NEW YORK (AP) — Venezuela's move to devalue its currency will likely raise prices in the country and will hurt operations for some U.S. companies that do business there.
Announced Friday, the devaluation pushed up the price of the dollar against the bolivar by 46.5 percent. The devaluation, the first announced by President Hugo Chavez's government since 2010, could help ease a difficult budget outlook for the government. The move helps Venezuela gain more from its dollar-denominated oil sales. But economists predict higher inflation and a likely continuation of shortages of some staple foods.
Colgate-Palmolive Co., a U.S. maker of consumer goods such as Colgate toothpaste, SpeedStick deodorant and Irish Spring soap, warned that the devaluation will cost it $120 million this year.
The situation in Venezuela may keep Colgate-Palmolive and consumer-goods conglomerate Procter and Gamble Co. from reaching their profit targets, said BMO Capital Markets analyst Connie Maneaty in a client note Monday.
Morgan Stanley estimated that about 5 percent of both Colgate-Palmolive and makeup seller Avon Products Inc.'s revenues come from Venezuela. It also represents about 2.5 percent of ketchup company H. J. Heinz Co.'s revenue and about 2 percent of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s revenue, Morgan Stanley said.
Halliburton Co., an oilfield services company, said Monday that the move would cost it $30 million in the first quarter of this year.
Sterne Agee analyst Stephen Gengaro said he views the loss as a one-time occurrence and backed his "Buy" rating for Halliburton. He added that fellow oil services companies such as Baker Hughes Inc., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. could also be affected, though it's tough to say how much.
Gengaro noted that when Venezuela devalued its currency in 2010, Weatherford took the most significant hit with a $40 million after-tax charge, while Schlumberger said the move didn't have a significant impact on its finances.
In afternoon trading, Colgate-Palmolive shares fell 7 cents to $108.42, while P&G rose 15 cents to $75.90. Avon rose 41 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $17.26; Heinz shares were flat at $60.91; and Goodyear shares rose 20 cents to $13.79.
Halliburton fell 42 cents to $40.84; Baker Hughes lost 20 cents to $45.45; Schlumberger dropped $1.08 to $77.99; and Weatherford fell 38 cents, or 3 percent, to $12.92.