Giant consumer products company Procter & Gamble Co. said Friday it would sell its Duracell battery business as it looks to focus on faster-growing brands. The company that makes Crest toothpaste, Gillette razors, Tide detergent and Pampers diapers also reported quarterly earnings that met analysts’ expectations, though revenue fell short.
The world’s largest household products maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $1.07 per share, as analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected and up from $1.04 per share a year ago. Revenue dipped to $20.79 billion from $21.21 billion a year ago.
P&G's sale of Duracell is part of a broad effort to shed less profitable brands and focus on the strongest, like its beauty, oral and health care products. In August, the company said it could sell about half of its slow-growing brands over the next two years and cut jobs to save costs and boost sales growth. Last month, the company sold its European pet food business to Spectrum brands, and in April, P&G sold the bulk of its pet food segment to candy maker Mars.
Duracell, the world’s top battery business, is estimated to earn about $500 million before taxes, though P&G doesn’t report the precise numbers. The company also said it has agreed to sell its interest in a China-based battery business for an unknown price. Analysts expect Duracell to split from P&G in the second half of 2015.
“P&G’s first-quarter results were in-line with our expectations, despite a very difficult operating environment,” said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer A.G. Lafley in a statement. “This keeps us on-track to deliver our fiscal year commitments.”