P&G comes in slightly ahead of earnings estimates

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Procter & Gamble Co. reported second-quarter earnings of $1.2 billion, slightly ahead of analyst estimates on flat volume and sales down 4 percent to $10.2 billion before adjustments for currency effects. P&G also said it is comfortable with the high end of analysts' earnings expectations for its full fiscal year ended June 30, though the company expects volume to be flat again in the third quarter, with sales up by "low single digits" before currency impacts.

Facing continued share erosion in feminine care, P&G Treasurer Gretchen Price said the company will roll back price increases taken last year on its Always and Tampax brands. P&G later this year will launch Tide with Bleach laundry tablets and Crest Spin Brush power tooth brushes, said President-CEO A.G. Lafley, who also acknowledged that the company had cut marketing outlays by 0.2 percent in the recently concluded quarter. He cited efficiency moves in media buying that allowed the cuts and said he has appointed Steve Donovan, former head of P&G's North American food and beverage business, to head up a task force seeking new ways to cut costs throughout the company. P&G will also reduce prices on laundry detergent tablets in Europe and increase consumer and trade promotion on Pampers diapers there, Mr. Lafley said. P&G is also examining pricing for its Pringles snack brand.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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