Colgate-Palmolive, the world's largest toothpaste maker, plans to lay off 4,400 people over the next four years.

That would cut Colgate's 37,000-person workforce by about 12 percent. 

Company officials say they will close about one-third of their 78 factories worldwide.

Colgate says it will tighten control of costs by managing purchasing centrally.

The company plans to put more focus on innovation, new products, and expanding growing markets in eastern Europe, Russia, China and parts of Latin America and Asia. 

Colgate sells products in more than 200 nations.

Some information for this story provided by AFP and Reuters.