Kimberly-Clark Corp. said on Tuesday that quarterly profit jumped 22 percent as savings from its restructuring plan helped offset increased fiber costs, and the company raised its full-year earnings forecast.
Kimberly-Clark, known for Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, also entered into a $2 billion accelerated share repurchase agreement, and its board approved more buybacks.
Second-quarter profit rose to $461.8 million, or $1 per share, from $377.6 million, or 82 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items from cost-cutting plans and a restructuring announced in 2005, earnings increased to $1.04 per share from 95 cents.
The results surpassed the company's adjusted profit forecast of $1.01 to $1.03 per share and the analysts' average outlook of $1.03, according to Reuters Estimates.
Sales rose 8.2 percent to $4.5 billion.
Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark absorbed about $85 million in higher costs during the quarter, including about $55 million for fiber. It also spent $13 million more on strategic marketing as it tries to remain competitive in areas such as diapers and tissues, where it competes directly with larger rival Procter & Gamble Co.
Kimberly-Clark said it expected to earn $4.20 to $4.25 per share this year, up from a prior forecast of $4.10 to $4.20. Analysts on average called for $4.21.
The accelerated share repurchase agreement with Bank of America calls for the purchase of about 29.6 million common shares for $2 billion. Kimberly-Clark plans to fund the buybacks with incremental debt financing.
Including that agreement, Kimberly-Clark now expects to repurchase $2.8 billion worth of its stock this year, up from its original target of $600 million to $800 million.
The company's board also approved the repurchase of an additional 50 million shares during the next several years.
Shares of Kimberly-Clark trade at about 14.8 times next year's expected earnings, while P&G trades at about 18.2 times its expected 2008 profit, according to Reuters data.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl)