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Kimberly Clark (KMB) Q1 2024 Earnings Call Transcript


KMB earnings call for the period ending March 31, 2024.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Kimberly Clark (KMB 5.46%)
Q1 2024 Earnings Call
Apr 23, 2024, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Kimberly Clark first quarter 2024 earnings call. At this time, all participants have been placed on a listen-only mode, and we will open the floor for your questions and comments after the presentation. It is now my pleasure to turn the floor over to your host, Chris Jakubik. Sir, the floor is yours.

Chris JakubikVice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, and hello, everyone. This is Chris Jakubik, head of investor relations at Kimberly Clark, and welcome to our Q&A session for our first quarter 2024 business update. During our remarks today, we will make some forward-looking statements that are based on how we see things today. Actual results may differ due to risks and uncertainties, and these are discussed in our earnings release and our filings with the SEC.

We will also discuss some non-GAAP financial measures today, and these non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered a replacement for and should be read together with GAAP results. And you can find the GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliations within our earnings release and the supplemental materials posted at investor.kimberly clark.com. Before we begin, I’m going to hand it to our chairman and CEO, Mike Hsu, for a few quick opening comments.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thank you, Chris. Hey, before we get into the Q&A, I would like to start by saying thank you to all my colleagues at Kimberly Clark who worked really diligently over the past few years to build our strong foundation and to deliver these Q1 results that provide a very good start to our next chapter of growth. Our strategy to elevate our categories with breakthrough innovation and expand our markets is working.

We are effectively navigating the ever-changing external dynamics of today’s new normal while driving our consumer-centric culture. We are making the company better, stronger, and faster. I’m very, very proud of our progress to date, and I’m confident that we’re going to continue to leverage our core strengths to achieve our potential. We are on an exciting path and are well-positioned to deliver durable growth and sustainable shareholder returns.

So, with that, I’d like to open it up for your questions.

Questions & Answers:

Operator

Certainly. Everyone, at this time, we’ll be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Your first question is coming from Bonnie Herzog from Goldman Sachs. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Bonnie.

Bonnie HerzogGoldman Sachs — Analyst

All right.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Hi, Bonnie.

Bonnie HerzogGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Good morning. Hope you’re all well. First, I have a quick question on your guidance. You reported a better-than-expected Q1, so curious to hear why you didn’t pass through the full Q1 beat.

And then also hoping, you know, for a little more color on the better-than-expected volume growth you saw in the quarter. You know, what were the key drivers behind this and, you know, ultimately, how sustainable is this moving forward? And, you know, curious, was there any pull forward, for instance, or should we expect to see continued volume improvements as the year progresses? Thank you.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Bonnie. Maybe I’ll start, and Nelson will talk about what we decided to pass through and our logic for that. But really, you know, I’m encouraged with our good start. You know, I think our organization is running very, very well in what we would call internally our new normal, right? And I think this is like the first year in a few that we’ve had kind of a stable business despite a lot of the geopolitical things that are going on.

So, you know, the underlying strength in the quarter was predicated on, you know, couple of good fundamental factors. One, better volume, which you observed, and there was no pull forward. And in fact, it was the opposite. We had an inventory — retail inventory reduction in the quarter, but kind of — I think the volume — the inherent strength in the consumption kind of overshot — overcompensated for that.

And so, I think that was part one. Also, the market shares are moving kind of in the right direction. So, I think we feel very good about the underlying volume momentum in the business. And then on top of that then, with a stable input cost environment, the productivity that was strong in the quarter tends to drop a little bit stronger through the bottom line.

And so, that’s the underlying kind of driver of our strong Q1. And we feel really great about it. The team has done a great job, you know, operating. You know, there are still a couple wars going on in the world, as you’re well aware.

Argentina has been very volatile, and our teams are doing a great job there. So, you know, we feel like we’re really running well in a new normal environment. Nelson.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Yeah. And just to add a few details on what happened in Q1, Bonnie. So, first, obviously, very pleased with the start of the year, and Q1 was particularly strong as we saw a significant benefit in China from our Chinese New Year execution; and particularly in March, I mean, the trends in the business continued. China grew volumes double digit in the quarter.

