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Colgate To Buy Maker of Murphy Oil Soap

July 2, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumer products giant Colgate-Palmolive Co. agreed Tuesday to buy Murphy- Phoenix Co., the Cleveland-based maker of Murphy Oil Soap.

Colgate said it planned to increase sales of the nation’s leading wood cleaning product by boosting marketing efforts in the U.S. and overseas.

Reuben Mark, Colgate chief executive, said the product’s prospects for international expansion were considerable. Annual sales of Murphy Oil Soap currently range between $45 million and $50 million, he said.

Tuesday’s transaction was subject to various conditions including government approval. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Colgate’s international sales have been the company’s major growth area. In the first quarter, worldwide sales grew 11 percent, paced by particularly strong growth in Germany, Scandanavia, Spain and Portgual. Sales were essentially flat in the United States.

New York-based Colgate-Palmolive is a $5.7 billion congolmerate that makes and sells products in 160 countries. Its brands include Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dishwashing liquid, Ajax cleaner, Fab detergent and Irish Spring soap.

Murphy-Pheonix also manufacturers and sells a line of industrial products. The Murphy family will continue to own and operate some of the industrial businesses.

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