Four-blade razor champion Schick, an Energizer Holdings
Don't laugh. The stakes are high. Razors and blades are a $6 billion worldwide market, and Gillette is the undisputed market leader.
Since its launch in September, Quattro has been the #1 selling razor in the U.S. That's not wholly unexpected given Schick's relentless promotion. The real proof will come when razor blade sales are announced for the first quarter 2004.
And Gillette is not standing still. While the judge was stealing the headlines yesterday, Gillette was introducing its new vibrating Mach3 razor -- which comes with a Gillette-made Duracell battery to boot. (Whether men want their razor to vibrate remains to be seen.)
You may recall that Schick came to Energizer by way of Pfizer
Overall, Energizer's operating margins are very similar to competitor Rayovac's (ROV) -- 13.4% versus 13.5%. However, both pale when compared to Gillette's 22.4% margins. Then again, Gillette sells at a premium 24 times trailing earnings while Energizer trades at 19 times.
And yet, that's nearly 35% higher than where it opened in January 2003, and just below a 52-week and all-time high. If you ask us, investors are looking for Energizer to nick some Gillette market share. If it doesn't, the next nick may be to Energizer's stock price.
W.D. Crotty has had a few close shaves in the stock market over the years. You can e-mail W.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org or talk about investments with other investors at the Motley Fool discussion boards. For a 30-day free trial click here.