Shares of Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) soared to a new high Friday after the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit on tighter expenses and emerging markets growth.
The Dallas-based manufacturer of personal care and paper products reported net income of $468 million, or $1.18 a share, up about 34% compared with a year-earlier $350 million, or 86 cents.
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Excluding one-time restructuring costs items, Kimberly-Clark earned $1.24 a share, ahead of the $1.17 predicted by analysts in a Thomson Reuters poll.
Revenue for the three-month period was $5.2 billion, up 4% from $4.03 billion a year ago, beating the Street’s view of $5.05 billion. The company attributed the gains to higher selling prices and sales volumes.
Kimberly-Clark backed its earnings between $5 and $5.15 a share, in line with the $5.10 forecasted on average by analysts.
“We are off to a very good start to the year,” CEO Thomas Falk said in a statement. “We delivered a healthy level of cost savings, improved cash flow and continued to allocate capital in shareholder-friendly ways.”
The company said gains in its K-C International business helped drive the quarterly results. The unit’s personal-care sales climbed 17%, including a two-point drag from currency rates, and sales volumes shot up 12% with the help of demand in emerging markets.
Looking ahead, it looks to put a “special focus” on the division to rapidly execute its global growth plans, while continuing to cut costs.