Procter & Gamble Co posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by its biggest volume gain in more than four years, but it forecast results for the current quarter below Wall Street estimates.
The world's largest household products company's profit fell to $2.59 billion, or 83 cents per share, in the third quarter that ended on March 31 from $2.61 billion, or 84 cents per share, a year earlier.
Core earnings per share, which exclude certain tax, legal and restructuring charges, rose 10 percent to 89 cents. On that basis, the Cincinnati-based maker of Tide detergent and Gillette razors had forecast 77 cents to 82 cents and analysts anticipated 82 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales rose 7.4 percent to $19.18 billion, while analysts were looking for sales of $19.53 billion.
Organic sales, which strip out currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures, rose 4 percent, meeting the low end of the company's 4 percent to 6 percent forecast.
The volume of goods sold rose 7 percent.
For fiscal 2010, P&G expects to earn $4.06 to $4.12 per share instead of $4.02 to $4.12 per share.
It expects net sales to rise 3 percent to 5 percent this year and 6 percent to 7 percent in the current fourth quarter. P&G expects fourth-quarter organic sales to rise 4 percent to 5 percent.
It forecast earnings of 68 cents to 74 cents per share for the fourth quarter, which ends in June. Analysts had been looking for a profit of 76 cents per share.
P&G's shares fell 0.3 percent to $63 in premarket trading.
(Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Derek Caney)