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Clorox Profit Climbs 13% as Sales Jump

Earnings: The company's quarterly gain beat estimates, getting a boost from new products.

October 26, 2000|From Bloomberg News

Consumer products giant Clorox Co. on Wednesday said fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 13%, slightly beating forecasts, as new home-cleaning products boosted sales in North America.

Profit from operations for the largest U.S. maker of bleach rose to $100 million, or 42 cents a share, from $88.5 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier. Sales for the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 4.6% to $985 million.

New products such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Liquid- Plumr Foaming Pipe Snake helped boost North American household-product sales by 6%.

Revenue fell for Glad food-storage and trash bags as demand was less than expected. The line was part of First Brands Corp., acquired by Clorox for $2 billion in January 1999.

"There's a return to consistency," said Rose Papp, portfolio manager with L. Roy Papp & Associates, which owns about 850,000 Clorox shares. "The home-cleaning business is very strong, and disinfecting wipes are a big hit. Glad is a problem. They have enough businesses doing well that they are able to offset that."

Shares of Oakland-based Clorox rose $2.06 to close at $43.19 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock had fallen 18% this year.

Clorox was expected to earn 41 cents, the average forecast of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Chief Executive Craig Sullivan said Clorox was on track to meet its goals of increasing earnings by at least 10% for fiscal 2001, and sales by a "mid-single digit" percentage.

At a Glance

Other California company earnings, excluding one-time gains and charges unless noted:

* Los Angeles-based office real estate investment trust Arden Realty Inc. reported third-quarter net income of $23.4 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with $23.9 million, or 38 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose to $100 million from $87.5 million.

* Carlsbad-based golf-club maker Callaway Golf Co. reported third-quarter net income of $19.3 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $17.6 million, or 25 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose 12% to $205.9 million. Callaway reclassified shipping revenue, which added $1.5 million to third-quarter sales this period, and $1.2 million to third-quarter sales in the year-ago period.

* Chatsworth-based Capstone Turbine Corp., which develops small generators and turbines for hybrid electric vehicles, reported a third-quarter net loss of $8.1 million, or 11 cents a share, compared with a loss of $11.4 million, or $4.85, a year ago. Revenue rose to $6.2 million from $759,000. The company went public in June.

* Biotechnology firm Chiron Inc., based in Emeryville, reported a higher-than-expected 35% increase in third-quarter earnings amid growth of its business units. Income from continuing operations was $43 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with adjusted earnings per share of 17 cents, or $33 million, a year ago. Revenue rose 8% to $221 million. On an as-reported basis, Chiron said, its income from continuing operations was $45 million, or 24 cents a share. Analysts had expected 17 cents-per-share earnings.

* Pasadena-based Community Bank reported third-quarter net income of $3.5 million compared with $3 million a year ago. Net interest income rose $12.8 million from $12.5 million.

* Fullerton-based Day Runner Inc. reported lower fiscal first-quarter net income of $499,000, or 21 cents a share, from $600,000, or 25 cents, a year ago, for the first quarter of the previous fiscal year and earnings per share declined from 25 cents to 21 cents. Sales fell 19% to $41.8 million.

* Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels Corp., the third-largest U.S. hotel chain, said third-quarter earnings rose 9.1% on a strong summer travel season and higher room rates at its hotels. Profit from operations rose to $60 million, or 16 cents a share, from $55 million, or 15 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose 11% to $867 million. Results from the owner of Doubletree, Hampton Inn and Hilton hotels in the U.S. matched the average estimate of analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial.

* Toy company Jakks Pacific Inc. of Malibu reported third-quarter net income of $9.8 million, or 48 cents per share, compared with $7.6 million, or 44 cents, a year ago. Revenue rose 52% to $91.8 million.

* Unocal Corp., an El Segundo-based oil and natural-gas producer, said third-quarter earnings soared more than fivefold because of higher energy prices. Profit from continuing operations rose to $228 million, or 92 cents a share, from $44 million, or 19 cents, a year earlier. Unocal said Oct. 5 it would report earnings of 90 cents to 95 cents a share, beating the 78-cent average forecast of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial. Revenue rose 57% to $2.39 billion. The company expects to earn 90 cents to 95 cents a share in the fourth quarter, Chief Executive Roger Beach said in a statement.

* Thousand Oaks-based WellPoint Health Networks Inc., one of California's biggest health insurers, said third-quarter profit rose 17%, beating expectations, as it added patients in California and acquired health plans in Illinois. Net income rose to $89.5 million, or $1.38 a share, from $76.2 million, or $1.11 a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 24% to $2.35 billion. WellPoint, the parent of Blue Cross of California, had 7.7 million customers in its health plans at the end of the quarter, up from 7.2 million a year earlier.

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