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Net income rises sharply at Procter & Gamble

August 04, 2007|From the Associated Press

CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble Co., boosted by strong sales of Gillette shavers and by new products in longtime brands such as Tide and Crest, reported Friday that profit for both its fiscal fourth quarter and the full year rose 19%.

P&G also announced plans to step up stock buybacks. But after topping Wall Street expectations for the quarter, the company issued guidance for the current quarter and year a little below analysts' expectations.

Its shares fell 42 cents to $62.88 on Friday. P&G stock has ranged from $58.13 to $66.30 over the last year.

Net income for the quarter ended June 30 rose to $2.27 billion, or 67 cents a share, from $1.9 billion, or 55 cents, a year earlier. Sales increased 8% to $19.27 billion, led by double-digit increases for blades and razors, fabric and home care, and healthcare businesses.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had forecast a quarterly profit of 66 cents a share on sales of $19.11 billion.

P&G said that its integration of Gillette Co., acquired in 2005 for $57 billion, was ahead of schedule and that operating margins were improving.

"We believe P&G is starting to get its groove back," said Bill Schmitz Jr., an analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., in a note Friday to clients.

The Cincinnati company said its board had approved buying back $24 billion to $30 billion in stock over the next three years, a rate of $8 billion to $10 billion a year compared with the last year's $5.6 billion.

For the next fiscal year, P&G expects earnings per share of $3.44 to $3.47. For the July-September quarter, the company projects earnings per share of 88 cents to 90 cents. Wall Street forecasts profit of 91 cents a share for P&G's fiscal first quarter and $3.48 for the year.

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