Kimberly-Clark Targets $400M-500M in Cost Cuts

Kimberly-Clark Corp. (KMB) said on Monday it is targeting $400 million to $500 million in cost savings over the next three years and still expects earnings this quarter to meet its previous expectations.

Kimberly-Clark, the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers (search), also said it plans to raise its dividend by 12.5 percent and repurchase at least $1 billion of its outstanding common stock in 2005. The new quarterly dividend of 45 cents per share is subject to final board approval, it said.

The Dallas-based company, which recently completed the spinoff of Neenah Paper Inc. (NP), said it still expects to earn 89 cents to 91 cents per share in the current fourth quarter. Analysts on average expect 92 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Kimberly-Clark, which is now focused on health and hygiene after the Neenah spinoff, said it is targeting growth on developing and emerging markets with a focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China, Indonesia and Turkey.

New product plans include a U.S. introduction of Scott Extra Soft (search) bathroom tissue in the first quarter of 2005 and the launch, in early January, of new training aids to its Pull-Ups (search) training pants, Kimberly-Clark said.

The company's announcement came ahead of meeting in New York with analysts and investors. Its shares closed at $63.98 on Friday.