Kimberly-Clark Corp posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit due to higher selling prices and cost cuts, but trimmed its full-year sales outlook.
The company, known for Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers, reaffirmed its profit outlook for the year and said it remains on track with its full-year plan despite the tough economic climate.
Kimberly-Clark still expects marketing spending in 2010 to rise at a faster pace than sales, but see organic sales -- which exclude currency fluctuations and acquisitions -- picking up in the second half. It also sees higher-than-expected input costs for the year for materials like pulp.
Net income in the second quarter rose almost 24 percent to $498 million, or $1.20 a share, compared with $403 million, or 97 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected $1.13 a share.
Sales rose 2.8 percent to $4.86 billion, but that was below the $4.95 billion analysts had expected. Organic sales rose 2 percent due to higher prices and strong demand overseas.
Kimberly-Clark, which competes against powerhouse Procter & Gamble Co in such categories as diapers, tissues and tampons, still expects full-year earnings per share to likely come in toward the low end of its forecast of $4.80 to $5.00.
However, the company cut its sales outlook, saying it now expects 2010 sales to rise 3 percent to 5 percent, instead of 4 percent to 6 percent.
Analysts were expecting a full-year profit of $4.78 per share on sales of $19.8 billion.
Kimberly-Clark also cut the low end of its expected organic sales growth rate for the year by a percentage point, saying it now expects growth of 2 percent to 4 percent. It cuts its expected volume growth rate by one percentage point, to a range of 1 percent to 2 percent.
The company increased its target for share repurchases this year by $200 million, to a range of $700 million to $800 million.
Kimberly-Clark said full-year material costs will be higher than initially expected due to increased costs for items like virgin pulp and polymer resin. But it also expects pulp costs will start to fall from quarter to quarter in the second half.
It raised its target for cost savings to at least $300 million from a prior forecast of $200 million to $250 million. It said full-year spending will be at the low end or possibly below its targeted range of $1 billion to $1.1 billion.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)