Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, reporting flat worldwide unit volume in its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, said earnings rose 9% to $1.17 billion on a 2% increase in worldwide net sales to $9.5 billion. Chairman-CEO John Pepper blamed troubles in developing markets for sluggish volume and sales. But unit volume growth in Asia and Latin America actually offset unit volume declines in North America and Europe. P&G's first-quarter unit volume was down 1% in North America and down 2% in P&G's Europe, Middle East and Africa unit compared to last year. For North America, P&G cited the effect of its 1997 divestiture of Duncan Hines on year-to-year comparisons, plus increased competition in the haircare and oral care markets in explaining volume results. For Europe, it cited economic troubles in central and eastern Europe, particularly Russia. Asian unit volume increased 2% behind the acquisition of a Korean paper maker this year and improved sales in Japan. Latin America unit volume was up 15%, reflecting the acquisition of a Mexican papermaker.
Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.