Clorox Co., the largest U.S. maker of laundry bleach, said Thursday that its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 13% on increased sales of its Liquid-Plumr drain cleaner and namesake bleach.
Profit from operations rose to $114 million, or 48 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $101 million, or 42 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 4.2% to $1.03 billion from $992 million.
Clorox was expected to earn 47 cents in its third quarter, the average estimate of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.
The sales gain is Clorox's biggest since its $2-billion acquisition of First Brands Corp. in January 1999, led by older home-cleaning products and Hidden Valley salad dressings. With sales of First Brands' Jonny Cat litter and Glad bags expected to pick up, Clorox said sales will increase sharply starting in the current quarter.
Clorox shares rose $2.75 to close at $37.56 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has fallen 40% since the acquisition.
In a conference call, Clorox officials said they expect earnings to meet analysts' estimates of 57 cents a share in the fiscal fourth quarter, with sales rising by a percentage in the "high single digits."
At the same time, the Oakland-based company said forecasts for a 15% increase in earnings to $2 a share next year may be too high.
Calpine Corp. said first-quarter profit jumped almost fivefold because it acquired California geothermal plants and most of Cogeneration Corp. of America.
Net income rose to $18.1 million, or 27 cents a share, from $3.85 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 56% to $235.4 million, from $150.6 million. Results beat the 25-cent average estimate of analysts.
San Jose-based Calpine owns or is developing 17,200 megawatts of power production, enough to light about 17 million U.S. homes, in 20 states and Alberta, Canada. Calpine sells the plants' output to utilities and new electricity suppliers that operate in deregulated markets.
Calpine shares fell 94 cents to close at $86.63 on the NYSE.
At a Glance
Other California earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:
* Allergan Inc. reported a 24% rise in first-quarter earnings that surpassed Wall Street estimates amid strong sales of its products to treat eye disorders and reduce wrinkles.
The Irvine-based specialty drug company said quarterly net earnings rose to $43.5 million, or 33 cents a share, from $35 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier. Analysts had expected the company to earn 30 cents a share. Sales rose 21% to $376 million from $311 million.
* Deckers Outdoor Corp., a Goleta-based footwear marketer of Teva, Simple and other brands, reported first-quarter net income of $4.38 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $2.25 million, or 26 cents, a year ago. Sales rose to a record $41.5 million from $38 million.
* IHOP Corp., the Glendale-based developer, franchiser and operator of International House of Pancakes restaurants, reported record first-quarter net income of $7.2 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with $6.6 million, 33 cents, a year ago. Systemwide sales increased 11% to $298.8 million.
* Perris-based National R.V. Holdings Inc. reported first-quarter net income of $6.5 million, or 62 cents per share, compared with $7.3 million, or 64 cents, a year ago. The company attributed the decline to higher selling, general and administrative costs and a one-time charge. Revenue rose to $105.2 million from $103.0 million.
* Glendale-based Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. reported first-quarter net income of $6.6 million, or 24 cents per share, compared with $4.1 million, or 16 cents, a year ago. Revenue fell to $163 million from $172 million, primarily due to the sale of the Hollywood Park racetrack in September.
* The Right Start Inc., the Westlake Village-based children's toy and apparel retailer, reported a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $4.1 million, or 78 cents per share, which includes losses incurred by the company's majority-owned Web site. That compares with a loss of $1.1 million, or 21 cents, a year ago. Sales rose to$16.2 million from $10.7 million.