And in North America, in particular, as Mike said, while the trade destock happened as we had projected back in January, and just for perspective, total company, that was around 80 basis points of growth, that still — we came in March and had a much better consumption in the month in March, which flowed through in the quarter. So, that was the other bit on volume as we thought about what happened and reconciled the numbers for the quarter. Having said that, as we look at what’s going to happen in the balance of the year, a couple of things. One, as Mike said, we’re cautiously optimistic.

A few things that we’re all aware of is we still have geopolitical challenges underway and we have begun to see some of our commodities begin to uptick. Just for perspective, in the first quarter, we’ve seen how pulp and the fiber complex has increased, you know, in the single digits in the first quarter sequentially versus Q4. For perspective, in the full year, we now expect commodities to be — you know, the net input cost, the total basket to be around $250 million inflationary. So, we are taking that into account.

That’s within the range that we have provided back in January, but it’s still something that we’re watching. A couple of other things to keep in mind is that as we head into the back half of the year, we expect to see about an $0.08 headwind from the personal protective equipment divestiture in profit that’s built into our outlook, but that is something that we — that is new news versus the outlook we provided back in January. And the other bit to keep in mind is, you know, we will further step up investments as the year progresses. On a year-over-year basis, our advertising spend increased 50 basis points.

That was largely in line with what we had in Q4. And what we said at the beginning of the year is that as our innovation pipeline builds up, and that’s starting in Q2, we will further step up investments as the year progresses, and we expect it to be at around another 50 basis points for the balance of the year.

Bonnie HerzogGoldman Sachs — Analyst

All right. Thank you.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thanks, Bonnie.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question is coming from Anna Lizzul from Bank of America. Your line is live.

Anna LizzulBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Hi. Good morning and thank you for the question.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Anna.

Anna LizzulBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

I was wondering if you can comment on market share. A competitor mentioned a misstep on their part with a lack of innovation at the lower end of the pricing ladder in toilet paper, which caused some pressure there. So, I was wondering if that helped you to pick up share. And if you can comment on how you’re progressing in terms of market share also on a weighted category basis, that would be helpful.

And then as a follow-up, volumes were clearly better than expected despite some retail inventory reductions in the quarter that you had anticipated for Q1. So, I was just wondering to what extent this ended up impacting the quarter and how should we be thinking about it for the full year. Thank you.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Yeah. Anna, thanks for the question. Great question.

You know, market share, you know, I’m very encouraged. I think we’ve made very, very solid progress on overall market share. I expect further improvement in the year — as the year progresses. You know, overall in the quarter, we were up and even in just under 60% of our market category combinations.

Although, I would say also flat on a weighted basis. And we look at share in two ways on both metrics. Importantly, I’d say North America improving. North America was up or even in six of eight categories.

You know, we were soft in 2023, as you may recall. A lot of that was predicated on severe supply constraints that we had last year. And so, I think this was like maybe the second quarter that we’ve had in a row of unconstrained supply, and I think that kind of performance reflects our ability to ship product and kind of restore promotions. Just for reference, Kleenex in the quarter was up 400 basis points on share — or more than 400 basis points on share.

You know, what drove it? Well, we did have a new social media campaign around cold, flu, and allergy season, which, I think, has been very, very good. But the other part is we restored merchandising, which we had been off from for several months. And so, you know, again, I think our merchandising, we still plan — you know, we’re probably still under-indexed versus the overall category, but we’re just kind of returning to kind of normalized, you know, merchandising behavior. So, we feel good about our performance overall.

And again, market share in other markets like in China, we were up a couple of hundred basis points, and Huggies diapers had a very, very strong Chinese New Year execution. So, you know, volumes were up double-digit against the category that was still down about 10% in China. So, I think, overall, we’re feeling, you know, very optimistic about the performance of the business and feel good about the volume delivery of the business.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

And just to build on Mike’s point and to your question on what to expect on volumes for the balance of the year, as we said in January, I mean, 2024 should mainly reflect the pacing of our innovation pipeline and in-market programming. We still have the innovation and a lot of the programming coming into place as we go into Q2 and the second half of the year, hence why, from an overall perspective and volume plans, we don’t see any changes versus what we had planned back in January and, you know, taking into account the volume over delivery that we had in Q1.

