Procter & Gamble Struggles to See Revenue Growth

Procter & Gamble Co. said Thursday it made progress this year in efforts to lift sluggish sales of its top brands as the consumer-products giant fends off calls to continue trimming its product portfolio.

In the final quarter of the company's fiscal year, the maker of Gillette razors and Crest toothpaste 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% in the quarter 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.

The earnings release Thursday morning comes as activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Fund Management announced his plans last week to launch a proxy fight for a seat on the board. Mr. Peltz argues that P&G hasn't capitalized on a $10 billion cost-cutting plan.

In a statement after P&G's report Trian called on the company to take "decisive action" beyond prior commitments to overhaul its complex organization.

Chief Executive David Taylor will have a chance to address those concerns on an earnings call Thursday morning, but said in a statement that the company has made significant progress on cost savings and is only accelerating its efforts.

"Achieving our objectives will not only require continued focus as an organization, but also that we prevent anything from derailing the work that is delivering improvement," he said in prepared remarks.

Organic sales of beauty products and fabric and home-care products both rose 5% in the quarter. Still, concerns remain about the company's grooming and health-care lines, where sales fell 1% each. Customers have i ncreasingly turned to online sellers for things like razors and over-the-counter medications.

The company did see pockets of growth in certain products, including Always Discreet incontinence underwear and power toothbrushes.

In the full year, P&G reported adjusted earnings of $10.7 billion, or $3.92 a share, compared with $10.4 billion, or $3.67 a share.

Shares of P&G are up 6% this year compared with S&P 500's 11% rise.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 08:53 ET (12:53 GMT)