CINCINNATI (AP) _ Procter & Gamble Co. reported Monday that fourth- quarter earnings increased 44 percent, with continued growth in its beauty and health care businesses pushing its 12-month sales past the $50 billion mark for the first time.
The huge consumer products company said it earned $1.37 billion, or 50 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30, up from $955 million, or 34 cents per share, in a same period a year ago.
Earnings beat the 48-cent per share estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.
April-June sales increased to $12.9 billion from $10.9 billion a year earlier.
For the fiscal year, P&G earned $6.4 billion, or $2.32 per share, on sales of $51.4 billion, up from 2003 earnings of $5.1 billion, or $1.85 per share, on sales of $43.3 billion. Analysts had predicted 12-month earnings of $2.31 per share.
``This is the third consecutive year of broad-based strength across businesses and geographies, demonstrating the power of focused strategies and the sustained benefits of the systemic and structural changes we made over the past several years,'' said A.G. Lafley, chairman, president and chief executive.
The improvement continued a long, steady climb under the guidance of Lafley, who took over as P&G's president and chief executive in June 2000 after the company's stock had fallen by 52 percent that year to $56.75.
P&G shares were up 58 cents at $52.73 in Monday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
By segment, unit volume was up 41 percent in beauty care, 13 percent in health care, 9 percent in snacks and beverages and 8 percent in both baby and family care and fabric and home care.
The company is confident it will meet or exceed its long-term growth targets, Lafley said.
The company's products include Folgers coffee, Crest toothpaste and Crest Whitestrips, Pampers diapers, Olay beauty products, Pringles snack chips and Tide detergent.