Personal care, consumer tissue and professional products company Kimberly-Clark Corp. (NYSE: KMB – $98.92) reported earnings that slightly edged forecasts, even as the company announced new restructuring plans. Sales in the first period totaled $4.7 billion, up 5% compared to a year ago and above the consensus of $4.6 billion. Sales rose 3% in its personal care segment, which includes brands such as Huggies and Pull-Ups; 9% in its consumer tissue segment, which includes Kleenex and Scott; and K-C Professional boosted revenue by 5%, including favorable currency adjustments. Adjusted per share earnings of $1.71 was better by 8.9% from a year ago and beat the consensus of $1.69. In the first quarter, K-C booked $577 million of restructuring charges and said it expects $1.7-$1.9 billion total of such expenses through 2020. The company guided full-year sales higher to a 2%-3% increase, up from its earlier 1%-2% increase and maintained its adjusted earnings per share of $6.90 to $7.20, a year-on-year increase of 11 to 16 percent. Analysts are looking for adjusted earnings of $7.34 next year.
Shares of Dallas-based KMB have lost 23% over the past 12 months, in sympathy with the consumer staples sector in general and are crossing hands at a 52-week low in today’s trading. Nevertheless, patient income investors may want to take a closer look here. This issue, with a 4% dividend yield, offers healthy risk-adjusted total return possibilities over the next 3 to 5 years.