Anna LizzulBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Thank you. Very helpful.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thanks, Anna.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question is coming from Lauren Lieberman from Barclays. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Lauren.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Hi, Lauren.

Lauren LiebermanBarclays — Analyst

Hey. Good morning. Hey, guys. So, the first thing I wanted to ask about was the productivity.

In the release or in the prepared remarks, you called out 120 million realized this quarter, and I was just curious how to think about that in the context of the 3 billion in productivity and also 200 million of SG&A savings that you articulated at the Investor Day. So, that’s just my first question.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

I’ll — Nelson will comment. I will say good start and we’re tracking well.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Yup. And then just to give a little bit of color on the 3 billion and the 200 million, Lauren. So, you know, overall, first, it’s based on the integrated margin management process that we unveiled in our Investor Day at the end of March. This is really giving us a new enterprisewide visibility, discipline, accountability end to end across the whole value chain.

And really, it’s about a focus on driving lower costs at a total delivered cost, which is a very different approach as what we had in the past and we’ve been working on it for the last year or so. As you said and we know, we had a strong start to the year on gross productivity. I’ll reiterate, this is nonprocurement-related savings, and that’s — this is the 120 million that we talked about in the release and in our prepared remarks. And we also had additional savings that were delivered from the procurement side of the house, and that’s embedded in our net input costs, which, again, were, you know, in net not that much of a headwind in the first quarter because of all these efforts.

As we think about the cadence and what we expect to have on the 3 billion, we’re off to a good start on that number, and we would expect that to be roughly about linear over the next few years as we deliver the whole 3 billion. In terms of the $200 million of SG&A savings, as a reminder, we will go live with our new operating model on October 1st of this year. So, we don’t expect much of that 200 million in savings in SG&A to materialize this year. That will really come into play more in 2025 and 2026.

But again, really good start to the year in productivity and procurement-related savings.

Lauren LiebermanBarclays — Analyst

OK. That’s awesome. So, just as a follow-up, on the SG&A side of things, what was interesting to see this quarter is that you saw pretty good operating leverage there because in the prepared remarks, also, you’ve called out a 50-basis-point increase in advertising as a percentage of sales this quarter, which implies some pretty, again, like I said, all solid operating leverage on SG&A, and that’s different than what we’ve seen, I guess, the last couple of years frankly. So, where do you stand, let’s call it, on sort of reinvestments? Because one of the things that struck me and in some of my follow-up conversations with people after the Investor Day was a lot of the things you talked about doing going forward.

A lot of questions I got from people were like, well, why haven’t they been doing it yet? And my thought was perhaps it’s been about investing to get the capabilities to be able to do these things going forward. So, is that a reasonable way of thinking about it? Is that reinvestment level kind of now — I don’t want to call it complete, but like where it needs to be such that we should see operating leverage on SG&A ex-advertising even before you start to get some of those — that $200 million in savings in ’25 and ’26?

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean, one, I’ll start Lauren, and — but one, we feel great about our investments in advertising, and, you know, I think we’re — you know, we’ve made significant progress. I think we’re up 200 basis points to 300 basis points since I became — came into this role. However, you know, I’d say we’re probably still underspent relative to our peer set.

And so, do we need — and I think I said this in Investor Day, I don’t know that we have to match them, right? But I would like to continue to increase our investment. I think you’re exactly right on kind of, hey — well, there’s two factors that kind of caused us to phase our investment. I would say, if you recall back in 2018, 2019, I did not feel like we had all the capability we needed to spend that significantly. And I think you may recall in some sessions we had or some calls, you know, people were asking, why didn’t you reset and invest harder? You know, at that point, I wasn’t confident in what the advertising was going to do, right? And so, in the last five years, I think we’ve really built what I would characterize as kind of world-class capability on the commercial fronts through the help of Alison, as you’re well aware.

