This ought to make some people pretty happy. On Thursday, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all businesses in that state that aren’t “life-sustaining” to close.
But, as Procter & Gamble is quick to point out, that order did not include a plant the giant CPG company operates there.
That plant manufactures Charmin toilet paper, the nation’s best-selling brand. At a time Americans for some reason just can’t seem to get enough TP, news that the plant is officially exempted from the Pennsylvania order is, well, a relief.
Damon Jones, P&G’s newly named chief communications officer, told the Cincinnati Business Courier, “Our manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mehoopany, Pa., remain open as we work to serve consumers through this crisis. The order from the Pennsylvania governor specified industries which will remain open, including ours.”
The plant is P&G’s largest manufacturing site in the U.S. and also produces Bounty towels and Luvs and Pampers disposable diapers.
“We are producing and shipping P&G Family Care products, including Charmin, at record high levels,” said Loren Fanroy, spokeswoman for Charmin and Puffs brands, in a statement made in response to a Marketing Daily query.
“Demand continues to outpace supply, but we are working diligently to get product to our retailers as fast as humanly possible. . . . [W]e remain focused on making sure our products are available when and where people shop during this highly dynamic situation.”
Pennsylvania's list of businesses it deems not to be life-sustaining is long. It includes construction and the manufacturing of many types of goods from appliances to automobiles and boats. P&G is exempted under the category of “converted paper product manufacturing.”
Other P&G facilities nationwide are also still operating. Earlier in the week, P&G assured that “we are monitoring COVID-19 closely, from both a holistic employee and a business perspective.... our priority is keeping our employees safe."
Making the announcement that the Pennsylvania plant
would remain open, P&G’s Jones snuck in a plug for P&G’s new Microban 24 sanitizing products used at the plant to keep things clean.
That the Charmin
plant will roll on is a light-hearted indicator of what analysts think is P&G’s relatively strong position in the COVID-19 crisis. It’s seen as a defensive buy as Wall Street roils.
Consumers will still need Dawn and Tide and Gillette blades -- and Charmin toilet tissue.
On March 17, Deutsche Bank upgraded P&G stock from a “hold” to a “buy,” noting that over the last month up to that time, P&G stock was down “only” 14%, while the S&P 500 was down 29%.