drink products.

September 18, 1992|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble Co. said Thursday that it is closing its Citrus Hill orange juice division, ending a decade-long effort to squeeze its way into the pure fruit juice business.

Chairman and Chief Executive Edwin Artzt said the company decided to quit the 100% juice business after it started slowly and was unable to gain on its two main rivals, Seagram Co. Ltd.'s Tropicana and Coca-Cola Co.'s Minute Maid.

"You can't make money in a business if your primary entry is a No. 3 brand, and you can't have a market leader if you don't have a competitive advantage," he said. "We just didn't have it and couldn't get it."

P&G introduced Citrus Hill in the fall of 1982 and has waged a heated battle with rival juice makers in an effort to make a profit with its heavily promoted juice brand.

The company said it will also sell its remaining three pure juice brands--Speas Farm apple juice, Texsun orange and grapefruit juices and Lincoln apple juice.

P&G said its decision "enables it to focus on the rapidly growing juice drinks business--a $10-billion world market--where our results are strong and prospects are bright."

Artzt predicted improved earnings and higher capital spending at the Cincinnati-based consumer product giant. P&G makes a myriad of household-name products, such as Tide detergent, Ivory soap, Pampers, Crest toothpaste, Pepto-Bismol and Pringles potato chips.

"Earnings are going to go up," Artzt said.

P&G stock rose 37.5 cents to $48.875 on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.

P&G earned $2.62 a share in fiscal 1992, which ended in June. Analysts, on average, estimate that it will earn $2.90 a share in fiscal 1993.

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