And so, we’ve done that. We’ve made progress. So, that was one factor, we were building the capability. And right now, our returns on investment on our advertising, particularly on digital — and we’ve migrated from not having a whole lot of digital maybe five or 10 years ago to almost being entirely digital, and those returns are significantly higher that we’re driving now.

So, that’s one factor. The other big factor I think that people forget is, you know, we had two years of a super inflation cycle. We had more than — offset more than, you know, a full year of operating profit in that cycle. And so, we were busy doing — trying to recover margins as well.

And so, there was a lot going on, in addition to all the geopolitical issues that I think, Lauren, you’re really well aware of. So, there’s a lot of things going on. And so, we’re making steps in the right direction. We’re not all the way to where we want to be, but we think we can kind of manage the business in the right way to kind of deliver both, you know, a healthy top line, a healthy bottom line while continuing to invest in our business for the long term.

Lauren LiebermanBarclays — Analyst

OK. Great. Thanks so much.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question is coming from Nik Modi from RBC Capital Markets. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey. Good morning, Nik.

Nik ModiRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. Good morning. Just a quick clarification, if you could just provide context on the destocking in terms of where you saw it? And then the actual question is, you know, obviously, the feedback, broadly speaking, has been, you know, the consumer is under pressure.

Though your results today, obviously, you know, you seem to have outperformed a lot of that backdrop or commentary. So, just, Mike, would love to get your perspective on kind of category health, consumer health, kind of what you guys are seeing. I sense part of the guide, you know, and not flowing everything through is because maybe there is some uncertainty, but I’d love your thoughts on that.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Nik. Yeah. Great questions.

Yeah, we did see a retail inventory reduction in the first quarter, as expected, and we were given the heads-up on that. And so, we planned for it. It was about an 80-basis-point headwind to global and about 170 bips of North America sales. And so, you know, I’d say that the behavior is typical.

I don’t think it’s unusual. You know, we tend to see in that December-January time frame, you know, retailers trying to get a little more efficient with how much inventory they’re carrying. You know, we tend to be very, very efficient with retailers, and, you know, I think they like our logistic capability. And so, we’re kind of generally early adopters of all the new systems that retailers go on to kind of try to manage their inventories better.

So, we’re kind of on top of it. It’s been baked into our outlook for the full year. But I don’t know that I expect a whole lot different going forward, but it’s — you know, what we expected in Q1 did, in fact, happen. You know, I think I said earlier, our volume was a little bit stronger than we had anticipated, so, you know, more than fully offset that.

So, I think that was the first part. Is that enough — clear enough on your retail inventory part, Nik?

Nik ModiRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Yeah. And, Mike, I just — what — any specific categories you can call out? Was it fem care because that’s — P&G called that out, but I was just trying to get category perspective on the destock.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. You know, for us, across the board — and just to note, nothing unusual in our mind. It’s like typical for what we see every year. So, I think that’s part one.

I think your question on the consumer, I guess I would characterize, you know, the consumer environment overall for us globally, but especially in North America, as resilient, still bifurcating, but part of that bifurcating is actually adding a category growth as well. So, the category demand overall remains very, very robust. As you can see, in North America, our categories on average overall were up about 5% or mid-single digit. I think that — you know, as you all know, we make daily essentials, and so there is low substitution in our categories.

And so, I think that’s reflected in the overall category demand. Important to note, Nik, is premium continues to grow very, very robustly, especially in developed markets like the U.S., like in China, U.K., South Korea. But what’s also — you know, premium is growing in developing and emerging markets like Brazil. And so, we’re continuing to see that demand there.

That’s — that all said, you know, clearly, you know, I would say middle- to lower-income households, you know, look like they are — they’re becoming more stretched based on all the economic data we’re seeing. So, you know, I would say the bifurcation is I see a limited trade down in a few categories, notably, you know, adult care, some in household towels. But, you know, we have a very, very detailed tracker across every category. I think we’re tracking like nine different dimensions.

And, you know, I’d say, you know — so we’re very vigilant about, you know, monitoring that. You know, the thing about it is, you know, the trade down is limited at this point, but we really intend to be more valuable to our consumers at every rung of the good, better, best ladder. And so, what that means is, you know — I think, you know, Anna was asking about, you know, private label, you know, or value tier quality. I mean, we’re making all of our products better across the board.

