Procter & Gamble (PG) beat the Street on Friday with a 45% leap in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and impressed shareholders with plans to buy back $4 billion of its shares.
Shares of the Cincinnati-based maker of Bounty paper towels and Duracell batteries rallied more than 2% as the stronger-than-expected profit growth overshadowed a slight revenue miss.
P&G said it earned $3.63 billion, or $1.24 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $2.51 billion, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 82 cents a share, topping estimates from analysts for 77 cents.
Sales slipped 1.2% to $20.21 billion, narrowly trailing the Street’s view of $20.26 billion. Organic sales increased 3%.
“We enter fiscal 2013 with very strong developing market momentum, strengthened plans on our core developed market business, and with the benefit of a $10 billion cost savings program, which is well underway,” CEO Bob McDonald said in a statement. “Despite a difficult macro environment, we see significant opportunities for top- and bottom-line growth.”
Looking ahead, the blue-chip consumer products giant said it expects to post fiscal 2013 EPS of $3.61 to $3.85 and core earnings of $3.80 to $4.00. Analysts had been calling for EPS of $3.88.
Full-year sales are expected to be flat to down 2% from the prior year due to negative currency impact, while organic sales are seen rising 2% to 4% thanks in part to price increases.
For the current quarter, P&G said it expects core EPS of 91 cents to 97 cents, compared with the Street’s view of $1.03.
Meanwhile, P&G unveiled plans to buy back $4 billion of its stock this fiscal year.
Shares of P&G rallied 2.35% to $65.00 Friday morning, outperforming a 1.36% gain on the S&P 500.
Management has come under pressure as P&G’s shares have languished behind the broader markets and rivals like Colgate-Palmolive (CL), sinking almost 5% in 2012 as of Thursday’s close.
Last month William Ackman snapped up $1.8 billion of P&G shares, raising speculation the activist investor could push for major changes at the company.