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Chattem is a Chattanooga, Tennessee, producer and marketer of over-the-counter healthcare products, toiletries, dietary supplements, topical analgesics, and medicated skin care products. Originally named the Chattanooga Medicine Company, the company’s brand portfolio holds twenty-two brands including Gold Bond, Flexall, IcyHot, Bullfrog Sunblock, Sun-In, Pamprin, Dexatrim, Aspercreme, and Selsun Blue. Two-thirds of Chattem’s products are produced by the company at its Chattanooga production facilities with the remaining produced by third-party producers. The company is a subsidiary of the French multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
The company’s brands are sold nationally through mass merchandiser, drug and food retailers. In 2005, 70% of all sales by the firm were made through its top ten customers, which include Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Kroger. Sales to Wal-Mart constituted 36% of Chattem’s total sales in 2005. Chattem supports these sales with a forty-five-person sales force broadcast media advertising. Chattem has market penetration in the United States, Europe, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Chattem was founded by Zeboim Cartter Patten as the Chattanooga Medicine Company in 1879. The company incorporated in 1909 and has remained in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to this day. The firm adopted Chattem as its name and went public in 1969. Chattem’s top and bottom lines grew significantly from 1989 through 1992. The source of this growth was the company’s strategy of purchasing under-marketed consumer brands and aggressively marketing those already in its portfolio. In 1993, Chattem experienced a 14% decline in sales as a result of the loss of Warner-Lambert’s Rolaids business. To fund a one-time special dividend in 1994, $75 million in high-yield bonds were issued.