And that certainly — you know, I think the growth driver for us over the long term is by making products better, premiumizing, elevating our categories. But, you know, we want to serve, you know, the value-oriented consumers well, too, and we have big brands like Scott, bath, and Kleenex mainline, Depend mainline that serves those consumers well, too.

Nik ModiRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Excellent. Thanks, Mike.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thanks, Nik.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question is coming from Chris Carey from Wells Fargo. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Chris.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Hey, Chris.

Chris CareyWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

Hey. Good morning. Just a couple follow-ups, just on China and the U.S., right? So, in China, clearly, good numbers, but I also think one of your peers delivered quite good numbers as well. And I guess the question in a way is, are we seeing the category churn in China, benefits from perhaps Chinese New Year? Or are you both just gaining relative market share? You know, clearly, it’s a strong number, so I’m just trying to understand this, you know, like a bit deeper I guess.

And then secondly, on the U.S., it’s really the same question on relative outperformance to category. And I know you’ve mentioned it a bit more, and I’m more interested in the China comment, but if you can just expand there because that stood out to me as well. Thanks.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I’ll start on China. You know, again, if you kind of saw the Investor Day presentation with, you know, Katie’s leadership, our China team is doing a fantastic job there, and they’ve grown, you know, consistently double digits over the past five years, and it’s become, you know, one of our best-performing businesses in the company. I would say the — I think the driver of performance, there’s a couple of factors.

Certainly, a strong Chinese New Year execution. But overall, we make a great product. I believe it’s the best product in the marketplace. I think consumers are excited about the products that we offer.

And then we have really, really strong digital executions that really kind of drive that relationship with consumers. And so, you know, to answer your question, I think it’s more of a share pickup. The category itself, based on the data I’m seeing, was still down about 10% in the quarter, consistent with the birthrate trends and everything else we’re seeing. So, it’s a share pickup.

And, you know, I’ll point out, you know, we’re the market leader in China, we — but that’s predicated we’re only at, I would say, a mid to high teens share at this point. And so, we feel very good about our positions, but it’s a fragmented category, and so there’s a lot of opportunity for us to, you know, drive further share growth in the market. You know, importantly, I think, for us, you know, we’re also picking up on, you know, our mainstream business. And, you know, part of the strategy when I say, hey, we want to be great at every tier or every rung of the good, better, best ladder, you know, we want to accelerate innovation at the top end and then cascade that, you know, quickly through our line.

And so, we’re doing that, and I think, you know, we’re seeing that in the results in China, for sure, and, you know, similarly in the U.S.

Chris CareyWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

And then if I could, just one follow-up would be, clearly, you know, pulps are on the move. You know, it’s a bit more on the front end of the curve than in the back half of year 2025. But this is going to be perhaps the first moment to really kind of show the ability to work through this cycle. Just any thoughts on, you know, the moves that you’re seeing and, you know, the types of actions that you might defer to if these, you know, moves proved durable and even accelerate, you know, between pricing, productivity, and whether you see any potential kind of margin issues on the horizon or if this feels very much, you know, manageable at this point.

Thanks.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I’m going to start with — and Nelson could disagree with me if you want, Nelson, but I would say manageable at this point because here’s — you know, I said, hey, new normal. You know, I think this is, you know, what I’d characterize as a more normal year for a CPG for the first time in the last three or four years for us, which is, hey, a stable input cost environment. It’s still not deflationary. At some point, you know, one would hope that it becomes deflationary.

But, you know, I’d say, hey, you know, it’s slightly inflationary but relatively stable. That’s different than the past three or four years for us. And so, you know, I think, for us, you know, we have very good productivity plans. And so, if the costs remain — input costs remain stable, we can operate very, very well in a stable cost environment and let that productivity drop through.

So, that’s one part. And then the other part of the normal is, you know, I think with — there’s been a lot of volatility in demand with COVID and everything else over the past few years. You know, I think we’re starting to see demand stabilize. And so, with those two factors, you know, I think we can operate well.

