Colgate is a great company with a great track record. But surely a good asset is only good to invest in, if it is available at a reasonable price. A 30 or 32 PE is expensive. It includes lots of expectations of continued performance, which is not always sustainable. There is always the risk of expanded competition, regression to the mean and sectoral risks. An argument that 25 PE is the current global PE therefore 30 is ok, is not necessarily something that one ought to make. Surely, there is a 20(18?)% downside difference between 30 and 25, and in any case, the Global PE might be expensive too.
As an extension of the general argument of the FMCG business being expensive, consider P&GHH, or Unilever. They have even higher PE ratios than Colgate. What do you think of these stocks?
I think in the case of such steady performers, one needs to consider the historical mean PE's. There will be a regression to the mean, in case the current PE is either lower or higher than the historical mean PE, unless of course, something has fundamentally changed in the company.
I also fail to understand the point about the simplicity of the business. Is Colgate a simple easy to understand business, because it is consumer facing, and we use its products everyday? Or is it simple, because it is present is only one sector of the FMCG business (dental care)? Would you call an Unilever not simple and easy to understand, then?