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Clorox Earnings Up Despite Weather Woes

August 13, 2003|From Dow Jones/Associated Press

Clorox Co. said Tuesday that earnings for its latest quarter rose 2.8%, as sales of Glad trash bags, Hidden Valley dressings and KC Masterpiece sauces helped offset weaker demand for Kingsford charcoal and other products because of damp weather during the period.

The Oakland-based maker of Clorox bleach and other consumer products reported net income of $149 million, or 68 cents a share, for the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30. It earned $145 million, or 63 cents, in the same period a year earlier.

Results were in line with a forecast Clorox gave in June, when the company said wet spring weather damped consumer demand for its Armor All and STP auto products and Kingsford charcoal. Analysts were expecting earnings of 68 cents, according to Thomson First Call.

Sales edged up to $1.15 billion from $1.13 billion.

For the current quarter, Clorox expects earnings of 57 cents to 62 cents as it incurs costs to launch new products, higher raw material costs and higher research-and-development investments.

Last year Clorox earned 65 cents a share in the fiscal first quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call are expecting first-quarter earnings of 60 cents.

Clorox expects fiscal 2004 earnings of $2.47 to $2.57 on sales and volume growth of 3% to 5%, compared with analysts' estimates of $2.50.

Fiscal 2003 earnings were $493 million, or $2.23 a share, up from $322 million, or $1.37, in fiscal 2002. Sales rose to $4.14 billion from $4.02 billion.

Clorox, with 9,500 employees worldwide, manufactures its consumer products in 25 countries and markets them in more than 100 countries.

Clorox shares rose $1.05, or 2.4%, to $43.87 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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