We’re very cognizant. And Nelson will talk about it that we’re — you know, there are some demand signals around different pulp environmental changes, but, you know, we’re well aware of that and we think we have that accounted for in our current call. But, Nelson.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Sure. So, just to build on what Mike was saying, Chris, so a few things. You know, I’ll start with we’ve built significant capabilities over the last five years in order for us to be able to maneuver through the ups and downs. Obviously, if we have a shock like what we saw two or three years ago, that’s a different situation that we’d have to maneuver through.

But as Mike said and as we’ve said back in January, we see the situation as manageable. To reiterate, I mean, when we talked in January, we talked about $200 million to $250 million of net input costs, all in. That included currency, other costs, as well as commodities, which we still see as deflationary for the full year for us. Now, on that range, we’re now staring at the high end of that range, which, again, we see as manageable, as Mike said.

A couple of things to keep in the back of your mind as you look at the numbers. Core commodities like pulp, resin-based materials, energy in dollar terms, while they’re a little bit more unfavorable today versus what we were seeing back in January because we’re seeing some upticks, still for the full year, they would remain a tailwind. We continue to see distribution, logistics, and labor costs as inflationary for the year. And then obviously, for non-U.S.

operations, currency will be a headwind in costs because they’re buying pulp and many of the inputs that they use to manufacture the product is in hard currency. So, on a net basis, that’s how we get there. The thing to also keep in mind is that we expect the phasing of our input cost inflation to be more muted in the first half of the year. And this follows the trend that we saw in Q3 and Q4 of 2023 that would carry over pretty much through Q2.

And we’ll see an uptick of this as we go into the back half of the year. But again, it’s all factored into our outlook, and the only difference is, really, we’re more at the high end than the range that we had given before.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Chris, just to calibrate you, I think Nelson like — when we’re looking at a couple hundred million of inflationary impact, you know, just to calibrate you, in 2021 and 2022, you know, we took on 1.6 billion and 1.7 billion, respectively. So, you know, I would say that’s kind of why we feel like it’s — that’s one reason why we feel like it’s more manageable. The scale is totally different.

And then the other thing is, as Nelson points out, we’ve changed how we manage the business, in some ways, to try to become a little more predictable, and we have better tools than we had maybe five years ago. And so —

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Totally. And just to build on Mike’s point on the tools, as a reminder, I mean, we have a very strong pipeline of productivity initiatives. We’re looking out three years, and I’ve been chatting about this for the last few quarters. That pipeline remains strong.

You would have seen that nonprocurement-related productivity was very strong getting out of the year, and the team is very confident in our ability to continue to deliver not just in this year but in the following two or three years, which builds on our ability to deliver on the 3 billion commitment of overall productivity — gross productivity in the next five years or so. So, that’s built into how we’re looking into cost and inflation for the next few quarters.

Chris CareyWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

Thank you very much. Very helpful.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thanks, Chris.

Operator

Thank you. Your next question is coming from Steve Powers from Deutsche Bank. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Steve.

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Good morning. Thank you. Hey, two questions if I could. The first one builds on the conversation you’re just having with Chris around, you know, commodities and managing it through the cycle.

You know, I guess I’m curious as to, you know, the steps you’ve taken to better maneuver through input cost cycles and essentially better protect this year, you know, does that include, you know, different ways of sourcing and contracting and hedging that, in effect, pushes out, you know, the cost curve as we would typically know it for Kimberly Clark? I guess what I’m thinking about is that, you know, in the past, if we saw reinflation like we have year to date, we’d be thinking about that kind of flowing through and impacting, you know, the latter third, latter quarter of the current fiscal year, kind of a six month — maybe, you know, six- to nine-month lag. It sounds now like you’ve got better visibility. I’m wondering on how much of that is just pushed out that reinflation into ’25.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, maybe I’ll say a couple things. You know, one, Steve, is, you know, I think the analyst committee — community and the investor community, I think, made very clear to me when I came into this role that, you know, one of their — one of the issues they had with our — with KMB is, you know, the earnings volatility. And so, I’ve been very cognizant of that fact. And so, we’ve, over the past five years, kind of worked, you know, significantly — you know, worked pretty hard to kind of reduce some of the underlying volatility in our business.

