CHICAGO – Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) Monday posted a 44 percent rise in quarterly profit from a year earlier when it took restructuring charges, and also said it expects double-digit earnings growth for the fiscal year that began last month, sending its shares higher.
The maker of Tide laundry detergent, Head & Shoulders shampoo and scores of other household and personal-care products said that even excluding the restructuring charges, earnings rose 13 percent on increased volume across most businesses and the benefit of cost-cutting programs.
Volume was again boosted by the beauty care and health-care segments, as well as by sales in developing markets. Higher volume, in turn, helped make the company's factories operate more efficiently, increasing margins.
"It sounds like the P&G train keeps chugging along, particularly relative to what we've heard this far from other consumer products companies," said Joseph Altobello, analyst at CIBC World Markets.
While P&G shares trade at a slight premium to other consumer products makers, Altobello said there is still value in the shares, and he rates the stock "sector outperformer."
"The stock is not cheap, but I think that as long as the company can continue to deliver the kind of results they have, which we believe will continue, there's is still upside to the stock," he said.
P&G, which also makes Charmin toilet paper and many other household and personal-care products, had profit of $1.37 billion, or 50 cents a share, in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30. That compares with $955 million, or 34 cents a share, in the year-earlier period, when the company had $261 million in restructuring charges.
Analysts on average forecast 48 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Sales rose 19 percent to $12.96 billion. Analysts on average forecast $12.86 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. Excluding the impact of acquisitions, such as hair-care products maker Wella AG (search), and divestitures, sales rose 10 percent. The weak U.S. dollar, which makes overseas sales worth more when translated into dollars on the income statement, added 3 percent to growth.
Volume, a closely watched measure for packaged-goods makers, rose 18 percent and was up 10 percent excluding acquisitions and divestitures.
The company also forecast double-digit earnings growth for 2005 on volume growth of 6 percent to 7 percent. For the first quarter, the company forecast profit of at the upper end of analysts' expectations. Analysts forecast $2.56 a share for the year, a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2004, and 70 cents a share in the quarter.
P&G shares, which are up more than 7 percent for the year, rose $1.71 or 3.3 percent to $53.86 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).