Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, met analyst expectations with first-quarter earnings of $1.16 billion, flat on a per-share basis vs. last year, not counting costs of the company's Organization 2005 restructuring. Sales rose 1% to $10 billion, and P&G forecast sales should increase only "slightly" next quarter on volume expected to decline 1% to 3% because of tough comparisons to the year-ago quarter, which included the launch of Swiffer and Dryel. Earnings may come in 2¢ below analysts' current expectations of 93¢ per share next quarter, P&G said, despite help from a better-than-expected gain from the sale of P&G's Clearasil brand. Chief Financial Officer Clayton Daley stuck by projections of 4% to 6% sales growth and 7% to 10% earnings growth for the full fiscal year, ending in June, and plans to increase marketing spending for the year in line with sales. But facing declining market share for its Bounty paper towel brand, P&G will cut prices 4.5%, partially reversing a 9% price increase earlier this year.
Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.