Nelson, you know, with an outside perspective, has really, you know, worked hard to bring some different kinds of tools into our thinking. And so, we’ve, you know, been applying that over the last couple of years. And so, you know, we feel very good about that. You know, certainly, you know, there is inherent volatility in our business, certainly in pulp.

You know, one would think at some point with the super cycle of inflation that we have on pulp, it’s still elevated, and at some point, it needs to come back down. History would say it’s going to come back down further. That said, I think we’ve built the right tools, and, Nelson, you may comment about, you know, what we’re doing there.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Sure thing. And just to build, I mean, the integrated margin management approach, Steve, that we — we’ve been working on for the last year or so really addresses part of this volatility. It is end to end, as we chatted in March 27th. And it looks at all the elements that drive total delivered cost, as well as margins.

And it starts with we’ve been building muscle around revenue growth management, and that’s very important. Price pack architectures, what kind of price packs do we have for the different channels and how do we tackle that, including promo, activity, etc., which is very important across all the geographies we work in. Secondly are the tools that Mike was talking about on how do we handle costs. We don’t reveal what are the contract structures that we have in place or the hedging activities, but we obviously have gotten into much more proactive risk management to be able to have visibility into costs and give us time to react.

And what do we react with? We react with productivity initiatives and elements of revenue growth management. That’s the — that’s a big difference on how we were approaching it, you know, five years ago. And we’ve been building that muscle over time, and that’s then drives into this visibility into the productivity element, which, right now, we’ve split it and we’re being very clear of this is the productivity within the four walls, that’s the 120 million that we talked about; and then we have productivity in procurement, which is embedded in our net input costs. And that clearly gives accountability across the supply chain on how to drive lower total delivered costs or at least manage through the margins.

So, yes, I’d say it’s muscle we’ve been building over the last five years, as Mike said. And obviously, we’re not going to be immune to moves in commodities, but the visibility we have today, the ability to react is different than what we had in the past.

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Yeah. OK. That’s very helpful. And this answer to the next question may be short.

If you’ve already addressed it, you can tell me to just go read the transcript afterwards. I joined late, I apologize. But in the —

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

We would never be that rude, Steve.

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

In the prepared remarks, you mentioned a private — you know, plans to exit some private label businesses. I know those plans are still, you know, kind of under construction, but you did make mention of it with some impacts in ’25. If you could — if anything further you can say on that today, that’d be great. Thank you.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Just to be clear, Steve, that question was not asked. So, it was a great question.

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

OK.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

All right. Hey, just on that, yeah, I did want to flag that we are — you know, strategically, let me just tell you, you know, we’re focusing on differentiating our brands with proprietary science-based innovation. That was kind of the big theme that we shared with you all at our Investor Day. You know, just to give you some context, today — or last year, private label production represented about 4% of our global sales.

And so, what we announced today, you know, we’ll likely cut that in half by the end of 2025. The thing I’ll say is — and it takes two parties to make a decision, so I won’t get into any specifics, but I would say, you know, on our end, you know, as you think about what we say is, you know, science is our competitive advantage. The investments we’re making in our new personal care core technology that resides in our diapers and our feminine care pads and our adult care, also to get to Natural Forest Free, all that development, that’s all going to take some pretty chunky capital. And so, we are making significant technology and capacity investments.

And so, we really want to be more choiceful as we go forward about where we spend that capital. And so, that’s really kind of, you know, underlying some of that decision-making. You know, these decisions are going to enable us to focus our tech investment on what we see as our greater strategic priorities. And I might note, you know, our exposure to private label, you know, could decrease further over time.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

And just to add further color on what we would expect from a bottom-line standpoint, Steve, it should be consistent with what you’re seeing in the top line. And then obviously, we’re working through supply chain transition, repurposing, and related cost opportunities within the context of our whole network optimization initiative, which is one of our three strategies in the supply chain strategy that we unveiled at Investor Day. We will have more to say as we go into 2025 guidance period.

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

OK. That’s good color. Thank you, both.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thanks, Steve.

