Procter & Gamble Co on Tuesday posted a 14 percent increase in profit, but its shares fell 4 percent as its outlook for the rest of the year disappointed analysts, who also raised concern about its beauty business.
The maker of Tide laundry detergent, Gillette razors and a host of other products raised its full-year earnings per share forecast by 2 cents to a range of $3.46 to $3.49, but that was due to a one-time tax benefit in the first quarter. Without that benefit, the forecast of $3.44 to $3.47 was unchanged and at or below the average analysts' estimate of $3.47 a share posted by Reuters Estimates.
P&G shares were up 17.4 percent from the end of June through Monday, and analysts had warned prior to the earnings report that both valuations and expectations were lofty for the entire consumer products sector, which could leave stocks vulnerable to any disappointing news.
The stock has had a great run from the mid-summer and expectations probably got a little out of hand, said Jack Russo, analyst at Edward Jones. I think the beauty sales number came in a bit lighter than a lot of people might have expected, he added, noting that beauty care is one of the growth areas on which the company has focused.
The company said profit was $3.08 billion, or 92 cents a share, for the fiscal first quarter, compared with $2.70 billion, or 79 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding a one-time tax benefit, earnings were 90 cents a share. Analysts on average had forecast 90 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates. On September 18, the company reiterated its forecast of 88 to 90 cents a share.
Sales rose 8 percent to $20.20 billion. Analysts on average had forecast $20.25 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. Organic sales, which exclude the impact of acquisitions, divestitures and foreign exchange, increased 5 percent during the quarter, in line with the company's range, P&G said.
But beauty care sales rose only 6 percent, with half the increase due to the weaker dollar. Company officials said competitors have increased spending in that area and P&G plans to respond with spending behind new products.
Market share in both health and beauty care are up versus the prior year, Clayton Daley, chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts. As such, we expect results to improve for these segments in the balance of the fiscal year.
Overall, P&G has been boosting sales in emerging markets, focusing on new products such as its Crest Pro-Health oral-care line, and looking at selling off some brands. At the same time, the company is raising prices on a number of products to help offset rising costs for oil, resin and pulp.
The company also has announced upcoming price increases on diapers, skin-care products and other items. But Chairman and Chief Executive Officer A.G. Lafley said the price increases were being accepted by customers.
We would not be building share on 77 percent of our business in the U.S. if our consumer value was out of line, Lafley said during the conference call.
For the second quarter, the company forecast earnings of 95 to 97 cents a share, with sales up 6 to 8 percent.
P&G shares were down $2.85 at $68.98 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. At Monday's close, the stock traded at 20.7 times estimated 2008 earnings per share, compared with a multiple of 19.9 for rival Colgate-Palmolive Co.