CHICAGO – Procter & Gamble Co. (PG), whose product lineup includes Crest toothpaste and Pampers diapers, on Monday reported a 9 percent increase in quarterly profit, led by strong growth in its beauty and health care units.
Earnings rose to $1.5 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended on June 30, from $1.37 billion, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts on average expected 55 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
P&G, which plans to acquire Gillette Co. (G) later this year, said net sales rose 10 percent to $14.26 billion, helped in part by price increases and the weakness of the dollar against the euro, British pound and Canadian dollar. Analysts had expected revenue of $14.04 billion.
"Sales beat our estimates in almost every business segment," Deutsche Bank analyst William Schmitz said in a research note, "but raw materials continue to depress results, specifically in fabric and home care and baby and family care, which saw margins well below our expectations."
Like most U.S. companies with sales outside the country, P&G has benefited for many quarters from a weaker dollar, which boosts the value of overseas sales when they are translated into U.S. currency on a company's income statement.
But that benefit may be coming to an end as the dollar strengthens. P&G said it expects foreign exchange to reduce sales by 1 percent to 2 percent in fiscal 2006.
In the latest quarter, the Cincinnati-based company said organic sales, which exclude acquisitions, divestitures and foreign exchange rate movements, were up 9 percent.
Unit volume rose 6 percent, P&G said.
P&G and other consumer products makers have been trimming expenses and raising prices to mitigate the effects of rising commodity and raw material costs. Higher prices added 2 percent to sales growth, the company said.
Shares of P&G, a component of the Dow Jones industrial average (search), traded at $55.09 on the New York Stock Exchange Monday, up from Friday's $55.63 closing price.
In January, P&G agreed to buy Boston-based Gillette in a deal that would create a consumer products powerhouse, with brands ranging from Tide to Duracell.
Last month, shareholders of both companies overwhelming approved the deal. The EU granted conditional approval, as long as P&G sells its Crest SpinBrush brand, but other regulatory approval is needed before the acquisition is completed.
P&G on Monday said it was comfortable with analysts' estimates for the current first quarter and for the full year, excluding the cost of expensing stock options and increased share repurchases related to the Gillette acquisitions.