Chris JakubikVice President, Investor Relations

If we could take maybe one more question, that’d be great.

Operator

Certainly. Your next question is coming from Javier Escalante from Evercore. Your line is live.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Javier —

Javier EscalanteEvercore ISI — Analyst

Hey.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

How are you?

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Hey, Javier.

Javier EscalanteEvercore ISI — Analyst

Hello. Yeah, good morning, everyone. I do have kind of like a quick clarification to Lauren’s questions first because it’s in the context of guidance versus what is incremental in terms of the restructuring and whether — it seems as if to me from the outside is kind of like coming through earlier. So, basically, the $120 million in savings that you flagged, are they part of the 3 billion that you spoke of a month ago or not? And then we can address the other piece if you don’t mind.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Yeah, the short answer, Javier, is yes, it is part. We said that our new chapter started in Q1 of this year, and that’s part of the five years commitment to deliver that. The 120 million is part of that. And then there’s an element of procurement savings that we’re not disclosing today.

We are committed to disclosing the entire savings, including procurement, annually, so that you’d get a perspective of how we’re tracking against the 3 billion that we committed to.

Javier EscalanteEvercore ISI — Analyst

So, congratulations on the very early start because I also see that the October — the new organization is starting in October. I thought that it would be something of 2025. So, if that’s all true, right, if savings are coming through earlier, why is it that the guidance — and the other thing that I get from your transcript prepared remarks is that revenue realization, faster. So, you have faster revenue realizations from forex, right? You have faster savings coming from — and they are sizable, right, $3 billion coming from the restructuring.

So, I understand that you want to be conservative, but, you know, if we take you literally, the numbers for the balance of the year needs to come down. Is that where you want in terms of consensus to look like, very simple?

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I’ll just start. You know, Javier, you know, I’d say, hey, we’re still early in the year, and we feel really good about our start. We feel very confident in our performance this year. But that said, there’s — as Nelson pointed out in his remarks and in our prepared remarks, there’s still a lot of uncertainty out in the world right now, both in terms of the geopolitical situation and the effects that could have on global demand but also, as you’ve heard just on the last few questions, on the input cost environment.

And so, you know, I probably would say, yeah, we’re taking a, you know, prudent approach to making our call but certainly, you know, encouraged by our start to the year and, you know, would love to, you know, drive to a very strong result this year. But, Nelson.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Yeah. And just to build on Mike’s point, Javier, I mean, a couple of things. We’re focused obviously on margin trajectory over time. And margins will move quarter to quarter, and they have to do with country and category mix, timing of our innovation pipeline, as well as changes in absolute productivity delivery.

Productivity delivery is not linear. I mean, the timing of when projects come online and how quickly we can realize the benefits, we have an estimate, but again, you got to get them through. We have a full outlook for the year, and that’s embedded there. And we’re very encouraged by how the whole year started, but we have a lot of activities still coming our way, including a very strong innovation pipeline for which we’re going to be putting back money into the business.

We’re going to be stepping up investments at least 50 basis points for the balance of the year. And if we see opportunities to invest more in the business and more in our transformation to accelerate it, we will. So, we’re taking all that into account and also take into consideration the sale of our PPE business, which we’ve built into the forecast, which is about a headwind of $0.08 for the balance of the second half of the year.

Javier EscalanteEvercore ISI — Analyst

Well, I would take it that it’s conservative guidance. Thank you very much. OK.

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Javier.

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Thanks, Javier.

Chris JakubikVice President, Investor Relations

Great. Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us today. For those of you who have follow-up questions, you know, Aishwarya and myself will certainly be available for follow-ups. So, thanks again, and we look forward to seeing you going forward.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 0 minutes

Call participants:

Chris JakubikVice President, Investor Relations

Mike HsuChairman and Chief Executive Officer

Bonnie HerzogGoldman Sachs — Analyst

Nelson UrdanetaChief Financial Officer

Anna LizzulBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Lauren LiebermanBarclays — Analyst

Nik ModiRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Chris CareyWells Fargo Securities — Analyst

Steve PowersDeutsche Bank — Analyst

Javier EscalanteEvercore ISI — Analyst

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