Procter & Gamble pofit, sales rise in fourth quarter

Monday, August 1st 2005, 9:56 am
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble Co. on Monday said fourth-quarter profit rose 9 percent, led by strong volume growth in its beauty, health and home care segments, and the company backed analysts' earnings forecast for its current quarter and fiscal year.

P&G reported earnings of $1.5 billion (euro1.23 billion), or 56 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30 compared with $1.37 billion, or 50 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Sales jumped 10 percent to $14.26 billion (euro11.7 billion) from $12.96 billion.

The results topped analysts' expectations for profit of 55 cents per share on revenue of $14.05 billion (euro11.5 billion), according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

Organic sales _ which strip out the effects of acquisitions, divested businesses and foreign exchange swings, rose 9 percent. Unit volume grew 6 percent, led by strong gains in P&G's beauty, fabric, health and home care businesses, particularly in developing markets.

In the beauty segment, earnings climbed 27 percent to $644 million (euro527 million) on sales of $4.93 billion (euro4 billion), driven by strong growth of the Olay brand and solid results in emerging markets.

In the family health segment, earnings surged 42 percent to $182 million (euro149 million), while sales jumped 16 percent to $1.9 billion (euro1.55 billion). P&G credited the improved performance to continued success of Prilosec, its popular over-the-counter heartburn drug.

In the household care segment, earnings fell 11 percent to $458 million, hurt by higher commodity costs, but sales rose 10 percent to $3.85 billion (euro3.15 billion). P&G said higher commodity costs posed ``significant challenges'' during the quarter, but the company responded with price increases across most of its businesses.

For the current quarter and full year, P&G said it is ``comfortable'' with analysts' current consensus estimate of 78 cents per share and $2.93, which excludes the effects of stock option expensing and an accelerated share buyback program.

Sales growth is expected to range from 6 to 8 percent, P&G said.

P&G in January said it would buy back $18 billion (euro14.7 billion) to $22 billion (euro18 billion) of its shares over the next 18 months as part of the Gillette deal. The increase in share repurchases is expected to bolster earnings by a penny per share for the quarter, while stock option expensing will reduce profit by 3 cents per share.