NEW YORK (AP) — Kimberly Clark Corp. reported its net income fell 33 percent in the fourth quarter but its results excluding unusual items for the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers beat Wall Street expectations.
In the past year, Kimberly Clark CEO Thomas Falk noted that the company has launched numerous new products and stepped up its spending for marketing and research and development. It improved its operating profit margin with the help of a cost savings and restructuring program.
For the October to December period, the consumer products company said it earned $267 million, or 68 cents per share, down from $401 million, or $1.01 per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding the impact of one-time items such as restructuring charges, the company said it earned $1.37 per share. That was a penny above what analysts expected, according to FactSet.
Net sales rose 3 percent to $5.31 billion from $5.18 billion a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $5.19 billion. Organic sales, which exclude the impact of foreign currency exchange and other variables, rose 5 percent as a result of higher sales volume and prices.
When excluding special items, the company said its operating profit rose 5 percent. The increase reflected $80 million in cost savings as well as a decline in costs for raw materials.
The adjusted results for the quarter excluded costs associated with its strategic changes in Europe. The company, based in Dallas, had decided to stop selling diapers in Western and Central Europe, except Italy, and streamline its European manufacturing operations. Falk has said the changes would allow the company to focus on our best market positions and growth opportunities.
Sales in the personal care segment, which includes Kotex pads and Huggies, rose 8 percent to $2.4 billion. Sales for the consumer tissue segment fell 2 percent.
For 2013, the company said it expects earnings of $5.50 to $5.65 per share, representing growth of 5 percent to 8 percent. Analysts expect earnings of $5.59 per share.
Shares of Kimberly Clark fell 36 cents to $86.22 in midday trading. They are trading near the upper end of their 52-week range of $70.50 to $88.25.