Procter & Gamble Profit Bucks Proxy Fight -- Update

By Sharon Terlep Features Dow Jones Newswires

Procter & Gamble Co., facing a proxy fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz, posted higher profit in the most recent quarter despite a slump in consumer spending on staples from diapers to toothpaste.

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Without once mentioning the scuffle with Mr. Peltz, who is trying to win a seat on the company's board, P&G executives laid out a clear road map to their case against making him a director.

In a call with reporters, finance chief Jon Moeller called the results "fantastic." Chief Executive Officer David Taylor said the company is making progress and focused on long-term goals, but "we aren't satisfied with being just a little bit better than last year."

Mr. Taylor, on a call with analysts, detailed efforts under way to invest in key markets and products and how the company is changing its management and bonus structure to speed progress and encourage "appropriate risk taking."

P&G said organic sales increased 2% for the quarter and full year ended June 30. The closely watched metric, which strips out currency moves, acquisitions and divestitures, remains well below prerecession levels and lags behind some rivals. P&G forecast growth of 2% to 3% next year.

The consumer-products giant, whose brands include Bounty, Crest, Tide and Pampers, said it made progress this year in efforts to lift sluggish sales of its top brands as it fends off calls to continue trimming its product portfolio. "We have prioritized the long-term health of the company," Mr. Taylor said.

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P&G reported a profit of $2.2 billion, or 82 cents a share, compared with $1.95 billion, or 69 cents a share, a year ago. But revenue fell 0.1% to $16.08 billion, and slipped 0.4% in the full year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of 78 cents a share on $16 billion revenue.

P&G shares rose 2.5% to $91.20 in premarket trading. Shares of P&G are up 6% this year compared with the S&P 500's 11% rise.

--Cara Lombardo contributed to this article.

Write to Sharon Terlep at sharon.terlep@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 09:59 ET (13:59 GMT)