Kimberly-Clark Reports Record Earnings on Strong International Business
Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB – $111.23) reported third quarter results, updated its guidance for full-year 2014 adjusted earnings per share to take into account the pending spin-off of its health care business and initiated an organization restructuring to include reducing headcount by 1,300 jobs. Third quarter 2014 net sales increased 3% to $5.4 billion compared to the year-ago period and slightly ahead of Wall Street estimates of $5.36 billion. Organic sales, which exclude the impact of foreign currency exchange rates and lower sales as a result of European strategic changes, rose 4% percent, including a 10% increase in K-C International. All three of Kimberly-Clark’s continuing business segments did well: Personal Care (Huggies diapers, Depends), Consumer Tissue (Kleenex, Scotts towels) and K-C Professional all increased sales by about 4%. Sales of the soon-to-be divested Healthcare Division decreased 0.3%. Third quarter adjusted earnings per share were at an all-time record $1.61 compared to $1.44 in the year-ago period and seven cents above the consensus estimate of $1.54. Overall performance benefited from organic sales growth, cost savings and a lower share count, while comparisons were negatively affected by raw material cost inflation, unfavorable foreign currency exchange rate effects and a higher adjusted effective tax rate. The company guided adjusted earnings per share for the full-year at $5.93 to $6.03, assuming the health care spin-off occurs at the end of October 2014. The shares of financially strong Kimbery-Clark continue to have broad conservative appeal for the income investor. The stock is up 9% over the past 52-weeks and yield 3.1% with a solid and growing dividend payout.